Mike Porcaro, who played bass for the seminal rock band Toto, has passed away after a long battle with ALS. He was 59 years old.
Porcaro came from a musical family. His father is jazz drummer Joe Porcaro, and he is the middle brother of drummer Jeff Porcaro and keyboardist Steve Porcaro. Though Mike played on several unofficial sessions since the band began, Jeff and Steve founded the band in 1977 with bassist David Hungate. Mike became a full-time member after Hungate left in 1982 and was first featured on 1984’s Isolation. He subsequently played on every album up until 2006’s Falling in Between.
The bassist was also an in-demand session player in Los Angeles. His resume also includes touring with Seals & Crofts, Boz Scaggs, Michael Franks, Joe Walsh, and Larry Carlton, among others. He also released a solo album called Brotherly Love, in honor of his brother Jeff, who passed away in 1992.
Porcaro started feeling numbness in his fingers while on tour in 2007 that forced him to stop playing. Session ace Leland Sklar filled in for the rest of the tour, but the group ultimately disbanded in 2008. It wasn’t until 2010 that Toto officially announced that Porcaro was suffering from Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a disease that causes muscle atrophy due to the degeneration of neurons. Toto reformed with for a European tour to benefit the ailing bassist.
“So broken hearted to hear of the passing of Mike Porcaro,” Sklar wrote on Facebook. “One of the best human beings I have ever known, one of my favorite bassists and a part of a family that is the bench mark for what great music is all about. His legacy is deep and his spirit is with us all. Jeff and Mike together again. That is one badass section up there.”
Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Mike Porcaro.