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Last Updated: Monday, 29 March, 2004, 09:31 GMT 10:31 UK
Westlife to play without McFadden
Westlife with Bryan McFadden (left)
The group have said the split was amicable
Irish pop group Westlife will take to the stage as a foursome for the first time on Monday after the departure of singer Bryan McFadden.

The group - the most successful Irish pop act ever - are performing at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast.

McFadden said he was quitting the spotlight to spend more time with his wife Kerry and their children.

Remaining members Nicky Byrne, Shane Filan, Kian Egan and Mark Feehily have pledged to continue performing.

Westlife are beginning their latest world tour with seven shows in Belfast this week.

The band were formed in 1999 and reached the top of the charts with their first single Swear it Again.

Top spot

They are the only act to reach the UK number one with their first seven singles.

They have hit the top spot 12 times, placing them fourth on the all-time list behind Elvis, The Beatles and Sir Cliff Richard.

They have sold more than 30 million copies of their four albums and consistently played to sell-out crowds throughout the UK.

McFadden, 23, is now considering a solo career. His wife, former Atomic Kitten member Kerry, won this year's ITV1 reality adventure show I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!

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