Snow Patrol rocker Tom Simpson has quit the group after playing a final gig in Northern Ireland on Thursday night (15Aug13).

Frontman Gary Lightbody revealed news of the keyboardist's departure while on stage at the Tennent's Vital festival in Belfast and dedicated the band's hit Chasing Cars to the musician.

Lightbody told the crowd, "There is a slightly sad element to this gig. Tom Simpson has been in Snow Patrol since 1996 and tonight in Belfast is his last gig. Tom is going his separate way (sic)... He's decided he wants to do his own thing... We support him and love him as a brother."

The rockers celebrated Simpson's departure by presenting him with a cake, which was topped with an edible model of the band, while Lightbody passed on a message from his friend in a post on his page, writing, "Tom: Thank you to all our fans. Feeling heavy hearted today. It's been an amazing journey but I've come home now. God bless you all."

The singer adds, "Thank you Belfast for giving our Tom such a great send off. We knew you would. Sad today. Much love to you all good people. Bless your hearts."