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  • On December 3, 2015, Scott Weiland died while on tour in Bloomington, Minnesota at the age of 48. The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed the official cause of death as a drug overdose due to cocaine, alcohol, and methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA).

    Before his death, Scott Weiland was the frontman and lead singer for mainstream rock bands Stone Temple Pilots and, later in his career, Velvet Revolver. His most successful albums sold millions of copies, including a Grammy award with the Stone Temple Pilots.

    Scott Weiland performing with Velvet Revolver

    Weiland struggled with drug addiction throughout his professional career, particularly heroin

    He was arrested multiple times on drug possession charges, and completed multiple stints in drug rehab programs. His struggles with drug addiction were well-known among his bandmates, his contemporaries, and the general public, in part due to his 2011 biography Not Dead & Not For Sale by David Ritz.

    About Scott Weiland

    Weiland was born Scott Richard Kline on October 27, 1967 in San Jose, California. He was raised by his biological mother and adoptive father, and spent the majority of his childhood in Ohio. In his biography, Weiland states he was a victim of sexual abuse when he was 12 years old.

    Weiland’s first time experimenting with drugs and alcohol occurred in high school, when he was living in San Diego. 

    Stone Temple Pilots

    In 1989, he formed the Stone Temple Pilots. The lineup consisted of the vocalist Weiland, brothers Dean DeLeo and Robert DeLeo, and Eric Kretz.

    The Stone Temple Pilots released their first album, Core, in 1992, following up their debut album with 1994’s Purple. These two albums contained their most popular songs, including “Plush,” “Creep,” “Vasoline,” and “Interstate Love Song.” 

    Scott Weiland and Stone Temple Pilots band members

    In 2004, three years after the Stone Temple Pilots went on hiatus, Weiland would form the supergroup Velvet Revolver with Slash, the former guitarist of legendary ‘80s rock band Guns n’ Roses.


    Weiland was officially terminated as the Stone Temple Pilots frontman in 2013, after a long history of arrests, drug addiction, personal problems, and DUI charges, all of which may have reflected poorly on the band. 

    His status as the Velvet Revolver frontman ended in 2008 for similar reasons.

    How Scott Weiland Died

    On December 3, 2015, Weiland was found dead in Bloomington, Minnesota, in the middle of a tour with his backing band The Wildabouts. 

    The cause of death was ruled an accidental overdose from cocaine, alcohol, and MDA, an amphetamine. The toxicology report also noted, but did not correlate, Weiland’s pre-existing health problems.

    After Weiland’s death, law enforcement discovered a small amount of cocaine on the tour bus where Weiland’s body was found. Wildabouts bassist Tommy Black was also arrested on alleged cocaine possession at the time of Weiland’s death, though he was released a day later.

    After the news of his death, Weiland’s former bandmates wrote tributes to him in open letters, including his former Stone Temple Pilots bandmates, as well as Velvet Revolver members Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum. 

    Weiland’s ex-wife Mary Forsberg Weiland hoped Weiland’s death would be recognized as a tragedy, rather than a heroic end.

    Scott Weiland’s History Of Substance Abuse

    Weiland’s first experience with drugs and alcohol began in high school, when he was still a teenager. 

    His first documented case of drug abuse as the Stone Temple Pilots frontman occurred in 1995, when he was arrested on suspicion of heroin and cocaine possession. He completed a drug rehab program shortly after.

    In a 1997 Rolling Stone interview, Weiland describes the intensity of his heroin addiction, stating that he needed “one hand on the needle and one hand dialing 911” in order to get high on heroin. Two years later, he was sentenced to a year in jail for violating probation due to heroin possession.

    Weiland details his struggles with multi-substance dependence in his 2011 biography, Not Dead & Not For Sale. Co-author David Ritz wrote in a Billboard feature that Weiland himself did not understand the “visceral” pull of opioid addiction, though it was a significant part of his life.

    Did Scott Weiland Attend Drug Rehab?

    Scott Weiland went through drug rehab programs, jail time, and probation throughout his music career. Despite multiple attempts to treat his drug addiction, he eventually succumbed to drug overdose after decades of struggle.

    Recovery Is Possible

    The former Stone Temple Pilots frontman Scott Weiland rose to fame in part because of his unique vocal prowess and unconventional rocker appearance. 

    Behind his talent was a troubled person who struggled with many personal demons, some of which he was unable to escape up until his death.

    Drug addiction can be a lifelong mental health condition, and can be difficult to manage without professional help. However, recovery is possible. To learn how we help individuals and family members overcome addiction, please contact us today.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2024 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.
    Medically Reviewed by
    Manish Mishra, MBBS
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