Smash Mouth Singer Steve Harwell Dead at 56

Steve Harwell

Heavy/Getty Smash Mouth's Steve Harwell performing in 2006

One day after news spread that former Smash Mouth lead singer Steve Harwell was receiving hospice care for liver failure, as first reported by TMZ, the rock star has died at age 56. Smash Mouth’s manager, Robert Hayes, confirmed to People that the Grammy-nominated singer died at his home in Boise, Idaho, on September 4, 2023.

Harwell had been in poor health for several years and retired in 2021 after concertgoers filmed him threatening fans during a live show.

Harwell blamed his behavior there and at other volatile performances on his health challenges and told TMZ, “I’ve tried so hard to power through my physical and mental health issues, and to play in front of you one last time, but I just wasn’t able to.”

Smash Mouth is known best for its 90s chart-topping singles “All Star” — featured in the opening credits of the hit movie “Shrek” — and “Walkin’ On the Sun,” as well as a cover of the Monkees’ “I’m a Believer” on the “Shrek” soundtrack. The band, which still tours with a new lead singer, paid tribute to Harwell after his death, calling him a “true American Original.”

Smash Mouth’s Steve Harwell Suffered From Multiple Medical Challenges

The day before Harwell’s death, Hayes told USA Today that the singer was “resting at home” and “being cared for by his fiancée and hospice care.”

After his death, Hayes said in a statement, “He was surrounded by family and friends and passed peacefully and comfortably.”

In its Instagram tribute, Smash Mouth wrote that Harwell was “a larger than life character who shot up into the sky like a Roman candle. 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,” the band continued. “His only tools were his irrepressible charm and charisma, his fearlessly reckless ambition, and his king-size cajones.

Adding that “Steve lived a 100% full-throttle life” and burned “brightly across the universe before burning out,” Smash Mouth’s remaining members said they hoped Harwell could “rest in peace knowing you aimed for the stars, and magically hit your target.”

Fans and friends flooded Smash Mouth’s post with condolences.

Singer-songwriter Chad Tepper, “I honestly can’t handle this today love you Steve one of the reasons I make music look up to you so much

90s rock band Eve 6 wrote, “Rest in peace Steve”

What Was Wrong With Steve Harwell’s Health?

Steve Harwell

GettySteve Harwell of Smash Mouth performing in 2015

Hayes told NBC News that Harwell suffered from “many health issues” and died from acute liver failure due to alcohol use. In 2013, Harwell was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy and Wernicke encephalopathy, according to People.

According to Mayo Clinic, cardiomyopathy is “:a disease of the heart muscle that makes it harder for the heart to pump blood to the rest of the body,” which can lead to heart failure.

Meanwhile, the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) says Wernicke encephalopathy is a neurological disease that occurs due to a deficiency of thiamine (vitamin B1) and results in confusion, the inability to coordinate voluntary movement (ataxia) and eye (ocular) abnormalities. According to NORD, it is typically caused by chronic alcohol use.

After his 2021 retirement, Harwell was rarely seen and kept his social media accounts private. According to The Hollywood Reporter, he is survived by his fiancé, Annette; sisters Carla, Michelle and Julie; and his brother, Mark.

Read More
Comment Here
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments