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Mikey Welsh, RIP

Mikey Welsh with members of Weezer in September of 2011

Weezer‘s former bassist Mikey Welsh passed away in a Chicago hotel room yesterday afternoon (10/8) at the age of 40.

Authorities say a drug overdose is suspected in his death.

Welsh, 40, was found unresponsive on the floor after failing to check out of his room at the Raffaello Hotel in the 200 block of East Delaware Place at 1 p.m. Saturday, according to Chicago Police News Affairs Officer Laura Kubiak. Hotel staff found him.

Welsh was pronounced dead at the scene at 2:50 p.m., according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. An autopsy is scheduled for later day, but authorities said narcotics are suspected as the cause of death.

Kubiak said police are conducting a death investigation.

Weezer is in town for the Chicago Riot Fest tonight, and Welsh was expected to catch their show.

Welsh, 40, of Burlington, VT, performed with Weezer from 1998 to 2001, leaving after suffering a nervous breakdown, according to the band’s website. He eventually established himself in a second career as a painter.

“I’m taking a break from music,” he told MetroWest Daily News in 2002. “I really feel the need to reinvent myself and move on, and I couldn’t be happier painting. Music is still an important part of my life, but I really have no desire to actually play it.”

The group’s “Weezerpedia” page carried a note this morning that read, “As many of you may have heard, Mikey Welsh has passed away. “The news was announced via his official Facebook page earlier in the evening. Understanding that many here are grieving, Weezerpedia has created a digital eulogy page for Mikey Welsh where fans can post stories, pictures, or thoughts. R.I.P. Mikey.”

Scott Shriner, the band’s current bassist, posted a short note to his Twitter account at about 12 a.m. Sunday.

“Really bummed about Mikey. My heart goes out to his family and friends. Such a talent… he made a special mark on the world with his art. [Chicago Tribune]

As Pitchfork points out:

In what could be a strange coincidence, Welsh posted two tweets on September 26 describing a dream he’d had that he would die of a heart attack in his sleep in Chicago. “Dreamt I died in Chicago next weekend,” read the first tweeted, “need to write my will today.” It was soon followed by: “correction – the weekend after next.”

Welsh appeared only on the band’s 2001 self-titled LP (Green Album).

RIP Mikey.

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