The star had been with Lisa Hannigan for six years

Damien Rice has split with long-time vocalist Lisa Hannigan.

The news ends a musical partnership which lasted six years, and will come as a shock to Rice’s legion of fans, as Hannigan had long been an integral part of Rice’s backing band, particularly in his live performances.

Hannigan supplied vocals to both of Rice’s two albums – 2001’s ‘O’ and last year’s ‘9’.

An official statement read “After much thought and discussion Damien has decided that his professional relationship with Lisa Hannigan has run its creative course. As a result Lisa will not be appearing at any of the upcoming live shows. Lisa is embarking on her own artistic endeavours and there are no plans for them to work together in the foreseeable future. The current band on tour at the moment are Damien Rice, Joel Shearer, Shane Fitzsimons, Tom Osander and Vyvienne Long.”

Rice, meanwhile, begins his first UK tour without Hannigan at London’s Carling Hammersmith Apollo tomorrow night (March 27). The show is sold out.