PORTLAND, OREGON — American musician Derek Rieth, a longtime percussionist for the band ‘Pink Martini,’ whose 2007 song ‘Hey Eugene!’ is the group’s best-known song to date, was found dead earlier this week from an apparent suicide, police said on late Friday. He was 43.
Police in Portland, Oregon, responded to Rieth’s residence on Wednesday at about 8:09 p.m. local time after a person contacted authorities and said they had not heard from Rieth for several hours. Officers carried out a welfare check and located Rieth deceased inside his residence.
“Officers arrived at the residence and located Mr. Rieth deceased from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, which appeared to be an intentional act,” the Portland Police Bureau said in a brief statement late on Friday. “A shotgun was located at the scene and seized as evidence.”
The Oregon State Medical Examiner conducted an autopsy and ruled Rieth’s death a suicide by a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
Despite the death, Pink Martini, in a post on the social networking website Facebook, said the band would not cancel its performance at the Oregon Zoo in Portland on Saturday. “Thank you all for your kind words and support. Derek would want nothing more than for the show to go on,” the band said.
Pink Martini was founded in 1994, with China Forbes as the group’s lead vocalist and Thomas Lauderdale playing the piano. The group, which draws inspiration from music around the world and crosses genres of classical, jazz and old-fashioned pop, is perhaps best known for its 2007 song “Hey Eugene!.” The song debuted at number 30 on the U.S. Billboard 200 and peaked at 7 in France and 10 in Canada.