The Story Behind the Tragic Death of Kurt Cobain

Kurt Cobain, the rockstar, had a unique air around him. Even in death, few musicians hold the same mystique. He was a grunge crusader, a rebel, a deity of the counterculture, and one of the first names that come to mind when thinking of the 27 Club. Though he amassed all of those banners during his lauded, albeit brief, career, they’ve only bolstered with time.

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Cobain, the man behind all the fanfare, was a deeply troubled individual. He treated a long-term struggle with depression with drugs and alcohol for most of his time in the spotlight. Those struggles came to a head on April 5, 1994, when he died from suicide with a gunshot to the head.

Though there have been several theories surrounding his death—some more grounded in reality than others—find the generally accepted story behind Cobain’s death, below.

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The Story Behind Cobain’s Death

Cobain started taking opiates to escape his depression and other mental health issues early on in life. “Kurt was very depressed,” Cobain’s then-wife Courtney Love once told KIRO (per The Washington Post). “Some people just have thin skins. He tried things like Prozac, but opiates were what made him feel best.”

A month prior to his suicide, Cobain fell into a coma after mixing the deadly concoction of Rohypnol and champagne—one of a few suicide attempts according to Love.

“He tried to kill himself three times,” she told Vanity Fair in a candid interview (obtained by NME). She went on to say that she carried around Narcan just in case Cobain overdosed on Heroin.

Cobain did briefly check into a Los Angeles-based recovery program at the request of Love and his bandmates. Though, three days into his program, he left without warning, prompting Love to hire a private investigator to find him.

“I’m just really afraid for him right now,” Love said at the time.

While on the lam from Love, Cobain decided to take his own life at their Seattle home with a shotgun. He was found three days after his suicide by an electrician that was sent to work on the house.

Cobain left a suicide note behind as his final word. The letter covered everything from his perspective on fame, his love for his fans, and his appreciation for his wife and daughter. The final line of the note is perhaps one of the most famous last words from any musician: “I don’t have the passion anymore, and so remember, it’s better to burn out than to fade away.”

[RELATED: 7 Musicians’ Famous Last Words]

Cobain’s death had an interesting effect on his fans. It only took a few weeks for one Nirvana fan to take his own life, leaving behind a letter that mirrored Cobain’s. The band’s followers were deeply despondent over the sudden loss of their frontman.

Courtney Love Conspiracy

Given how suddenly Cobain was taken from them, many fans began speculating that his death might not have been what it seemed. A pervasive theory was thrown around that Love had him killed, but no one has been able to prove it in the decades since.

The private investigator hired by Love, Tom Grant, believed Cobain was murdered. Grant once told the Daily News that he believed Love was a “psychopath” and a “sociopath” who was “involved in a conspiracy in the death of Kurt Cobain.”

Grant went so far as to write an entire book on the subject titled The Mysterious Death of Kurt Cobain: Suicide or Murder? You Decide. Many have latched onto that theory since.

Love’s own father, who is estranged from her, claims that she murdered Cobain as well. He was convinced she was complicit in the crime after finding a note in the late musician’s wallet that claimed Love was “siphoning money” out of his account.

“If you read the true meaning of this small note, and place it in conjunction with the rest of the evidence, anyone with even half a wit will see that something dire and awful took place,” Love’s father said in 2014.

Though nothing has been proven, many fans still believe Love was responsible for Cobain’s death.

 Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc

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