Mikey Welsh, Former Weezer Bassist, Dies at 40

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After suffering a mental breakdown a decade ago, the musician-turned-painter "passed away unexpectedly" in a Chicago hotel room on October 8.

Mikey Welsh, the former bassist for Weezer, has died. He was 40 years old.

The news came via an October 8 message posted by his family on Twitter and Facebook, which read, “We are deeply saddened to announce that Mikey Welsh passed away unexpectedly today. He will forever be remembered as an amazing father, artist, and friend. May he rest in peace.”

According to the Associated Press, Welsh was found unconscious in a Chicago hotel room. The office of the Cook County Medical Examiner says there is nothing to indicate foul play.

Welsh joined Weezer following original bassist Matt Sharp’s exit in 1998. He played on the band’s 2001 album, known colloquially as “The Green Album,” and can be heard on such hits as “Island in the Sun” and “Hash Pipe.” That same year, the Boston-based musician, who was also a touring bassist for Juliana Hatfield, suffered a mental breakdown and later attempted suicide.

“Basically, a lifetime of doing drugs and being undiagnosed as having post-traumatic stress disorder and borderline personality disorder finally caught up with me when I was 30 years old,” Welsh said in a 2007 interview. “At the beginning of a 3-month European tour with Weezer, I started slowly falling apart.”

Welsh then dedicated himself to his love of another art, painting. He lived in Burlington, Vermont, where he worked on large-scale figures and abstracts.

The cause of death has yet to be determined. 

Weezer reacted to news of his passing on the band's official Twitter, writing, "We are shocked and deeply saddened to hear the awful news, our friend and fellow weez rocker @mikeywelsh71 has passed away. We love u Mikey."

Welsh published a series of cryptic tweets in the weeks leading up to his death. He wrote on Sept. 26: “dreamt i died in chicago next weekend (heart attack in my sleep). need to write my will today.” On Oct. 4, Welsh wrote that he arrived in Chicago. In a curious coincidence, web site Kick Axe Music points out that Weezer is scheduled to headline the city’s Riot Fest on Sunday.

Read more about Welsh and see some of his artwork on his blog.