Singer Scott Weiland Dies At 48

By Zachary Siegel 12/04/15

The former frontman for the Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver had a long struggle with addiction.

Scott Weiland

Scott Weiland, best known for fronting legendary 1990s band Stone Temple Pilots, was found dead Thursday night in Bloomington, Minn. He was 48.

Weiland’s manager, Tom Vitorino, confirmed the death via Instagram and Facebook. In a statement posted to Mr. Weiland’s and social media pages, Vitorino said that Weiland “passed away in his sleep while on a tour stop in Bloomington, Minnesota, with his band The Wildabouts.”

An exemplar of rock star imagery, Mr. Weiland was often seen as disheveled yet bold, with a forceful, impressive voice. In multiple interviews Weiland said he had struggled with mental illness and was given a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. 

He was arrested in 1995 on suspicion of possessing crack cocaine and heroin, which prompted a stint in rehab. He entered rehab again in 1996, forcing the band to cut a tour of the album Tiny Music ... Songs From the Vatican Gift Shop short.

In a 1997 interview with Rolling Stone, Weiland said of his addiction that, “It got to the point where I didn’t feel like I got a good enough rush unless I had one hand on the needle and one hand dialing 911.”

After a 1998 arrest for possession of heroin, Weiland was sentenced to a year in jail for violating his probation. Nevertheless, he continued playing music in band called Velvet Revolver, which produced two gold-selling singles and three Grammys for Best Hard Rock Performance in 2005. However, by 2008 the band forced Weiland out, citing “increasingly erratic onstage behavior and personal problems.”

In a 2008 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Weiland said, “A lot of junkies have died with that Keith Richards poster pinned inside their minds. But no one is Keith.”

According to official statements released late Thursday night, there is no immediate cause of death.

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Zachary Siegel is a freelance journalist specializing in science, health and drug policy. His reporting has also appeared in Slate, The Daily Beast, Salon, Huffington Post, among others. He writes often about addiction, sometimes drawing from his own experience. You can find out more about Zachary on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter.