Scott Weiland, former frontman of the US rock band Stone Temple Pilots, has died at the age of 48.
The singer’s manager, Tom Vitorino, confirmed his death on Thursday night.
A statement, on Instagram, said Weiland had “passed away in his sleep while on a tour stop in Bloomington, Minnesota, with his band The Wildabouts”.
TMZ reported Weiland’s body was discovered on his tour bus outside a motel, near the venue where the band were due to play.
Actress Juliette Lewis was one of the first to pay tribute to the singer following news of his death: “Sad to hear about Scott Weiland passing. He was a once of a kind epic force onstage. Thoughts are w[ith] his family,” she tweeted.
Rock band Wheatus, best known for the hit single Teenage Dirtbag, tweeted: “We opened for @STPBand in 2000. I watched them side stage and Scott Weiland destroyed me, he was the real thing. Seeing him changed me forever.”
Grammy organisers the Recording Academy of America hailed Weiland as “a grunge icon” adding his “extraordinary talent and captivating performances will forever live on and inspire legions of rock fans worldwide”.
Aerosmith’s Joe Perry also praised Weiland as “such a gifted performer”.
Stone Temple Pilots had a messy origin – Scott Weiland and bassist Robert DeLeo met at a Black Flag concert, and realised they were both dating the same woman.
They put their differences aside to form a band – initially called Mighty Joe Young – and became so close they wrote their debut hit, Plush, while sharing a hot tub.
Powered by Weiland’s distinctive lower register snarl, Stone Temple Pilots went on to sell 13.5 million albums in the US – but their stadium-ready anthems became a target for grunge purists, who accused them of being sell-outs.
Success set Weiland on a dangerous path. The musician, who struggled with bipolar disorder, turned to heroin, and addiction made it impossible for the band to continue.
Set adrift, he recorded a well-received solo album, 12 Bar Blues, and joined the rock supergroup Velvet Revolver – later admitting he did it for the money. “I can’t call it the music of my soul,” he told Spin magazine.
“I haven’t had a needle in my arm in thirteen years,” he told Blabbermouth earlier this year.
“Overcoming my addiction to heroin was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and I’m damn proud of the fact that the time in my life when drugs were stronger than my commitment to my health is so far behind me, and always will be.”
Born in California, Weiland formed the band Stone Temple Pilots with brothers Robert and Dean DeLeo in the late 1980s and went on to enjoy early critical and commercial success.
But the success of tracks such as Big Empty, Vasoline and Interstate Love Song, which propelled the 1994 album Purple to the top of the US charts, was marred by in-fighting among band members.
The band took a number of breaks, with Weiland eventually leaving and co-forming the supergroup Velvet Revolver – with former Guns N’ Roses members Slash (guitars), Duff McKagan (bass) and Matt Sorum (drums) – in 2002.
However, the singer’s drug addiction issues were becoming increasingly problematic.
n 1995, the singer was convicted of buying crack cocaine and sentenced to probation.
He was jailed in 1999 for violating his probation after being convicted of heroin possession in 1998, and four years later, in 2003, sentenced to three years’ probation for drug possession.
In 2008, he was sentenced to eight days in jail after pleading no contest to a drink driving charge.
Velvet Revolver frequently had alter its schedules to accommodate Weiland’s court appearances and spells in rehab and the band’s 2007 release, Libertad, was the last to feature Weiland on vocals.
They parted ways with Weiland the following year, blaming the singer’s “erratic behaviour”.
Reports of Weiland’s death began to circulate after musician Dave Navarro reportedly tweeted: “Just learned our friend Scott Weiland has died. So gutted, I am thinking of his family tonight.” That tweet later appeared to have been removed.
No immediate cause of death was given in the official statement. The statement asked for “the privacy of Scott’s family be respected”.
Weiland’s current band, Scott Weiland & the Wildabouts, were scheduled to play at a Medina, Minnesota, concert venue, on Thursday. The event was cancelled.
VASOLINE by STONE TEMPLE PILOTS