Original Smash Mouth Singer Steve Harwell Passes Away, Aged 56

5 September 2023 | 9:07 am | Mary Varvaris

Steve Harwell “passed peacefully and comfortably” surrounded by family.

Smash Mouth @ the Croxton Bandroom

Smash Mouth @ the Croxton Bandroom (Credit: Renee Coster)

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Steve Harwell, the original singer of American band Smash Mouth, has passed away at the age of 56. His death follows reports of being in hospice care, with his manager revealing to TMZ that he only had “a week or so” to live.

His manager, Robert Hayes, confirmed his passing in a statement to Rolling Stone. Hayes said that Harwell “passed peacefully and comfortably” surrounded by family. While Hayes didn’t reveal a cause of death, Harwell was hospitalised and then in hospice care following liver failure.

Harwell also suffered from other health issues. The Guardian reports that in 2013, Harwell received the diagnoses of heart disease cardiomyopathy and the neurological disorder and Wernicke Encephalopathy, which impacted his speech and memory. The All Star singer also struggled with alcoholism throughout his career.

“Steve Harwell was a true American Original. 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,” Harwell’s former bandmates in Smash Mouth wrote in a social media statement.

The statement continued, “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% full-throttle life.

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“Burning brightly across the universe before burning out.

“Good night Heevo Veev.

“Rest in peace knowing you aimed for the stars, and magically hit your target.”

Steve Harwell was born in California in 1967. The singer left Smash Mouth in 2021 after forming the band in 1994 and experiencing a string of Shrek-influenced hits, such as All Star and their cover of The Monkees’ I’m A Believer, as well as their hit Walkin’ On The Sun. He departed the band due to health issues and was replaced by Zach Goode.

His departure followed a bizarre on-stage rant where the singer slurred his words, yelled obscenities at the crowd, and allegedly presented a Nazi salute at one point.

“Ever since I was a kid, I dreamed of being a rock star, performing in front of sold-out arenas and have been so fortunate to live out that dream,” Harwell said in a statement upon his departure from Smash Mouth.

He continued, “To our loyal and amazing fans, thank you, all of this was possible because of you. 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.

“I am so grateful to each and every one of you who has helped Smash Mouth sell over 10 million albums worldwide, put us on top of radio charts and those who have kept All Star relevant as one of the top memes on the internet today.”