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June 29, 2006

Backstreet Four

The oldest member of the Backstreet Boys, 33-year-old Kevin Richardson, has left the once-swooned-over quintet. In a statement on the band's website, Richardson explained that the decision was made so that he could be free to pursue other interests. "After 13 years of what can only be described as a dream come true, I have decided that it is time to leave the Backstreet Boys," he said. "It was a very tough decision for me but one that was necessary in order to move on with the next chapter of my life."

Richardson and his cousin, Backstreet Boy Brian Littrell, began singing together as children and later performed doo wop material at local fairs and festivals. He moved to Orlando, where he met the other Boys, in the early '90s. The group have sold more than 30 million albums since then.

Richardson won't be replaced, according to a statement from the remaining group members. "Earlier this year, after much soul searching, Kevin Richardson came to us and told us that he had decided to leave the group to pursue other interests. He gave his blessing to continue the music without him.

"We have no intention of replacing Kevin, and the door will always be open for him to return to the Backstreet Boys. We wish him all the best in his future endeavors."

The Backstreet Boys just entered the studio to begin work on the follow-up to 2005's Never Gone, which didn't sell nearly as well as their earlier efforts. They hope to have a new album ready for Jive Records before the end of the year.

Posted by acapnews at June 29, 2006 10:42 PM