Taylor Hawkins Dead at 50

Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins died on Friday, March 25th of an apparent drug overdose at age 50. Ultimate Classic Rock reported Hawkins was found dead in his hotel room in Bogota, Columbia where the band was booked to play that night at the Festival Estereo Picnic.

According to a statement issued by The Office of the Attorney General of Colombia after a preliminary toxicology report reportedly found 10 substances – including marijuana, tricyclic antidepressants, benzodiazepines and opioids in the drummer’s bloodstream.

Bogata’s Secretariat of Health was quoted as stating an ambulance was sent to the band’s hotel and that “Hawkins was suffering chest pains.”

According to Britain’s Daily Mail, Hawkins is said to have had a “heart (that) weighed double that of men his age (weighing) least 600 grams, double the average of 300 to 350 grams.” The Columbian newspaper Semana reported Hawkins suffered cardiovascular collapse “after binging on a cocktail of drugs.” The surviving Foo Fighters returned to Los Angeles on Sunday (March 27th).

During Mammoth WVH‘s show on Saturday night show at Boston’s Big Night Live, an emotional Wolfgang Van Halen dedicated the Foo Fighters’ “My Hero” to Hawkins. That same night in Des Moines, Iowa, Elton John spoke fondly of recently recording with Hawkins and said before dedicating “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me”: “I got up this morning to see that Taylor Hawkins from the Foo Fighters had passed away, and I was so shocked because he played on my Lockdown Sessions album and he was one of the nicest people you could ever meet and one of the greatest drummers and a true musician who loved all sorts of music and loved life. And it seems so sad that at 50 years of age we’ve lost someone who had that much passion. And it makes me so downhearted for his family — his three children, his wife, his other relatives and, of course, the Foo Fighters, who’ve lost a dearest loved one that can never, ever be replaced.”

The band announced Hawkins death via social media wth a simple statement that read:

The Foo Fighters family is devastated by the tragic and untimely death 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.

First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden, tweeted a tribute to Hawkins posting, “A ferocious drummer, dedicated father, and dear friend gone far too soon. Sending love to Taylor Hawkins’ family and fans of the Foo Fighters everywhere.”

Taylor Hawkins was born Oliver Taylor Hawkins on February 17th, 1972 in Fort Worth, Texas and raised in the exclusive enclave of Laguna, California. He is survived by his wife Alison and their three children, OliverAnnabelle, and Everleigh. Along with the Foo Fighters, Taylor Hawkins was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by Paul McCartney in 2021.

Hawkins, who was born in Texas and raised in California broke on the national scene as Alanis Morrisette‘s drummer on her massive world tour behind her 1995 blockbuster, Jagged Little Pill. Since joining the Foos in 1997 he performed on the band’s classic run of albums — There Is Nothing Left To Lose (1999), One By One (2002), In Your Honor (2005), Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace (2007), Wasting Light (2011), Sonic Highways (2014), Saint Cecilia (2015), Concrete And Gold (2017), and Medicine At Midnight (2021).

Starting in 2006, Hawkins released a trio albums with his solo set, Taylor Hawkins & The Coattail Riders and in 2013 formed the cover band, Chevy Metal.

Last year, Taylor Hawkins spoke to Kerrang! and shed light on coming of age in the late-’70s and early-’80s. He admitted he still considers the era’s drummers his primary inspirations: “It was such a good time to be influenced by drummers. I would steal stuff wholesale from Neil Peart licks, to Phil Collins and Alex Van Halen. Even the stuff that was on the radio, there was so much good music. Even the bad music was good back then.”

Taylor Hawkins told us a while back that the Foos always went into the studio with the intent of topping their last album: [“Always, every time. I mean, you always want every one of ’em to be the best one you’ve ever done, and you always think you haven’t done your best one, and y’know, although it’s arguable to some people, we still feel that way. Y’know, I still think we haven’t done, written our ‘Hotel California’ yet or whatever, y’know, our ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ or whatever. So y’know, you should always be a little scared every time.”] SOUNDCUE (:19 OC: . . . scared every time)

Over the years, Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins have played with some of their heroes — including QueenRush, Paul McCartney, and Led Zeppelin‘s Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones, to name a few. Hawkins told us a while back that it’s the ultimate charge playing alongside his musical idols: [“Not only do you get to just, like, pinch yourself — ‘Wow, I’m in the room with this person’ — but you also get to kind of try and soak up a little bit of what they do musically, y’know? It’s neat. It really is amazing, and you really get to be in the presence of greatness when you’re with people like that.”] SOUNDCUE (:13 OC: . . . people like that)

Not too long ago, Taylor Hawkins’ shed light on his 2001 drug overdose: [“Y’know, the thing is, I spent my 20’s trying to remain a child, and then I spent my 30’s trying to become an adult. Y’know, it was a wild time, and I was a wild idiot, out of my mind, and wasn’t really ready to try and grow up a little bit, y’know, and realize, y’know, what’s kind of important.”] SOUNDCUE (:18 OC: . . . kind of important)

Taylor Hawkins confided to us a while back that even though he’s spent years on the road, he still gets nervous before going on stage: [“The drummer’s got the hardest job, man. If the drummer falls apart at any given moment, you’re done. The band, it’s over. It sounds awful, you have to start again. So, I mean, I feel a lot more pressure behind the drums even though that’s all I’ve been doing my whole life is play drums. I still have massive stage fright every night.”] SOUNDCUE (:18 OC: . . . fright every night)

THE ROCK COMMUNITY SALUTES TAYLOR HAWKINS

Jimmy Page: “On this day I learned the sad news that Taylor Hawkins had passed. I had seen and heard Taylor play the drums many times with foo fighters – he shone within his powerful role in the band. After the Led Zeppelin show at the O2, I was invited to play at Wembley Stadium with the Foo Fighters on 7th June 2008. We played Rock and Roll with Taylor on turbocharged vocals and Dave on drums and then for Ramble On they swapped, with Taylor on drums and Dave Grohl on vocals.  We put in some serious versions of these two songs. It was so good to play with him. I really admired him and he was a brilliant musician: his technique, his energy and spirited enthusiasm. On this sad day, I would like to send my condolences to his family, his band members in the Foos and his fans.”

Mick Jagger: “So incredibly sad to hear of the passing of Taylor Hawkins. My thoughts are with his family and the band at this time.”

Stewart Copleand“This is tragic news. Taylor was a force of life, with a forward momentum that seemed unstoppable. He was all energy and cheerful enthusiasm. It’s inconceivable that he is gone.”

Geddy Lee & Alex Lifeson: “We are so very shocked and saddened to hear the devastating news of the sudden passing of our musical brother Taylor Hawkins. He was such an incredibly positive source of music, energy and love, and a true artist to his very core…there are simply no words to adequately express just how much he will be missed by all – including Alex, myself and the entire Rush family.”

Lars Ulrich: “Thank you Taylor. Thank you for always having the biggest warmest smile on your face and for lighting up every room with your infectious energy and good vibes. At BottleRock recently, I had the best seat in the house right above you and once again stood in amazement watching as you effortlessly steered Foo Fighters through a two hour festival set with the perfect balance of swing, swagger, bounce and insane chops. Your phone call a week ago touched and inspired me and I will always be appreciative for you championing our community as in your parting words…. ‘Drummers stick together!’ Damn right brother. Except now the community is lesser without you.”

Pearl Jam: “Long live Taylor Hawkins. He enriched my life tremendously as a dear friend and fellow musician. He brought so much joy to the world of music, he will be forever missed. Our deepest condolences to Alison, Shane, Annabelle and Everleigh Hawkins and to the entire Foo Fighters family.”

Stevie Nicks: “He always came to my shows. He and his best friend Dave even let me be a Foo Fighter for a little while. We recorded a kick ass version of ‘Gold Dust Woman’ (live) and at the end of the song I yelled out ‘Best ‘Gold Dust Woman’ ever’ ​​​​​​​And I meant it. ​Taylor was very handsome and he was very cute. Sometimes that combination is way better than ‘beautiful.’ I think it’s everything. He had a huge heart and a glorious smile. When he walked into the room, everyone looked up. When he left the room, everyone was sad…”

Ringo Starr“God bless Taylor peace and love to all his family and the band peace and love.”

Joe Walsh: “I can’t find the words… Taylor you were my little brother. I love you man. My thoughts and prayers are with your family and the band.”

Brian May: “No. It cannot be. Heartbroken. Taylor, you were family to us. Our friend, our brother, our beloved child. Bless you. We will miss you so bad.”

Joe Perry: “I’m greatly saddened today after hearing the news about TAYLOR HAWKINS. He was one of those absoloutly rare people ya just couldn’t help feeling good around him. You see he loved his family and life thru and thru… And he was a ripping drummer… TAYLOR you will be missed!!”

Brian Wilson: “I’m heartbroken to hear about Taylor Hawkins. He was such a nice young man. Love & Mercy to Taylor’s family and friends.”

John Fogerty“Julie and I are completely heartbroken over the passing of Taylor Hawkins. He was a friend and one of the most uplifting and inspiring people we have ever known. A great drummer and a wonderful human being. Our prayers are with his family and the Foo Fighters during this sorrowful time. May your beautiful light shine forever.”

Paul Stanley: “Taylor was a great guy, a dad and a husband. My heart goes out to them, Dave and the band.”

Bill Kreutzmann: “Taylor Hawkins was one of those drummers that brought more than just skill to the instrument – he brought heart. You could see joy radiate from him and that, in turn, allowed others to radiate joy back. I felt connected to him in that way. RIP brother.”

Bill Bruford“So saddened to hear of the death of Taylor Hawkins. If you want to play rock drums you’re nothing without serious commitment. Taylor brought commitment in spades as he laid into that drum kit with a huge smile, irrepressible energy and stratospheric levels of enthusiasm. These were all aspects of his personality and playing that I admired from afar and that brought so much pleasure to so many. It’s a terrible loss of one so young with so much more to give. My sincere condolences to his wife, family and fellow Foo Fighters.”

Steve Van Zandt“An incredible talent and a much needed uniquely bright light in our darkening business. Deepest love and condolences to his family and friends. Travel well my brother.”

Axl Rose: “Shocked n’ saddened to hear of the passing of Taylor Hawkins. He was a really great guy, drummer n’ family man. Was always great to see him! Was looking forward to seeing him n’ everyone in Daytona. Truly saddened. My deepest condolences to his family, the Foo Fighters n’their fans”

Slash: “Devastated by the loss of our friend Taylor Hawkins I’ve no words to express all the feelings I have about his passing. But my heart goes out to his family. & his band & friends.”

Ozzy Osbourne“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 – Ozzy”

Tony Iommi: “I woke up this morning to hear the awful news of Taylor Hawkins death. What a terrible loss to us all. He was such a lovely guy and such a brilliant player. My deepest condolences go out to his family, his band and his fans. He will be sadly missed Rest In Peace Taylor.”

Tom Morello: “God bless you Taylor Hawkins. I loved your spirit and your unstoppable rock power. Rest In Peace my friend.”

Scott Ian: “Absolutely crushed by the news about Taylor. He was just such a great guy. Our hearts are with his family and his band of brothers.”

Travis Barker: “I don’t have the words. Sad to write this or to never see you again. I’ll never forget Laguna Beach days when I was a trash man playing in a punk rock band and you were playing with Alanis. You’d come watch me play in dive bars and be like, “kid you’re a star”. And I thought you were crazy but you gave me so much hope and determination. Years later we toured together with Blink and Foo’s in Australia and I have the best memories of smoking cigarettes in the restroom of flights we were on together and watching your set every night. To say I’ll miss you my friend isn’t enough. Till the next time we talk drums and smoke in the boys room … Rest In Peace”

Shelia E.“I am devastated to hear the news of one of my favorite drummers Taylor Hawkins has passed. Blessings to the family and to the band. I’m so sorry for your loss. Taylor you will be missed!”

Mike Portnoy: “In absolute shock & disbelief over the passing of Taylor Hawkins. I’ve always had so much admiration for him. Amazing drummer & a gem of a guy who was always fun to be around. I’m absolutely gutted…”

Wolfgang Van Halen: “I’ll never forget meeting Taylor on tour in San Diego in 2012. He was such a ridiculously kind man. The dude just emanated cool. Him, my pops and I talked for as long as we could until we had to leave. An incredible drummer and singer, he was a constant inspiration to me throughout my entire life. This is like a kick in the gut. My most heartfelt condolences go out to his family. You’ll be so sorely missed, Taylor. Rest In Peace.”

Slipknot’s Jay Weinberg“Taylor, you were one of a kind. One of the sweetest and most genuine people I’ve ever met. Thank you for your kindness, and the ferocity with which you played your drums. My love and condolences to foo fighters, Taylor’s family and loved ones.”

Questlove: “I’m so sad about this man. coolest dude ever. god bless & comfort his family, his bandmates, his friends & all his loved ones. Taylor Hawkins. Rest In Beats.”

TL; DR

  • Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins died on March 25th of an apparent drug overdose at age 50.

DID YOU KNOW???

  • In 2019, a decade after it was completed, the unlikely collaboration between members of the Beach BoysFoo Fighters, and Queen finally the light of day. The Record Store Day exclusive, called “Holly Man,” is Brian MayRoger Taylor, and Taylor Hawkins‘ posthumous collaboration with the late-Dennis Wilson on his long-unreleased mid-’70s instrumental classic.
  • The track was finally released in 2008 with the deluxe reissue of Wilson’s 1977 solo album, Pacific Ocean Blue. At the time, “Holy Man” saw release in two versions — Wilson’s original backing track, and a new track featuring lyrics by Wilson’s longtime collaborator Gregg Jakobson with additional words by Hawkins — along with a newly recorded vocal by the Foo’s drummer based on Wilson’s original top line melody.