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i_o’s family releases statement on techno star’s untimely cause of death

Photo courtesy of @i_oofficial/Twitter.

When last year’s news shook the EDM community to its core, it wasn’t over festival cancellations or even COVID-related. The most tragic news of 2020 was when dance music lost swiftly rising techno star Garrett Lockhart, known on stage as Fawks and i_o, at the young age of 30. Bewildered and hurt, artists, industry workers, fans, and Lockhardt’s family and friends collectively expressed their grief over i_o’s untimely death, showcasing just how important of a beacon he was to the community and culture at large. Insomniac even hosted a live stream honoring i_o’s legacy.

Today, May 18, the Lockhart Family posted to i_o‘s social media accounts after receiving an update from the Los Angeles Coroner’s Office ruling over Lockhardt’s cause of death. The statement reads,

“It has been determined that Garrett suffered from late stage Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. This is unusual in young males and if undiagnosed, can have severe, sometimes fatal consequences. These include fatigue, anxiety, depression, and cardiac arrhythmias. The coroner has determined that Garrett has a sudden and fatal arrhythmia. No toxins were found on extensive and repeated tests.

– Lockhardt family

While many suspected Lockhardt’s death was mental health-related— with some even going as far to rule his death a suicide— i_o did struggle outwardly with anxiety and depression. In fact, one of his last songs produced was “In My Head,” which touched on those themes. The Lockhardt family clear the air on these rumors by acknowledging that “while Garrett did suffer from depression and anxiety, he did not take his own life.”

In leui of Mental Health Awareness month this May, Lockhardt’s family did say they hoped his premature death can be used as a platform to create and normalize conversations surrounding mental health issues. “Though this report offers us answers to the questions of why, we remain without our friend, our brother, and our son. Honor his memory by being that person to someone else, taking gentle care of yourselves and each other,” they concluded, expressing gratitude for the support while also asking for privacy during this time.

As the dance music world’s deepest condolences continue to go out to the Lockhardt family during their time of personal crisis, it’s high time we open discussions over (1) why mental health issues run especially high for music industry professionals, (2) why we jump to conclusions that the sudden and untimely deaths of young artists automatically gets aligned with suicide or accidental overdose, and (3) how we can address these critical issues on a structural level to combat the taboos and stereotypes surrounding mental health.

After all, these are issues that are, quite literally, a matter of life and death.

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