The band's former bassist dies aged just 44
Starr played on the band's first two albums but left the band in 1993, shortly after the release of their breakthrough album Dirt, and he was not a member during the band's heyday before their lead singer Layne Staley died of a drug overdose in 2002 and it temporarily disbanded.
He was not part of the reunited Alice In Chains in recent years, but he did make a rare public appearance in in January 2010 as a patient on the third season of Celebrity Rehab, a VH1 reality show, but appeared to be unable to overcome his addiction.
He was arrested in Salt Lake City three weeks ago on an outstanding warrant related to an earlier drugs charge, and was also carrying unauthorised prescription medications.
TMZ, which broke the news of Starr's death, quoted his father as saying: "It's a terrible shock and tragedy."
A spokesman for the Salt Lake City police separtment said that officers responded to call about a possible body at a residence in the city centre earlier on Tuesday afternoon.
"There is nothing to indicate that this was foul play by another individual," police said.
Friends and contemporaries from bands such as Guns N Roses and Motley Crue have been paying tribute via Twitter since the news broke:
Slash: "Really tragic news about Mike Starr. RIP."
Nikki Sixx: "RIP Mike Starr. Another fallen soldier to addiction... :("
Steven Adler: "I love and will miss my brother Mike Starr and I'm doing whatever it takes to not hurt all my friends and family that way!! Peace and love my brother Mike Starr!!!"
Matt Sorum: "Drugs and alcohol aren't a joke. Please take care of yourself and respect yourself. We lost Mike Starr today. Rest in Peace man."
Mike Portnoy: "RIP Mike Starr... I watched his struggle on 'Celebrity Rehab' and had my fingers crossed for his recovery... this disease kills... sad stuff..."
Starr's former bandmates also issued a statement:
"Jerry [Cantrell, guitar]and Sean [Kinney, drums] are mourning the loss of their friend and ask that the media respect their privacy and the privacy of the Starr family during this difficult time. Their thoughts and prayers are with the Starr family."
RIP Mike Starr, (1966-2011)