Steve Harwell Dead: Former Smash Mouth Singer Dies at Age 56

Steve Harwell, of the American rock band Smash Mouth, sings on stage during the KROQ Weenie Roast on June 19, 1999 at the Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre in Irvine, California.
Lester Cohen/Getty Images

Former Smash Mouth singer Steve Harwell has died after receiving hospice care. He was 56 years old.

Band manager Robert Hayes confirmed Harwell’s death in a statement shared with Us Weekly on Monday, September 4, noting that the musician “passed peacefully and comfortably” at his home in Idaho.

“Steve has been retired from Smash Mouth for two years now, and the band continues to tour with new vocalist Zach Goode,” the statement continued. “That said, Steve’s legacy will live on through the music.”

Hayes went on to cite the band’s accomplishments with Harwell at the helm, including two No. 1 singles, five Top 40 singles, a Grammy nomination and more. “Steve’s iconic voice is one of the most recognizable voices from his generation. He loved the fans and loved to perform,” read the statement. “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. And the fact that he achieved this near-impossible goal with very limited musical experience makes his accomplishments all the more remarkable.”

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Hayes’ tribute to Harwell concluded: “His only tools were his irrepressible charm and charisma, his fearlessly reckless ambition, and his king-size cajones. Steve lived a 100 percent full-throttle life. Burning brightly across the universe before burning out.”

Steve Harwell Dead Former Smash Mouth Singer Dies at Age 56 2

Portrait of the American band Smash Mouth, left to right, Steve Harwell, Paul De Lisle, Greg Camp, and Kevin Coleman at the Metro in Chicago, Illinois, August 30, 1997.
Paul Natkin/Getty Images

A statement shared via the official Smash Mouth social media account added on Monday, “Rest in peace knowing you aimed for the stars, and magically hit your target. Rest easy.”

One day before news broke of Harwell’s death, Us confirmed via Harwell’s rep that the singer was experiencing liver failure and receiving end-of-life care. He previously retired from performing in 2021 due to several long-term health challenges.

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At the time, Harwell had been seen slurring his words and swearing at the audience during a show in Bethel, New York. When his retirement made headlines, Harwell thanked his bandmates and loyal fans in a heartfelt press release.

“I’ve tried so hard to power through my physical and mental health issues and to play in front of you one last time, but I just wasn’t able to,” he said in October 2021. “I am so grateful to each and every one of you who has helped Smash Mouth sell over 10 million albums worldwide, put us on top of radio charts and those who have kept ‘All Star’ relevant as one of the top memes on the internet today.”

He continued: “I cannot wait to see what Smash Mouth accomplishes next and am looking forward to counting myself as one of the band’s newest fans.”

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Harwell cofounded Smash Mouth in 1994 alongside Greg Camp, Kevin Coleman and Paul De Lisle, the only remaining original member of the band. Following his retirement, Harwell was replaced by Zach Goode as lead vocalist.

Smash Mouth is perhaps best known for ‘90s hits “Walkin’ on the Sun” and “All Star.” Their cover of “I’m a Believer” by The Monkees appears on the soundtrack for the 2001 movie Shrek.

Harwell is survived by his fiancée, Annette, and his siblings, Carla, Michelle, Julie and Mark.

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