How Did Steve Harwell Die? Smash Mouth Singer Dead at 56

how did steve harwell die image of stever harwell singing on stage
Steve Harwell, lead vocalist for American pop rock band Smashmouth, performs for U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and Joint Task Force (JTF) Guantanamo personnel at the Downtown Lyceum, Jan. 6, 2009. The band toured the JTF detention facilities as part of their visit. (U.S. Army photo, Image is in the Public Domain)

Last updated on September 7th, 2023 at 01:44 am

Steve Harwell has long been a popular singer, even though many people didn’t know him by name. He’s the founding member and frontman of the band Smash Mouth, which brought you songs like “All-Star,” an iconic cover of “I’m a Believer,” and “Walkin’ on the Sun.”

While Steve Harwell was mostly a vocalist, he also was an accomplished drummer and keyboardist.

Sadly, Steve Harwell has finished his journey on this earth. But how did Steve Harwell die? Keep reading to learn all the details about the death of this music legend.

How Did Steve Harwell Die?

Steve Harwell’s cause of death was ultimately liver failure due to the large amounts of alcohol the star drank while he was alive, which led to alcoholic liver disease. Although his death was a shock to many, it’s reported that his friends and family said it was a long time coming. Harwell was receiving hospice care in his home prior to his death for alcohol-related cirrhosis.

During his life, Harwell was a known alcoholic, frequently coming under fire from the media for his excessive drinking and alcohol abuse. Even though it is rumored he spent time in rehab, the addiction treatment did not help Harwell, and he continued to abuse alcohol.

Many of his later shows showed the star drinking alcohol on stage and performing in various states of intoxication as the lead vocalist of Smash Mouth.

In addition to acute liver failure, Harwell was suffering from cardiomyopathy, a heart condition that was causing serious issues in other parts of his body. These issues included heart failure and acute Wernicke encephalopathy, the latter of which caused Harwell to have speech and memory problems. All these, combined with his alcohol addiction, were major factors in Steve Harwell’s cause of death.

Harwell’s last performance was in October 2021, and his manager reports that he suffered from health problems related to his alcohol misuse from that point until his last breath. He had a serious alcohol problem and was unable to refrain from drinking excessively, even as his health declined.

the band smash mouth on the red carpet in 19999
Image from Shutterstock.

When Did Steve Harwell Die?

Steve Harwell left this world on Labor Day, September 4th, 2023. He passed away in the morning, surrounded by his loved ones in his home in Boise, Idaho.

Robert Hayes, Harwell’s long-term manager, confirmed the death for USA Today, explaining that the singer died “peacefully and comfortably.”

Musically, Steve Harwell is survived by Smash Mouth bassist Paul De Lisle, the only other permanent member of the band (all the other band members have changed over the years). Steve Harwell was not married when he died, and his only son, Presley Harwell, is deceased.

How Old is Steve Harwell of Smash Mouth When He Died?

Steve Harwell passed away at the young age of 56.

Where Is Steve Harwell Buried?

The plans for Steve Harwell’s funeral and burial have not yet been announced. Due to the location of his death in Boise, Idaho, and his sentiments in the last years of his life, it is expected that Steve Harwell’s funeral will be a private affair. There may be a memorial announced at a later date.

Who Inherited Steve Harwell’s Money?

While the terms of Steve Harwell’s will have yet to be disclosed, Harwell felt strongly about childhood leukemia, especially after his son died from it. With no other family members in the picture besides his ex-wife, with whom he had a rocky relationship, it is expected most of Steve Harwell’s estate will pass to his charity in his son’s name.  

What Were Steve Harwell’s Last Words?

As of now, the exact last words the “All-Star” singer has muttered have not been published. However, Steve Harwell knew that the early days of September 2023 would be his last, as TMZ announced On September 3rd that Harwell was leaving inpatient care at the hospital and returning home to be in comfort as he passed.

Prior to Steve Harwell’s death, his last public performance was almost two years ago, in October 2021, and it ended as a failure. Harwell was reportedly slurring words onstage and was unable to perform. It led many to suspect that he had a drinking problem.

After that fateful incident, he resigned as lead singer of the band, and not much has been reported since. Therefore, it is assumed that his slurred words on stage in October 2021 were his last to the general public.

How Much is Steve Harwell’s Net Worth?

At the time of his death, Steve Harwell had a net worth of approximately $2.5 million US dollars thanks to his many pop-culture hits and royalties from using his music in the hit animated movie Shrek.

Steve Harwell’s will has not publicly been announced yet, but $2.5 million is no small amount to divvy up. Steve Harwell’s estate assumably contains cash, the rights to his music, as well as his home in Boise, where he died.

Steve Harwell’s Career

Steve Harwell was known for his pop and rock hit songs with Smash Mouth, namely “All-Star,” which became a Billboard top hit. Although Steve didn’t perform much as a lead vocalist in his final years, his recordings were still popular, especially among those nostalgic for the 90s.

Although he frequently jumped genres, and many of his songs were covers, he is still a name known by many. While the band didn’t release music in the last decade, they released numerous albums from 1997 to 2012, with their last new album being released in 2018.

Steve Harwell’s music is often compared to Bon Jovi, Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks, and Guns N Roses. While his music is often less influential than the bands mentioned above, it can’t be denied that he left his mark on the music world.

Related: Best 90s Songs

Was Steve Harwell Married When He Died?

Steve Harwell was not married when he died, and although the singer dated prolifically over the years, most of his relationships ended in failure due to his alcohol problems. He was reportedly dating someone when he died, but their name has not been made public.

His most famous relationship was with his ex-wife Michelle Laroque, but the relationship ended decades ago, soon after the death of their infant son. Laroque reports that losing a child after 6 months due to a life-threatening illness put too much strain on the couple’s relationship, and when paired with Harwell’s alcoholism, they could not reconcile and eventually divorced.

How Many Children Did Steve Harwell Have?

Steve Harwell only had one son before he passed away, Presley Scott Harwell, who died in 2001 at only 6 months old due to leukemia.

smash mouth the entire band in 1999
Image from Shutterstock.

Why Did Steve Harwell Collapse?

In 2016, Steve Harwell collapsed on stage during a performance, and it was reportedly due to his cardiovascular condition, cardiomyopathy, which he was diagnosed with in 2013, and having a few too many alcoholic drinks before performing.

This was the beginning of the end for the singer, and multiple performances from 2016-2021 would be canceled due to Steve Harwell’s health issues and his tendency to drink too much before shows.

Ultimately, he could not overcome his alcohol dependency, and in 2021, after a disastrous performance where Harwell insulted the audience and slurred his speech, Harwell left the public eye for good.

It is unclear if he sought an alcohol treatment program after leaving the band, but either way, it was likely too late for the singer, as he was already suffering many alcohol-related problems.


Overall, Steve Harwell has contributed heavily to rock and pop music culture thanks to his numerous hits over the years.

While Steve Harwell never won a Grammy, he was truly an icon. We suspect that following his death, he could be inducted into a Hall of Fame. From his remake of “I’m a Believer” by Neil Diamond (which was popularized by the Monkees) to the top hit “All-Star,” the singer will go down in music history as a ’90s icon.

While it can be sad to think of Steve Harwell’s death, especially considering the health issues he suffered from heavy drinking in his last few years, Howell wouldn’t want you to be sad about the end of his life. As someone who always went at life full force, he died knowing he was leaving an amazing legacy behind, which would last for centuries to come.

Steve Harwell is also a prime example of the harmful effects of alcohol abuse and alcoholism. If you struggle with drinking too much or alcohol withdrawal, there are services that can help.

Even if it is just someone you know who suffers from symptoms of alcohol dependence, sharing some tips about how to stop drinking with them can help. If you are someone you know is dangerously impaired or unresponsive, call your local emergency number or 911 for help.

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Written by Hope Davis

Long-time music lover Hope became a full-time writer in 2020 after being laid off from her regular job due to COVID-19. She now spends her time traveling the world to see her favorite bands while writing about them!


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