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Drug overdose suspected in Weezer bassist's death

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
October 10th, 2011
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Mikey Welsh, the 40-year-old former bassist for the rock band Weezer has been found dead in a Chicago hotel room. A cleaning crew had tried to open the door to Welsh's room at the Raffaello Hotel. While it was though that luggage was blocking the door, another hotel employee was able to push the door open to find Welsh lying on the floor, who was pronounced dead shortly afterwards. 

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Investigators say they believe Welsh died from a drug overdose. According to the Cook County medical examiner's office, the cause of death was pending toxicology results. 

Police said prescription drugs were found in Welsh's hotel room along with a Ziploc-type bag containing white powder, which was suspected to be heroin.

Weezer was in town for the Chicago RiotFest, and Welsh was expected to catch their show.

Welsh, originally from Burlington, Vermont, performed with Weezer from 1998 to 2001, leaving after suffering a nervous breakdown. According to Weezer's Web site, He eventually established himself in a second career as a painter.

"I'm taking a break from music," Welsh had told reporters in 2002. "I really feel the need to reinvent myself and move on, and I couldn't be happier painting. Music is still an important part of my life, but I really have no desire to actually play it."

Welsh, who performed on the album "Weezer" (better known as the "Green Album") including hits "Hash Pipe" and "Island in the Sun," had left the band after suffering a nervous breakdown, according to the band's statement.

On September 26 Welsh wrote an ominous message on his Twitter feed, saying: "dreamt i died in chicago next weekend (heart attack in my sleep). need to write my will today."

Weezer described their former bassist as "a unique talent, a deeply loving friend and father, and a great artist" who channeled his energy and enthusiasm into his painting after emerging from his nervous breakdown.

"It was a glorious flowering of a talent he always possessed, but he had chosen to rock out first, paint later."

The group's "Weezerpedia" page carried a note this morning that read, "As many of you may have heard, Mikey Welsh has passed away. "The news was announced via his official Facebook page earlier in the evening. Understanding that many here are grieving, Weezerpedia has created a digital eulogy page for Mikey Welsh where fans can post stories, pictures, or thoughts. R.I.P. Mikey."

Scott Shriner, the band's current bassist, posted a short note which read "Really bummed about Mikey. My heart goes out to his family and friends. Such a talent... he made a special mark on the world with his art."

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