A Canadian band that initially found an international audience on YouTube is in mourning.
Burlington, Ontario–based Walk Off the Earth has announced on social media that its keyboard player, Mike "Beard Guy" Taylor, died last night in his sleep from natural causes.
"Mike had a love for life that was unmatched and a willingness to give that went beyond ordinary means," the band wrote on Facebook.
Taylor had two children. His bandmates are requesting privacy for his family at this difficult time.
Walk Off the Earth was scheduled to begin a world tour on New Year's Eve in Niagara Falls, but it's cancelled this gig in the wake of Taylor's death.
The tour is slated to conclude in Vancouver at the Orpheum Theatre on August 3.
In 2012 Walk Off the Earth became an Internet sensation when the band posted its version of Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know" on YouTube.
It featured all five band members playing the same guitar—and it has generated more than 185 million page views.
Since then, the band has been nominated for eight Junos, and it was honoured as Group of the Year in 2016.
This came in the wake of its highly successful pop album Sing It All Away.
The same year, Walk Off the Earth headlined the Richmond World Festival in B.C. Prior to that gig, Georgia Straight music editor Mike Usinger wrote: "One of Walk Off the Earth’s great tricks is the way that the band can take a downbeat line like 'You’ve seen the darkest skies I know,' from 'Home We’ll Go', and then turn it into something wonderfully bright-eyed and life-affirming."