Westlife to split

The Irish boyband, managed by Louis Walsh, announced yesterday that they will go their separate ways following a farewell tour next year.

They said in a statement:

“The decision is entirely amicable. After spending all of our adult life together so far, we want to have a well-earned break and look at new ventures. We’d like to thank our fans who have been with us on this amazing journey.”

The split will end a record-breaking career which has seen Nicky Byrne, 33, Kian Egan, 31, Mark Feehily, 31, and Shane Filan, 32, sell more than 44 million records.

Fourteen of their 26 top ten hits reached the No 1 spot — including Flying Without Wings and Unbreakable.

A source close to the band, whose members are worth an estimated £10million each, said: “This is it. There’s no bad blood, they’re still great pals.

“But all good things come to an end and they are all keen to do their own thing.

“It’s not something they’ve done lightly. They could carry on making albums into their old age the way their career has gone — but it’s quality time they’re after and focus to do their own things.”

Westlife will say farewell to fans on their Greatest Hits Tour, which kicks off in May. They will also release an album of their biggest songs.

The Irish band launched as a five-piece with Brian McFadden in July 1998 and signed to Simon Cowell’s label. They were originally called Westside but changed after learning another band had used it first.

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