Taylor Hawkins, the longtime drummer for Foo Fighters, has died. The band were on tour in South America at the time of Hawkins’ death and were scheduled to perform at Festival Estéreo Picnic in Bogotá, Colombia. No cause of death has been revealed. Hawkins was 50 years old.
“The Foo Fighters family is devastated by the tragic and untimely loss of our beloved Taylor Hawkins,” a statement from the band reads. “His musical spirit and infectious laughter will live with 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.”
Born in Fort Worth, Texas in 1972, Hawkins relocated to Laguna Beach, California with his family four years later. He got his start in music in the mid-1990s, playing drums for the band Sylvia and the rock singer Sass Jordan before becoming the touring drummer for Alanis Morissette from 1995-1997 during her tour supporting Jagged Little Pill.
Hawkins joined Foo Fighters at Dave Grohl’s request in 1997, following the departure of original drummer William Goldsmith during the recording sessions for the album The Colour and the Shape. Grohl had contacted Hawkins seeking recommendations for a new drummer, under the impression that he would not leave Morissette’s band, but was surprised when Hawkins volunteered to join the band himself. “I think it had more to do with our personal relationship than anything musical,” Grohl said in a recent interview with 95.5 KLOS. “And to be honest, it still does. Our musical relationship, the foundation of that is our friendship, and that’s why when we jump on stage and play, we’re so connected because we’re like best friends.”
In his 2021 autobiography, The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music, Grohl referred to Hawkins as his “best friend and partner in crime,” writing: “During his stint as Alanis Morissette’s drummer, long before he became a Foo Fighter, we would bump into each other backstage at festivals all over the world, and our chemistry was so obvious that even Alanis herself once asked him, ‘What are you going to do when Dave asks you to be his drummer?’ Part Beavis and Butthead, part Dumb and Dumber, we were a hyperactive blur of Parliament Lights and air drumming wherever we went.”
In addition to playing drums on every Foo Fighters album starting with 1999’s There Is Nothing Left to Lose, Hawkins occasionally provided vocals, guitar, and piano. He sang lead on ‘Cold Day in the Sun’, a single from 2005’s In Your Honour, and ‘Sunday Rain’, from 2017’s Concrete and Gold. He also co-starred with his bandmates in the Foo Fighters’ horror-comedy film, Studio 666, which came out last month.
During his time with Foo Fighters, Hawkins played in various side projects, including Taylor Hawkins and the Coattail Riders, Chevy Metal, and the Birds of Satan. More recently, he teamed up with Jane’s Addiction members Dave Navarro and Chris Chaney for the supergroup NHC, which formed during pandemic jam sessions at Hawkins’ home studio in Los Angeles and released an EP last month.
As a member of Foo Fighters, Hawkins was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by Paul McCartney last year. Earlier this week, the band was announced as one of the performers for the April 3 Grammy Awards.
Hawkins is survived by his wife, Alison Hawkins, and their three children, Oliver, Annabelle, and Everleigh.