Mike Pocaro, who played bass for Grammy-winning band Toto for more than 20 years, has died of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), according to his brother and fellow bandmate Steve Pocaro. He was 59.
“Our brother Mike passed away peacefully in his sleep at 12:04 AM last night at home surrounded by his family, Steve posted on Facebook. “Rest in peace, my brother.”
Mike was one of three Porcaro brothers who had been part of Toto over the years, joining his brothers Jeff (drums) and Steve (keyboards, vocals) in 1982 as a replacement for original bassist David Hungate just as the band’s breakout record Toto IV was propelling them to international acclaim. The band went on to win multiple Grammy awards and sell over 35 million albums. Steve Porcaro is the only brother still performing with Toto; Jeff died in 1992.
Mike Porcaro was diagnosed with ALS in 2006, and left the band soon after due to his health issues. He was honored along with the band as a Musicians Hall of Fame inductee in 2009. The following year, Toto went on tour following a hiatus as a way of raising funds for the ailing former bandmate.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a motor neuron disease characterized by the degeneration of the neurons in the brain that control muscle movement. The degeneration is gradual and progressive, eventually resulting in death. ALS awareness has seen a fresh resurgence in the past year, in part due to the release of The Theory of Everything, a biopic about noted physicist Stephen Hawking, who suffers from the disease.
RIP, Mike Porcaro. You will be missed.
(Photo: Mark Regemann/Wikimedia)