“A rock star in my basement:” Local musician recounts final hours of former ‘3 Doors Down’ guitarist’s life

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WEST BEND -- A rock star gone. Hours before police found Matt Roberts dead at a West Bend hotel, he was jamming with a local band, practicing for a benefit concert that would never take place.

Matt Roberts

Matt Roberts

Roberts was found dead at the Hampton Inn around 1 a.m. on Sunday, August 21st. It's unclear what killed him. Toxicology reports are pending.

Roberts was the former guitarist and founding member of the band 3 Doors Down, a band popular in the early 2000s. The 38-year-old was invited to perform at a benefit concert for the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight program by Nick Pari, a member of the local band known as "The Nix."

"I explained what the event was to him and he said, 'Oh, I'll do it for free,'" Pari said.

It was in the basement of Pari's West Bend home, rehearsing with The Nix, that Roberts spent some of his final hours, on Saturday, August 20th.

Matt Roberts

Matt Roberts

Matt Roberts

"It was the feeling of 'Hey, there's a rock star in my basement,'" Pari said.

Nick Pari

Nick Pari

Pari described Roberts as down to Earth, intelligent and creative. He said they talked for hours. On Sunday night, he had to make an announcement at the concert.

"We had a really nice rehearsal with Matt Roberts last night and this morning, he passed away at the hotel," Pari explained.

The stunned crowd honored Roberts with 10 minutes of silence.

Matt Roberts' Les Paul

Matt Roberts' Les Paul

"We shut the entire stage down except for one spotlight and we put Matt's Les Paul on stage," Pari said.

Roberts' dad was in town for the event and thanked the crowd for their support.

"This is a hard thing, you can imagine," Roberts' father said.

Darrell Roberts said he doesn't know what killed his son, but said his son suffered from anxiety his whole life.

The Nix paid tribute to Roberts on Sunday night -- playing the songs they'd rehearsed together the night before.

The Nix pay tribute to Matt Roberts

The Nix pay tribute to Matt Roberts

FOX6 News spoke with Darrell Roberts via telephone Monday. He said "the people of Wisconsin took care of me during the most difficult time of my life. Matt had a dream as a child and made that dream into a reality and lived life as big as he could. He left a great legacy."

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