Since the rise of the commercial music industry in the United States nearly seven decades ago, ordinary individuals have occasionally experienced “fame” overnight and become intoxicated and inundated in the allures and glory of celebrity life. In many of these circumstances, these artists often meet tragic ends. Whether it be the sad demise of Elvis Presley, the “King” in the mid-1970s, Whitney Houston in recent times, or Jimi Hendrix in 1970, there are a plethora of solemn endings to the lives of many iconic performers. In many instances, drugs and alcohol addiction can be identified as the root cause of death, while in others, circumstances sometimes out of the control of the star contribute to tragedy. On September 4th, Steve Harwell, the front man of the popular band Smash Mouth passed away at the age of 56 due to liver failure.
In an official statement released by band manager Robert Hayes, Harwell died peacefully, surrounded by family and friends quickly after entering hospice care at home. Harwell had struggled with alcoholism, the main contributor to his liver-failure. Harwell had retired from performing with the band two years ago in 2021, and a life of fame reportedly contributed to many health issues. Harwell passed from “acute” liver failure- different than “chronic” liver failure. In the case of chronic liver failure, people lose the functions of the organ slowly, over many years and decades. In terms of acute liver failure, individuals lose the function of their liver in a matter of days or weeks, in an extremely quick and scary situation.
The band Smash Mouth was formed in 1994 in San Jose, California and was known primarily for its hit song “All Star”. Harwell was one of original band members, and one of the last to remain continuously a member of the group. The band also made a big impact on the movie “Shrek”, with several songs being featured in the film.