Mimi Parker, Low Drummer, Dies After Cancer Battle

Beloved musician was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in December 2020
Mimi Parker
(Credit: Barry Brecheisen/WireImage

Low drummer/vocalist Mimi Parker has died after a battle with ovarian cancer, according to social media posts from her husband and bandmate in the beloved indie group, Alan Sparhawk.

“Friends, it’s hard to put the universe into language and into a short message, but…” Sparhawk wrote. “She passed away last night, surrounded by family and love, including yours. Keep her name close and sacred. Share this moment with someone who needs you. Love is indeed the most important thing.”

Parker was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in December 2020 and publicly revealed her condition for the first time in January on Sonos’ Sheroes Radio podcast. Her treatment necessitated that Low cancel a host of shows this year, including an appearance at Primavera Sound in Los Angeles and a fall U.K./European tour that was intended to take place this month.

Parker grew up in Duluth, Minn. She was raised by a mother who aspired to be a country singer and introduced her Parker to a wide range of music. By her pre-teens, she was playing drums in her school’s marching band and, around this time, first met Sparhawk.

They formed Low in 1993 with original bassist John Nichols and released their first album, I Could Live In Hope, the following year. Low was known for a spartan, minimalistic sound that came to represent the so-called “slowcore” movement alongside artists such as Red House Painters and Codeine, although the group dabbled in a variety of other genres, particularly after signing with Sub Pop in 2004.

Low’s debut for the label, 2005’s The Great Destroyer, found a new legion of fans including Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant, who covered the band’s “Silver Rider” on his 2010 album Band of Joy.

Parker and Sparhawk have remained in Low since its inception, flanked by a rotating cast of bass players. The band’s final album in Parker’s lifetime, 2021’s electronic-influenced Hey What, was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical category.

See reactions below from engineer Steve Albini and members of the Dismemberment Plan, Strand of Oaks, Matmos, Run the Jewels, and more.

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