Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins dies at 50

Taylor Hawkins of Foo Fighters at Cal Jam 2018 at Glen Helen Regional Park and Amphitheater (Photo by Michelle Shiers)

*Updated 3/26/22 7:43 p.m.

Taylor Hawkins (né Oliver Taylor Hawkins), the beloved and energetic drummer– and the most visible member of Foo Fighters other than leader Dave Grohl– has died at the age of 50 in Colombia. The band was slated to headline the first night of this weekend’s Estéreo Picnic festival in Bogotá on Friday before headlining Lollapalooza in São Paulo, Brazil, on Sunday. Colombia’s Attorney General made an announcement Saturday that 10 substances were found in preliminary tests, including medications for depression, anxiety and pain, with the cause of death still under investigation. Hawkins was reportedly experiencing chest pains before private and municipal emergency services found him unresponsive in his hotel room.


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Hawkins joined Foo Fighters in 1997, after touring with Alanis Morissette. Following the departure of original Foos drummer William Goldsmith, Grohl reached out to Hawkins for a recommendation on another. Hawkins suggested he assume the throne himself and subsequently took upon the unenviable task of taking over for one of the most talented drummers in rock and roll history. Hawkins brought a technically adept skin battering style that didn’t ape Grohl’s, and became a valuable addition to the band, not only co-writing songs but also backing up on vocals. 

Texan by birth, Hawkins grew up in the sunny beaches of Southern California, graduating from Laguna Beach High School in 1990. He began his career drumming for the progressive experimental band Sylvia (later renamed Anyone) and Sass Jordan before touring with Morissette beginning in 1995 for her breakthrough album, “Jagged Little Pill.” Hawkins was a prolific and an in-demand collaborator, being called upon by the likes of Slash, Brian May, and Coheed and Cambria. Hawkins was also a skilled guitarist and frontman, leading his own side project, Taylor Hawkins and the Coattail Riders, as well as the joyous cover band Chevy Metal. Hawkins contributed to the last eight Foo Fighters releases, his most recent efforts being last year’s “Medicine at Midnight,” a collection of Bee Gees covers, Foo Fighters’ horror film, “Studio 666,” and the new music foray with Dave Navarro and fellow former Morissette bassist Chris Chaney, debuted at last year’s Ohana Fest as NHC (Navarro Hawkins Chaney). Hawkins was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with Foo Fighters last year.

The band were also scheduled to perform at this year’s Grammy Awards on April 3, followed by multiple tour and festival dates throughout North America– including two dates at the Banc of California Stadium Aug. 18 and 20– as well as Europe, the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

Hawkins is survived by his wife, Alison, and their three children.