Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins has died at the age of 50, his heartbroken band members have announced.
The American rockers’ official Twitter released a statement which read: “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.”
Although the cause of death was not disclosed in the official band statement, local news reports the iconic rock band’s hard-hitting and long-serving drummer was found dead in a hotel room in Bogota, Colombia.
Hawkins had a history with drugs. He survived a heroin overdose in 2001 that left him in coma for two weeks.
Foo Fighters are enormously successful in Australia, where the band boasts eight ARIA No. 1 albums and sales exceeding 1.8 million copies.
Earlier this month, the six-piece announced their Australian stadium tour which was set to kick off in Perth at HBF Park on November 30.
Chatting to The West Australian this month before the band’s one-off Australian show in Geelong to 30,000 fans, Hawkins attributed Foo Fighters’ success and longevity to hard work.
“When you do get the opportunity to work, f…… work and work hard,” he said during an interview in a Melbourne hotel alongside band mate Chris Shiflett.
“You have to work hard. We obviously have a very nice version of that now — too nice sometimes for me, I think we could rough it a little more.
“You can’t turn your head without someone trying to hand you a sandwich because we’re very well looked after,” Hawkins joked.
“But we never stopped working and Dave (Grohl, frontman) never stops pushing for new ideas. He’s always pushing, always thinking. Hard work is the basis of the Foo Fighters.”
The Foos have won 12 Grammy Awards, including four best rock album trophies — more than any other act — and sold more than 30 million albums worldwide.
In October last year, the band were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility alongside Tina Turner, Carole King, the Go-Go’s, Jay-Z and Todd Rundgren.
Before joining Foo Fighters in 1997, Hawkins played drums with Alanis Morissette’s touring band.
Leaving Morissette’s band to join Foo Fighters took some courage.
After all, this was the rock band formed by Dave Grohl, then best known as the drummer of grunge gods Nirvana until the death of Kurt Cobain in 1994.
Grohl made space for his friend and band mate, even allowing Hawkins to sing lead vocals at Foo Fighters’ stadium concert on songs such as Queen’s Somebody to Love and Cold Day in the Sun, which the drummer wrote and appears on 2005 album In Your Honour.
Hawkins not only held his own but became instantly recognisable on stage as a whirling dervish of blonde air, flailing arms and big white teeth — like a Californian surfer dude version of Animal from the Muppets.
Off stage, he was an affable interview subject, down-to-earth and seemingly unaffected despite being a member of one of the most successful bands of the past few decades.
He also had side projects, Taylor Hawkins and the Coattail Riders and The Birds of Satan, a covers band called Chevy Metal and recorded with Queen guitarist Brian May, prog-rockers Coheed and Cambria, and Shiflett’s other band Jackson United.
Hawkins is survived by his wife Alison and their three children: Oliver Shane, Annabelle and Everleigh.
Born Oliver Taylor Hawkins in Fort Worth Texas in 1972, Hawkins was raised in Laguna Beach, California.
He played in the small Southern California band Sylvia before landing his first major gig as a drummer for Canadian singer Sass Jordan.
Hawkins then spent the mid-1990s as the touring drummer for Alanis Morissette before Grohl asked him to join the Foo Fighters.
It’s the second time Grohl has experienced the death of a close bandmate as when he was the drummer for Nirvana when Kurt Cobain died in 1994.