On Friday, March 25, 2022, Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins was found dead in a hotel room in Bogotá, Colombia. He was 50 years old.
The rock band’s representative posted a statement on their social media that Friday confirming Hawkins’s passing. According to the office of Colombia’s Attorney General, Hawkins was staying at the Four Seasons Hotel Casa Medina in Chapinero, a locality within the northern region of Bogotá. The capital city is also where the group was scheduled to play at the Estéreo Picnic Festival as part of their South American tour. On March 29, 2022, the Foo Fighters canceled their remaining shows.
Prior to his death, an ambulance was called after Hawkins was experiencing chest pain in his room. Medical professionals performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), but Hawkins was unresponsive, as reported by Bogotá’s health secretary.
The Colombian Attorney General’s office conducted a preliminary “forensic medical study,” which included a urine toxicology test. Results indicate 10 substances were in Hawkins’s system, including benzodiazepines, marijuana, tricyclic antidepressants, opioids and others. His exact cause of death is still under investigation.
Born in Fort Worth, Texas, and raised in Laguna Beach, Calif., Hawkins began playing drums at the age of 10. Seeing British rock group Queen in concert in 1982, particularly their drummer Roger Taylor, changed his life forever.
“It changed everything, and I was never the same because of it,” he told weekly magazine Kerrang!, “it was the beginning of my obsession with rock’n’roll, and I knew I wanted to be in a huge rock band after seeing Queen.”
The early stages of his career consisted of drumming for bands Sylvia and Sass Jordan. In 1995, he drummed for singer Alanis Morissette throughout her “Can’t Not” tour, promoting her uber-successful album “Jagged Little Pill.” His blonde mane also appeared behind the drum kit in the videos for “All I Really Want,” “You Learn,” and “You Oughta Know.”
Foo Fighters — consisting of Dave Grohl, Nate Mendel, Pat Smear, Chris Shiflett and Rami Jaffee — formed in Seattle, Wash. in 1994. Grohl, who previously drummed for Nirvana, formed the Foo Fighters following the tragic death of Kurt Cobain. Initially starting as a one-man project, Foo Fighters have established themselves as one of the greatest rock acts of all time, with 12 Grammys and seven platinum albums spanning an over two-decade career. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2021.
Heralded as the “charismatic backbone” of Foo Fighters, Hawkins and Grohl started as mere acquaintances. Grohl was looking for a new drummer and assumed Hawkins wouldn’t be interested as he was employed by “the biggest artist in the world” at the time, said Grohl in an interview in 2021. To Grohl’s surprise, Hawkins volunteered — “I’m your guy.”
“Our musical relationship — the foundation of that is our friendship,” said Grohl,” and that’s why when we jump up on stage and play, we’re so connected, because we’re like best friends.”
Throughout his career, Hawkins demonstrated his broad range of talent. He made his mark both at the drum kit and in songwriting, even singing lead vocals occasionally. Hawkins cemented his place in contemporary rock history as a one-of-a-kind drummer, initiating an outpour of tributes from fellow musicians, public figures and fans alike.
Miley Cyrus dedicated a performance of her song “Angels Like You,” from her seventh studio album “Plastic Hearts,” to Hawkins at Lollapalooza in Brazil.
Hawkins was also honored with a drum circle in his hometown. A tribute at the Grammy Awards for the rockstar is planned for April 3, 2022.