Steve Harwell, the lead singer of the 90s rock band Smash Mouth, has died at the age of 56. This comes just a day after it was revealed that he had entered hospice care due to years of alcohol abuse. According to a statement from his manager, Robert Hayes, Harwell passed away surrounded by "friends and family" in a "peaceful and comfortable" manner.
Harwell was being cared for by his fiancée, Annette Jones, at the time of his death. In recent years, Harwell had been involved in several controversies, including an alleged drunken performance in 2021 that prompted him to retire abruptly.
Death of a Rock Star
Harwell has received tributes, with his manager highlighting him as possessing "one of the most recognizable voices from his generation." Harwell's death was officially confirmed in a statement to Rolling Stone on Monday.
According to Smash Mouth's manager, Robert Hayes, Harwell "passed peacefully and comfortably" while at his home in Boise, Idaho, and was "surrounded by friends and family."
"Steve Harwell was a true American Original," read the statement read. "A larger-than-life character who shot up into the sky like a Roman candle. Steve should be remembered for his unwavering focus and impassioned determination to reach the heights of pop stardom. And the fact that he achieved this near-impossible goal with very limited musical experience makes his accomplishments all the more remarkable."
"His only tools were his irrepressible charm and charisma, his fearlessly reckless ambition, and his king-size [cojones]. Steve lived a 100 percent full-throttle life. Burning brightly across the universe before burning out."
However, the exact cause of death wasn't revealed.
The former lead singer of the group had been receiving hospice care, and as TMZ reported, he was in a critical condition described as being on his "deathbed" on Sunday.
The former frontman, who grappled with alcoholism, had experienced liver failure and had been informed by his manager that he had only a few days left to live.
"Steve is resting at home being cared for by his fiancée and hospice care," Hayes told People at the time.
According to the manager, Harwell's family and friends visited him at his home, where he was receiving hospice care, as his liver disease had reached an advanced stage and was no longer treatable.
"Even though Steve has not been with Smash Mouth for two years now, and the band continues to tour with new vocalist Zach Goode, his legacy will live on through the music," he added.
Gone Like a King
Two years ago, Steve Harwell announced his retirement from the band Smash Mouth. The band originated in San Jose, California, during the 1990s and achieved success with hits such as "Can't Get Enough of You Baby," "Walkin' on the Sun," and a cover of the Monkees' "I'm a Believer." Many of these songs were prominently featured in the 2001 animated film "Shrek."
"Ever since I was a kid, I dreamed of being a Rockstar performing in front of sold-out arenas and have been so fortunate to live out that dream," Harwell said in a statement at the time. "To my bandmates, it's been an honor performing with you all these years and I can't think of anyone else I would have rather gone on this wild journey with."
"To our loyal and amazing fans, thank you, all of this was possible because of you," he added. "I've tried so hard to power through my physical and mental health issues, and to play in front of you one last time, but I just wasn't able to."
During a performance, the singer reportedly experienced one of his "episodes" connected to his ongoing medical problems, according to a person close to him.
In 2013, the California-born singer was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a group of heart-related diseases that can have negative effects on the heart's functioning.
Following this challenging diagnosis, he faced another medical setback with the onset of Wernicke encephalopathy, a neurological disorder often associated with thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency.
Harwell's musical journey began as a rapper in San Jose with the group F.O.S. (Freedom of Speech). He later met drummer Kevin Coleman and, in 1994, together with guitarist Greg Camp and bassist Paul De Lisle, they formed Smash Mouth. Their debut album in 1997, titled "Fush Yu Mang," featured their first No. 1 hit, "Walkin' on the Sun."
During Harwell's time with Smash Mouth, as pointed out by Hayes in his statement on Monday, the band achieved significant success, selling over 10 million albums worldwide. They topped the charts with two No. 1 hit singles, produced five Top 40 singles, had three Hot 100 singles, released four Billboard 200 albums, and even received a Grammy nomination.