Toto's Mike Porcaro Passes On

Toto bassist Mike Porcaro dies at 59 from Lou Gehrig's disease, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Toto bassist Mike Porcaro died Sunday at age 59 after a lengthy battle with Lou Gehrig's disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Perhaps best remembered for 1982's hit single "Africa," the Grammy-winning band included Porcaro for two decades — from the mid-1980s to the mid-2000s. Keyboardist and brother Steve Porcaro announced his loss on Facebook:

"Our brother Mike passed away peacefully in his sleep at 12:04 AM last night at home surrounded by his family. Rest in peace, my brother."

According to the ALS Association, ALS is "a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord."

The disease disrupts the brain's ability to control muscles and can cause paralysis.

Eventually, that prevented Porcaro from touring with Toto. Keyboardist David Paich described Porcaro's state in 2012, via Rolling Stone.

"He's been going downhill for the last three years here, because it's a very slow, degenerative process," he said. "But again, Mike mentally is fantastic, and if you talk to him, his spirits are up and he's great and like the old Mike Porcaro — except that he's disabled. He's in a wheelchair and can't move, can't walk and can't play, which is a heartbreaking drag."

Guitarist Steve Lukather shared a similar sentiment in his piece for The Los Angeles Times.

"On the one hand, I'm happy he's at peace," he wrote, "but on the other hand, I'm never going to be able to laugh with him again. He's been in bad shape for years. It's the most insidious disease, because your mind is as sharp as it ever was, but your body is deteriorating."

Toto was formed in 1977, and Porcaro joined in 1982. The band lost drummer Jeff Porcaro (Mike and Steve's brother) in 1992.