UB40 sax player Brian Travers dies of cancer at age 62

Neil H Kitson/Redferns

Brian Travers, founding saxophone player for the popular U.K. reggae band UB40, died Sunday at the age of 62.

The band announced Travers’ death in a message that reads, “It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our comrade, brother, founding UB40 member and musical legend, Brian David Travers. Brian passed away…with his family by his side, after a long and heroic battle with cancer. Our thoughts are with Brian’s wife Lesley, his daughter Lisa and son Jamie.”

The BBC reports that Travers underwent an operation in 2019 to remove two brain tumors, and had an additional operation last year.

In addition to playing sax, Brian contributed to the arrangement of UB40’s tunes and wrote lyrics for some of the band’s original songs.

UB40 has been hugely successful in the U.K., scoring 39 top-40 hits on the country’s singles chart. The band also has scored several major hits in the U.S., including their chart-topping covers of Neil Diamond‘s “Red Red Wine” and Elvis Presley‘s “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” and their popular take on Sonny & Cher‘s “I Got You Babe” — a duet with The PretendersChrissie Hynde.

Travers’ death comes just a couple of months after the band’s lead singer, Duncan Campbell, announced he was retiring from the group for health reasons. Campbell’s decision to retire came after he suffered a seizure in June, following a stroke in 2020. Duncan joined UB40 in 2008 after his brother, Ali, the group’s original lead singer, quit the band.

Last month, UB40 announced that Birmingham, U.K., reggae singer Matt Doyle as its new frontman.

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