March 25, 2022: Foo Fighters’ Drummer, Taylor Hawkins, Dies at 50

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Taylor Hawkins (Photo via the Foo Fighters’ Facebook page)

Taylor Hawkins, the drummer for the Foo Fighters, died on March 25, 2022, while in Bogotá, Colombia, where the group was scheduled to perform. The band announced his death at age 50, via their social media platforms, at around 11 p.m. ET that night. No cause of death was revealed, though post-mortem forensics revealed that the mass of Hawkins’ heart was twice the normal size.

The band was on tour in South America and had a performance scheduled in Bogotá that night with an appearance at Lollapalooza Brazil two days later. Both shows were canceled as was the remainder of the tour.

The band’s complete statement read, “The Foo Fighters family is devastated by the tragic and untimely loss of our beloved Taylor Hawkins. His musical spirit and infectious laughter will live on with all of 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.” (Fellow music stars paid tribute; see many of them below.)

The band was scheduled to perform on the Grammy Awards on April 3. A North America tour was supposed to begin on April 29 and continue through May. They were then scheduled to resume on July 17 with dates well into October. All of those shows were canceled.

Two all-star tribute concerts were held, on Sept. 3 at London’s Wembley Stadium and again on Sept. 27 at the Kia Forum in Los Angeles. Both were tremendous undertakings that required significant planning. The audience at the London concert was treated to outstanding mini-sets of two-to-three songs by Pretenders, Wolfgang Van Halen, the newly reunited James Gang, Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson of Rush, Brian May and Roger Taylor of Queen, and many others. Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones performed with the supergroup Them Crooked Vultures. Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl essentially served as a master of ceremonies, while also performing with many of the day’s various lineups including Brian Johnson of AC/DC and Metallica’s Lars Ulrich. The Wembley Stadium concert lasted nearly six hours and featured a surprise performance by Paul McCartney.

Hawkins was born Oliver Taylor Hawkins in Fort Worth, Tex., on Feb. 17, 1972. In the mid-’90s, he was Alanis Morissette’s drummer for her Jagged Little Pill tour. In 1997, he received a call from his friend, Dave Grohl, who was looking for a replacement drummer for the Foo Fighters. Hawkins surprised his friend by offering to take the gig, a role he held for 25 years.

Hawkins joined Foo Fighters in 1997, first appearing with the band on the tour supporting sophomore album The Colour & The Shape. He made his recorded debut with Foo Fighters with 1999’s There Is Nothing Left To Lose, playing on every subsequent FF album, including One By One, In Your Honor (the first FF album to feature him assuming lead vocal duties on his song “Cold Day In The Sun”), Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace, Wasting Light, Sonic Highways, Concrete & Gold (also featuring him as lead singer on “Sunday Rain”) and Medicine at Midnight. As a member of Foo Fighters, Taylor was a 15-time GRAMMY Award winner and member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Watch Hawkins perform a Queen classic with the Foo Fighters in 2021

BBC News reporteds that the BBC’s Beatriz De La Pava was backstage at the Estereo Picnic Festival in Bogotá on Friday when the announcement of Hawkins’ death was made to the crowd.

Candles were placed on the stage at Estudio Picnic Festival in Bogotá, Columbia

“While we were backstage, I saw the Foo Fighters team was packing up everything,” she said.

“The organizers of the festival arrived and then they all went on to the stage after Nile Rodgers had finished and said they had some very sad news to share.

“A message was then published on the big screens that Taylor had died and everyone was silent. A few of the other stages started playing My Hero by the Foo Fighters.

“They placed candles on the stage where the Foo Fighters were supposed to play.”

Paul McCartney inducted the Foo Fighters into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Oct. 30, 2021.

A fellow drummer of note paid his respects…

Ozzy Osbourne was one of the first rock stars to react.

From Nancy Wilson of Heart…

Brian Wilson wrote, “I’m heartbroken to hear about Taylor Hawkins. He was such a nice young man. Love & Mercy to Taylor’s family and friends.”

Brian May of Queen wrote, “No. It cannot be. Heartbroken. Taylor, you were family to us. Our friend, our brother, our beloved child. Bless you. We will miss you so bad.”

From fellow drummer Bill Bruford, most notably of Yes and King Crimson…

“So saddened to hear of the death of Taylor Hawkins. If you want to play rock drums you’re nothing without serious commitment. Taylor brought commitment in spades as he laid into that drum kit with a huge smile, irrepressible energy and stratospheric levels of enthusiasm. These were all aspects of his personality and playing that I admired from afar and that brought so much pleasure to so many. It’s a terrible loss of one so young with so much more to give. My sincere condolences to his wife, family and fellow Foo Fighters.”

From fellow drummer, Lars Ulrich of Metallica…

From another fellow drummer, Stewart Copeland, of The Police: “Taylor was a force of life, with a forward momentum that seemed unstoppable. He was all energy and cheerful enthusiasm. It’s inconceivable that he is gone.”

Related: Musicians and other celebrities we lost in 2022

Best Classic Bands Staff
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    #1 DRAIDEZ1 26 March, 2022, 00:50

    So sad and what a great talent, had the great pleasure to witness Taylor pound the skins at Citi Field with Dave singing from the throne when he broke his leg…whata show. They left everything on stage and you couldn’t ask for anything more! R.I. P. bro Godspeed and I’ll see you on the other side!

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