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Drug overdose suspected in Chicago death of former Weezer bassist

Mikey Welsh former bassist for alternative rock bWeezer has died. Welsh who was 40 was found Chicago hotel room Saturday

Mikey Welsh, former bassist for the alternative rock band Weezer, has died. Welsh, who was 40, was found in a Chicago hotel room on Saturday afternoon. Photo courtesy

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Updated: November 16, 2011 11:45AM

The former bassist of the alternative rock band Weezer was found dead of an apparent drug overdose in a Streeterville hotel room Saturday — a day before the group’s Chicago concert, authorities said.

Mikey Welsh, 40, had not played with Weezer in 10 years and planned on attending the band’s Riot Fest show Sunday at the Congress Theater in Logan Square, according to a statement on Weezer’s website.

Police said emergency personnel responded about 1:30 p.m. Saturday to the Raffaello Hotel, 201 E. Delaware Place, when Welsh failed to check out by the scheduled time. Hotel personnel unsuccessfully attempted to enter the room, but emergency crews later found him on the floor not breathing and pronounced him dead on the scene, police said. The hotel had no comment.

Authorities said Welsh, of South Burlington, Vt., died of an apparent drug overdose. The results of a Sunday autopsy performed by the medical examiner’s office are pending toxicological reports.

Welsh played bass with Weezer from 1998 until 2001, during which time the band released a self-titled album also known as “The Green Album.” The band said he left after suffering a nervous breakdown and became a painter.

Fans lined up outside the theater hours before Sunday’s show.

Kali Martin came from Niles, Mich., for the show and wore a green T-shirt picturing Welsh and the band she purchased at the United Center in 2001 during the bassist’s final tour with Weezer.

“Mikey definitely brought energy,” Martin said. “It was definitely something I was not used to with them because [lead singer] Rivers [Cuomo] is so laid back.”

The show was a 30th birthday present for Martin, who has seen Weezer more than 10 times and had met Welsh and the band.

Zac Morris, 17, and his friends were all wearing the band’s T-shirts for their first Weezer show.

“It’s kind of a shock,” Morris said of Welsh’s death. “The weirdest thing is it happened today when I’m going to the show.”

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