Mike Porcaro, longtime bassist for Toto, passed away early this morning following a lengthy battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), the condition that forced his retirement from the band in 2007.
Porcaro joined Toto in 1983, according to Rolling Stone, aside his brothers Steve, who played keyboards, and Jeff, a drummer. Steve Porcaro confirmed the news of his brother’s passing in a Facebook post, relaying to fans that Mike had died peacefully earlier this morning.
“Our brother Mike passed away peacefully in his sleep at 12:04 a.m. last night at home surrounded by his family. Rest in peace, my brother,” Porcaro wrote.
Toto guitarist Steve Lukather also reached out on social media to remember his bandmate and offer condolences to the Porcaro family.
My brother Mike Porcaro is now now at peace. I will miss him more than I could ever put into words. My deepest love to the family. God Bless
— Steve Lukather (@stevelukather) March 15, 2015
As Ultimate Classic Rock reports, Toto broke up shortly after Mike Porcaro‘s diagnosis, which forced him to leave the band. A few years later, however, Toto reformed amid mounting medical costs tied to Porcaro’s ALS. A progressive neurodegenerative disease, ALS robs its victims of the ability to control their muscle movements, progressing from the loss of fine motor skills to include tasks such as walking and speech.
“[Keyboardist] Dave [Paich] called and said, ‘We’ve gotta do something – Mikey’s doing bad and his family needs some bread’,” Lukather noted in a 2013 interview.
Heartbreak today. I not only had the privilege and honor of getting to see Mike Porcaro perform live several… http://t.co/cv1z5CPLsi
— joel burns (@rhythm_papa) March 15, 2015
During Toto’s hiatus, Porcaro was inducted into the Musician’s Hall of Fame alongside his bandmates. In 2012, keyboardist David Paich offered insight into Porcaro’s battle with ALS.
“He’s been going downhill for the last three years here, because it’s a very slow, degenerative process. But, again, Mike mentally is fantastic and if you talk to him, his spirits are up and he’s great and like the old Mike Porcaro, except that he’s disabled, he’s in a wheelchair and can’t move; can’t walk and can’t play which is a heartbreaking drag.”
— Reece Thompson (@ReeceThompson96) March 15, 2015
Porcaro isn’t the first notable musician to pass on in 2015, unfortunately. As the Inquisitr previously reported, legendary drummer Dallas Taylor and bassist Tim Drummond both died in January.
Mike Porcaro was 59-years-old.
[Image: JIL Studio/WireImage via Rolling Stone]