Discovery of Cory Smoot dead on tour bus 'devastated' Gwar, says gas station manager who called 911
Cory Smoot, the 34-year-old guitarist for heavy metal band Gwar, was found dead around 10 a.m. yesterday in the band's tour bus outside a gas station in Pembina, North Dakota, according to Dan Anderson, the store manager who called 911.
Cory Ray Smoot was discovered dead around 10 a.m. Thursday morning.
The body of Smoot, who performed in costume as "Flattus Maximus," was discovered less than 12 hours after Gwar's Wednesday night performance at First Avenue in Minneapolis. Band members realized Smoot had died after they stopped at a Gastrak fueling station to pick up supplies before crossing the Canadian border to continue their tour.
"It really, really shook the band," says Anderson. "Pretty much all of them were crying, teary eyed. It broke them up pretty good."
Anderson was working in the back office that morning when the band stopped at his station, the last convenience store before the border.
The Gastrak in Pembina, North Dakota, where Cory Smoot was discovered unresponsive on the tour bus.
The driver fueled up the bus, and a few band members filed in to buy food and drinks. Because they weren't wearing their signature monster costumes, Anderson didn't recognize the band or give them a second thought when they left.
Then the bus driver came running back through the door.
"Hey, we need a paramedic right away!" the driver called out.
Anderson dialed 911 while the driver ran back out to the bus. A few minutes later, the driver returned. It was already too late.
"He's gone," the driver said. "He's dead."
It was an emotional scene, Anderson says. Members of Gwar stood outside the tour bus without speaking, many of them weeping as they awaited the ambulance.
Photo by Erik Hess Smoot played his last show at First Avenue in Minneapolis Wednesday.
"It just devastated the band," Anderson says. "No doubt they loved this guy because it was brutal. There was nothing to say. It was just a time of silence."
The Pembina County Sheriff's office is investigating the circumstances of the death. The cause remains unknown, but an autopsy will be performed on the body.
Click to the next page for the Pembina County Sheriff's Department's official statement.