Taylor Hawkins, Foo Fighters Drummer, Dies at 50
Taylor Hawkins, long time drummer for enduring rock greats the Foo Fighters, has died. The shocking news was announced tonight (March 25) via a social media statement from the band’s accounts, with no cause of death immediately given. Hawkins was 50.
“The Foo Fighters family is devastated by the tragic and untimely loss of our beloved Taylor Hawkins,” the statement reads. “His musical spirit and infectious laughter will live on with all of us forever.”
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The Foo Fighters were scheduled to perform Friday night in Bogotá, Colombia, as part of Festival Estéreo Picnic, an annual rock fest considered one of the biggest festivals in South America. According to local news reports, the drummer was found dead in his Bogotá hotel room. The band has reportedly canceled their remaining South American tour dates.
“There’s no ruling on the cause of death yet,” the Bogotá Metropolitan Police said in a statement reported by El Tiempo and other outlets. “According to statements from those close to him, it could be associated with the use of narcotic substances.”
On Saturday (March 26), the Bogota mayor’s office issued a press release noting that the city’s emergency center received a call Friday night about a patient with “chest pains” in a hotel located in the northern part of Bogota. An ambulance was sent out, but upon arrival the medical staff encountered a team from a private ambulance service. Health workers attempted to revive Hawkins with CPR, but they were unable to do so and he was declared dead.
By Saturday evening, although Hawkins’ cause of death had still not been confirmed, the Attorney General’s Office of Colombia reported that a urine toxicology test had found traces of 10 types of substances in his system, including THC (marijuana), tricyclic antidepressants, benzodiazepines and opioids. The office noted that the National Institute of Forensic Medicine will continue its medical inquiry to reach “total clarification of the events that led to the death of Taylor Hawkins.”
Despite Hawkins playing in the same band as one of the most famous drummers in rock history in frontman Dave Grohl, Hawkins became a well-loved performer in the Foo Fighters, with his controlled fury powering signature hits of the band’s like 2002’s “All My Life” and 2007’s “The Pretender.” He was also the second-most-visible public figure in the band, with his quintessentially West Coast looks and laid-back attitude making him a natural foil for the D.C. punk-reared Grohl.
Hawkins joined the Foo Fighters in 1997, after a stint playing in Alanis Morissette’s band on the Can’t Not tour supporting her juggernaut Jagged Little Pill set. With Morissette in between album cycles and then-Foo Fighters drummer William Goldsmith leaving the band in the midst of a spat with their producer Gil Norton, Hawkins jumped at the chance to join the band. His first album with the Foo Fighters was the multi-platinum success The Colour and the Shape, fortifying his place in the group.
Hawkins would spend the next 25 years as the Foos’ timekeeper, also occasionally contributing guitar and piano to their recordings. He even sang on a handful of the band’s tracks — mostly b-sides and covers, but also the chiming In Your Honor highlight “Cold Day in the Sun” in 2005. In 2006, he formed the side project Taylor Hawkins and the Coattail Riders. He served as frontman and drummer for the outfit, which released a trio of albums with star-studded guest lists. He also joined up with Jane’s Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro and bassist Chris Chaney to former the super trio NHC, which released a pair of singles in 2021 and the Intakes & Outtakes EP earlier this year.
The Foo Fighters most recently released 2021’s well-received Medicine at Midnight album, which debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 albums chart and spawned a trio of Rock & Alternative Airplay No. 1 hits, “Shame Shame,” “Waiting on a War” and “Making a Fire.” The band was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2021, in their first year of eligibility, and also received the first-ever Global Icon award at the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards.
The band was nominated for two Grammy Awards for best rock album and best rock performance and was slated to perform at the April 3 Grammy Awards. Sources say the Grammy Awards have not determined how they will fill the Foos slot. Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason told Billboard, “We are deeply saddened by the loss of Taylor Hawkins. He was a beloved member of the entire music community. We send our love and best wishes to Taylor’s family and everyone who’s grieving him.”
“Our hearts go out to his wife, children and family,” the band’s statement continues, “and we ask that their privacy be treated with the utmost respect in this unimaginably difficult time.” See the post in full below.
— Foo Fighters (@foofighters) March 26, 2022
More details on this story to come.