Taylor Hawkins, longtime drummer for the Foo Fighters, has died while on tour in South America, according to a shocking announcement posted by the band on social media Friday evening. No cause of death was given at press time; local media reported that Hawkins was found dead in his hotel room in Bogotá, Colombia, before the band was set to perform at the Estéreo Picnic Festival that night. He was 50 years old.
“The Foo Fighters family is devastated by the tragic and untimely loss of our beloved Taylor Hawkins,” the band’s statement began. “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.”
Upon the tragic news of Hawkins’s sudden death, social media was flooded with tributes by his many famous fans and friends, including Ozzy Osbourne, Queen’s Brian May, Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello, Ringo Starr, and KISS’s Paul Stanley.
Oliver Taylor Hawkins was born Feb. 17, 1972, in Fort Worth, Texas, and he moved with his family to Laguna Beach, Calif., when he was 4 years old. After playing in the Orange County prog-rock band Sylvia, he got his first big break drumming for Canadian rock singer Sass Jordan. Then, in June 1995, he became the drummer for Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill tour. In March 1997, he quit his job with Morissette to join the Foo Fighters, shortly after the release of the Foos’ second studio album, The Colour and the Shape.
Hawkins became a core member of the Foo Fighters, not only drumming but also singing and playing guitar and piano on various tracks, and co-writing on every Foos album starting with their third LP, There Is Nothing Left to Lose. He also became Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl’s closest friend. In Grohl’s 2021 autobiography The Storyteller, Grohl referred to Hawkins his “brother from another mother, my best friend, a man for whom I would take a bullet” and recalled, “Upon first meeting, our bond was immediate, and we grew closer with every day, every song, every note that we ever played together. We are absolutely meant to be, and I am grateful that we found each other in this lifetime.”
This past year and a half was an especially busy time for the Foo Fighters, with the release of their 10th album Medicine at Midnight, Record Store Day disco covers collection Hail Satin, and horror-comedy movie Studio 666; their performance at President Joe Biden’s inauguration celebration; and their induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s Class of 2021. The Foos are nominated for three Grammys this year, and were scheduled to perform at the 64th annual Grammy Awards ceremony in Las Vegas on April 3.
Although Hawkins was best known for his work with the Foo Fighters, he had a long and illustrious résumé. DRUM! magazine placed him on its list of the 60 Best Rock Drummers of All Time, and he was voted Best Rock Drummer overall by the British drumming magazine Rhythm in 2005. One of Hawkins’s biggest early influences, Stewart Copeland of the Police, once even said, “Taylor is in that John Bonham school of drummer.”
Over the course of his 25-plus-year career, Hawkins recorded and/or played with Elton John, Miley Cyrus, Stevie Nicks, Brian May and Queen, Slash, Pink, Ozzy Osbourne, Heart’s Nancy Wilson, Joe Walsh, Coheed and Cambria, John Fogerty, Glen Campbell, Richard Marx, the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Chad Smith, Perry Farrell and Eric Avery of Jane’s Addiction, and many others. Additionally, he fronted two bands, Taylor Hawkins & the Coattail Riders and the Birds of Satan; led the classic rock cover band Chevy Metal; and had recently formed the supergroup NHC with Jane’s Addiction’s Dave Navarro and Chris Chaney. He also portrayed Iggy Pop in the 2013 film CBGB.
Hawkins’s final performance with the Foo Fighters was at Lollapalooza Argentina on March 20, 2022. Hawkins died just hours before the band was scheduled to play Festival Estéreo in Bogotá. In lieu of that concert, candles were placed onstage Friday to honor Hawkins.
Taylor Hawkins passed away just hours before Foo Fighters were due to play Festival Estéreo in Colombia. In lieu of the performance, candles were placed on stage to honor Hawkins. pic.twitter.com/s7GGcVK945
— Consequence (@consequence) March 26, 2022
Taylor Hawkins is survived by his wife of 17 years, Alison, and their three children.
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