Smash Mouth singer Steve Harwell dies at 56

September 4, 2023
Matthew Boose

Steve Harwell, the former bandleader of the late 90s band Smash Mouth, has died after years of health issues caused by alcohol abuse. The "All Star" singer was just 56 years old. 

Harwell died peacefully Monday at his home in Boise, Idaho, with his loved ones by his side, the band's manager, Robert Hayes, said.

As the leader of Smash Mouth, Harwell was one of the most recognizable and successful musicians of the late 90s and early 2000s.

He captured a moment in history with the timeless, exuberant "All Star," also scoring hits with "Walkin' on the Sun" and a cover of the Monkees' "I'm a Believer."

Smash Mouth singer dies

The tragic news comes a day after Harwell was reported to be on his death bed with liver failure.

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

Both "All Star" and "I'm a Believer" appeared in the 2001 box office smash Shrek. Harwell and Smash Mouth also had a cameo appearance at the end of the movie Rat Race. 

The band's manager called Harwell a "larger-than-life" character who lived a "full-throttle" life.

“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."

Shooting star....

Harwell's life was marked with great success - and tragedy.

In 2001, his only child died from leukemia as an infant.

Smash Mouth remained active after the group's early 2000s peak, but alcohol abuse eventually took a toll on Harwell's health and ability to perform.

He retired in October 2021 following an erratic performance in upstate New York, where he was seen slurring his speech and threatening the audience.

At the time, the singer revealed that he had suffered for years with health issues. He sent a heartfelt thank-you to his fans and bandmates for helping him achieve his childhood dream.

“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," Harwell said at the time.

"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."

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