Taylor Hawkins, Foo Fighters Drummer, Dies Suddenly at 50

Taylor Hawkins, the drummer for the Foo Fighters, died unexpectedly at 50 years old. A statement released on the band’s Twitter confirmed his death shortly before they were scheduled to perform in Bogotá, Colombia.

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Photo by Michael Dinger, MSG June 20, 2021

Hawkins, known for his signature long blond hair and technically proficient drumming, joined the band in 1997. Foo Fighters founder Dave Grohl first met Hawkins backstage at a concert in the ‘90s. After playing drums himself on the band’s first two albums he decided to call Hawkins to see if he would be willing to step in. As soon as he, got the call Hawkins accepted.

At the time he was on tour with Alanis Morrissette with her record setting album, Jagged Little Pill. Once the tour was over, he joined the Foo Fighters for their third album There is Nothing Left to Lose.

Hawkins grew up in Southern California after moving there from Fort Worth with his family. He started playing drums at 10 years old. At home he cites his mother as his biggest supporter.

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Taylor Hawkins at Madison Square Garden, June 20, 2021 – photo by Michael Dinger

“When I first got drums, she was the one who would watch me play,” Hawkins said in an interview with the New York Times last year. ”She was a big supporter and told me I’d make it.”

His most important influence musically was Queen. In particular, a show he attended as a 10 year, having recently started to play drums.

“It changed everything, and I was never the same because of it,” he said in the same New York Times interview. “It was the beginning of my obsession with rock ’n’ roll, and I knew that I wanted to be in a huge rock band.”

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Taylor Hawkins at Sonic Temple Festival, May 2019 – photo by Joshua Davis

His career started in his native Southern California where he would end up playing in the band for the singer Sass Jordan. His big break came when he landed the tour gig on Alanis Morrissette’s drummer.

Ultimately, it was his personal relationship with Grohl that would convince him to leave her band and join the Foo Fighters. Hawkins would later contribute songwriting and, even, did some vocals on a few songs. As a member of the Foo Fighters he was nominated for 29 Grammy Awards, winning 12. The most recent a 2018 win for Best Rock Song for their song “Run”.

A cause of death has not been announced, although Variety has reported that various drugs were found in Hawkins’ system by Colombian authorities. He is survived by his wife Alison and their three children.

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