Ex-Weezer Bassist Mikey Welsh Found Dead at 40
Former Weezer bass player Mikey Welsh, who also found success in his second career as an artist, died in a Chicago hotel room, police said Sunday.
Chicago spokeswoman Laura Kubiak said Welsh was supposed to check out of the Raffaello Hotel at 1 p.m. Saturday. When he didn't, hotel staff went to his room, entered it and found him unconscious and not breathing, Kubiak said.
UPDATE: The cause of death was undetermined pending toxicology tests, according to an autopsy performed Sunday by the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office. Test results could take up to six weeks, authorities said. Kubiak said there's nothing to indicate foul play.
Welsh, 40, of Burlington, Vt., performed with Weezer from 1998 to 2001, leaving after suffering a nervous breakdown, according to the band's website. He eventually established himself in a second career as a painter.
WATCH: The Welsh-Era Weezer in the Video for "Hash Pipe"
"I'm taking a break from music," he told MetroWest Daily News 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."
Weezer posted a message on its website, saying Welsh's time with the band was "vital, essential, wild, and amazing."
The statement continued: "Mikey was never one to shy away from the absurd, dangerous or strange, and he did so with a gusto few others had. No one had quite the stage presence of Mikey, nor have there been many who pulled the types of shenanigans he did at shows... When he emerged from his nervous breakdown that spelled his exit from the rock'n'roll world, he took on a new role as an astonishing and pure visual artist."
"A unique talent, a deeply loving friend and father, and a great artist is gone, but we will never forget him," the band said.
Welsh had plans to attend Weezer's Sunday performance at Riot Fest in Chicago. "I'm excited to see the boys, hang out and have some fun," he wrote on his Facebook page earlier this month.
(Additional editing by Jillian Mapes, Billboard.)
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