UPDATE: Police find 44-year-old Mike’s body in Salt Lake City three weeks after Celebrity Rehab participant was arrested for possession

Mike Starr

Tragic: Starr's recent arrest mugshot

Sacked Alice in Chains bassist Mike Starr has been found dead in Salt Lake City, Utah. He was 44.

Starr was arrested three weeks ago by Utah police after a van he was travelling in was stopped for a traffic violation. The driver was found to have a suspended licence and Starr, who was seen popping pills as officers approached, was led off in handcuffs.

Police say they were called to a Salt Lake City residence yesterday afternoon, where they found the musician’s body. A cause of death has not been revealed although investigators do not believe there are any suspicious circumstances. An autopsy is expected to be held later today.

His father has released a short statement, saying: “It’s a terrible shock and a tragedy.”

Starr’s former band report: “”Jerry Cantrell and Sean Kinney are mourning the loss of their friend and ask that the media respect their privacy – and the privacy of the Starr family – during this difficult time. Their thoughts and prayers are with the Starr family.”

Alice in Chains dismissed Starr in 1993 after he failed to deal with his drug problems. The band were later visited by addiction tragedy when frontman Layne Staley died in 2003. The bassist discussed his sacking while he appeared on TV show Celebrity Rehab and presenter Dr Drew Pinksy says: “It’s devastating to hear Mike has succumbed to his illness. So very sad.”

Tributes have been paid by fellow musicians, notably from some who have battled against their own addiction issues. Former Guns n’Roses drummer Matt Sorum says: “Drugs and alcohol aren’t a joke. Please takes care you yourself and respect yourself. Rest in peace, man.”

His predecessor, Steven Adler, who also appeared in Celebrity Rehab and will return in the upcoming series for what he calls a “tune-up”, comments: “Rest in peace, Mike. Such a sad day.” Motley Crue’s Nikki Sixx adds: “Another soldier fallen to addiction – RIP Mike.” And ex-Dream Theater mainman Mike Portnoy says: “I watched his struggle on Celebrity Rehab and had my fingers crossed for his recovery. This disease kills – sad stuff.”

Starr recently said he’d written a song with a new band he’d formed in California. When interviewed by police last month he said he’d come to Utah to start another band.

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