We Die Young: Former Alice In Chains bassist Mike Starr dead at 44

Dr. Drew Pinsky Mike Starr Celebrity Rehab VH1

Dr. Drew Pinsky poses with Mike Starr

Starr, who was born in Honolulu, played in Seattle with Jerry Cantrell and Sean Kinney as the glam band Diamond Lie, which later morphed into Alice in Chains with the addition of Layne Staley.

Their first studio EP was 1990’s ‘We Die Young.’  (source: Comcast.net)

That EP title carries some deep irony…

Former bassist for Alice In Chains , Mike Starr was found dead in his Salt Lake City, Utah home earlier today at the age of 44.  The cause of death is unknown at this time.  Initial assessment from the Salt Lake City Police Department cites, “There is nothing to indicate that this was foul play by another individual.”  An autopsy and toxicology tests are scheduled to be performed on Starr to determine the cause of death; however, early speculation is that it is drug related.

Starr was one of the cast members on “Celebrity Rehab 3” and the season’s follow up show “Sober House 2.” Starr was deeply affected by fellow Alice In Chains band member, Layne Staley‘s death by overdose back in 2002 and was further motivated to maintain sobriety in Staley’s honor. Both shows are hosted by addiction specialist Dr. Drew Pinsky and marks the first celebrity casualty from the VH1 series.  The video below is from episode 7 of “Celebrity Rehab 3” where Starr confronts Staley’s mother, Nancy, for the very first time since Staley’s untimely death.

In episode 8 of “Celebrity Rehab 4,” Dr. Drew shared a video followed by a panel discussion with former cast members Tom Sizemore, Mackenzie Phillips, and Mike Starr.  At the time, Mike appeared physically healthy and gave the simple advice to “just stick with it.”  He followed up by sharing that he was 6 months and 7 days sober at the time.  Watch the video excerpt below:

Sadly, things began to take a turn for the worse in more recent months.  According to The Hollywood Reporter, “Three weeks ago, Starr was arrested in Salt Lake City on an outstanding warrant related to an earlier drugs charge, and was also carrying unauthorized prescription medications.”  TMZ reported, “Salt Lake City cops say he had 6 Xanax pills and 6 Opana (painkiller) pills when he was busted.” (read also the article in the Salt Lake Tribune “Alice In Chains co-founder jailed in SLC on drug counts“)

This comes on the heels of a very public downward spiral of actor Charlie Sheen.  Earlier today, I watched the VH1 special “Charlie Sheen: Winning… Or Losing It? With Dr. Drew” which takes a more serious look at Sheen’s condition and the potential tragic outcomes if he does not seek proper medical attention.  In the special, Dr. Drew says that Sheen is showing “signs of typical hypomania– anger, self importance, invincibility, superiority, and a torrent of speech.”  See the video excerpt below:

RIP Mike Starr…

(Born: April 4, 1966 – Died: March 8, 2011)

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