CNN Entertainment is reporting that the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office in Minnesota announced yesterday the cause of the death of Scott Weiland, best known as lead singer of The Stone Temple Pilots and most recently the lead singer and founder of the band The Wildabouts, was an accidental overdose. He was 48-years-old. Toxicology results showed lethal levels of a combination of alcohol, cocaine, and MDA in his system. Other factors contributing to his death, according to the medical examiner, were atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (hardening and narrowing of the arteries), long-term asthma, and “multi-substance dependence.”
His death was announced via Instagram on December 4.
Rolling Stone shared an open letter penned by former STP bandmates following his death. In that letter, they acknowledge both his great gift and his ongoing struggle with addiction. They also state a belief that the former was part of the cause of the latter.
Wikipedia lists two MTV Awards, an American Music Award, and a Grammy Award. It also lists three Grammy nominations, all for Best Hard Rock Performance.
Though unquestionably a tremendously gifted musician, the musician’s struggle with addiction that was the eventual cause of his death was well known and was the cause of great harm to both professional and personal relationships. As noted by CNN, he frequently missed shows, did many stints at rehab, and was arrested several times for DUI and various drug charges.
An article from Esquire in 2005 recalls a press conference held by STP bandmates in 1996 in which they cited his addiction as the cause of problems within the band.
“Fabulously rich,… Weiland crossed over to mainstream consciousness in 1996, when the members of his band—his closest friends—held a press conference on the eve of a national tour to out their buddy as an incorrigible heroin addict, ‘unable to rehearse or appear.'”
Esquire reported in that article that
“As of this writing, however, Weiland says he’s back. He’s on a world tour with his new group, Velvet Revolver. He has more than four hundred days of sobriety behind him. He is living happily again with his two young children and his wife, Mary.”
In an interview that makes up most of that article, Weiland recalls a childhood in which recreational drugs were common and were one cause of the divorce of his parents as his father’s drug use became an issue for his mother. She married again, this time to someone he described as a “corporate guy,” a man who stressed the importance of responsibility. At age four-and-a-half, they moved away from California when his stepfather received a promotion. This took Weiland away from his father, something he described as heartbreaking. He described trips to visit his father over the next few years and the emotions associated with them.
“But then I would have to leave. The drive to the airport was really…it was really…it wasn’t good. I remember I’d have to say goodbye and get on the plane. I’d get the window seat and just look out that window, and he would just stand there at the gate, and we’d just look at each other. When I would get back to Cleveland, I would be a wreck for a couple of weeks. For nine years of my life, that’s how it went: anticipation and separation. Those were my summers.”
In 2011, he talked about being raped by a student at his high school at the age of 12. The Washington Post quotes him as saying,
“This was a memory I suppressed until only a few years ago when, in rehab, it came flooding back… The dude raped me. It was quick, not pleasant. I was too scared to tell anyone.”
Weiland’s addictions also caused a rift with his ex-wife, Mary Forsberg Weiland, who wrote an open letter to his fans following his death. The letter was published in Rolling Stone, and says in part,
“December 3rd, 2015 is not the day Scott Weiland died… The outpouring of condolences and prayers offered to our children, Noah and Lucy, has been overwhelming, appreciated and even comforting. But the truth is, like so many other kids, they lost their father years ago… at some point, someone needs to step up and point out that yes, this will happen again – because as a society we almost encourage it… Skip the depressing T-shirt with 1967-2015 on it – use the money to take a kid to a ballgame or out for ice cream.”