Original Smash Mouth Singer Steve Harwell Dead At 56
Tim Mosenfelder/ Contributor via Getty Images

Steve Harwell, the former lead singer of American rock band Smash Mouth, died on Monday from liver failure at the age of 56.

Band manager Robert Hayes confirmed Harwell’s death to Rolling Stone, saying the longtime frontman for the group passed away “peacefully and comfortably” at his home in Boise, Idaho, surrounded by family and friends.

“Steve has been retired from Smash Mouth for two years now, and the band continues to tour with new vocalist Zach Goode,” Hayes said. “That said, Steve’s legacy will live on through the music.”

Harwell entered in-home hospice care after reaching the final stage of liver failure following a lifelong battle with alcohol addiction, according to TMZ.

Harwell had experienced several medical incidents in recent years, including collapsing at a concert in 2016, receiving treatment for heart problems in 2017, and slurring his words while performing in 2021.

Nearly ten years ago, Harwell was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, which impairs the heart’s ability to pump efficiently. He experienced heart failure and had acute Wernicke’s encephalopathy, which impacted his motor functions, speech, and memory.

“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 after he retired in 2021. “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.”

“To our loyal and amazing fans, thank you, all of this was possible because of you,” he added. “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 was formed in 1994 in San Jose, California, and featured Harwell on vocals, Kevin Coleman on the drums, Greg Camp on the guitar, and Paul De Lisle on the bass.


In 1997, the band hit the mainstream after releasing “Walkin’ on the Sun,” which appeared on their debut album, “Fush Yu Mang.”

But their chart-topping ubiquitous 1999 hit “All-Star,” featured on the group’s follow-up record “Astro Lounge,” brought them global success.

Smash Mouth sold more than ten million albums worldwide and topped the charts with two #1 hit singles, five Top 40 singles, three Hot 100 singles, four Billboard 200 albums, and a Grammy nomination when Harwell led the band.

The group’s music can also be heard in hundreds of films and television and featured in the musical productions in Shrek.

“Steve’s iconic voice is one of the most recognizable voices from his generation. He loved the fans and loved to perform,” Hayes said. “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,” Hayes added. “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.”

Ryan Saavedra contributed to this report.

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