Ex-Weezer bassist Mikey Welsh dies in Chicago

October 9, 2011 - 4:15 PM

CHICAGO (AP) — Former Weezer bass player Mikey Welsh, who also found success in his second career as an artist, died in a Chicago hotel room, police said Sunday.

Chicago police spokeswoman Laura Kubiak said Welsh was supposed to check out of the Raffaello Hotel at 1 p.m. Saturday. When he didn't, hotel staff went to his room, entered it and found him unconscious and not breathing, Kubiak said.

The cause of death was undetermined pending toxicology tests, according to an autopsy performed Sunday by the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office. Test results could take up to six weeks, authorities said. Kubiak said there's nothing to indicate foul play.

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."

Weezer posted a message on its website, saying Welsh's time with the band was "vital, essential, wild, and amazing."

"A unique talent, a deeply loving friend and father, and a great artist is gone, but we will never forget him," the band said.

Welsh planned to attend Weezer's Sunday performance at Riot Fest in Chicago.

"i'm excited to see the boys, hang out and have some fun," he wrote on his Facebook page earlier this month.