Cocaine found near body of late 'grunge' icon Scott Weiland, police arrest band member

Cocaine was found in a tour bus near the lifeless body of Scott Weiland.
Cocaine was found in a tour bus near the lifeless body of Scott Weiland.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) - Minnesota police said on Friday (Dec 5) that they found cocaine in a tour bus near the lifeless body of Scott Weiland, the award-winning lead singer of popular rock act Stone Temple Pilots.

They also arrested Thomas Delton Black - identified by United States media as a band member - on charges of drug possession, as the music world paid tribute to what some called a legend of "grunge" music.

Weiland, 48, who also performed with the Velvet Revolver rock group, had admitted in interviews to a longtime struggle with substance abuse.

He was pronounced dead on Thursday, but officials have not said what the cause was.

Condolences poured in for Weiland, who was synonymous with grunge - the alternative rock style that became popular during the 1980s and 1990s, particularly in Seattle and elsewhere on the US west coast.

Weiland, a two-time Grammy Award winner, "passed away in his sleep while on a tour stop in Bloomington, Minnesota, with his band The Wildabouts", read a posting on the singer's Facebook page, where fans expressed shock and sorrow.

He had been scheduled to perform with his new band, Scott Weiland & The Wildabouts, when he was found dead in the group's tour bus.

Bloomington police said that detectives collected evidence from inside the bus that included "a small quantity" of cocaine "in the bedroom where Mr Weiland was located."

Detectives also found cocaine in the area occupied by Black, "a travelling member of Weiland's party".

Weiland formed Stone Temple Pilots with friends more than two decades ago. Their first album "Core" came out in 1992.

But he suffered from substance abuse issues and left the band.

"Dear Scott," his former Stone Temple bandmates wrote in a poignant farewell on Facebook. "Let us start by saying thank you for sharing your life with us.

"The memories are many, and they run deep for us. We know amidst the good and the bad you struggled, time and time again.

"You were gifted beyond words, Scott. Part of that gift was part of your curse.

"All of our love and respect. We will miss you brother."

In 2003, Weiland joined the Velvet Revolver but he quit in 2008, reportedly because of more personal issues.

"Even in his darkest times, we all had hope and love for him," Velvet Revolver said in a statement.

"His artistry will live on, of that, there is no doubt... It's just so sad and brutal from any perspective."

The online music site Consequence of Sound wrote that "Weiland will undoubtedly be remembered as one of alt-rock's greatest yet troubled frontmen".

The Recording Academy, which awards the Grammys each year, hailed Weiland as a groundbreaking music innovator.

"Scott Weiland was a grunge icon and a true modern day, rock and roll front man," the group's chief executive Neil Portnow said.

"From the massive success he achieved as the original lead vocalist of Stone Temple Pilots to his work with rock supergroup Velvet Revolver and his most recent venture with the Wildabouts, Scott's extraordinary talent and captivating performances will forever live on and inspire legions of rock fans worldwide."

Weiland discussed his struggle with addiction in a 2011 interview with USA Today.

"I'm still on the verge all the time," he told the newspaper.

"I swore, of course, never to go back to heroin but I never thought that alcohol would be the real nightmare that it actually is. And it's legal."

Weiland had two children with his former wife Mary Forsberg. News reports said he married photographer Jamie Wachtel Weiland in 2013.

Several rockers expressed their sorrow on Twitter.

"Sad to hear about Scott's passing. I hope it wasn't drugs," wrote Motley Crue's Nikki Sixx.

"Extremely saddened that Scott Weiland has passed. Such a gifted performer," wrote Aerosmith's Joe Perry.

"Way too soon," added Lenny Kravitz.