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‘A broken bond’: how Michael McCary’s health led to split from Boyz II Men

Michael McCary’s deep bass was a signature of the internationally successful RB group Boyz II Men, but more than a decade after he officially left the Grammy-winning group, he’s revealed why: he has multiple sclerosis. 

The singer, now 44, made the revelations on a weekend episode of Iyanala: Fix My Life on the Oprah Winfrey Network and revealed how his health struggles led to a strained relationship with his former bandmates.

During the 1990s, Boyz II Men’s incredible harmonies, power ballads and groovy tracks (Motownphilly, End of the RoadI’ll Make Love to You, Water Runs DryOne Sweet Day, On Bended Knee) dominated the charts and earned the quartet a raft of music awards.

According to McCary, he began having back spasms while performing in the group, which he had attributed to scoliosis.

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In the 1990s, Boyz II Men topped the charts and were fixtures at award ceremonies, including at the 1995 American Music Awards in Los Angeles, where they won for favourite band and single in the soul-rhythm and blues category and favourite single in the pop-rock category. (Vince Bucci/AFP/Getty Images)

He never fully opened up about being diagnosed with the autoimmune disease to his bandmates Shawn Stockman and Nathan and Wayne Morris.  By the age of 22, however, McCary’s symptoms had worsened dramatically and “started going full scale.” 

He eventually left the band in 2003, after more than two decades performing together. Doctors told him aggravating a “locked” nerve in his back could potentially leave him paralyzed, according to McCary.

Though he has appeared with his former collaborators on occasion over the years, they continue to perform as Boyz II Men without him and the split was ultimately acrimonious.

“If I had to sum up what I got from my brothers in Boyz II Men, I would have to say betrayal, a broken bond,” McCary said on the OWN program. “At this point, we don’t even talk.”

Last month, on another OWN program entitled Oprah: Where Are They Now?, Wanya Morris painted a different picture of the break-up.

“One of the problems was he had a back issue,” Morris said referencing McCary’s departure.

“It could have been fixed, instead he stopped coming to work and we had to move forward without him — and he wasn’t happy about that.”