LOS ANGELES: Mike "Beard Guy" Taylor, keyboardist and singer in the Canadian band Walk Off the Earth, died Sunday (Dec 30) from natural causes, the group confirmed in a statement.
"It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved brother and band member, Mike 'Beard Guy' Taylor. Mike had a love for life that was unmatched and a willingness to give that went beyond ordinary means. He passed peacefully from natural causes last night in his sleep. Our deepest sympathies are with his two children, whom he adored more than anything else in the world. We ask for privacy for his family in this trying time."
The Juno Award-winning group formed in Burlington, Ontario in 2006 and became known for their offbeat covers, particularly one of Gotye's Somebody That I Used To Know which became a YouTube hit in 2012.
They appeared on Ellen Degeneres' show that year and signed with Columbia Records shortly afterward. The band became popular for their original compositions but continued to make covers of popular hits including songs by Adele, LMFAO, Maroon 5, Wiz Kahlifa and others. They won a Juno award - the Canadian equivalent of a Grammy - for Group of the Year in 2016.
Taylor played a variety of instruments in Walk Off the Earth, including piano, keyboards, organ, xylophone, glockenspiel, melodica, trumpet, didgeridoo, accordion, kazoo, euphonium, and slide whistle, reports said.
The group was scheduled to perform in Niagara Falls on New Year's Eve; the show has been cancelled.
Just last week, Taylor posted a solo piano version of O Holy Night on Facebook, which he said was "hands down my favorite Christmas song".