Bogota (AFP) – Drummer Taylor Hawkins of the multi-Grammy award-winning rock group Foo Fighters has died, his bandmates said in a statement Friday. He was 50.
As part of one of the world’s most influential and critically lauded alternative rock bands, Hawkins was known for his on-stage charisma and classic rock-inspired beats, which he once said were influenced by legends like Phil Collins and Queen’s Roger Taylor.
He had played with Foo Fighters since 1997, when he was taken on by lead singer and former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl, providing percussion on some of the group’s biggest hits including “Learn to Fly” and “Best of You”.
“The Foo Fighters family is devastated by the tragic and untimely loss of our beloved Taylor Hawkins,” the band said in a statement on Twitter.
“His musical spirit and infectious laughter will live on with all of us forever,” they added.
The statement did not reveal the cause of Hawkins’ death, news of which emerged the same day the band was due to play at the Festival Estereo Picnic in Bogota, Colombia.
A source in Colombia’s prosecutor’s office told AFP that Hawkins’ body had been found in a hotel in eastern Bogota.
The festival said in a statement that the show would not go ahead.
Prior to joining Foo Fighters, Hawkins drummed for Canadian indie songstress Alanis Morissette.
In an interview with 95.5 KLOS last year, Grohl described his first meeting with Hawkins and how he convinced him to join his band.
“I was like, ‘Wow, you’re either my twin or my spirit animal, or my best friend!’ In the first 10 seconds of meeting him,” he said.
“And, of course, I’d seen him play the drums and I thought he was an amazing drummer,” he added.
“When I called him and said, ‘Hey, I’m looking for a drummer.’ He said, ‘You know I’m your guy.’ And I think it had more to do with our personal relationship than anything musical.”
Foo Fighters celebrated their 25th anniversary last year in a pandemic-delayed tour, and had most recently produced “Studio 666,” a rock-and-roll horror movie.
Tributes poured in from across the music world, with Black Sabbath frontman Ozzy Osbourne hailing him as a “great person and an amazing musician” and punk rocker Billy Idol describing the news as “tragic.”
Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello praised his “unstoppable rock power.”
“In utter disbelief at the news of Taylor Hawkins,” rockers Nickelback said in a statement on Twitter.
“Our deepest condolences to his family, his bandmates, his team, his friends and everyone that was ever touched by the music he created with @foofighters @Alanis and so many others.”