In a heartbreaking headline, TMZ reported on Sunday afternoon (Sept. 3) that Smash Mouth founding member and original frontman Steve Harwell is on his deathbed with “only days to live.” Harwell is 56 years old.
A manager connected to him reportedly told TMZ that Harwell has reached the final stages of liver failure and he has entered hospice at his home. “Steve’s manager says he likely has only a week or so to live,” TMZ noted.
CBS News confirmed the report with a representative for Harwell, who also said, “My only additional comment is that we would hope that people would respect Steve and his family’s privacy during this difficult time.”
Nearly two years ago, Harwell announced his retirement from Smash Mouth due to ongoing health issues; prior to that, he was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a form of heart disease that led to heart failure. He also developed Wernicke’s encephalopathy, an acute neurological condition that can affect a person’s central nervous system.
When he announced his retirement, Harwell told TMZ that it was an honor to perform with his bandmates “all these years and I can’t think of anyone else I would have rather gone on this wild journey with.”
As TMZ mentioned in Sunday’s breaking news, when they first learned of Harwell’s health issues years ago, they were also informed of his substance abuse, which they’ve been told had “contributed to his declining state.”
While Smash Mouth have not appeared to publicly comment on this news yet, their Instagram feed has been filled with black-and-white photos, mainly of a cassette tape of their debut album, 1997’s Fush Yu Mang; nearly every post features comments from fans sharing their sympathies with the band.
Fush Yu Mang features their breakthrough hit, “Walkin’ on the Sun,” which reached No. 1 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart. Their second studio album, 1999’s Astro Lounge, included their biggest single, “All Star,” which was nominated for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group at the 42nd Annual Grammy Awards. “All Star” would later be included on the official soundtrack for Shrek along with Smash Mouth’s cover of the Monkees‘ “I’m a Believer.”
The Loudwire team sends their deepest condolences to Harwell’s friends and family, the entire Smash Mouth band and crew and to fans everywhere.
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