It’s been two months since a call came out from Casa Medina, a Four Seasons property, in the Bogotá, Colombia region called Chapinero. It was 7:40pm on Friday 25th March, and one of the guests was complaining of severe chest pains. But by the time the EMS responders showed up, drummer Taylor Hawkins from the Foo Fighters had disappeared.
Since then, fans have been kept in the dark. What is the cause of death? Where was the official toxicology report? What did the autopsy say? When and where was the funeral? Why was there complete radio silence from the band? How is it possible not to leak any information?
The news blackout surrounding Taylor’s death was tight. Until now.
A Rolling Stone story titled “Taylor Hawkins’ Last Days as a Foo Fighter” was published online late Monday night (May 16). About 20 people close to Taylor (including Pearl Jam drummer Matt Cameron, RHCP’s Chad Smith, and drum technique Taylor, Chad “Yetti” Ward) were interviewed and helped shed some light on Taylor’s physical and mental health leading up to that night in Bogota. .
The article is a must read, and while some of the details and assertions have been met with either no or no comment from Foos, it could fill in some important blanks. (For background information, you can read what I wrote about Taylor’s death here and here.) I should also mention that Rolling Stone’s article confirms some of the things I’ve heard through many backchannels.
Let’s take things one by one.
Taylor drug use
After falling into a coma for two weeks after having an explosion in 2001, Taylor claimed to have walked straight. Those close to him say he has put his energies into mountain biking and other fitness activities. A strong drug on show day? never.
But what about the infamous toxicology report?
This was an initial report from Columbia issued within 24 hours of his death. And yes, it listed ten different substances apparently present in his system, including marijuana, opiates, tricyclic antidepressants, and benzodiazepines via a urine sample and not a whole blood sample. Until today, though, there has been no official report from the United States confirming this, nor do we know the actual concentrations and compositions of these drugs.
Opioids? Perhaps a prescription painkiller. As a drummer, I can speak to the pains that older drummers suffer from: carpal tunnel, arthritis, nerve damage, lower back issues, and pain from the fingertips through the arms to the shoulders and neck. (See below for more information).
(One of my sources says the family was objecting to this toxicology report.)
Well, why were there any drugs in his system?
Opioids could have been prescribed as a pain reliever. Rolling Stone says the rigors of playing drums for three hours a night in a strong band like the Foo Fighters took a toll on Taylor’s body. I quote: “[Taylor was] “She’s trying really hard to figure out how to continue to maintain the strength of a young man in the body of a 50-year-old, which is very difficult.”
Benz medications and antidepressants can be related to Taylor’s chronic fear of the stage. You’d never know to watch Foos perform, but it seems Taylor has had serious insecurities from not being good enough to be in the band like Foos is. The article says Taylor felt like he was “in hell”.
The “powder-like” items allegedly found in his hotel room? Rolling Stone says there was definitely no cocaine. And any junkie will tell you there’s no way you can shoot on a show day, especially if you’re going to play as hard as Taylor did.
I quote: “Taylor has never played in his life. He always plays as discreetly as possible. It was the day of a show. So for someone to say he was on drugs that day, that’s the most lying thing anyone could say about him.”
overdose? no. Not possible at all. In fact, I would have ruled it out completely.
What about his enlarged heart?
Upon his death, a preliminary report stated that his heart weighed 600 grams, twice the weight of a man of his age and size. Like I said, Taylor became a fitness fanatic after a heroin “long nap” (his words) in 2001. As any drummer will tell you, playing night after night is a physical exercise akin to running a marathon. Taylor and his doctor knew about “runner’s heart” (his doctor’s words) for some time before his death. It’s also possible to have heart failure without medications being the cause. After an accident last December (see below), Taylor got on a mountain bike to put his heart out.
So for all the anti-vaccinationists who say his enlarged heart was a side effect of the COVID vaccine, lost. His heart was that big long before the outbreak of the epidemic.
Taylor was also known to suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, which if left untreated can lead to other health problems.
Was it Taylor who forced the Foo fighters to cancel their Formula One appearances last December?
Apparently. If you remember the story, Team Foos were due to play a post-race party in the last F1 race of the season in Abu Dhabi last December 12. Journey to the Middle East. However, the party was called off when an unnamed member of the band was rushed to the hospital in Chicago. (This confirms what I heard from one of my sources.)
According to Rolling Stone, this member was Taylor. He lost consciousness on the private plane and was taken to hospital upon landing.
I quote Chad Smith: “He just said he was exhausted and collapsed, and they had to pump him full of syringes and stuff. He was dehydrated and all sorts of things.” Details of the collapse are still unknown.
“This is not true,” the administration says.
Taylor was exhausted
After the Chicago panic, Rolling Stone claimed he had a “heart to heart” run with Dave and Voss, saying he couldn’t take the pace anymore and that they had to find out something. He was really worried that he wouldn’t be able to handle all the rescheduled dates after COVID that Foos had around the planet. (Foos management says there was no “heart to heart”).
I quote: “He tried to keep up,” [Matt] Cameron says. “He did whatever it took to keep up, and in the end he just couldn’t keep up.”
Quote from the Yeti: “He had been looking for anorexia for a while. Right before they left for South America [this year] He said to me, ‘Man, Yeti, you’d be proud of me. I have a coach. I’m doing things right. I have already gained 15 lbs. I’m getting things back on track. He’s definitely been stressed out over the past couple of years, because he definitely was showing that in his weight.”
Chad Smith: “The last few months he’s been lifting weights and drinking those electrolytes and he’s been really trying to do things to help play at the level he wants to play at.”
The bottom line is that we still don’t know why Taylor died. But if this information is correct, then some of the misinformation that has been circulated can be exposed and speculations debunked.
Again, you need to read the entire Rolling Stone article. Now that information is starting to trickle in, there must be more as the taboo regarding reporting this story has been broken. We can discuss privacy issues and the wishes of the Taylor family and the rest of the Foo Fighters, but that may all be up for debate soon.
Bonus: This is amazing.