Social media accounts for the rock band Foo Fighters shared a tragic message on Friday night during their Latin American tour: Taylor Hawkins, drummer with the group since 1997, had died. The band called his passing “tragic and untimely,” remarked on his “musical spirit and infectious laughter,” and asked for privacy “in this unimaginably difficult time.” They did not report a cause of death. Hawkins was 50 years old.
The band was scheduled to play the Estéreo Picnic Festival in Bogotá, Colombia, on Friday. But one hour before their intended headlining gig, the announcement was made that Hawkins had passed. Hawkins’s last performance was the previous Sunday in San Isidro, Argentina.
Lead singer and guitarist Dave Grohl, whose career began as a drummer with the band Nirvana, formed Foo Fighters in 1994 following the death of Kurt Cobain. In his 2021 book The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music, Grohl called Hawkins his “brother from another mother, my best friend, a man for whom I would take a bullet.”
Prior to joining Foo Fighters, Texas-born Hawkins toured with Alanis Morrissette and Sass Jordan. He came into the group after the initial drummer, William Goldsmith, reportedly exited after Grohl rerecorded much of Goldsmith’s work on their second album himself. Hawkins and Grohl had met on the European festival scene, and the pair quickly bonded. Hawkins is heard from their third album, Grammy award-winning There Is Nothing Left To Lose, onward. His sense of humor was often evident on tour, like when he came out from behind the drums to sing a Queen song wearing a ripped ABBA t-shirt. He was the most visible member of the group after Grohl; the pair gave a speech inducting Rush into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013.
The group’s website lists upcoming dates in May at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, outdoor arenas including the Merriweather Post Pavilion near Baltimore, Maryland, then a tour through Europe in June. No updates have been provided about those dates.
Reactions from the music world were swift, heartfelt, and from all corners. Mick Jagger, Lars Ulrich, Ozzy Osbourne, Brian Wilson, Ringo Starr, LeAnn Rimes, Questlove, Axl Rose, Liam Gallagher, Finneas O’Connell, Johnny Marr, Mike Portnoy, and Tom Morello all shared memories. This man was clearly loved.