Kurt Cobain

Posted by Janet | March 9, 2008

February 20, 1967 – April 5, 1994

Kurt Cobain, lead singer and guitarist for Nirvana, died at age 27 from a self-inflicted gun wound.

Following a tour stop at Terminal Eins in Munich, Germany, on March 1, 1994, Cobain was diagnosed with bronchitis and severe laryngitis. He flew to Rome the next day for medical treatment, and was joined there by his wife on March 3. The next morning, Love awoke to find that Cobain had overdosed on a combination of champagne and Rohypnol (Love had a prescription for Rohypnol filled after arriving in Rome). Cobain was immediately rushed to the hospital, and spent the rest of the day unconscious. After five days in the hospital, Cobain was released and returned to Seattle. Love later stated that the incident was Cobain’s first suicide attempt.

On March 18, Love phoned police to inform them that Cobain was suicidal and had locked himself in a room with a gun. Police arrived and confiscated several guns and a bottle of pills from Cobain, who insisted that he was not suicidal and had locked himself in the room to hide from Love. When questioned by police, Love admitted that Cobain had never mentioned that he was suicidal and that she had not seen him with a gun.

Love arranged an intervention concerning Cobain’s drug use that took place on March 25. The ten people involved included musician friends, record company executives, and one of Cobain’s closest friends, Dylan Carlson. Former Nirvana manager Danny Goldberg described Cobain as being “extremely reluctant” and that he “denied that he was doing anything self-destructive.” However, by the end of the day, Cobain had agreed to undergo a detox program. Cobain arrived at the Exodus Recovery Center in Los Angeles, California, on March 30. The following night, Cobain walked outside to have a cigarette, then climbed over a six-foot-high fence to leave the facility. He took a taxi to Los Angeles Airport and flew back to Seattle. Over the course of April 2 and April 3, Cobain was spotted in various locations around Seattle, but most of his friends and family were unaware of his whereabouts. On April 3, Love contacted a private investigator, Tom Grant, and hired him to find Cobain. On April 7th, amid rumors Nirvana was going to break up, at the high water mark of the grunge movement the band pulled out of the Lollapalooza that year.

On April 8, 1994, Cobain’s body was discovered at his Lake Washington home by an electrician who had arrived to install a security system. Apart from a minor amount of blood coming out of Cobain’s ear, Smith reported seeing no visible signs of trauma, and initially believed that Cobain was asleep until he saw the shotgun pointing at his chin. A suicide note was found that said, “I haven’t felt the excitement of listening to as well as creating music, along with really writing . . . for too many years now”. A high concentration of heroin and traces of Valium were also found in his body. Cobain’s body had been lying there for days; the coroner’s report estimated Cobain to have died on April 5, 1994.

A public vigil was held for Cobain on April 10 at a park at Seattle Center which drew approximately seven thousand mourners. Prerecorded messages by Krist Novoselic and Courtney Love were played at the memorial. Love read portions of Cobain’s suicide note to the crowd and broke down, crying and chastising Cobain. Near the end of the vigil Love arrived at the park and distributed some of Cobain’s clothing to those who still remained. Cobain’s body was cremated.

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