by Larry Simons
March 18, 2015
Mike Porcaro, bass player for the rock group Toto, who had been battling amyotropic lateral sclerosis [Lou Gehrig's disease] since 2007, died in his sleep this past Sunday [March 15] at the age of 59. His health began to decline when numbness in his fingers made it difficult to play, so he was forced to leave the band.
Porcaro officially joined the band in 1982 when he replaced David Hungate following the highly successful album Toto IV. Mike actually played cello on the song "Good for You" on that grammy-winning album. He was their official bass player for the albums Isolation, Fahrenheit, The Seventh One, Kingdom of Desire, Tambu, Minefields and Falling In Between.
His death marks the third Toto member to pass away, following the deaths of former lead singer Fergie Frederiksen, who died in 2014, and Mike's brother Jeff, the band's former drummer, who died in 1992. A third Porcaro brother, Steve, who is Toto's keyboardist, is the only surviving brother.
Mike co-wrote most of the songs on the Kingdom of Desire album, as well as other Toto greats like "Mr. Friendly" and "Caught In the Balance".
Members of the band reacted to Porcaro's death via Twitter/Facebook:
Guitarist and vocalist Steve Lukather:
"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"
Pianist/vocalist David Paich:
"God bless our brother, Mike. Rest in peace Mikey..."
Former lead vocalist Bobby Kimball:
"The passed 2 days have been very sad for me. 2 days ago, I found out that my friend, Jimmy Greenspoon, the keyboardist for "Three Dog Night", had passed away. We were friends for so many years. We were writing some songs together, and I always thought he was such a fantastic keyboard player and song writer.That was some really bad news for me. However, today I found out that Mike Porcaro had passed away too, and that made me terribly sad. I had not visited Mile for about 3 years, because I didn't want to disturb him while he was experiencing such a malicious disease like ALS. The first person that I ever saw with this disease was my Daughter's Great-Grand-Mother, who had ALS for 23 years. I felt so sorry for Mike and his wonderful Family about this problem. Mike was one of the nicest people, and such a great Musician that I knew. I have a photo a friend of mine took while we were in Tokyo, Japan, just before Mike had to go home, and not travel around the world for so many months. Leland Sklar came and played the 2nd half of the "Falling In Between" Tour for Mike. Even though Leland is such a fantastic Musician and a wonderful person, a lot of the Fans were really posting that they were missing Mike onstage. It was very sad to know that Mike would be suffering for so many years. Just before he went home, this Photo was taken in Tokyo. I like to see this smile on Mike's face in this Photo.....Bobby"
Keyboardist and brother Steve Porcaro:
"Our brother Mike passed away peacefully in his sleep at 12:04 AM last night at home surrounded by his family. Rest in peace, my brother"
Sadly, Porcaro's death comes just nine days before the release of Toto's first album in 9 years, Toto XIV.