Mike Porcaro, Toto Bassist, Dies from ALS at 59


Mike Porcaro, who played bass with Toto, died on Sunday, March 15, following a battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. He was 59.

Toto guitarist Steve Lukather posted a message on Twitter about Porcaro’s death: “My brother Mike Porcaro is now at peace. I will miss him more than I could ever put into words. My deepest love to the family. God Bless.”

Steve Porcaro, the bassist’s brother, confirmed the news on Facebook, where he wrote, “Our brother Mike passed away peacefully in his sleep at 12:04 AM last night at home surrounded by his family. Rest in peace, my brother.”

ALS is a slow, degenerative disease. Porcaro first became aware he had a problem in 2007, when numbness in his fingers made it hard for him to play bass. He stopped performing with Toto at the time.

On February 26, 2010, the band announced that Porcaro had ALS. Toto toured in support of him that summer and continued to do so in 2011.

Porcaro began to use a wheelchair as the disease progressed. Toto keyboardist David Paich told the website Something Else! in 2012 that Porcaro was “going downhill” but “mentally fantastic and if you talk to him, his spirits are up and he’s great and like the old Mike Porcaro.’”

Toto was cofounded in 1978 by Mike Porcaro’s brothers, keyboardist Steve and drummer Jeff. The band became known for hits like 1978’s “Hold the Line” as well as “Rosanna” and “Africa,” both from 1982’s Toto IV.

Mike Porcaro joined Toto in 1982 after the departure of original bassist David Hungate. His brother Jeff died in 1992 from a heart attack, though at the time the cause of death was believed to be an allergic reaction to pesticides. 

Toto’s new album, their first since 2006, is out March 24 and will be called Toto XIV. The band is embarking on a European tour in May.