Kurt Cobain, front man of Seattle grunge band Nirvana, died on April 5, 1994 at the age of 27.
Kurt Donald Cobain was born on February 20, 1967 in Aberdeen, Washington to a waitress mother and a mechanic father. From a young age, it became evident that Kurt was highly sensitive to the world around him and enjoyed expressing himself artistically. The news of his parents’ divorce came as a tremendous blow for Cobain, and he became withdrawn and apathetic. The silver lining during this dark period in his adolescence was that he began playing the guitar, which was gift from his uncle.
In high school, Cobain began listening to local punk rock bands and experimenting with drugs. He assembled Nirvana in 1988, which was so named because Cobain “wanted a name that was kind of beautiful or nice and pretty instead of a mean, raunchy punk rock name.” Nirvana released its debut album Bleach in 1989. Marked by punk and heavy metal influences, Bleach sold 40,000 copies during its initial release.
Nirvana’s sophomore album Nevermind brought the band great success and overnight fame with the breakout single “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Throughout the final years of his life and career, Cobain struggled with depression, drug addiction (specifically heroin), fame, and public scrutiny about his relationship with fellow musician Courtney Love. The couple had a daughter, Frances Bean on August 18, 1992. In Utero, released in 1993, would be the last album Cobain would ever record.
Upon his return from a European tour, Kurt became a recluse and spent most of his time high and by himself. Courtney Love held an intervention for Kurt and with the help of friends, she convinced him to go to rehab. Less than two days later, Kurt checked himself out of rehab and flew back to Seattle, unbeknownst to any of his family and friends. Kurt took his own life on April 5, 1994 in the guesthouse of his Seattle home, leaving a suicide note addressed to his wife and his daughter.
His death marked his entrance into the 27 Club, a group of musical artists that died at the age of 27 (usually due to alcohol and drugs) that includes the likes of Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Amy Winehouse. Kurt Cobain will forever live on as one of the greatest rock and roll musicians of all time.