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Sunday, May 31, 1998 Published at 17:39 GMT 18:39 UK


Ginger snaps

It's official - Geri (middle) is waving goodbye

Geri Halliwell - Ginger Spice - has left the chart-topping Spice Girls.

But the Fab Five are the new Fab Four, with the remaining members vowing to go on.

Newsround 24: The ultimate hit?
In cryptic messages, they say they are all still friends, while Geri herself insists: "I'll be back."

From BBC News 24: The announcement in full
The announcement follows days of increasingly feverish speculation, after Geri missed the BBC's National Lottery Show on Wednesday, and two concerts in Norway.

"Aaaaaaaaargh": that's how one fan reacted on hearing the news
The group had announced that a statement would be made at their central London solicitors by 2pm on Sunday.

About 30 journalists gathered outside the offices of Lee & Thompson and tension mounted as the clock ticked past the deadline.

[ image: Ginger Spice lawyer Julian Turton announces the split]
Ginger Spice lawyer Julian Turton announces the split
Almost half an hour later and after several false alarms Ms Halliwell's solicitor, Julian Turton, and Alan Edwards, the spokesman for the remaining four members of the band, finally emerged.

Mr Turton read out a statement which he said was written by Geri.

"Sadly I would like to confirm that I have left the Spice Girls. This is because of differences between us. I'm sure the group will continue to be successful and I wish them all the best."

The announcement ended: "PS, I'll be back."

[ image: The show goes on, according to Spice spokesman Alan Edwards]
The show goes on, according to Spice spokesman Alan Edwards
This was followed by the announcement on behalf of the remaining four members of the group, which said they were "upset and saddened" but will carry on and fulfil their commitments including the forthcoming American tour.

The group are due to play 40 dates in the United States, beginning in nine days time, followed by a charity concert in Rome and four dates in Britain.

[ image: Like Arnie, Geri vows:
Like Arnie, Geri vows: "I'll be back!"
The group's statement said they were supportive of Geri in whatever she wants to do, but added finally: "The Spice Girls are here to stay ... Friendship never ends".

After the statements were read out, Mr Edwards and Mr Turton went back into the building and declined to answer further questions about the split.

It remains to be seen whether this is the beginning of the end of Britain's most successful band since the Beatles, or whether they can each shrug off the differences and move on to greater things.

Fans waiting nearby could not agree, with some saying they could survive the loss, but others having a warning for the other four.

"As far as I'm concerned Geri goes, the Spice Girls go" suggested one, adding that Geri was the "mother hen."

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