Smash Mouth have been known to go viral in recent days, whether they’re performing at a COVID super-spreader event or dragging Rolling Stone writers on Twitter. But earlier this week, the band went viral after lead singer Steve Harwell’s very disoriented performance at a wine and beer festival in New York. Now, just a day after videos of the set were shared far and wide, Harwell has reportedly announced his departure from the band.
The retirement was first announced through a report by TMZ, who claims his “health challenges” had “become too much for him”; The 54-year-old rocker diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart muscle, nearly eight years ago. According to Variety, the diagnosis led to other major health setbacks like heart failure and Wernicke’s encephalopathy, an acute neurological condition which impacts his speech, memory, and other motor functions.
In a statement given to TMZ, Harwell thanked thanked his bandmates and said his dreams came true with Smash Mouth:
“Ever since I was a kid, I dreamed of being a Rockstar performing in front of sold-out arenas and have been so fortunate to live out that dream. To my bandmates, it’s been an honor performing with you all these years and I can’t think of anyone else I would have rather gone on this wild journey with.”
Ahead of announcing his retirement, fans had noticed that Smash Mouth had been performing with a replacement lead singer, but no one could figure out exactly who it was. The band didn’t reveal who the performer was, but did note that no one had been fired from the band.