BIDDEFORD — Thomas Smith was a respected security guard for Taylor Made Security Inc. who protected celebrities and musicians such as Kid Rock, Metallica and Fred Durst, lead singer of the rock band Limp Bizkit.

Though his job gave him access to some of America’s most popular artists, nothing topped his love for his family and friends.

Mr. Smith died unexpectedly early Wednesday. He was 47.

He worked with his older brother, Tim Smith, at the security company he started in 1998.

Mr. Smith was well known at local bars and music venues. He offered protection services at events across New England.

He was the head security guard — usually positioned at the barricade in front of the stage, protecting rock bands from thousands of sometimes unruly fans. He was chief of security at more than 1,500 shows.

“I entrusted Tommy with the lives of up to 20,000 kids at the Vans Warped Tour, the Blink-182 show and many others,” his brother said. “Tommy gave me the confidence to take on these big shows with the safety of a lot of people at stake. … I couldn’t have done this without him. He never missed a show for me.”

One of Mr. Smith’s proudest moments came in 1999, when he appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, which featured Fred Durst during his performance at Woodstock.

Smith said his clients respected his brother’s ability to manage large crowds and loved his personality.

“Tommy loved loud music,” his brother said. “Although we had fun, he never let down his guard and treated everyone’s safety as the top priority.”

Mr. Smith grew up in Portland’s Kennedy Park neighborhood. He attended Jack Junior High School and then Portland High School.

In his early years, he worked as a painter. He got a commercial driver’s license about seven years ago, but never pursued that line of work.

Smith described his brother as a tall, muscular and outgoing man who was covered with tattoos and liked to ride his motorcycle.

Mr. Smith began drinking and using drugs as a teenager, and got into trouble with the law, his brother said.

Mr. Smith, a recovering alcoholic, was open about his involvement in Alcoholics Anonymous. His family’s wishes called for sharing his experience.

Tim Smith talked openly Friday about his brother’s lifelong struggle with alcoholism and drug addiction. He said his brother had been sober for more than a year and was active in Portland’s recovery community.

Tim Smith said his brother helped many people in the Portland area stay sober.

He believes his brother was sober at the time of his death.

“He would have been dead years ago without AA,” he said. “It definitely prolonged his time here.”

Mr. Smith raised four children: “Little” Tommy Smith, 6, of Biddeford; Natasha Smith Fatale, 26, of Jamaica Plain, Mass.; Emmalene Smith, 1, of Westbrook; and Joshua Smith, 22, of Portland.

Tim Smith said his brother was an exceptional father who provided for his children and was involved in their lives.

“Our dad wasn’t around,” he said. “Tommy and I wanted to make sure our children didn’t grow up without a father. He wanted to be a good role model for them.”

Two days before he died, Mr. Smith gained temporary custody of his 6-year-old son, who found his father’s body at their home Wednesday.

The state Medical Examiner’s Office is conducting an autopsy.

“I know in my heart that at the time of my brother’s death, he hadn’t used alcohol or drugs in well over a year,” Tim Smith said. “I think Tommy was working his way to becoming a better father and he was doing a great job at it. … When he exited this world, he was the man he wanted to be.”

Mr. Smith’s family and friends will gather from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Binga’s Stadium in Portland to celebrate and honor his life.

Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at:

[email protected]