Westlife star forced to quit tour after four major surgeries

Mark Feehily has pulled out of Westlife tour (Picture: Stuart Westwood/Shutterstock)

Westlife singer Mark Feehily has pulled out of their tour due to health issues.

The 43-year-old took to Instagram to explain the circumstances of his tough decision.

He began by telling fans that his ‘challenges’ began in August 2020 whilst having surgery, which led to needing treatment in an Intensive Care Unit. Due to surgery complications, he developed sepsis and needed more surgery to save his life. The life-threatening condition occurs when the immune system overreacts to an infection and starts to damage the body’s tissues and organs.

‘I spent the next few months in hospital. It was during lockdown. For months, due to strict Covid restrictions, I was not allowed any visitors including my fiancé [Cailean O’Neill] and my then 10-month-old daughter [Layla],’ he recalled.

‘It was physically and mentally a very difficult time, not to mention traumatic having to spend so long in ICU.’

In the middle of Westlife’s Wild Dreams worldwide tour, which he performed alongside Shane Filan, Nicky Byrne and Kian Egan, Mark ended up back in hospital and was told he had pneumonia. He had surgery again in May 2022.

Mark tried to continue with the tour (Photo by Kate Green/Getty Images)

‘Three months after that surgery, I tried my best to soldier on for you guys and to go back on tour but unfortunately, the physical demands of the concerts and extensive travel were proving too much for me.

‘I developed a very large ‘incisional hernia’ and I was told that I needed further surgery to fix it. This would be my fourth major surgery since the start of it all, but I had no option,’ he continued.

Luckily, everything went according to plan, and Mark is now intent on making sure that his recovery is an ‘absolute priority’.

‘It is with the utmost level of regret that I must now temporarily stand down from all Westlife touring until a time that I have had the chance to fully recover from the turbulent journey I have been through as an individual,’ he shared.

‘Believe me, I wish things could be different!’

Mark and Cailean have daughter Layla together (Picture: Instagram/Cailean O’Neill)

Mark then thanked medical staff, fans, family, friends and Cailean for their ongoing support.

‘To Shane, Kian and Nicky, I love you three and I know you’ll knock it out of the park. I’ll be there with you in spirit for each and every show whilst you continue to fly the Westlife flag around the world,’ the statement continued.

Fans can rest assured that Mark has every intention of returning to the fold once he is fully recovered.

He concluded the post by promising to see everyone soon and celebrating the longevity of Westlife.

Mark has every intention of being back with his bandmates (Picture: Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)

‘For now, I have to make the right decision for my health and wellbeing, for my family, and for myself as a person. Please don’t worry. Sending the most positive vibes in your direction, I will see you very soon beautiful people! WESTLIFE FOREVER! Love, Mark Feehily xx,’ he wrote.

His bandmates then shared a message of their own on the official social media page for the band.

‘We would like to take this opportunity to send our brother, best friend and fellow bandmate, Mark, so many well wishes as he takes the necessary time he needs to recover,’ it began.

Shane, Kian and Nicky sent a supportive message to Mark (Picture: Instagram/Westlife)

The band originally also included Brian McFadden (Picture: United Archives via Getty Images)

‘Mark has been so strong in continuing to show up on stage despite going through such a turbulent time with his health and we completely respect that he must now focus on getting better so he can return to the stage when he is fit and well to do so! In the meantime, we will continue to fly the Westlife flag higher than ever for you guys.’

The trio will continue with the world tour which is set to make stops in Canada, the United States, and Mexico before concluding in Brazil on March 24.

Westlife were put together by rumoured Celebrity Big Brother housemate Louis Walsh in 1998 and originally included Brian McFadden before he quit six years later. They have achieved an impressive 15 number-one singles, including Flying Without Wings, You Raise Me Up, and Uptown Girl, and 36 number-one albums worldwide.

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