On This Day

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Mark J.Terrill/AP

On This Day: Kurt Cobain Found Dead

April 08, 2011 06:00 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
On April 8, 1994, the body of 27-year-old Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain was discovered in his home a few days after he committed suicide.

Cobain’s Suicide Shocks Music World

Kurt Cobain had struggled for several years with stomach pains, a heroin addiction, and depression. Some say it was Nirvana’s runaway success that tormented Cobain, who was never comfortable with his status as a rock star and Generation X icon.

But Cobain’s suicidal tendencies predated his days as a rock star. Dating back to high school, he had fantasized about suicide in his lyrics, journals and other writings. His family had a history of suicide and he frequently threatened to kill himself.

Cobain’s behavior had become increasingly erratic in the months leading up to his suicide. His wife, Courtney Love, called police to their home after Cobain locked himself in his room with a gun. Friends and bandmates staged an intervention for his drug problem, convincing him to enter rehab. He spent just two days in a Los Angeles rehab facility before scaling a fence and leaving on April 1, 1994.

He returned to his home on Lake Washington in Seattle. On April 5, he went into the house’s greenhouse, where he wrote a one-page suicide note addressed to an imaginary friend named “Boddah,” and killed himself with a single shotgun blast to the head. His body was discovered three days later by an electrician doing work at the house.

In his suicide note, Cobain explained, “I haven't felt the excitement of listening to as well as creating music, along with really writing something, for too many years now. … The fact that I can't fool you, any one of you, it simply isn't fair to you or to me. The worst crime I could think of would be to pull people off by faking it, pretending as if I'm having 100% fun.”

Background: Cobain and Nirvana

Kurt Cobain, born in 1967, grew up in the rural logging town of Aberdeen, Wash., where he bounced between living with his divorced parents and various other relatives. The rebellious Cobain began playing in punk bands, and formed Nirvana with fellow Aberdeen resident Krist Novoselic in the late 1980s.

Fueled by college radio and enjoying an avid fan base, Nirvana quickly rose to fame following the release of their album “Nevermind” in 1991. Fusing punk, metal and indie rock, the band popularized the new genre of grunge along with other Seattle bands such as Soundgarden and Pearl Jam. They became the first punk group to sell a triple-platinum record, but their success bothered Cobain, who feared that he was selling out.

“People are treating him like a god, and that pisses him off,” said friend Nils Bernstein in 1992. “They're giving Kurt this elevated sense of importance that he feels he doesn't have or deserve.”

Nirvana recorded just one other studio album before Cobain’s death, releasing the platinum-selling “In Utero” in 1993. Though Nirvana spent just three years in the national spotlight, it is considered one of the most influential rock bands in history.

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