Smash Mouth lead singer Steve Harwell is leaving the band. Just days after Harwell sparked concern after he slurred his words and threatened the audience during a performance at the Big Sip festival in upstate New York over the weekend, a representative for the singer confirmed Tuesday that Harwell is officially retiring from Smash Mouth "to focus on his physical and mental health."
In a statement obtained by the New York Post, Harwell's representative explained that Harwell "has been dealing with long-term medical issues over the last eight years," and the strange behavior fans witnessed during the Oct. 9 performance was due to Harwell having "suffered numerous symptoms directly linked with his current medical situation." Harwell was reportedly diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart muscle that makes it difficult for your heart to pump blood to the rest of your body, according to the Mayo Clinic, eight years ago. The disease has led to further complications, including heart failure and acute Wernicke Encephalopathy, which has reportedly affected Harwell's motor functions, including his speech and memory. His rep said that despite his "best efforts to work through these ailments," Harwell is "heartbroken to share that it has become impossible for him to continue doing what he loves most, performing in front of the band's millions of fans around the world." The statement added that "as of today, Steve will be retiring from Smash Mouth to focus on his physical and mental health."
Harwell confirmed his retirement from the band in his own statement, in which he reflected on how "ever since I was a kid, I dreamed of being a rock star, performing in front of sold-out arenas and have been so fortunate to live out that dream." Addressing his bandmates, Harwell said, "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."
"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. I am so grateful to each and every one of you who has helped Smash Mouth sell over 10 million albums worldwide, put us on top of radio charts and those who have kept 'All Star' relevant as one of the top memes on the internet today," he continued. 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."
While Harwell has now retired, Smash Mouth is not breaking up. Instead, the band will continue to perform as scheduled and will begin to search for a replacement. Smash Mouth formed in 1994 and has major hits including "All Star" and "Walkin on the Sun."