Erasure Singer Announces He Has HIV

12/14/2004 at 04:15 PM EST

Erasure Singer Announces He Has HIV
Andy Bell
Tim Whitby/WireImage
Andy Bell, singer for the '80s band Erasure – which recorded hits such as 1988's "Chains of Love" – has announced that he's been battling HIV for the past six years, PEOPLE reports.

The crooner issued a statement thanking fans for their support and assuring them that despite his illness he is in good spirits and has a long future ahead of him.

"I found out I was HIV positive in June 1998 when I had a bout of pneumonia in Mallorca, since then I have been taking combination therapy and I am feeling fine. In fact, I have never felt better," the singer said in a statement.

Bell's illness is clearly not slowing him down. Erasure is celebrating its 20th Anniversary in 2005, and the group just finished recording its first studio album in four years. Nightbird is due in stores Jan. 25.

Bell, who was one of the first openly gay pop stars in the '80s, formed Erasure in 1985 with former Depeche Mode member Vince Clarke. They also have plans to kick off a tour in the UK in February and to come to the U.S. to support their album in the spring.

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