Mike Taylor had endeared himself to fans of the band Walk Off The Earth for his giant beard and his viral covers. Now, the keyboardist’s sudden passing has those fans searching for clues about his potential cause of death.
On Sunday, the band released a statement saying that the member known affectionately as “Beard Guy” had died suddenly in his sleep, noting that his passing was peaceful.
“It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved brother and band member, Mike ‘Beard Guy’ Taylor,” the statement read. “Mike had a love for life that was unmatched and a willingness to give that went beyond ordinary means. He passed peacefully from natural causes last night in his sleep. Our deepest sympathies are with his two children, whom he adored more than anything else in the world. We ask for privacy for his family in this trying time.”
The Canadian indie pop band had gained a large following online for their creative covers, including one of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know” that has garnered more than 185 million views since being released in 2012. The band had been scheduled to perform on New Year’s Eve in Niagara Falls as part of the CBC’s television special, which was to kick off a 2019 world tour for the group.
News of Taylor’s passing left fans stunned, with no previous indication that he had been ill.
While details of Mike Taylor’s cause of death have not been released, other reports noted that his passing was not expected and that his death was from natural causes. It appeared that Taylor was set to be part of the band’s upcoming tour, hinting that he was not suffering any known chronic health effects.
Taylor was also involved in the band’s recent endeavors. Walk Off The Earth had just posted about its New Year’s Eve show in an Instagram post on Christmas Eve, which showed the band members together dressed in holiday attire including Taylor dressed as Santa Claus.
Mike Taylor had become known for sharing covers of Christmas carols and had recently posted a piano rendition of “O Holy Night” on his Facebook page. In the wake of Taylor’s sudden passing, his page has turned into a de facto memorial, with many fans leaving condolences and sharing their memories of meeting the band. Other musicians spoke out, remembering Taylor as a kind and giving person who cared deeply for others, especially his young children.