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Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins dies

By | Published on Monday 28 March 2022

Taylor Hawkins

Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins has died while on tour with the band in South America. He was 50.

In a statement, Foo Fighters said: “The Foo Fighters family is devastated by the tragic and untimely loss of our beloved Taylor Hawkins. His musical spirit and infectious laughter will live on with all of us forever. Our hearts go out to his wife, children and family, and we ask that their privacy be treated with the utmost respect in this unimaginably difficult time”.

The band had been due to headline the Estereo Picnic festival in Bogota, Colombia. During what would have been the band’s set time, a candlelit vigil was held on stage in Hawkins’ memory.

Hawkins reportedly complained of chest pains on Friday night and when paramedics arrived at his hotel room he was found unresponsive. Attempts to revive him were unsuccessful and he was declared dead at the scene.

The office of Colombia’s Attorney General said in a statement on Saturday that an autopsy had found traces of ten different drugs in the drummer’s urine, including opioids, marijuana and antidepressants.

Subsequently over the weekend Colombian news magazine Semana reported that investigators had confirmed that Hawkins had died from cardiovascular collapse following an overdose of heroin mixed with antidepressants and benzodiazepines.

An autopsy is said to have found that his heart weighed twice what you would expect for a man his age, which can be a sign of several cardiac diseases.

Hawkins previously survived a heroin overdose in 2001 which left him in a coma for two weeks. He later said: “I was partying a lot. I wasn’t like a junkie per se, but I was partying. There was a year where the partying just got a little too heavy. Thank God on some level this guy gave me the wrong line with the wrong thing one night and I woke up going, ‘What the fuck happened?’ That was a real changing point for me”.

Born in Texas in 1972, Hawkins joined Foo Fighters in 1997, following the acrimonious departure of the band’s original drummer William Goldsmith. Hawkins had first come to prominence as Alanis Morissette’s touring drummer, joining her as she promoted her debut album ‘Jagged Little Pill’.

Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl called Hawkins to see if he could recommend anyone who might be interested in joining the band – assuming Hawkins himself wouldn’t be interested, as Morissette was the bigger act at the time. However, Hawkins volunteered himself, saying that he wanted to be in a band rather than supporting a solo artist.

He then joined Foo Fighters for the tour that accompanied their 1997 album ‘The Colour And The Shape’, which had largely featured Grohl on drums. The first of the band’s albums on which Hawkins appeared was 1999’s ‘There Is Nothing Left To Lose’. He was also credited as a co-writer on all eleven tracks on that record.

In addition to playing drums, Hawkins also sang lead vocals on a number of Foo Fighters recordings and at live shows, including one of his own songs, ‘Cold Day In The Sun’, from 2005 album ‘In Your Honour’, which was released as a double A-side single with ‘No Way Back’. Last year, he also began singing lead vocals on a cover of Queen’s ‘Somebody To Love’ at Foo Fighters shows, including at what turned out to be his final performance with the band at Lollapalooza Argentina on 20 Mar.

The most recent Foo Fighters album, ‘Medicine At Midnight’, was released in February last year, and last month they released a comedy horror film, ‘Studio 666’, in which all six members of the band starred.

As well as performing with Foo Fighters, Hawkins had a number of side projects, including his band Taylor Hawkins And the Coattail Riders, with whom he recorded three albums – most recently ‘Get The Money’, which came out in 2019.

Most recently, he had formed supergroup NHC with Jane’s Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro and bassist Chris Chaney (the latter also his former bandmate in Alanis Morisette’s band). That band recorded their debut album last year, which is yet to be released.

Writing on Instagram, Chaney said: “My heart has never felt this heavy. My life is forever changed. I could write a book about what a special person T was and how much he affected my life. For 27 years we had made music together and been a rhythm section. My wife called him ‘The Other Wife’, and he was! My life will never be the same and I’m grateful for every moment we shared”.

Numerous other musicians, including many collaborators and friends, paid tribute to Hawkins over the weekend, including Queen’s Brian May and Roger Taylor, Mick Jagger, Elton John, Miley Cyrus, Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello, Liam Gallagher, Ringo Starr, Guns N Roses’ Axl Rose and Slash, Ozzy Osbourne, Travis Barker, Limp Bizkit’s Wes Borland, Gene Simmons, Nile Rodgers and The Prodigy.

Hawkins is survived by his wife Alison and their three children, Oliver, Annabelle and Everleigh.