Hawthorne Heights guitarist Casey Calvert, 26, was pronounced dead on Saturday after police were called to the band’s tour bus outside Washington, D.C.’s 9:30 Club around 2:30 p.m. and found him unconscious. The Washington Post reported that Calvert’s death came one day after he and his bandmates — frontman JT Woodruff, guitarist Micah Carli, bassist Matt Ridenour and drummer Eron Bucciarelli — boarded the bus to begin their Wintour 2007 outing, which kicked off Friday night in Detroit. Police are still awaiting results of an autopsy, though some reports speculate that his death might have been caused by a pre-existing condition related to acute asthma, a theory which the band has dismissed (see “Hawthorne Heights Remember Casey Calvert: A Man ‘On The Same Level As The Kids We Played For’ “ ).
Beverly Fields, a spokeswoman for the Washington, D.C., chief medical examiner’s office, told MTV News on Tuesday (November 27) that the results of the guitarist’s death might not be known for upward of 90 days, pending the results of an autopsy that has already completed. Fields added that the delay is commonplace in cases that are classified as “nonhomicides” — as Calvert’s is — and said the cause and manner of his death will not be known until the results of several tests have returned to the examiner’s office.
On the group’s Web site, fellow bandmembers announced the death of their “quirky and awesome best friend,” who they said had “passed away in his sleep.”
“Today is probably the worst day ever,” the group wrote. “It’s with our deepest regrets that we have to write this. Casey Calvert passed away in his sleep last night. We found out this afternoon before soundcheck. We’ve spent the entire day trying to come to grips with this and figure out as much as possible. At this time we’re not sure what exactly happened. Just last night he was joking around with everyone before he went to bed. We can say with absolute certainty that he was not doing anything illegal. Please, out of respect to Casey and his family, don’t contribute or succumb to any gossip you may hear. We don’t want his memory to be tainted in the least. Casey was our best friend. He was quirky and awesome and there will truly be no others like him! His loss is unexplainable. As soon as we know more we will let you know. Sincerely, Hawthorne Heights: Eron, JT, Micah and Matt.”
Calvert joined Hawthorne Heights in 2003, when they were still known as A Day in the Life, playing guitar — and famously providing background “screams” — on both of their albums, The Silence in Black and White and last year’s If Only You Were Lonely, which debuted at #3 on the Billboard albums chart.
The band spent much of the past two years on the road in support of Lonely, logging time on both Fall Out Boy’s Black Clouds Tour and the Nintendo Fusion Tour. At the time of Calvert’s death, Hawthorne had reportedly written 21 songs for a new album, but had not yet recorded them owing to an ongoing legal dispute with their former label, Victory Records.
“He was a very funny individual, and I always had a blast being around him. I spoke with Eron over the weekend and left a message with JT too, and I’m just giving them some space so they can digest what has happened,” said Justin Hirschman, who booked Hawthorne’s tours through the Artist Group International. “To be honest with you, I’m not sure they’ll be able to put what they’re feeling into words. I think they’re dealing with the death of their best friend right now, so I think the business of being a band comes second.”
To that end, a spokesperson at the band’s management company, the Firm, confirmed that Hawthorne Heights have canceled all remaining dates on Wintour 2007 and have returned home to Dayton, Ohio, to be with Calvert’s wife; he is also survived by two stepsisters, his mother and father, and his stepmother. It is not known whether the band will attempt to find a replacement for the guitarist.
[This story was originally published at 10:31 a.m. ET on 11.26.2007]