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Westlife to split after 14 years

The band announced an “amicable” separation today, after selling more than 44 million records worldwide.

Image: PA/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Updated, 6.50pm

WESTLIFE HAVE ANNOUNCED that they are splitting up.

After 14 years in the ballad business, the boyband-turned-manband put out a statement this evening revealing that they will now “go our separate ways”.

They said the decision was entirely amicable, and that after “spending all of our adult life together” the group have decided to take “a well-earned break”.

Over the years Westlife has become so much more to us than just a band.  Westlife are a family [...]

We never imagined when we started out in 1998 that 14 years later we would still be recording, touring and having hits together.  It has been a dream come true for all of us.

The four-piece – who lost their fifth member Brian McFadden several years ago – split with X Factor boss Simon Cowell’s label in March after 13 years and signed a one-year deal with RCA.

Nicky Byrne told The Sun that the group had felt “unloved” with Cowell.

Westlife will now embark on a farewell Greatest Hits tour next year, and release an accompanying album next month.

The group had 14 UK number ones  – tied with Cliff Richard, and behind only Elvis and The Beatles – including each their first seven singles; and have sold a total of more than 44 million records worldwide.

Westlife’s manager Louis Walsh told RTÉ News that the band were “leaving on top” and were “still great friends”, adding: “All I can say is that I had a brilliant time working with them.”

Fans of the group have taken to Facebook to express their sadness at the split. One wrote: “im 16 and ive liked u guys since you came out, i was two. please dont do this guys.” Another posted: “I can feel my heart breaking in 44 million pieces…”

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Michael Freeman

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