Kurt Cobain: Remembering the Seattle artist 30 years later

Thirty years later, Cobain is remembered as one of the most influential alternative rock musicians of all time and the voice of a generation.

SEATTLE — Friday marks the 30th anniversary of the death of the beloved trailblazing Seattle artist Kurt Cobain.

On April 8, 1994, Kurt Cobain was found dead in his Seattle home as the result of suicide three days earlier. The Nirvana singer, guitarist and songwriter was 27. He was survived by his daughter Frances Cobain and wife Courtney Love.

Thirty years later, Cobain is remembered as one of the most influential alternative rock musicians of all time and the voice of a generation.

30 years ago

Nirvana had been on the Utero European Tour the two months before Cobain’s death. In March, Cobain was hospitalized in Rome after he overdosed on painkillers and alcohol. At the time, Cobain had been struggling with a heroin addiction.

Nirvana canceled the rest of the tour and Cobain returned to Seattle with Love and their daughter. 

On the morning of April 8, 1994, an electrician arrived at Cobain’s home near Lake Washington in Seattle to install a new security system. The electrician found Cobain’s body in a greenhouse located above the home’s garage and called police.

Police responded to the home and reportedly found Cobain with a shotgun lying on top of him. Police also found a suicide note addressed to one of his childhood best friends where he said, “I haven’t felt the excitement of listening to as well as creating music along with reading and writing for too many years now.”

The medical examiner later determined Cobain died three days earlier on April 5.

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Seattle Center vigil

Following the news of Cobain’s death, nearly 10,000 mourners gathered at Seattle Center to remember the homegrown artist on April 10.

Taped remarks by Love were played at the memorial. In an emotional statement, Love shared portions of Cobain’s suicide note and touched on her intervention attempts, and said, “We should have let him have the thing that made him feel better.”

“I’m really sorry you guys. I don’t know what I could have done. I wish I’d been here. I wish I hadn’t listened to other people but I did,” Love said.

The vigil also had taped remarks from Krist Novoselic, Nirvana’s bass player, on behalf of the band.

“We remember Kurt for what he was: caring, generous, and sweet. Let’s keep the music with us. We’ll always have it… Forever,” he said. “Kurt had an ethic towards his fans that was rooted in the punk rock way of thinking. No band is special, no player royalty. But if you’ve got a guitar and a lot of soul, just bang something out and mean it. You’re the superstar.”

30 years later

Thirty years after his death, Cobain has been remembered as one of the most influential musicians in alternative rock. 

Seattle’s Viretta Park, near Cobain’s home, has become a memorial site for fans. The park has a bench where fans have written messages of remembrance.

In 2014, Cobain’s hometown Aberdeen, Washington declared Kurt Cobain Day on the date of his birthday, Feb. 20.

Also in 2014, Nirvana was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. 

“Nirvana fans walk up to me every day and say, ‘Thank you for the music.’ And when I hear that, it reminds me of Kurt Cobain,” Novoselic said in his acceptance speech. “Kurt was an intense artist and he really connected with a lot of people. With Nirvana, we started in Aberdeen, Washington — in Washington state — and we had an infrastructure there to support us. It was a music community.”

The “Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses” exhibit returned to Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture in 2018. The exhibit shares the story of the band and features Cobain’s guitar, Novoselic’s bass amplifier, Dave Grohl’s drum set and a casting call flier for the “Smells Like Teen Spirit” music video, among other items.

Information from HistoryLink.org contributed to the creation of this article.

First appeared on www.king5.com

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