Home Blog Steve Harwell dead: Smash Mouth vocalist dies at 56 following … – USA TODAY

Steve Harwell dead: Smash Mouth vocalist dies at 56 following … – USA TODAY

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Steve Harwell, the former lead vocalist of rock band Smash Mouth, died Monday at 56.
Robert Hayes, a longtime manager of Harwell and the band, confirmed the singer’s death in a statement to USA TODAY.
“Steve Harwell passed away this morning Sept. 4, 2023 at his home in Boise, Idaho. He was surrounded by family and friends and passed peacefully and comfortably,” Hayes said in a statement.
“Steve Harwell was a true American Original.  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,” the statement said. “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. Steve lived a 100% full-throttle life. Burning brightly across the universe before burning out.
“Rest in peace knowing you aimed for the stars, and magically hit your target. He will be greatly missed by those who knew and loved him.”
Hayes told USA TODAY on Sunday that the singer was “resting at home” and “being cared for by his fiancee and hospice care.” The rep said the family was asking for “privacy during this difficult time.”
TMZ, which was the first outlet to report the news, reported Harwell has “reached the final stage of liver failure” because of alcohol abuse. 
With hits “Walkin’ on the Sun,” “All Star” and a cover of “Can’t Get Enough of You Baby,” Smash Mouth commandeered pop radio in the late ‘90s. Their quirky pop approach and Harwell’s distinctive rumble of a voice distinguished the band from peers including Sugar Ray and Third Eye Blind and helped push their major-label debut, “Fush Yu Mang,” to sell more than 2 million copies.
Success would escalate for Smash Mouth with their second album, 1999’s “Astro Lounge,” which unveiled “All Star,” a 3-million-selling hit that reached No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and remains a pop culture touchstone.
In 2001, Smash Mouth twisted the Neil Diamond/Monkees classic “I’m a Believer” into their own style and landed the band another Top 25 hit. The cover – along with “All Star” – helped popularize the soundtrack to “Shrek” and appears in the animated comedy in a performance by Eddie Murphy’s Donkey character.
Smash Mouth released their last studio album in 2012, “Magic.”
In October 2021, Harwell announced his retirement from the band after a fumbled performance at a beer and wine festival. During an appearance with the band at The Big Sip in New York, a video of Harwell slurring his speech, cursing at the audience, and making a gesture that resembled a Nazi salute became viral. 
His reps at the time said in a news release that the video had “been taken out of context” to misrepresent the singer. In a statement to USA TODAY, Harwell’s reps then revealed that the frontman had been battling health problems for the past eight years stemming from his diagnosis with cardiomyopathy. 
The heart disease led to “serious medical setbacks” for Harwell, including heart failure and acute Wernicke encephalopathy, the latter of which affected his speech and memory. Harwell “suffered numerous symptoms” from his medical condition during his performance in 2021, according to his rep. 
“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,” Harwell said in the news release. 
Previous: Ex-Smash Mouth vocalist Steve Harwell enters hospice care, ‘being cared for by his fiancée’
“Ever since I was a kid, I dreamed of being a rock star, performing in front of sold-out arenas, and have been so fortunate to live out that dream,” Harwell continued. “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. I cannot wait to see what Smash Mouth accomplishes next and am looking forward to counting myself as one of the band’s newest fans.”
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Contributing: Naledi Ushe, Pamila Avila, Edward Segarra, Cydney Henderson, USA TODAY

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