Former Weezer bassist Mikey Welsh, who established a second career as a painter, died yesterday afternoon of a suspected drug overdose, according to The Chicago Tribune. He was 40.
The Tribune reports that Welsh was found in a Chicago hotel room by members of the staff. He was pronounced dead on the scene shortly thereafter. Welsh had lived in Burlington, Vt., but he was in the city to catch Weezer’s set during Riot Fest Chicago 2011.
Welsh left Weezer in 2001 after playing bass in the band for three years. His work can be heard on the band’s Green Album, which dropped in 2001. It was their first release following a temporary hiatus that ran from 1997 to 2000. After his departure, Welsh would go on to find a second career as a successful painter and visual artist.
Weezer responded to the news on their Twitter account with the following message: “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.”
A similar note was placed on Welsh’s Facebook fan page along with the picture seen above. The note reads: “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.”