News of Hawkins’ tragic passing was announced by Foo Fighters on Friday night. “The Foo Fighters family is devastated by the tragic and untimely loss of our beloved Taylor Hawkins,” the band said in a statement. “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.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, Hawkins was found dead in his hotel room in Bogota, Colombia on Friday — just hours before the band’s headlining set at Festival Estéreo. In lieu of the performance, candles were placed on stage to honor Hawkins.
The Associated Press reports that Bogota’s emergency center received a report of a patient with “chest pain” and sent an ambulance to the Four Seasons Casa Medina hotel, where Foo Fighters were staying. Health workers attempted to revive Hawkins, but were unable to do so.
On Saturday, Colombia’s attorney general’s office announced that it would investigate the circumstances leading to Hawkins’ death after a preliminary toxicology test found the presence of narcotics in his body.
A urine toxicological test carried out on Hawkins’ body indicated the presence of multiple drugs, including marijuana, opioids, tricyclic antidepressants, and benzodiazepines, Colombia’s attorney general said in a statement.
Hawkins had been a principal member of Foo Fighters since 1997. He was recruited by frontman Dave Grohl to replace the band’s original drummer, William Goldsmith, just as the band was getting ready to release its sophomore album, The Colour and the Shape.
Hawkins appeared on all Foo Fighters’ studio albums from 1999’s There Is Nothing Left to Lose through their latest LP, 2021’s Medicine at Midnight.
Prior to joining Foo Fighters, Hawkins was the drummer in Alanis Morissette’s touring band. He also fronted several side-projects, including the covers band Chevy Metal, The Birds of Satan, and Taylor Hawkins and the Coattail Riders.
In Foo Fighters, Hawkins had the daunting task of playing drums in a group where the frontman had long been considered one of rock’s greatest drummers. Not only did Hawkins excel at the position, he became a second mouthpiece for the band, with a charming wit and sense of humor that gelled perfectly with Grohl’s massive personality.
Hawkins’ charisma and talent manifested itself during Foo Fighters’ epic live shows, where he was often called upon to take the spotlight, singing lead on cover songs like Queen’s “Somebody to Love.”
Sadly, for Grohl, it marks the second time he has sustained such a tragic loss as a member of a high-profile rock band, having already experienced the death of Kurt Cobain as a member of Nirvana in 1994.
Hawkins’ passing comes at an extremely active time for Foo Fighters, with the band having been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame last year. In addition to having an extensive tour mapped out for 2022, the band just released the horror-comedy movie Studio 666, in which all the members appeared. And just this week, Foo Fighters had been announced as one of the performers for the upcoming Grammy Awards.
Away from Foo Fighters, Hawkins was recently recruited to play drums on Ozzy Osbourne’s upcoming solo album. Upon hearing the news of Hawkins’ death, the metal icon tweeted, “Taylor Hawkins was truly a great person and an amazing musician. 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.”
Last year, Hawkins formed the new supergroup NHC with Jane’s Addiction members Dave Navarro and Chris Chaney, releasing their first two singles in September and an EP last month.
Among the other musicians who have paid tribute to Hawkins since the news of his passing are Lars Ulrich, Travis Barker, Tom Morello, KISS’ Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons, Ringo Starr, and more. See their tributes here.
Born Oliver Taylor Hawkins on February 17th, 1972, in Fort Worth, Texas, the drummer had just turned 50. Our condolences go out to Taylor Hawkins’ family, friends, and bandmates during this very difficult time.