Mike “Beard Guy” Taylor, keyboardist and singer in viral YouTube sensation Walk Off the Earth, died peacefully in his sleep Saturday night, according to a statement from the band.
“It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved brother and band member, Mike ‘Beard Guy’ Taylor,” the band wrote in a post on Twitter. “Mike had a love for life that was unmatched and a willingness to give that went beyond ordinary means.” Read the full statement below.
The band, which formed in Burlington, Ontario, in 2006, first gained widespread attention in 2012 with their cover of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know” that featured the five members performing the song on one guitar. The video led to an appearance on Ellen and a record deal with Columbia. While the band began to release more original music, their covers remained immensely popular on YouTube. In 2016, the group won a Juno, Canada’s biggest music award, for Group of the Year.
The group has canceled their scheduled New Year’s performance tonight at Niagara Falls.
Watch the band’s Paste Studio session, recorded earlier this year, below.