Author: Alex Thompson

Steve Harwell in hospice: Smash Mouth singer dying from liver failure

steve harwell cause of death drinking

If you or a loved one suddenly develops a yellowing of the eyes or skin, tenderness in the abdomen or unusual changes in mental state, seek medical attention right away, the clinic advises. Although the condition is “extremely rare,” Lucero says, it’s also always an emergency. It occurs when, all of a sudden, the liver just stops working in somebody who has no known liver condition, Lucero says. Liver failure is a condition in which the liver can no longer keep functioning at normal levels.

That means “knowing whether they had a chronic ongoing liver injury or confirming that they’ve never had any liver injury, but now come in with a new situation where their liver’s not working.” “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 continued. In October 2021, Harwell announced his retirement from the band following a fumbled performance at a beer and wine festival.

Smash Mouth’s long-time manager Robert Hayes confirmed to US media on 3 September that the singer did not have long to live, and was being cared for by his fiancée and hospice care. Steve Harwell, the lead singer of US band Smash Mouth, has died at the age of 56. His death, at his home in Boise, Idaho, was confirmed by the band’s manager, Robert Hayes, who said the cause was liver failure. While some cases of liver failure can be reversed with treatment, other patients may need a liver transplant to survive. There can be multiple causes of acute liver failure, including an overdose of a common medicine. If they do receive a transplant and continue to drink, “then their new liver will also fail eventually.”

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steve harwell cause of death drinking

In a statement to USA TODAY, Harwell’s reps then revealed that the frontman had been battling health issues for the past eight years stemming from his diagnosis with cardiomyopathy. TMZ, which was the first outlet to report the news, reported Harwell has “reached the final stage of liver failure” due to alcohol abuse throughout his life. Several conditions are also risk factors for acute liver failure, Johns Hopkins adds, including hepatitis, Wilson’s disease, cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr virus, and herpes simplex virus. Doctors are typically able to decide whether or not a patient is a transplant candidate — and, if so, get them listed for a transplant — within a day, Lucero says. The challenge with acute liver failure patients, though, is that they “have to be able to agree to take lifelong immune suppression to prevent rejection of the organ,” Lucero explains. For instance, although chronic alcohol consumption doesn’t directly cause acute liver failure, it “decreases the threshold to develop drug-induced liver injury,” Lucero says.

“At first it was weird, and we were a bit guarded and resistant,” Harwell said of the song’s online popularity, in a 2017 interview with Polygon. His distinctive, raspy rap-singing voice was instantly recognisable and several of Smash Mouth’s songs became viral sensations. Born in California in 1967, Harwell started his musical career in the rap group, F.O.S. (Freedom of Speech), who based their sound on the sample-heavy beats of Chuck D and Public Enemy. Smash Mouth had a string of hits in the 1990s and 2000s with All Star, Walkin’ on the Sun and I’m a Believer.

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Hayes called Harwell a “true American original,” and said he should be remembered for his unwavering focus and determination to reach the heights of pop stardom. The fact that Harwell did that with limited musical experience, he said, makes his achievements all the more remarkable. In some cases of acute liver failure, however, the cause is unknown. He’d been diagnosed with cardiomyopathy several years ago, according to previous interviews with People. The condition occurs when the heart muscles can’t effectively pump blood to the rest of the body, the Mayo Clinic explains, and it can later lead to heart failure, blood clots and cardiac arrest. Harwell dealt with multiple health conditions in the years prior to his death, including addiction, according to Hayes.

During an appearance with the band at The Big Sip in New York, a video of Harwell slurring his speech, cursing at the audience, and making a gesture that resembled a Nazi salute, became viral. It went triple platinum and included the hits Can’t Get Enough of You Baby and the incredibly catchy All Star – a song which Rolling Stone magazine said “inexplicably mesmerized the world for 20 years”. Some critics wrote the band off as a one-hit wonder, but Smash Mouth proved them wrong with their second album Astro Lounge in 1999.

“It’s a cascade of events that pretty rapidly can lead to multi-organ dysfunction, and ultimately, that’s what people pass away from.” “Acute liver failure is probably one of the scariest things in my field,” Dr. Catherine Lucero, assistant professor of clinical medicine and transplant hepatologist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, tells Harwell retired from performing with the band two years ago and passed away after a short stay in hospice care. The musician, who struggled with alcoholism, was diagnosed with the heart ailment cardiomyopathy in 2013; and subsequently a neurological condition which affected his memory and speech.

He said Harwell was “surrounded by family and friends and passed peacefully and comfortably.” Alcohol also plays a role in the health of your liver, though it is more directly a cause of chronic liver failure, which is more common and develops over a longer period. Multiple news outlets report Harwell had struggled with alcoholism. People who have certain long-term medical issues, or who currently or previously consumed an excessive amount of alcohol are at higher risk for liver failure, Cleveland Clinic says. But with acute liver failure, liver function deteriorates much more quickly, usually over days or weeks, the Mayo Clinic says.

What to know about acute liver failure, Steve Harwell of Smash Mouth’s cause of death

Best known for the 1999 hit “All Star,” Harwell’s “iconic voice is one of the most recognizable voices from his generation. He loved the fans and loved to perform,” the statement said. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information. “Good night Heevo Veev. Rest in peace knowing you aimed for the stars, and magically hit your target. He will be greatly missed by those who knew and loved him.” The year 2020 saw him dismiss the seriousness of Covid-19 to a packed crowd at a motorbike rally in South Dakota. The rally was later declared a superspreader event by the National Institute of Health, and Smash Mouth said they received hate mail for performing there. “But as we dove into it more and focused on it we started ‘getting it.’ Plus, to be honest, it has really spiked the sales [of the song].”

  1. “All Star” appeared in the 2001 animated movie Shrek, as did the band’s cover version of the Monkees’ classic “I’m a Believer.”
  2. According to the band’s manager, the cause of death was acute liver failure.
  3. Their fusion of pop, ska, surf and punk, along with retro vibes from the 60s, generated an early hit in the shape of Walkin’ On The Sun, which topped Billboard’s modern rock charts, and helped their debut album Fush Yu Mang enter the Top 40.
  4. In a statement Robert Hayes said Harwell died at his home in Idaho, “surrounded by family and friends”.

At the most severe stage, this scarring is called cirrhosis, Kushner explains. “You can still have actually a functioning liver that has a lot of scarring,” she says, but eventually the scarring will likely impact liver function and lead to liver failure. His death was confirmed by the band’s manager, Robert Hayes, who said the cause was acute liver failure.

Yes, Smash Mouth Has Seen The ‘All Star’ Memes

Smash Mouth burst onto the scene in the late 1990s with the release of the band’s major-label debut, “Fush Yu Mang,” which went on to sell two million copies. The album’s follow-up, “Astro Lounge,” featured the Billboard Hot 100 hit “All Star.” The band also contributed to the soundtrack of the animated film “Shrek” in 2001. However, his own poor health and reported alcohol abuse affected several performances throughout the years.

Over time, the symptoms may become more severe as the disease advances. According to the band’s manager, the cause of death was acute liver failure. Harwell issued a statement saying he needed to work on longstanding physical and mental health issues. His manager, Hayes, said Harwell lived a “100% full-throttle life.” Recently, some experts have started using the term acute on chronic liver failure. In this situation, a patient “may have underlying long-standing chronic liver disease or cirrhosis,” Kushner explains, and then an infection or other issue “on top of that leads to liver failure.”

Former lead singer of the band Smash Mouth Steve Harwell dies at 56

“Liver failure does not necessarily have to be a death sentence,” Kushner says. But, she continues, “it’s not that anyone who wants a liver transplant just walks in and gets one.” There’s a waitlist for transplants and “very stringent criteria to determine who can qualify for a liver transplant,” Kushner says. In some cases, treatments can prevent further complications or help reverse acute liver failure by giving the liver time to heal, the Mayo Clinic says. Once the liver fails, kidney failure and neurologic dysfunction might follow. “All the organs in the body work together, so if one fails, then you start seeing other organs fail, as well,” Kushner explains.