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Smash Mouth’s lead singer Steve Harwell is apparently retiring after a controversial concert in Upstate New York on Saturday that found him slurring his words and making vaguely threatening comments toward the audience. The singer has been battling health problems for several years and the band had played some recent shows with a stand-in vocalist.
The “Rockstar” singer, 54, apparently made the announcement to TMZ, although there was no message on his or the band’s socials at the time of this article’s publication (Harwell’s Instagram account is private) and a rep for the group did not immediately respond to Variety’s request for comment.
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“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.”
According to TMZ, Harwell was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy eight years ago, which led to other medical setbacks like heart failure and Wernicke’s encephalopathy, which impacts his motor functions, including speech and memory, and presumably contributed to his disoriented performance at the concert, which took place Saturday afternoon in Bethel, NY. Clips from the performance circulated widely online over the past few days.
Harwell had announced earlier that he intended to take some time off from performing, but apparently he has retired altogether.
“To our loyal and amazing fans, thank you, all of this was possible because of you. 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 concluded, according to TMZ. “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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