Kurt Cobain

The Cause and Controversy Of Kurt Cobain’s Suicide

Born February 20, 1967 as Kurt Donald Cobain, Nirvana’s lead singer was one of, if not the, premiere musical icon of Generation X [7]. He was credited with pioneering the “grunge” subgenre to Alternative Rock in America. At the time of his suicide, Cobain had a net worth of $150 million and was arguably one of the world’s most famous rock stars [4]. It’s because of this that people wonder why he ultimately decided to take his own life. Others speculate that perhaps his death was not a suicide at all.

Cobain’s Death by Suicide:

On Friday, April 8th, 1994 Kurt Cobain was found dead from a gunshot in the outdoor greenhouse of his Seattle, Washington home [4]. Cobain’s autopsy estimated the time of his death to be Tuesday, April 5th via a self-inflicted gunshot to the head [4]. 


When police arrived they found a shotgun against his chin, a suicide note placed on top of a pile of potting soil, a pen staked through the middle of the note, a used syringe, about $100 of Mexican black tar heroin, a pack of Camel Lite cigarettes, a half-empty can of Barqs Root Beer, and towels presumably left by the singer to help clean up the mess [4]. The singer had been missing since fleeing a drug detox center in LA 9 days earlier.

What Caused Cobain’s Suicide?:
In the wake of Kurt’s suicide, those left behind all had the same question: why? Over the years, fans have come up with several possible explanations for why Kurt Cobain chose to commit suicide:

Mental Illness: As an adolescent, Cobain was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder (or manic depression). This causes destabilizing swings between manic mood phases (rage, euphoria, excessive energy, overconfidence, and little need for sleep) and depressive mood phases (low energy, fatigue, low motivation, no interest in daily activities, and suicidal thoughts). These phases can last for months [8]. 

Family History of Suicide: Some also point to suicide’s genetic component. A year after his death, Cobain’s cousin Beverly confessed her own past struggle with suicidal ideation. She revealed that Kurt was the 3rd male Cobain to take his own life. All three used firearms [8] [4].

He Hated Stardom: It’s tempting to believe that Cobain’s feelings about his success led to his depression and eventually his suicide. But an examination of Cobain’s personal writings in the HBO Movie Montage of Heck revealed that he first attempted suicide in high …Continue Reading  

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