Friends Say He Was Exhausted, the Band Says Otherwise

Taylor Hawkins' death is still unexplained, but there may have been warning signs beforehand
By Mike L. Ford,  Newser Staff
Posted May 17, 2022 2:25 PM CDT
Updated May 18, 2022 12:51 AM CDT
Hawkins' Death Still a Mystery, but Friends Saw Warning Signs
Taylor Hawkins performs at Pilgrimage Music and Cultural Festival at The Park at Harlinsdale on Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, in Franklin, Tenn. The longtime drummer for the rock band Foo Fighters died Friday, March 25, 2022. He was 50.   (Photo by Al Wagner/Invision/AP, File)

Update: Following the publication of a Rolling Stone longform on the death of Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins, Pearl Jam drummer Matt Cameron is walking back his quotes from that article. "When I agreed to take part in the Rolling Stone article about Taylor, I assumed it would be a celebration of his life and work. My quotes were taken out of context and shaped into a narrative I never intended," Cameron, Hawkins' longtime friend and collaborator, posted on Instagram Tuesday. "Taylor was a dear friend, and a next level artist. I miss him. I have only the deepest love and respect for Taylor, Dave and the Foo Fighters families. I am truly sorry to have taken part in this interview and I apologize that my participation may have caused harm to those for whom I have only the deepest respect and admiration.” Our original story from Tuesday follows:

Nearly two months after Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins was found dead in his hotel room in Bogota, his death remains unexplained. It came as a shock to everyone, but according to Rolling Stone reporters Andy Greene and Kory Grow, there were some warning signs beforehand. Close friends say Hawkins "felt hesitant about returning to the road" as the music world emerged from COVID lockdown in 2021. Matt Cameron of Pearl Jam says Hawkins was "tired of the whole game," but he was also a team player and "did whatever it took to keep up." Foo Fighters and their management declined to be interviewed, other than to repeatedly deny, through a rep, the claims that Hawkins raised concerns with them and requested the touring be pared down.

However, Hawkins told Rolling Stone last June that he was struggling "to figure out how to continue to keep the intensity of a young man in a 50-year-old’s body." Then, in December, he collapsed on a plane, reportedly due to dehydration (the rep countered that Hawkins did not lose consciousness on the plane). Hawkins' autopsy reportedly showed his heart was nearly double the normal size, and he had discussed the organ's heft in that June interview; he said doctors attributed it to his athleticism. Early toxicology reports hinted at drug use, but friends insist he wasn't using heavily again. One thing nobody disputes is that Hawkins was deeply loved by fans and musicians worldwide. In addition to scrutinizing the drummer’s final days, Rolling Stone provides a deep dive into Hawkins’ career, including his big break in the 1990s and his numerous side projects with other legendary rockers. (Read more about his life and final days here.)

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