What a heartbreak. Years back, maybe our senior year of high school or shortly after, Jon Mankowski convinced me to join him on a drive to Kalamazoo to a sold-out Foo Fighters show. We didn't have tickets, but Jon was convinced we could get in and I tended to follow his lead on those things (see previous stories of our other rock and roll adventures for my reasoning there). We hadn't secured access to the show, but Jon had me wandering around with him in the back parking lots when none other than Taylor Hawkins came around the corner. I'm sure he would have preferred plenty of activities other than hanging out with a couple of drooling fanboys, but he stayed, chatted, and spent more time with us than we deserved.
The tales I've read seem to confirm what we experienced; that he was a genuinely nice dude, thrilled, yet humbled by this weird thing we do when we elevate people into "rock stars". He was always fun to watch live and he made me laugh by ass off during that ridiculous (but very entertaining) Foo Fighters horror movie, Studio 666, that just released last month. And, goddamn, 50 is way to fucking young. It's a sad day, but also a reminder to enjoy some musical memories. Cheers, Taylor.