Taylor Hawkins, Foo Fighters drummer, dies at 50
Longtime Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins has died at the age of 50 in Bogota, Colombia. Hawkins joined the Foo Fighters in 1997, making his studio debut with the Dave Grohl–fronted band on 1999's There Is Nothing Left to Lose.
Hawkins was in Bogota with the band, which was booked to play the city's Estéreo Picnic music festival on Friday night. The festival released a statement on Facebook confirming the band had pulled out due to Hawkins' passing.
A cause of death was not immediately available, but Hawkins had been suffering chest pains prior to his death, according to a statement from the city's Secretary of Health. Medical personnel responded to "a report about a patient with chest pain in a hotel located to the north of the city," the statement said in Spanish; however, Hawkins was found to be unresponsive and "the patient was declared deceased."
The Foo Fighters announced Hawkins' death on Friday via Twitter. "The Foo Fighters family is devastated by the tragic and untimely loss of our beloved Taylor Hawkins," read the message. "His musical spirit and infectious laugh 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."
Hawkins was born in Fort Worth, Tex. He first met the Foo Fighters while he was playing with Alanis Morissette in the mid-'90s and leapt at the chance to deploy his thunderous but percussively intricate talents with the band following the departure of drummer William Goldsmith.
"I had met Dave and Nate [Mendel] and Pat [Smear] and William, the original drummer, on the road with Alanis Morissette, because that's who I was playing with when the first Foo Fighters record came out," Hawkins recently told EW, before the release of the band's 2021 album, Medicine at Midnight. "And I loved that record. I still love it! Probably because I was still just a fan, you know what I mean? I'm not part of the machine. So I didn't really ever think there was going to be an opening. Never.... But I heard that the Foo Fighters' drummer had quit and they're looking, so I called a friend who knew Dave; this was before cell phones. I got a hold of his number and I said, 'Hey, I heard you guys are out of a drummer right now.' And Dave said, 'Yeah. Do you have any good recommendations?' And I was like, 'Well how about me, you asshole?'"
Hawkins swiftly became a crucial element of the band's sound and a musical foil for Grohl. "With Dave, I met this guy who was going to be my f---in' life partner, you know?" Hawkins told EW. "We become a little bit telepathic on stage. Dave's running the show, he's busy making sure that the audience is happy. He's the guy who goes out at the baseball game and sells the food in the stands. I'm the guy that's working on the hot dogs."
In August, 2001, Hawkins suffered a heroin overdose and was in a coma for two weeks, but he subsequently recovered.
Together with the rest of the Foo Fighters, Hawkins recently starred in the horror-comedy Studio 666. In addition to his work with the Foo Fighters, Hawkins released three albums with his side project, Taylor Hawkins and the Coattail Riders.
Musicians who have paid tribute to Hawkins include Tom Morello, Ozzy Osbourne, and Questlove.
"God bless you Taylor Hawkins," wrote Morello on Twitter. "I loved your spirit and your unstoppable rock power. Rest In Peace, my friend."
"Taylor Hawkins was truly a great person and an amazing musician," wrote Ozzy Osbourne. "My heart, my love, and my condolences go out to his wife, his children, his family, his band, and his fans. See you on the other side - Ozzy."
"I'm so sad about this man," wrote Questlove. "Coolest dude ever. God bless & comfort his family, his bandmates, his friends & all his loved ones. Taylor Hawkins. Rest In Beats."