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Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver dies at 48

Scott Weiland, the American musician whose mercurial vocal style was a signature of the rock band he helped start, Stone Temple Pilots, and later Velvet Revolver, died on Thursday in Minnesota. He was 48.

His manager, Tom Vitorino, confirmed the death. A statement posted to Weiland's Facebook and Instagram pages said he "passed away in his sleep while on a tour stop in Bloomington, Minn., with his band The Wildabouts."

The Wildabouts had been scheduled to perform Thursday night in Medina, Minn., at the Medina Entertainment Center.

Weiland released one album with the Wildabouts, Blaster, this year, and the band was near the end of a fall tour of clubs and small theaters. But at the height of Stone Temple Pilots' fame in the 1990s, he was known for commanding large stages with one of his signature moves: shouting lyrics through a megaphone held up to his mike.

Stone Temple Pilots was formed by Weiland with brothers Dean and Robert DeLeo, on guitar and bass, and the drummer Eric Kretz in the late 1980s in California.

The group was initially dismissed by critics as a knockoff of popular Seattle-based acts like Pearl Jam, but it found a large fan base with broody melodies and memorable riffs. It was later credited with introducing the stadium-rock ambitions of '70s bands to grunge. And it was Danny Goldberg, Nirvana's former manager, who signed Weiland's band to Atlantic Records in 1992.

The group released its first studio album, Core, in September 1992, which included the hits Plush and Creep. The band's second album, Purple, released two years later, contained Vasoline and Interstate Love Song. Together, the two records sold 14 million copies in the United States, and Plush earned a Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance in 1994.

The band released three more albums before going on hiatus in 2001; it reunited and released a self-titled album in 2010.

Three years later, the group parted ways with Weiland, posting a brief message on the band's website that stated the singer had been "officially terminated."

Weiland, who struggled with drug addiction, was often seen as defiant and bedraggled, but also as a capable vocalist with a gruff, powerful tone. He had said in interviews that he had been given a diagnosis of bipolar disorder.

In 1995, he was arrested on suspicion of possessing cocaine and heroin and completed a rehabilitation program. In 1996, he entered rehab again, forcing the band to cancel a tour supporting the album Tiny Music — Songs From the Vatican Gift Shop.

"It got to the point where I didn't feel like I got a good enough rush unless I had one hand on the needle and one hand dialing 911," he told Rolling Stone in 1997.

Two years later, he was sentenced to a year in jail for violating probation that resulted from a 1998 arrest for heroin possession.

Outside Stone Temple Pilots, Weiland continued to record music. He released his first solo album, 12 Bar Blues, in 1998 and its follow-up, Happy' in Galoshes, a decade later. A holiday album titled The Most Wonderful Time of the Year arrived in 2011.

But Weiland found his greatest fame outside Stone Temple Pilots with Velvet Revolver, a band consisting of three former members of Guns N' Roses — Slash, Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum — and the guitarist Dave Kushner.

The group's 2004 debut, Contraband, reached No. 1 on the Billboard chart and included two gold-selling singles, Slither and Fall to Pieces. Slither also received a Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance in 2005.

But Weiland's time in Velvet Revolver also ended in chaos. In 2008, the band dismissed him, releasing a statement that said Weiland's "increasingly erratic onstage behavior and personal problems" were partly to blame.

Weiland was born Scott Richard Kline in San Jose, Calif., on Oct. 27, 1967. His parents divorced when he was 2 years old, and his mother, Sharon, married David Weiland, who formally adopted him.

The family moved to Ohio, and in his 2011 memoir, Not Dead & Not for Sale, Weiland disclosed that he had been sexually abused when he was 12 years old by a "muscular" high school senior.

The family moved back to California when Weiland was a teenager, and he has said that he had difficulty fitting in at his new high school; he said he started experimenting with drugs and alcohol after playing varsity football.

Weiland married his first wife, Janina Castaneda, in the '90s. After their divorce, he was married to the model Mary Forsberg from 2000 to 2007; the couple have two children, Noah and Lucy. He married the photographer Jamie Wachtel in 2013.

Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver dies at 48 12/04/15 [Last modified: Friday, December 4, 2015 10:10am]
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