15 years ago, on 5th April 1994, Curt Cobain died.
There are many theories how he died...
Richard Lee's theory
The first to publicly object to the report of suicide was Seattle public access host Richard Lee. A week after Cobain's death, Lee aired the first episode of an ongoing series covering Cobain's death called Kurt Cobain Was Murdered. Lee claimed several discrepancies in the police reports, including several changes in the nature of the shotgun blast. Lee acquired a video that was taped on April 8 from the tree outside Cobain's garage, showing the scene around Cobain's body, which Lee claimed showed an absence of blood for what was reported as a point-blank shotgun blast to the head. (Several pathology experts have noted that a shotgun blast inside the mouth often results in less blood, unlike a shotgun blast to the head). Lee's TV series continues to run, but often focuses on general issues regarding the Seattle Police Department.
Advocates of the official verdict (death by self-inflicted gunshot wound) cite Cobain's persistent drug addiction, clinical depression, and handwritten suicide note as conclusive proof. Members of Cobain's family have also noted patterns of depression in Kurt and instability before he achieved fame. Cobain himself mentioned that his stomach pains during Nirvana's 1991 European tour were so severe he became suicidal and that taking heroin was "my choice. I said, 'This is the only thing that's saving me from blowing my head off right now.'".
Cobain's cousin, Beverly Cobain, pointed out that there was a family history of suicide. By her account, two of her uncles committed suicide with guns. Beverly also noted a history of mental illness in Kurt, claiming that he was diagnosed as a youth with attention deficit disorder and as an adult with bipolar disorder. Beverly claimed that bipolar disorder and his persistent drug addiction led him to commit suicide. However, Cobain told Rolling Stone Magazine's David Fricke in the January 27, 1994 edition, just a few months prior to his death, that "my stomach isn't bothering me anymore. I'm eating. I ate a huge pizza last night. It was so nice to be able to do that. And it just raises my spirits."
In Charles Cross' Heavier than Heaven, bandmate Krist Novoselic talked about seeing Cobain in the days before the intervention: "He was really quiet. He was just estranged from all of his relationships. He wasn't connecting with anybody." An offer to buy a nice dinner for Cobain resulted in Novoselic unintentionally driving him to score heroin. "His dealer was right there. He wanted to get fucked up into oblivion. ... He wanted to die, that's what he wanted to do." In his own book, Of Grunge and Government: Let's Fix This Broken Democracy, Novoselic alluded to circumstances of Cobain's death: "Tragically, [Cobain] picked the wrong way to resign from the position he was thrust into."
Nick Broomfield's theory
Filmmaker Nick Broomfield decided to investigate the theories for himself, and took a film crew to visit a number of people associated with Cobain and Love, including Love's father, Cobain's aunt, and one of the couple's former nannies. Broomfield also spoke to Mentors bandleader El Duce, who claimed that Love had offered him $50,000 to kill Cobain, and passed a polygraph administered by polygraph expert Edward Gelb. Though El Duce claimed that he knew who killed Kurt, he failed to mention a name, and offered no evidence to support his assertion. Broomfield inadvertently captured El Duce's last interview, as he died days later, reportedly hit by a train while drunk.
Broomfield titled the finished documentary Kurt & Courtney, and it was released in 1998. In the end, however, Broomfield felt he hadn't uncovered enough evidence to conclude the existence of a conspiracy. In a 1998 interview, Broomfield summed it up by saying, "I think that he committed suicide. I don't think that there's a smoking gun. And I think there's only one way you can explain a lot of things around his death. Not that he was murdered, but that there was just a lack of caring for him. I just think that Courtney had moved on, and he was expendable."
Theory of Ian Halperin and Max Wallace
Journalists Ian Halperin and Max Wallace took a similar path and attempted to investigate the conspiracy for themselves. Their initial work, the 1999 book Who Killed Kurt Cobain? drew a similar conclusion to Broomfield's film: while there wasn't enough evidence to prove a conspiracy, there was more than enough to demand that the case be reopened. A notable element of the book included their discussions with Grant, who had taped nearly every conversation that he had undertaken while he was in Love's employ. In particular, Halperin and Wallace insisted that Grant play the tapes of his conversations with Carroll so that they could confirm his story. Over the next several years, Halperin and Wallace collaborated with Grant to write a second book, 2004's Love and Death: The Murder of Kurt Cobain.
Contesting the murder theory
Critics dismiss Grant's assertions, noting that the bulk of his evidence is circumstantial in nature and does not specifically confirm that Cobain was murdered. Critics also see Grant as an opportunist, pointing out that he sells "kits" about the alleged conspiracy (called "Case Study Manuals") via his website. Grant counters that any profit made from the kits goes to offset some of the costs of his investigation. As Grant related, "I wrestled with that ... but if I go broke, I'll have to give up my pursuit and Courtney wins."
Halperin and Wallace spoke to several people involved in the investigation of Cobain's death who refute the conspiracy. The Seattle medical examiner who examined Cobain's body, Dr. Nicholas Hawthorne, insisted that all of the evidence pointed to a suicide. Sergeant Donald Cameron, one of the homicide detectives, specifically dismissed Grant's theory, claiming, "[Grant] hasn't shown us a shred of proof that this was anything other than suicide." Cobain's friend, Dylan Carlson, told Halperin and Wallace that he also did not believe that the theory was legitimate and in an interview with Broomfield, implied that if he believed his friend was murdered, he would've dealt with it himself.
Tom Grant's theory
The main proponent of the existence of a conspiracy surrounding Cobain's death is Tom Grant, a private investigator employed by Love after Cobain's disappearance from rehab. Grant was still under Love's employ when Cobain's body was found. Grant believes that Cobain's death was a homicide.
There are several key components to Grant's theory - heroine in Cobain's bloodstream, the suicide note etc.
His "suicide note":
Speaking from the tongue of an experienced simpleton who obviously would rather be an emasculated, infantile complain-ee. This note should be pretty easy to understand.
All the warnings from the punk rock 101 courses over the years, since my first introduction to the, shall we say, ethics involved with independence and the embracement of your community has proven to be very true. I haven't felt the excitement of listening to as well as creating music along with reading and writing for too many years now. I feel guilty beyond words about these things.
For example when we're back stage and the lights go out and the manic roar of the crowds begins., it doesn't affect me the way in which it did for Freddie Mercury, who seemed to love, relish in the the love and adoration from the crowd which is something I totally admire and envy. The fact is, I can't fool you, any one of you. It simply isn't fair to you or me. The worst crime I can think of would be to rip people off by faking it and pretending as if I'm having 100% fun. Sometimes I feel as if I should have a punch-in time clock before I walk out on stage. I've tried everything within my power to appreciate it (and I do,God, believe me I do, but it's not enough). I appreciate the fact that I and we have affected and entertained a lot of people. It must be one of those narcissists who only appreciate things when they're gone. I'm too sensitive. I need to be slightly numb in order to regain the enthusiasms I once had as a child.
On our last 3 tours, I've had a much better appreciation for all the people I've known personally, and as fans of our music, but I still can't get over the frustration, the guilt and empathy I have for everyone. There's good in all of us and I think I simply love people too much, so much that it makes me feel too fucking sad. The sad little, sensitive, unappreciative, Pisces, Jesus man. Why don't you just enjoy it? I don't know!
I have a goddess of a wife who sweats ambition and empathy and a daughter who reminds me too much of what i used to be, full of love and joy, kissing every person she meets because everyone is good and will do her no harm. And that terrifies me to the point to where I can barely function. I can't stand the thought of Frances becoming the miserable, self-destructive, death rocker that I've become.
I have it good, very good, and I'm grateful, but since the age of seven, I've become hateful towards all humans in general. Only because it seems so easy for people to get along that have empathy. Only because I love and feel sorry for people too much I guess.
Thank you all from the pit of my burning, nauseous stomach for your letters and concern during the past years. I'm too much of an erratic, moody baby! I don't have the passion anymore, and so remember, it's better to burn out than to fade away.
Peace, love, empathy.
Frances and Courtney, I'll be at your alter.
Please keep going Courtney, for Frances.
For her life, which will be so much happier without me.
I LOVE YOU, I LOVE YOU!"
How he died is a mystery...
But remember him... Not only as a drug addict, but as a great musician.
Quotes from Wikipedia