Taylor Hawkins: Drummer for the Foo Fighter, Dies at 50

“His musical spirit and infectious laughter will live on with us forever,” read a message posted to the band’s social media.

Taylor Hawkins, longtime drummer for the Foo Fighter, has died. He was 50.

The band’s representative, Steve Martin, confirmed the news Friday to The Hollywood Reporter, and his passing was announced on the band’s Twitter. A cause of death was not immediately available.

“The Foo Fighters family is devastated by the tragic and untimely loss of our beloved Taylor Hawkins,” the message read. “His musical spirit and infectious laughter will live on with us forever.”

The band had been in South America on tour and was scheduled to perform Friday in Bogotá, Colombia. They were scheduled to perform at the 2022 Grammy Awards April 3.

Born Feb. 17, 1972, in Fort Worth, Texas, Hawkins was the touring drummer for Alanis Morissette from 1995 to 1997, including concerts of her legendary album Jagged Little Pill.

Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins of Foo Fighters perform during day one of Lollapalooza Chile 2022 at Parque Bicentenario Cerrillos on March 18, 2022 in Santiago, Chile.

In March 1997, Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl announced Hawkins as the band’s permanent drummer ahead of the May release of The Colour and the Shape, replacing William Goldsmith. This album remains the band’s best-selling one and includes the signature hit “Everlong.”

During 2021 interview with Kerrang, Hawkins recalled learning that the band was in the market for a new drummer, leading him to scramble to somehow find Grohl’s phone number. “I basically said to Dave, ‘I’ll play drums for you,’ and we jammed a couple of times,” Hawkins said. “I remember I was at home watching Showgirls with my girlfriend, and Dave called to ask if I wanted to join.”

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From left: Nate Mendel, Pat Smear, Chris Shiflett, Dave Grohl, Rami Jaffee and Taylor Hawkins of Foo Fighters are inducted onstage by Paul McCartney during the 36th Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony on Oct. 30, 2021. MICHAEL LOCCISANO/GETTY IMAGES

Although he didn’t drum on Colour and the Shape, Hawkins was part of the band throughout its run of albums — including There Is Nothing Left to Lose (1999), One by One (2002), In Your Honor (2005), Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace (2007) and Wasting Light (2011) — that helped make the Foos one of the defining rock voices of the 2000s.

The drummer, who celebrated his 50th birthday last month, was with the group for all 12 of its Grammy wins, including the most recent in 2018 for the song “Run,” and its Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in 2021. He enjoyed a close friendship with Grohl, and the pair would often make joyful TV appearances together, in addition to starring together in the band’s whimsical music videos, including for “Learn to Fly,” featuring Hawkins in drag as a flight attendant.

Hawkins has been a beloved figure for the group’s fans and would frequently take the microphone during Foo Fighters concerts to sing a cover tune, such as Queen’s “Somebody to Love.” He also performed with side projects including Taylor Hawkins and the Coattail Riders, which counted him as vocalist and drummer.

He appeared, along with fellow Foos members Grohl, Nate Mendel, Pat Smear, Chris Shiflett and Rami Jaffee, in the Open Road Films horror-comedy Studio 666, which was released in February.

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Taylor Hawkins and Dave Grohl attend the 2013 SXSW Music, Film + Interactive Festival on March 13, 2013. MICHAEL BUCKNER/GETTY IMAGES

Hawkins had previously been open about his struggles with substance abuse, including a heroin overdose that led to a two-week coma in 2001. “I believed the bullshit myth of live hard and fast, die young,” he told Kerrang. “I’m not here to preach about not doing drugs, because I loved doing drugs, but I just got out of control for a while, and it almost got me.” He called it “all part of the trip and the journey” before adding, “I go mountain biking now.”

Music manager Guy Oseary, who worked with Morissette during his time at Maverick Records, paid tribute to Hawkins on Instagram and recalled meeting the drummer in 1995 amid the mammoth success of Jagged Little Pill.

“He wasn’t just one of the greatest musicians in the world but also one of the greatest most positive and fun humans you could ever meet,” Oseary wrote. “He was always laughing.. always!!! Im so fortunate that I was able to see him a few months back and get one last hug.”

Other musicians took to social media to express condolences, including Queen’s Brian May, who posted to Instagram, “No. It cannot be. Heartbroken. Taylor, you were family to us. Our friend, our brother, our beloved child.”

Tom Morrello tweeted, “God bless you Taylor Hawkins. I loved your spirit and your unstoppable rock power. Rest In Peace my friend.” Billy Idol wrote, in part, “So tragic,” while Elijah Wood posted, “Ugh man. Sad to hear about Taylor Hawkins. Love to his family and friends.”

On her Instagram Stories, Miley Cyrus shared a photo of Hawkins with a big smile on his face while sitting at his drum kit. “This is how I’ll always remember you,” she wrote. “My show tomorrow is dedicated to Taylor Hawkins.”

Hawkins is survived by wife Allison and their three children.