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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 November 2006, 10:54 GMT
Wiggles star quits due to illness
The Wiggles (Page is seen in yellow jumper)
The Wiggles have become a global phenomenon
The lead singer of popular Australian children's group The Wiggles has quit the band to battle a rare illness.

Greg Page, 34, said in a statement that the disorder orthostatic intolerance, which causes dizziness, fatigue and nausea, had left him debilitated.

He said it was not life-threatening but "it means I'll no longer be able to sing and dance as I want to".

Foursome The Wiggles are among Australia's highest earners and their TV show is broadcast around the world.

"I'll miss being part of The Wiggles very much, but this is the right decision because it will allow me to focus on managing my health," Page, who plays the yellow Wiggle, added.

Replacement

The condition is related to blood pressure and has affected Page's balance, breathing and co-ordination at unpredictable times and with varying severity, according to a statement on the band's website.

Page withdrew from the group's US tour in June after suffering from fainting spells and lethargy. He also underwent a double hernia operation last December.

His fellow band members said they were sad about the news at a media conference in Perth, where they are launching an Australian tour.

"It's very surreal that Greg's not going to be with us, very sad," said Anthony Field, the blue Wiggle.

Top earners

"I know Greg loved doing the shows, it's just that he can't physically do it anymore," he added.

Page will be replaced by an understudy, Sam Moran.

The Wiggles have captured the Australian market for children's educational entertainment in the last 10 years and have made inroads in the US and UK.

Page helped found The Wiggles in 1991 after he and two other members met while studying early childhood education at Sydney's Macquarie University.

The Wiggles were Australia's top-earning entertainers last year, ahead of AC/DC and Nicole Kidman.

The concerts and shows, which also feature a cast of characters including Dorothy the Dinosaur and Wags the Dog, had a gross income last year of Aus $50m (19.89m).

The group has franchised its popular format to several non-English speaking countries, including Taiwan.

The Wiggles are shown in the UK on Nick Jr.


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