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Mike Starr, 1966-2011

Posted by Jeff Owens

Alice in Chains bassist Mike Starr, a founding member of the enormously successful but tragedy-tinged Seattle grunge band, was found dead in Salt Lake City on March 8. The cause of death is under investigation.

Born Michael Christopher Starr in Honolulu in April 1966, he formed Diamond Lie in Seattle in 1987 with guitarist Jerry Cantrell, drummer Sean Kinney and vocalist Layne Staley. The band soon changed its name to Alice in Chains. Starr appeared on 1990 debut EP We Die Young, double-platinum 1990 debut album Facelift, quadruple-platinum 1992 follow-up Dirt and 1992 second EP Sap. He left the band at its peak in 1992 during the Dirt tour. Starr subsequently played a short 1993 stint in Sun Red Sun.

Staley passed away in April 2002 after a long struggle with drug addiction. Starr’s own battle with drug addiction was chronicled in the 2010 third season of VH1 reality series Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew; he also appeared later that year in spinoff series Sober House. Starr’s struggle with addiction continued after he appeared on the shows, and he was arrested in February 2011 in Salt Lake City for suspicion of felony possession of a controlled substance.

A statement issued on behalf of Cantrell and Kinney, who continue to record and perform with Alice in Chains, said the two musicians “are mourning the loss of our friend and ask that the media respect their privacy and the privacy of the Starr family during this difficult time. Their thoughts and prayers are with the family.”

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