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STAT 13 October, 2021 - 01:40pm 11 views

Steve Harwell is retiring from performing with Smash Mouth.

Harwell, the group's lead singer, revealed that he's stepping away from the stage due to his mental and physical health conditions shortly after he was recorded slurring his words and yelling at the audience during a festival in upstate New York.

"Ever since I was a kid, I dreamed of being a Rockstar performing in front of sold-out arenas and have been so fortunate to live out that dream," the 54-year-old told PEOPLE in a statement. "To my bandmates, it's been an honor performing with you all these years and I can't think of anyone else I would have rather gone on this wild journey with."

"To our loyal and amazing fans, thank you, all of this was possible because of you," he added. "I've tried so hard to power through my physical and mental health issues, and to play in front of you one last time, but I just wasn't able to."

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Harwell's decision comes just a day after a TikToker shared clips from Smash Mouth's performance over the weekend in New York and described it as the "most chaotic show I've ever been to" as she recorded Harwell dozing off, along with flipping off the audience and yelling profanity.

"Steve has been dealing with long-term medical issues over the last eight years and during his last performance at the Big Sip stage, he suffered numerous symptoms directly linked with his current medical situation," Harwell's rep told PEOPLE. "As of today, Steve will be retiring from Smash Mouth to focus on his physical and mental health."

"Despite Steve's best efforts to work through these ailments, he is heartbroken to share that it has become impossible for him to continue doing what he loves most, performing in front of the band's millions of fans around the world," his rep said.

A source close to the singer explained to PEOPLE that he has "suffered profusely" with addiction over the years, which have led to some of his medical and mental health issues.

"A video was taken by a concert attendee of Steve's incredibly sad set in New York in which he forgot where he was, his own lyrics and had limited understanding of his environment due to one of his episodes," a source familiar with the situation said. "This unfortunate recording has now been taken out of context and his ailments used against him to paint him as someone who he isn't."

"Throughout his career, Steve has been a staunch and outspoken supporter of all minority groups and he regrets his actions, but this TikTok video is not an accurate representation of the man Steve is," the source added. "Steve had every intention of successfully continuing in the band but will be retiring to concentrate on his serious health issues."

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The source explained that Harwell went through an "episode" during the performance. He was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy in 2013, which led to other issues including Wernicke's Encephalopathy, a brain condition that has impacted the singer's motor functions, including speech and impaired memory.

Harwell added: "I cannot wait to see what Smash Mouth accomplishes next and am looking forward to counting myself as one of the band's newest fans."

"I am so grateful to each and every one of you who has helped Smash Mouth sell over 10 million albums worldwide, put us on top of radio charts and those who have kept 'All Star' relevant as one of the top memes on the internet today," he said.

Both "All Star" and "I'm a Believer" appeared in the soundtracks of the Shrek franchise, becoming fan-favorite tracks. They've also released songs "Walkin' on the Sun," "Can't Get Enough of You Baby" and "Why Can't We Be Friends."

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Statesman Journal 13 October, 2021 - 09:11pm

On Tuesday night, however, White had two fighters who performed extremely well at DWCS Season 5, Week 7 that both missed weight on Monday. One of those fighters is Cage Warriors flyweight champion Jake Hadley, who earned a second-round submission victory over highly-touted New England prospect Mitch Raposo.

White had been in this situation before and did not award contracts to those who were not successful on the scales, no matter how dynamic the performance. In this case, though, he went against the norm and awarded Hadley a contract — a decision he went on to defend to reporters following the event against the wishes of UFC matchmakers Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard.

“When I left the back room, my instructions were to not sign this guy,” White said. “According to Hunter [Campbell], Sean and Mick stormed out of the room when I did and took off tonight so they’re not happy about it.

“I just have a gut feeling that this kid has something special and I broke all my own rules and didn’t listen to what they said, so hopefully I’m right on this and this kid doesn’t make a d*ckhead out of me.”

When White spoke to Laura Sanko, he mentioned that not only did Hadley miss weight, but he apparently had some other issues behind the scenes during the fight week, which included some non-professional behavior towards UFC staff.

“He wasn’t very friendly. He’s not a very popular guy around here this week,” White explained. “He seemed shocked when I told him that. I just saw him out in the hallway and I said, ‘Listen, don’t worry about it. Yesterday was yesterday, let’s focus on tomorrow. So let’s make this a great relationship from here on out and let’s do great things together.’ Hopefully that’s the case.”

When Hadley spoke to the media following his contract earning win, the undefeated fighter wondered if there was possibly something lost in translation traveling over to the U.S. to compete on the Contender Series. White couldn’t help but scoff at those thoughts.

“So everybody this week thought that he was an asshole because there’s a discrepancy between the sense of humor? We have lots of guys from the U.K. here,” White stated. “That doesn’t happen a lot, although [Michael] Bisping, Bisping’s right up there, too. But he’s part of the family now, he’s been here so long. People know what they’re getting from Mike.”

Christian Rodriguez, who defeated Reyes Cortez in the bantamweight main event, also missed weight and was not awarded a contract. White felt that Rodriguez’s performance wasn’t impressive enough to overcome the issues on the scale, especially when comparing it to Hadley’s.

All in all, White feels confident in his decision. With Shelby and Maynard having one of the most powerful weapons in combat sports — the almighty pencil — White was asked if he believed they will put Hadley through the wringer to exact a little professional revenge.

“Good luck to’ em, though. He’s a talented kid,” White said. “I like the way he fights. He’s super aggressive, I like the way he fights off his back. When was the last time you saw somebody that busy on his back? I screamed to him, ‘Who the hell is your jiu-jitsu coach? You’re a purple belt? That’s crazy.’

“I think he’s special, broke my own rules, pissed off the boys, so let’s see if I’m right or wrong.”

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