S Club 7 singer Hannah Spearritt has quit the band’s reunion tour.
The 42-year-old singer pulled out as she continues to grieve her bandmate and former boyfriend Paul Cattermole, whose shock death aged 46 at his home in Dorset came on 6 April.
She had been due to join bandmates Rachel Stevens, 45, Tina Barrett, 46, Jon Lee, 41, Jo O'Meara, 44, and 41-year-old Bradley McIntosh for gigs Paul was said to be looking forward to before his death.
In an emotional video posted on the band’s Instagram channel that announced to fans Hannah won’t be taking part, the band said: “In all honesty, we’ve been in a bit of shock.”
Jo and Tina fought tears, as he added: “Although Hannah will always be a part of S Club, she won’t be joining us on this tour.”
Rachel added: “We’re taking the time to process and get our heads around it all.”
Tina said: “It’s just really sad and really, really hard to process it right now.”
Bradley referred to Paul as the band’s “big brother” in the video, and he said:
“No one could ever replace our Paul. He lives on inside each and every one of us.
“However, the five of us are really excited and geared up to crack on and it’s going to be our tribute to Paul.
“We’re renaming the tour ‘The Good Times Tour’ which is the song Paul was going to sing.”
Tina added: “That was Paul’s song and all the fans know that that was his song so it just feels right.”
S Club’s reunion was originally set to mark the 25th anniversary of the band.
Hannah and Paul got together in 2001, after becoming friends in their teens at the National Youth Music Theatre.
They didn’t speak for eight years after a bitter break-up in 2015, but became friends again after her management team organised a meeting with a mediator in London in January.
The day after Paul died – six months before the group’s sold-out tour was set to begin – Hannah woke up to a text message from the band’s tour manager saying she had “very sad and tragic news”.
She told The Sun: “I called the number and was told, ‘Paul has sadly passed, Paul has died.’
“I couldn’t make sense of it and had so many questions. I was trying to process it but I just couldn’t.
“He was my first true love. I think it was something that grew from a solid friendship. I’m glad I had that first time round. I was completely in love with him – probably more so than he with me.”