Rob Pilatus, a former model whose career as half the pop music duo Milli Vanilli crashed in disgrace and drug addiction after it was revealed that the group lip-synched its songs, was found dead April 3 in a hotel room near Frankfurt, Germany, after consuming alcohol and pills, according to the Bild am Sonntag newspaper. He was 33.
Frankfurt prosecutor Job Tilmann, citing preliminary autopsy results, told a news conference April 6 that there was no sign of violence and no indication of suicide.
The newspaper quoted Milli Vanilli’s former producer Frank Farian as saying Pilatus had been drinking on the evening of April 2, but “we didn’t know … that he was taking tablets that are very dangerous with alcohol.” Farian said he suspected that Pilatus died accidentally from a deadly combination of alcohol and prescription pills he was taking while in a drug withdrawal program.
On April 2, Pilatus showed up “very intoxicated and shivering all over” at Farian’s studio, the producer said. Farian said he and his partner Ingrid Segieth became worried when Pilatus didn’t answer his hotel room phone Friday afternoon, and asked the hotel to check the room.
“I am feeling tremendous pain and sorrow upon hearing the news of my friend and brother Rob. He will always be a part of me,” former Milli Vanilli partner Fabrice Morvan said in a statement. Pilatus and Morvan won a 1989 Grammy for best new artist after hits like “Blame it on the Rain” and “All or Nothing.”
But in late 1990, the performers were stripped of the award after it was revealed that neither actually sang on Milli Vanilli records; that was done by studio musicians who were not credited.
Morvan said in an interview with the VH-1 cable network last year that he and Pilatus were deceived into fronting the phony group.
Pilatus had been in Germany since last fall undergoing a drug withdrawal program, the newspaper quoted Farian as saying.