Moon Safari have announced that Simon Akesson has quit the band to battle his alcohol addiction.
They report the keyboardist and vocalist has been left “uninspired” because of his issues with alcohol and say the door for his return remains open but at the moment, his health is the most important thing.
The band say in a statement: “It is with mixed feelings that we announce that after serious consideration Simon Akesson has decided to quit his band commitments.
“This decision does not come lightly for him, but circumstances in his life over the last couple of years, as he’s been having trouble with alcohol – that he’s now making a serious attempt to get free from – has left him uninspired.
“He’s a man who always gives 100% in everything he does musically and as he feels he can’t do that right now, this decision, sad as it may be, is the logical one. He needs a break, period.
“If and when he feels he’s in a better place to be an active member again we’ll of course also welcome that decision, and him, with open arms. But at this point we all feel his health and his well-being is the most important thing.”
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Moon Safari say they can’t express how important Akesson has been to the band and say their “fellow traveller, friend and inspiration” has brought them unmeasured joy.
They add: “We’ll just say that when the human race first makes contact with another species, send Simon! They’ll all be laughing together about the absurdities of life within an hour and he’ll probably have them harmonising by the end of the first day! He’s just that good. And he’ll be sorely missed.”
Akesson wife Anna has also posted a message on the band’s Facebook page to thank people for the love and support shown towards her husband – but has urged fans not to contact him directly.
She adds: “As much as he and I appreciate all love and support that has been shown by family and friends, in fact a lot of his progress could not be done without you, Simon has now been contacted personally by many fans around the world.
“He and I appreciate all the love but his struggle is enough to handle at the moment. We therefore thank you all for love, support, thoughts and prayers but wish that you don’t try to contact Simon in person.
“He will read the comments you post on Moon Safari’s page but right now he needs his space. He will probably come back to Facebook when he is ready.”
The remaining five members of Moon Safari add: “We’ll now focus on completing Himlabacken Vol. 2. As far as the live work is concerned we’ve yet to reach a decision on a replacement for the lead keyboard. You’ll know more when we do.”