Kevin Clark, who played drummer Freddy “Spazzy McGee” Jones in the 2003 hit movie School of Rock, has died after he was struck while riding his bike in Chicago. He was 32 years old.
The life-long musician was biking through a Chicago neighbourhood at 1:20 a.m. Wednesday when he was struck by a Hyundai Sonata, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Paramedics found him and rushed him to hospital where he was pronounced dead shortly after 2 a.m., according to the Chicago Fire Department and the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
The Hyundai driver, a 20-year-old woman, was given several citations, according to police.
Clark started playing drums at the age of three and spent his whole life around music. His sole acting role was in School of Rock, a comedy about a school teacher (Jack Black) who teaches a group of students to embrace rock and roll. Clark did not have any experience as an actor, but his drumming skills helped him land the role at the age of 12.
“He’s just a raw talent. He’s got a heart of gold,” Kevin’s mother, Allison Clark, told the Sun-Times. She said that he rocked his audition by performing Black Sabbath’s Iron Man alongside Joey Gados Jr., who was also cast to play guitar in the film. “He just kind of shined. He took it on right away, but he never really acted afterward.”
School of Rock became a cult hit, but Clark opted to pursue music instead of chasing a career in Hollywood. He played in various bands over the following 20 years of his life and spent most of his time in his hometown of Chicago. He had just played a show with his new band on Sunday.
Jack Black mourned Clark’s death in an Instagram post on Wednesday.
“Devastating news,” he wrote. “Kevin is gone. Way too soon. Beautiful soul. So many great memories. Heartbroken.”
Clark and Black reunited in 2018 when Black’s band, Tenacious D, played a show in Chicago.
Clark is survived by his mother and sister.