AceShowbiz - Snow Patrol feel "heartbroken" their drummer Jonny Quinn and bassist Paul Wilson have quit the group. The band, which have a string of chart-topping hits including "Run" and "Chasing Cars" since they formed in 1994, has vowed to carry on as a trio - with frontman Gary Lightbody, 47, and guitarists Nathan Connolly, 42, and 47-year-old Johnny McDaid - who has been dating former "Friends" actress Courteney Cox, 59, since 2013 - telling fans they will stay on.
"Sorry to be the bearer of such sad news but both Jonny Quinn and Paul Wilson have decided to leave Snow Patrol," they said on the group's Instagram page, in a statement written by Gary, about the departure of drummer Jonny, 51, and 44-year-old bassist Paul.
"We are heartbroken they have decided to leave us but we wish them nothing but happiness, success, joy, compassion and everything they want in all their future endeavours."
Gary also teased the group's forthcoming album which he said will be released sometime in 2024, adding, "Nate, JMD and myself will continue with SP and there will be a new album next year but more news of that will come at an appropriate time."
"For now we want to pay homage and give gratitude for all Jonny and Pablo have given us and shared with us these past decades. Love to Jonny and Pabs, and love to you all."
Jonny joined Snow Patrol in 1997 and acted as their manager before they signed a major record deal, and Gary gushed over him in a separate tribute online in which he said, "Early on it was clear he was more than a drummer."
"His background, as well as drumming, was in band management and gig promotion in Belfast and he has taken on the role of manager for us many times during the last quarter century."
"From driving his car with all our gear in it, to our first gig forays outside of Dundee where it all started for us (including saving all our lives with some quick thinking/great driving when we nearly span out of control off an icy bridge in Perth)."
"To having to be the grown-up in the room many times in the early days when we were green and cutting our teeth he was a steady hand when we needed one, and a ferocious defender many times too."
"His drumming has at times taken on legendary status. His nickname was after all 'thunderclap' because he hit the snare drum so hard he was prone to smash right through the drumskin. The many 1000s of gigs we played together will live long in the memory... to be continuing without him after all this time is very strange and sad as he has been a constant presence in our lives."
Gary added in another long post about Snow Patrol's departing bassist, "Paul officially joined the band as a bassist in 2005 just before the making of Eyes Open but he had been a live member of the band on guitar for years before that."
"The band he was in previous to SP was Terra Diablo and they toured with us many times and Pablo would play their set and then jump on with us and play ours too."
"I remember those early Terra Diablo shows, him climbing on speakers and jumping off things that were way too high to jump off. One very memorable night in King Tuts, Glasgow he hung upside down from the rafters and played a guitar solo. He had no fear. It was thrilling to watch."
Fans have flooded social media to say they are as "heartbroken" as the band.
Snow Patrol finally shot to fame after the release of their third album "Final Straw" - titled after their intention to give up if they didn't find fame with the release. It contained the hit "Run", which send the album to No3 in the UK charts, and which has been covered scores of times and featured on a string of hit TV shows and films.
The group's fourth studio album, 2006's "Eyes Open", became Britain's best-selling album of that year, selling 1.6 million copies and hitting No. 1 in the UK chart, where it stayed for 151 weeks.