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Obituary

Kurt Cobain

Band: Nirvana

Frequently Made Queries:
When did Kurt Cobain Die? Answer: 5th April 1994 aged 27.
What caused Kurt Cobain's death? Answer: Suicide Gun Shot.

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Kurt Cobain died aged twenty-seven on 5th April 1994. Three days later his body was discovered at his Lake Washington Boulevard home by an electrician who had arrived to install a security system. Apart from a minor amount of blood coming out of Kurt's ear, the electrician reported seeing no visible signs of trauma, and initially believed that Kurt was asleep until he saw the shotgun pointing at his chin. A note was found, addressed to Kurt Cobain's childhood imaginary friend Boddah, that stated that Kurt had not "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 diazepam were also found in his body.
A public vigil was held for Kurt Cobain on April 10th, 1994, at a park at Seattle Center drawing approximately seven thousand mourners. Prerecorded messages by Novoselic and Love were played at the memorial. Love read portions of Kurt Cobain's suicide note to the crowd, crying and chastising Kurt. Near the end of the vigil, Love arrived at the park and distributed some of Kurt Cobain's clothing to those who still remained. Grohl would say that the news of Kurt Cobain's death was: photo of Kurt Cobain probably the worst thing that has happened to me in my life. I remember the day after that I woke up and I was heartbroken that he was gone. I just felt like, "Okay, so I get to wake up today and have another day and he doesn't." He also believed that he knew Kurt Cobain would die at an early age, saying that "sometimes you just can't save someone from themselves", and "in some ways, you kind of prepare yourself emotionally for that to be a reality". Dave Reed, who for a short time was Kurt Cobain's foster father, said that "he had the desperation, not the courage, to be himself. Once you do that, you can't go wrong, because you can't make any mistakes when people love you for being yourself. But for Kurt, it didn't matter that other people loved him; he simply didn't love himself enough".
A final ceremony was arranged for Kurt Cobain, by his mother, on May 31st 1999, and was attended by both Love and Tracy Marander. As a Buddhist monk chanted, daughter Frances Bean scattered Kurt Cobain's ashes into McLane Creek in Olympia, the city where he "had found his true artistic muse". Kurt Cobain's artistic endeavors and struggles with heroin addiction, illness and depression, as well as the circumstances of his death have become a frequent topic of fascination, debate, and controversy throughout the world. According to a spokesperson for the Seattle Police Department, the department receives at least one weekly request, mostly through Twitter, to reopen the investigation, resulting in the maintenance of the basic incident report on file. Kurt Cobain is one of the well known members of the 27 Club.
In March 2014, the Seattle police developed four rolls of film that had been left in an evidence vault—a reason was not provided for why the rolls were not developed earlier. According to the Seattle police, the 35mm film photographs show the scene of Kurt Cobain's dead body more clearly than previous Polaroid images taken by the police. Detective Mike Ciesynski, a cold case investigator, was instructed to look at the film because "it is 20 years later and it's a high media case". Ciesynski stated that Kurt Cobain's death remains a suicide and that the images would not have been released publicly. The photos in question were later released, one by one, weeks before the 20th anniversary of Kurt Cobain's death. One photo shows Kurt Cobain's arm, still wearing the hospital bracelet from the drug rehab facility he checked out of just a few days prior to returning to Seattle. Another photo shows Kurt Cobain's foot resting next to a bag of shotgun shells, one of which was used in his death.

Kurt Cobain was born Kurt Donald Cobain on February 20th 1967 at Grays Harbor Hospital in Aberdeen, Washington, USA the son of waitress Wendy Elizabeth and automotive mechanic Donald Leland Cobain. His ancestry included Dutch, English, French, German, Irish, and Scottish. His Irish ancestors emigrated from Carrickmore, County Tyrone in 1875. They first settled in Cornwall, Ontario, Canada, and then in Washington. Kurt Cobain himself believed his family came from County Cork.
Kurt Cobain's family had a musical background. His maternal uncle, Chuck Fradenburg, played in a band called The Beachcombers; his aunt, Mari Earle, played guitar and performed in bands throughout Grays Harbor County; and his great-uncle, Delbert, had a career as an Irish tenor, making an appearance in the 1930 film King of Jazz. Kurt was described as being a happy and excitable child, who also exhibited sensitivity and care. His talent as an artist was evident from an early age, as he would draw his favorite characters from films and cartoons, such as the Creature from the Black Lagoon and Donald Duck, in his bedroom. This enthusiasm was encouraged by his grandmother, Iris Cobain, who was a professional artist.
Kurt Cobain began developing an interest in music early in life. According to his aunt Mari, he began singing at the age of two. At age four, he started playing the piano and singing, writing a song about a trip to a local park. He listened to artists like the Ramones and Electric Light Orchestra, and, from a young age, would sing songs like Arlo Guthrie's "Motorcycle Song", The Beatles' "Hey Jude", Terry Jacks' "Seasons in the Sun", and the theme song to the television show of the band The Monkees.
When Kurt Cobain was nine years old, his parents divorced. He later said that the divorce had a profound effect on his life, while his mother noted that his personality changed dramatically; Cobain became defiant and withdrawn.

Kurt Cobain's parents both found new partners after the divorce. Although his father had promised not to remarry, after meeting Jenny Westeby, he did, to Kurt's dismay. Kurt Cobain, his father, Westeby, and her two children, Mindy and James, moved into a new household together. Kurt Cobain liked Westeby at first, as she gave him the maternal attention he desired. In January 1979, Westeby gave birth to a boy, Chad Cobain. This new family, which Cobain insisted was not his real one, was in stark contrast to the attention Kurt was used to receiving as an only boy, and he soon began to express resentment toward his stepmother.Kurt Cobain's mother began dating a man who was abusive. Kurt witnessed the domestic violence inflicted upon her, with one incident resulting in her being hospitalized with a broken arm. Wendy steadfastly refused to press charges, remaining completely committed to the relationship.
Kurt Cobain behaved insolently toward adults during this period of his youth, and began bullying another boy at school. These behaviors eventually caused his father and Westeby to take him to a therapist, who concluded that he would benefit from a single family environment. Both sides of the family attempted to bring his parents back together, but to no avail. On June 28th 1979, Kurt Cobain's mother granted full custody to his father. Kurt's teenage rebellion quickly became overwhelming for his father, who placed his son in the care of family and friends. While living with the born-again Christian family of his friend Jesse Reed, he became a devout Christian and regularly attended church services. He later renounced Christianity, engaging in what would be described as "anti-God" rants. The song "Lithium" is about his experience while living with the Reed family. Religion would remain an important part of his personal life and beliefs.
Although uninterested in sports, Kurt Cobain was enrolled in a junior high school wrestling team at the insistence of his father. He was a skilled wrestler, but despised the experience. Later, his father enlisted him in a Little League Baseball team, where Kurt Cobain would intentionally strike out to avoid playing. Kurt Cobain befriended a homosexual student at school and suffered bullying from heterosexual students who concluded that he was gay. In an interview, he said that he liked being associated with a gay identity because he did not like people, and when they thought he was gay they left him alone. He stated, "I started being really proud of the fact that I was gay even though I wasn't." His friend tried to kiss him and Cobain backed away, explaining to his friend that he was not gay, but would remain friends with him. In a 1993 interview with The Advocate, Kurt Cobain claimed that he was "gay in spirit" and "probably could be bisexual". He also stated that he used to spray paint "God Is Gay" on pickup trucks in the Aberdeen area. Police records show that Kurt Cobain was arrested for spray painting the phrase "ain't got no how watchamacallit" on other vehicles. One of his personal journals states, "I am not gay, although I wish I were, just to piss off homophobes."
Kurt Cobain would often draw during school classes as part of his enjoyment of creating visual art. He would draw objects, including those associated with the human anatomy. When given a caricature assignment for an art course, Kurt Cobain drew Michael Jackson, but was told by the teacher that the image was inappropriate for a school hallway. He then drew an image of then-President Ronald Reagan that was seen as "unflattering". As attested to by several of Kurt Cobain's classmates and family members, the first concert he attended was Sammy Hagar and Quarterflash, held at the Seattle Center Coliseum in 1983. Kurt Cobain, however, claimed that the first concert he attended was the Melvins, and he wrote prolifically in his journals of the experience. As a teenager living in Montesano, Washington, Kurt Cobain eventually found escape through the thriving Pacific Northwest punk scene, going to punk rock shows in Seattle. He soon began frequenting the practice space of fellow Montesano musicians, the Melvins.
During his second year in high school, Kurt Cobain began living with his mother in Aberdeen. Two weeks prior to graduation, he dropped out of Aberdeen High School, upon realizing that he did not have enough credits to graduate. His mother gave him a choice: find employment or leave. After one week, Kurt Cobain found his clothes and other belongings packed away in boxes. Feeling banished from his own mother's home, Kurt Cobain stayed with friends, occasionally sneaking back into his mother's basement.Kurt also claimed that, during periods of homelessness, he lived under a bridge over the Wishkah River, an experience that inspired the song "Something in the Way". However, Nirvana bassist Novoselic later said, "He hung out there, but you couldn't live on those muddy banks, with the tides coming up and down. That was his own revisionism."
In late 1986, Kurt Cobain moved into an apartment, paying his rent by working at The Polynesian Resort, a Polynesian coastal resort approximately 20 miles north of Aberdeen. During this period, he was travelling frequently to Olympia, Washington, to go to rock concerts. During his visits to Olympia, Kurt Cobain formed a relationship with Tracy Marander. The couple had a close relationship, but one that was often strained with financial difficulties and Kurt's absence when touring. Marander supported the couple by working at the cafeteria of the Seattle–Tacoma International Airport, often stealing food. During his time with Marander, Kurt Cobain spent most of his time sleeping into the late evening, watching television, and concentrating on art projects. Her insistence that he get a job caused arguments that influenced him to write "About a Girl", which was featured on the Nirvana album Bleach. Marander is credited with having taken the cover photo for the album. She did not become aware that "About a Girl" was written about her until years after Kurt Cobain's death.
Soon after his separation from Marander, Kurt Cobain began dating Tobi Vail, an influential punk zinester of the riot girl band 'Bikini Kill' who embraced the DIY ethos. After meeting Vail, Kurt Cobain vomited, as he was so completely overwhelmed with anxiety caused by his infatuation with her. This event would inspire the lyric "love you so much it makes me sick", which appears in the song "Aneurysm". While Kurt Cobain would regard Vail as his female counterpart, his relationship with her eventually waned. Kurt Cobain desired the maternal comfort of a traditional relationship, which Vail regarded as sexist within a countercultural punk rock community. Those who dated Vail would be described by her friend Alice Wheeler as "fashion accessories". Kurt Cobain and Vail spent most of their time together as a couple discussing political and philosophical issues. In 1990, they collaborated on a musical project called Bathtub is Real, in which they both sang and played guitar and drums. They recorded their songs on a four-track tape machine that belonged to Vail's father.
On his 14th birthday on February 20th 1981, Kurt Cobain's uncle offered him either a bike or a used guitar—he chose the guitar. Soon, he was trying to copy Led Zeppelin's power ballad, "Stairway to Heaven". "Louie Louie", Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust" and The Cars' "My Best Friend's Girl" were cover versions learnt by Kurt Cobain before he began working on his own songs.
During high school, Kurt Cobain rarely found anyone with whom he could play music. While hanging out at the Melvins' practice space, he met Novoselic, a fellow devotee of punk rock. Novoselic's mother owned a hair salon, and the pair would occasionally practice in the upstairs room of the salon. A few years later, Kurt Cobain tried to convince Novoselic to form a band with him by lending him a copy of a home demo recorded by his earlier band, Fecal Matter. After months of asking, Novoselic finally agreed to join Kurt Cobain, forming the beginnings of Nirvana.
Religion appeared to remain significant to Kurt Cobain during this time, as he often used Christian imagery in his work, and maintained a constant interest in Jainism and Buddhist philosophy. The band name "Nirvana" was taken from the Buddhist concept, which Kurt Cobain described as "freedom from pain, suffering and the external world", a concept that he aligned with the punk rock ethos and ideology. Kurt Cobain would regard himself as both a Buddhist and a Jain during different points of his life.
Kurt Cobain was disenchanted after early touring, due to the band's inability to draw substantial crowds and the difficulty of sustaining themselves. During their first few years playing together, Novoselic and Kurt Cobain were hosts to a rotating list of drummers. Eventually, the band settled on Chad Channing, with whom Nirvana recorded the album Bleach, released on Sub Pop Records in 1989. Kurt Cobain, however, became dissatisfied with Channing's style, leading the band to find a new drummer, and they eventually settled on Grohl. With Grohl, the band found their greatest success through their 1991 major-label debut, Nevermind.
With Nevermind's lead single, "Smells Like Teen Spirit", Nirvana entered the mainstream, popularizing a subgenre of alternative rock called "grunge". Since their debut, Nirvana has sold over 25 million albums in the United States (U.S.) alone, and over 75 million worldwide.
The success of Nevermind provided numerous Seattle bands, such as Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden, access to wider audiences. As a result, alternative rock became a dominant genre on radio and music television in the U.S. during the early-to-middle 1990s. Nirvana was considered the "flagship band of Generation X", and frontman Kurt Cobain found himself reluctantly anointed by the media as the generation's "spokesman".
Kurt Cobain struggled to reconcile the massive success of Nirvana with his underground roots. He also felt persecuted by the media, comparing himself to Frances Farmer. He began to harbor resentment against people who claimed to be fans of the band, yet refused to acknowledge, or misinterpreted, the band's social and political views. A vocal opponent of sexism, racism and homophobia, he was publicly proud that Nirvana had played at a gay rights benefit, supporting No-on-Nine, in Oregon in 1992. The show was held in opposition to Ballot Measure Nine, a ballot measure, that if passed, would have prohibited schools in the state from acknowledging or positively accepting LGBT rights and welfare.
Kurt Cobain was a vocal supporter of the pro-choice movement and Nirvana was involved in L7's Rock for Choice campaign. He received death threats from a small number of anti-abortion activists for participating in the pro-choice campaign, with one activist threatening to shoot Kurt Cobain as soon as he stepped on a stage.
The Beatles were an early and lasting influence on Kurt Cobain; his aunt Mari remembers him singing "Hey Jude" at the age of two. Kurt Cobain expressed a particular fondness for John Lennon, whom he called his "idol" in his posthumously-released journals, and he admitted that he wrote the song "About a Girl", from Nirvana 1989 debut album Bleach, after spending three hours listening to Meet the Beatles!.
Kurt Cobain was also a fan of 1970s hard rock and heavy metal bands, including Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Aerosmith, Queen, and Kiss. Nirvana occasionally played cover songs by these bands, including Led Zeppelin's "Heartbreaker", "Moby Dick" and "Immigrant Song", Black Sabbath's "Hand of Doom", and Kiss' "Do You Love Me?", and wrote the Incesticide song "Aero Zeppelin" as a tribute to Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith.
Punk rock proved to be a profound influence on a teenaged Kurt Cobain's attitude and artistic style. His first punk rock album was Sandinista! by The Clash, but he became a bigger fan of a fellow 1970s British punk band the Sex Pistols, describing them as "one million times more important than the Clash" in his journals. He was introduced to 1980s American hardcore bands like Black Flag, Bad Brains, Millions of Dead Cops and Flipper by Buzz Osborne, lead singer and guitarist of the Melvins and fellow Aberdeen native. Osborne taught Kurt Cobain about Punk by loaning him records and old copies of the Detroit-based magazine Creem. The Melvins themselves were an important early musical influence on Kurt Cobain, with their heavy, grungey sound mimicked by Nirvana on many songs from Bleach.
Kurt Cobain was also a fan of protopunk acts like the Stooges, whose 1973 album Raw Power he listed as his favorite of all time in his journals, and The Velvet Underground, whose 1968 song "Here She Comes Now" the band covered both live and in the studio.
The 1980s American alternative rock band Pixies were instrumental in helping an adult Kurt Cobain develop his own songwriting style. In a 1993 interview with Rolling Stone, he said that "Smells Like Teen Spirit" was his attempt at "trying to rip off the Pixies. I have to admit it. When I heard the Pixies for the first time, I connected with that band so heavily that I should have been in that band, or at least a Pixies cover band. We used their sense of dynamics, being soft and quiet and then loud and hard". Kurt
Cobain's appreciation of early alternative rock bands also extended to Sonic Youth and R.E.M., both of which the members of Nirvana befriended and looked up to for advice. It was under recommendation from Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon that Nirvana signed to DGC in 1990, and both bands did a two-week tour of Europe in the summer of 1991, as documented in the 1992 documentary, 1991: The Year Punk Broke. In 1993, Kurt Cobain said of R.E.M.: "If I could write just a couple of songs as good as what they've written... I don't know how that band does what they do. God, they're the greatest. They've dealt with their success like saints, and they keep delivering great music".
After attaining mainstream success, Kurt Cobain became a devoted champion of lesser known indie bands, covering songs by The Vaselines, Meat Puppets, Wipers and Fang onstage and/or in the studio, wearing Daniel Johnston T-shirts during photo shoots, having the K Records logo tattooed on his forearm, and enlisting bands like Butthole Surfers, Shonen Knife, Chokebore and Half Japanese along for the In Utero tour in late 1993 and early 1994. Kurt Cobain even invited his favorite musicians to perform with him: ex-Germs guitarist Pat Smear joined the band in 1993, and the Meat Puppets appeared onstage during Nirvana's 1993 MTV Unplugged appearance to perform three songs from their second album, Meat Puppets II.
Nirvana's Unplugged set also included renditions of "The Man Who Sold the World", by British rock musician David Bowie, and the American folk song, "Where Did You Sleep Last Night", as adapted by the American folk musician Lead Belly. Kurt Cobain introduced the latter by calling Lead Belly his favorite performer, and in a 1993 interview revealed he had been introduced to him from reading the American author William S. Burroughs. "I remember him saying in an interview, 'These new rock'n'roll kids should just throw away their guitars and listen to something with real soul, like Leadbelly'", Kurt Cobain said. "I'd never heard about Leadbelly before so I bought a couple of records, and now he turns out to be my absolute favorite of all time in music. I absolutely love it more than any rock'n'roll I ever heard".
Nirvana's acoustic Unplugged set, which was released posthumously as an album in 1994, may have provided a hint of Kurt Cobain's future musical direction. The record has drawn comparisons to R.E.M.'s 1992 release, Automatic for the People, and in 1993, Kurt Cobain himself predicted that the next Nirvana album would be "pretty ethereal, acoustic, like R.E.M.'s last album".
"Yeah, he talked a lot about what direction he was heading in", Cobain's friend, R.E.M.'s lead singer Michael Stipe, told Newsweek in 1994. "I mean, I know what the next Nirvana recording was going to sound like. It was going to be very quiet and acoustic, with lots of stringed instruments. It was going to be an amazing fucking record, and I'm a little bit angry at him for killing himself. He and I were going to record a trial run of the album, a demo tape. It was all set up. He had a plane ticket. He had a car picking him up. And at the last minute he called and said, 'I can't come'". Stipe was chosen as the godfather of Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love's daughter, Frances Bean Cobain.
Throughout most of his life, Kurt Cobain suffered from chronic bronchitis and intense physical pain due to an undiagnosed chronic stomach condition. His first drug experience was with marijuana in 1980, at age thirteen. He regularly used the drug during adulthood. Kurt Cobain also had a period of consuming "notable" amounts of LSD, as observed by Marander, and was "really into getting fucked up: drugs, acid, any kind of drug", observed Krist Novoselic; Kurt Cobain was also prone to alcoholism and solvent abuse. According to The Telegraph, Kurt Cobain had depression. His cousin brought attention to the family history of suicide, mental illness and alcoholism, noting two of her uncles who had committed suicide with guns.
Kurt Cobain's first experience with heroin occurred sometime in 1986, administered to him by a local drug dealer in Tacoma, Washington who had previously supplied him with oxycodone/aspirin. He used heroin sporadically for several years, but, by the end of 1990, his use developed into a full-fledged addiction. Kurt Cobain claimed that he was "determined to get a habit" as a way to self-medicate his stomach condition. "It started with three days in a row of doing heroin and I don't have a stomach pain. That was such a relief", he related. However, longtime friend Buzz Osborne disputes this, saying that his stomach pain was more likely caused by his heroin use, saying "He made it up for sympathy and so he could use it as an excuse to stay loaded. Of course he was vomiting — that's what people on heroin do, they vomit. It's called "vomiting with a smile on your face".
His heroin use began to affect the band's Nevermind supporting tour. One such example came the day of the band's 1992 performance on Saturday Night Live, where Nirvana had a photographic session with Michael Levine. Having taken heroin beforehand, Kurt Cobain fell asleep several times during the shoot. Kurt Cobain divulged to biographer Michael Azerrad, "I mean, what are they supposed to do? They're not going to be able to tell me to stop. So I really didn't care. Obviously to them it was like practicing witchcraft or something. They didn't know anything about it so they thought that any second, I was going to die".
Slowly, Kurt Cobain's heroin addiction worsened. His first attempt at rehab was made in early 1992, not long after he and Love discovered they were going to become parents. Immediately after leaving rehab, Nirvana embarked on their Australian tour, with Kurt Cobain appearing pale and gaunt while suffering withdrawal. Not long after returning home, Kurt Cobain's heroin use resumed. Prior to a performance at the New Music Seminar in New York City in July 1993, Kurt Cobain suffered a heroin overdose. Rather than calling for an ambulance, Love injected Kurt with naloxone to bring him out of his unconscious state. Kurt Cobain proceeded to perform with Nirvana, giving the public no indication that anything out of the ordinary had taken place
Following a tour stop at Terminal Eins in Munich, Germany, on March 1, 1994, Kurt 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, Courtney Love, on March 3rd 1994. The next morning, Love awoke to find that Kurt had overdosed on a combination of champagne and Rohypnol. Kurt Cobain was immediately rushed to hospital, and spent the rest of the day unconscious. After five days in the hospital, Kurt Cobain was released and returned to Seattle. Love later stated that the incident was Kurt's first suicide attempt.
On March 18, 1994, Love phoned the Seattle police informing them that Kurt 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 Kurt Cobain, who insisted that he was not suicidal and had locked himself in the room to hide from Love. Love arranged an intervention regarding Kurt Cobain's drug use on March 25, 1994. The ten people involved included musician friends, record company executives, and one of Kurt Cobain's closest friends, Dylan Carlson. The intervention was initially unsuccessful, with an angry Kurt Cobain insulting and heaping scorn on its participants and eventually locking himself in the upstairs bedroom. However, by the end of the day, Kurt had agreed to undergo a detox program.Kurt Cobain arrived at the Exodus Recovery Center in Los Angeles on March 30, 1994. The staff at the facility were unaware of Kurt's history of depression and prior attempts at suicide. When visited by friends, there was no indication to them that Kurt Cobain was in any negative or suicidal state of mind. He spent the day talking to counselors about his drug abuse and personalpicture of Kurt Cobain problems, happily playing with his daughter Frances. These interactions were the last time Kurt Cobain saw his daughter.
The following night, Kurt Cobain walked outside to have a cigarette, and climbed over a six-foot-high fence to leave the facility (which he had joked earlier in the day would be a stupid feat to attempt). He took a taxi to Los Angeles Airport and flew back to Seattle. On the flight, he sat next to Duff McKagan of Guns N' Roses. Despite Kurt Cobain's own personal animosity towards Guns N' Roses, and specifically Axl Rose, he "seemed happy" to see McKagan. McKagan later stated he knew from "all of my instincts that something was wrong". Most of his close friends and family were unaware of his whereabouts. On April 2nd and 3rd, Kurt Cobain was spotted in numerous locations around Seattle. On April 3rd, Love contacted private investigator Tom Grant, and hired him to find Kurt. Kurt was not seen the next day. On April 7th, amid rumors of Nirvana breaking up, the band pulled out of the 1994 Lollapalooza music festival.

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song: 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' by Nirvana