Mikey Welsh, former bassist for the alternative rock band Weezer, has died. Welsh, who was 40, was found in a Chicago hotel room on Saturday afternoon. The cause of death is still undetermined pending autopsy results, but according to the Chicago Tribune, authorities suspect narcotics were involved. The Vermont-born Welsh performed with Weezer from 1998 to 2001 and played on the album Weezer (a.k.a., the Green Album), which contained the hit “Hash Pipe.” In 2001, Welsh left the band after suffering a nervous breakdown. (”I took some time to get some help for something and they basically took off on me, abandoned me,” Welsh told EW in 2002. ”The way it went down was pretty lame.”) After leaving Weezer, Welsh began a second career as a painter.
A statement posted on the official Weezer web site lauded Welsh as “a unique talent, a deeply loving friend and father, and a great artist,” calling his time in the band “vital, essential, wild, and amazing.” “Mikey was never one to shy away from the absurd, dangerous or strange, and he did so with a gusto few others had,” the post reads. “No one had quite the stage presence of Mikey, nor have there been many who pulled the types of shenanigans he did at shows.” According to the band’s site, Welsh had been planning to attend Weezer’s show on Sunday at Chicago’s RIOTfest. Current Weezer bassist Scott Shriner posted on Twitter, “Really bummed about Mikey. My heart goes out to his family and friends. Such a talent… He made a mark on the world with his art.”