Former Weezer bassist Mikey Welsh passed away unexpectedly in a Chicago-area hotel on Saturday. Though authorities say that narcotics were found on scene, a cause of death has yet to be established. He was 40.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Welsh was found unresponsive on the floor of his room at the Raffaello Hotel after cleaning staff reported an obstructed doorway. Emergency services were called, but Welsh was pronounced dead at the scene.
Though an official cause of death is pending toxicology results, authorities suspect narcotics. Police said that prescription drugs were found in the hotel room as well as a small baggy containing white powder, suspected to be heroin.
Welsh’s social media activity prior to his death seemed to predict Saturday’s tragedy: on September 26, Welsh tweeted “dreamt i died in Chicago next weekend (heart attack in my sleep). need to write my will today.”
In a second tweet on the same day, Welsh posted the words “too soon?” along with a facebook link. The link features a piece of artwork, which Welsh describes as a self portrait from his own funeral. The description goes on to say, “$250 if i am still alive at time of purchase, price to increase exponentially if i expire prematurely.”
Welsh combated mental illness during his time with Weezer. He joined the group in 1998 following the departure of original bassist Matt Sharp, and his contributions can be heard on Weezer hits such as “Island in the Sun,” and “Hash Pipe.”
In 2001, Welsh left the group after suffering a mental breakdown.
“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,” said Welsh in a 2007 interview. “At the beginning of a 3-month European tour with Weezer, I started slowly falling apart.”
Welsh left the group to pursue his career as a painter with a focus on large-scale figures and abstracts.
Weezer, coincidentally, is scheduled to headline Chicago’s Riot Fest on Sunday. The group has expressed its grief and condolences over the death of their former band-mate via Twitter, saying “”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.”
Read more about Welsh and see some of his artwork on his official blog.