Word broke late Saturday night that Mikey Welsh — Green Album-era bassist (and also Juliana Hatfield touring bassist), visual artist, husband, and father of two children — passed away earlier that day at the age of 40. He was found “unresponsive and not breathing” in a Chicago hotel room, where he was in town on vacation with plans to see Weezer perform during the weekend, says a post on his Facebook page. According to The Chicago Tribune, a drug overdose is suspected. It wouldn’t have been his first struggles with substance abuse, as a 2007 interview with Welsh details:
Basically, a lifetime of doing drugs and being undiagnosed as having disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and borderline personality disorder finally caught up with me when I was 30-years-old. At the beginning of a three-month European tour with Weezer, I started slowly falling apart.
It was a series of events that would eventually lead him to turn away from a full-time career in music and dedicate his time to painting. He lived in Burlington, Vermont, working on large-scale figures and, more recently, abstracts. A collection of his work — bright, colorful and intense — can be seen on his blog.
A pair of odd messages posted on Welsh’s Twitter account from September 26 certainly put a cryptic twist on things: “dreamt i died in chicago next weekend (heart attack in my sleep). need to write my will today,” it reads. Draw from that what you will.