Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins has died aged 50.
The news was confirmed by the band on social media with a statement which reads: “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 play Festival Estéreo Picnic in Bogota, Colombia this weekend. According to local website Semana, Hawkins’ body was found in his hotel room north of Bogota. A cause of death is yet to be confirmed.
Hawkins grew up in Laguna Beach, California, and rose to prominence as drummer for Alanis Morissette on tours supporting Jagged Little Pill.
After the Foo Fighters drum throne was vacated by William Goldsmith in 1996, Hawkins volunteered his talents to frontman Dave Grohl and became the band’s official drummer the following year, a position he held for the rest of his life.
While he would tour with the band in support of 1997 effort The Colour and the Shape, Hawkins’ first recorded contribution was on 1999’s There Is Nothing Left to Lose, one of nine Foo Fighters studio efforts on which he performed.
Grohl and Hawkins were the beating heart of the Foo Fighters: Hawkins would often take a starring role with Grohl in videos and interviews, and their infectious musical chemistry – cemented via a shared love of guitar playing – was there from the outset.
“Since Taylor's in the band, I don't even get behind the drum set ’cause he makes me feel like a fool,” Grohl told Guitar World in 1997. “I watch him do all this crazy stuff, then I sit down and do an AC/DC beat! He's so far out of my league, it isn't funny.
“Being a guitar player who's also a drummer, I understand the relationship between the two instruments. And Taylor is a drummer who's also a guitar player, so he understands it too. So there's not much I really need to explain to him.”
As well as a formidable drummer, Hawkins was a charismatic singer. He would routinely take lead vocals for classic rock covers during Foo Fighters shows, and had recently formed a new supergroup, NHC, with Dave Navarro and Chris Chaney, in which he tackled both drumming and vocal duties.
A tireless collaborator, Hawkins contributed to albums by Coheed and Cambria, Slash and Brian May, and released his own material with side-projects Taylor Hawkins and the Coattail Riders and The Birds of Satan. Prior to his death, he had recorded drum contributions for Ozzy Osbourne’s forthcoming album.
“I rarely look back and think about it,” he told MusicRadar of his career in 2014. “Because the moment you look back is the moment that you stop moving forward. Rather than feeling proud, I always tend to attribute anything successful I’ve done to simply being in the right place at the right time.
“I’ve worked hard, but this business can be tough, and I just consider myself incredibly lucky to have had the career that I have, and to still be having so much fun playing drums and making music.”