Smash Mouth singer Steve Harwell dead at 56

Steve Harwell dead at 56: Smash Mouth singer passes away at home surrounded by family and friends a day after revealing he entered hospice following battle with alcohol abuse

  • The lead singer of 90s rockers Smash Mouth has died at the age of 56 after battling a series of medical problems 
  • Steve Harwell, 56, retired from music in 2021 after being diagnosed with neurological problems as well as alcoholism 
  • According to his manager, Harwell passed away surrounded by family and friends at his home in Boise, Idaho 

Steve Harwell, the lead singer of 90s rockers Smash Mouth, has died at the age of 56 – just a day after it was announced that he had entered hospice care as a result of years of alcohol abuse. 

In a statement to Mail Online, Harwell’s manager Robert Hayes said that the singer passed away ‘peacefully and comfortably’ surrounded by ‘friends and family.’ At the time of his death the singer was being cared for by his fiancée Annette Jones. 

The statement described Harwell as ‘iconic’ and credited him as having ‘one of the most recognizable voices from his generation.’

‘He loved the fans and loved to perform. Steve Harwell was a true American Original. A larger than life character who shot up into the sky like a Roman candle,’ Harwell’s manager said.  

Although his official cause of death has not been confirmed, Hayes noted on Sunday he was in the final stages of liver failure when he was moved to hospice care.  

Steve Harwell, the lead singer of 90s rockers Smash Mouth, has died at the age of 56, just a day after it was announced that he had entered hospice care

He shot to stardom after lending his voice to iconic track ‘Hey Now’, which became a family favorite after it was featured in 2001 movie ‘Shrek’

Formed in 1994, his band shot to fame for the song ‘All Star’, which became an instant family classic when it was featured in the 2001 hit movie Shrek. The animated hit also included his cover rendition of the Monkee’s hit song ‘I’m a believer.’ 

With Harwell at the mic, Smash Mouth sold over 10 million copies worldwide. 

Tributes have poured in for the singer, who landed two no.1 hit singles and a Grammy nomination during his career but was best known as the voice behind Shrek hit ‘Hey Now.’

‘His legacy will live on through the music’ said Hayes, who noted that the band is set to continue touring under new vocalist Zach Goode. 

‘Steve should be remembered for his unwavering focus and impassioned determination to reach the heights of pop stardom. 

‘And the fact that he achieved this near-impossible goal with very limited musical experience makes his accomplishments all the more remarkable.’

‘His only tools were his irrepressible charm and charisma, his fearlessly reckless ambition, and his king-size cajones. Steve lived a 100 percent full-throttle life. Burning brightly across the universe before burning out,’ it concluded. 

The band is remembered best for the song All Star which was featured in the 2001 hit movie Shrek

Smash Mouth sold over 10 million albums worldwide with Harwell at the mic. He is pictured performing in California with bandmate Greg Camp in September 1997

Harwell’s official cause of death has not been made public, but it comes two years after the singer retired from performing in 2021 due to a series of alcohol related health issues. 

He ended his career after an infamous performance in Bethel, New York, where Harwell slurred through songs and verbally attacked fans. 

In a statement to People magazine at the time, he heartbreakingly announced his retirement as his reps  admitted he was dealing with ‘long-term medical issues.’

‘Ever since I was a kid, I dreamed of being a Rockstar performing in front of sold-out arenas and have been so fortunate to live out that dream,’ he said. ‘To my bandmates, it’s been an honor performing with you all these years and I can’t think of anyone else I would have rather gone on this wild journey with.’

His manager told the New York Post at the time that the singer was diagnosed with Wenicke encephalopathy, a condition that impacts motor skills and brain functionality. 

He also reportedly suffered from cardiomyopathy, where weak heart muscles results in deteriorated speech and memory. 

Harwell suffered heartbreak as his band was finding success, when his son Presley died of leukemia at just six months old in 2001.  

Smash Mouth earned legions of followers for their pop-punk style, before Harwell left the group two years ago due to his ailing health

Harwell lent his voice to many of the group’s hits, including ‘Walking on the Sun’ in 1997, as their second studio album ‘Astro Lounge’ made its way into the Billboard Hot 100 list in 1999.

In a statement released the day before his death, Hayes said the singer was in the final stages of liver failure.

‘Although Steve is here with us still, sadly it will only be for a short time,’ Hayes said in a statement. ‘We would hope people would respect Steve and his family’s privacy during this difficult time.’

Harwell’s vocals are known the world over, most notably due to their use in the opening scene of the film Shrek. The scene spawned numerous internet memes in recent years, and ‘All Star’ has close to a billion streams on Spotify.

As the song was used more and more in parodies across social media, Harwell admitted he was taken by surprise when it spread rapidly across the internet in recent years.

‘At first it was weird and we were a bit guarded and resistant,’ Harwell told Polygon in 2017. ‘But as we dove into it more… we started getting into it.’

Alongside ‘I’m a Believer’, which reached the US Top 30, Smash Mouth was known for its successful covers of other hit songs, including ‘Why Can’t We Be Friends?’ by War and ‘Can’t Get Enough of You Baby’ by The Mysterians. 

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