How old was Nirvana's Kurt Cobain when he died?

5 April 2019, 08:00 | Updated: 5 April 2019, 08:01

We remember the great Kurt Cobain on the 25th anniversary of his tragic death
We remember the great Kurt Cobain on the 25th anniversary of his tragic death. Picture: Getty

It has been 27 years since Nirvana's talented lead singer, Kurt Cobain, tragically ended his own life.

Nirvana frontman, Kurt Cobain, tragically lost his life to suicide in 1994.

Now, on the 27th anniversary of his death, we take a look at the final days of his life.

When did Kurt Cobain die and how old was he?

While Cobain died on 5 April 1994, his body wasn't discovered for another two and a half days.

Around 9am, an electrician fitting an alarm came across Kurt's body in the greenhouse of his home in Lake Washington Boulevard, Seattle.

The post-mortem report ruled that Kurt Cobain had high levels of heroin and traces of Valium in his system, but he ultimately died from a shotgun wound.

The singer was aged just 27 years old.

What happened in the lead up to his death?

Cobain was diagnosed with bronchitis and severe laryngitis during a tour stop in Munich on 1 March 1994.

He then flew to Rome to meet wife, Courtney Love, for medical treatment two days later.

According to Love, she awoke the next day to find Cobain had overdosed on Champagne and Rohypnol.

The singer was then rushed to hospital, returning to health and to his home in Seattle five days later.

Later on, Love revealed this was Cobain's first suicide attempt.

On 18 March that same year, Love called the police, informing them that Cobain had locked himself in a room with a 38-caliber gun and was having suicidal thoughts.

The police then arrived at Cobain's Seattle home and confiscated the gun and three others, as well as a bottle of pills from the Nirvana frontman.

It was during this raid that Cobain insisted he was not suicidal, but, rather, hiding from Courtney Love.

Kurt's close friend, Dylan Carlson, and ten others then staged an intervention on 25 March. The first time proved to be unsuccessful, leading Cobain to lock himself in an upstairs bedroom.

However, the Nirvana frontman agreed to seek help later on that day.

On 30 March, Kurt was admitted to the Exodus Recovery Center in Los Angeles.

Staff at the clinic reportedly weren't made aware of Cobain's previous suicide attempts, nor of his history of depression.

Instead, Cobain underwent counselling for his drug use and also played with daughter Frances Bean on the premises. This was the last time Cobain was to see his child.

Frances Bean Cobain was a year-and-half old at the time her father died
Frances Bean Cobain was a year-and-half old at the time her father died. Picture: Getty

While going outside the facility to have a cigarette the following night, Cobain scaled the fence and took a taxi to LAX.

Guns N' Roses drummer, Duff McKagan, was sat next to Cobain on the flight back to Seattle. Originally, McKagan commented that Kurt "seemed happy", but later stated he knew from "all of my instincts that something was wrong" (Heavier Than Heaven, by Charles R.Cross).

Despite Cobain's return to Seattle, friends and family were unaware of his whereabouts after his escape from rehab.

It was on 3 April that wife Courtney Love cancelled Cobain's credit cards and contacted a private investigator to help track Kurt down.

Nirvana pulled out of the Lollapalooza Music Festival on the 7 April, amid rumours the band were breaking up.

The next day, Cobain's body was found at his home in Lake Washington Boulevard.

Kurt asked Courtney to look after daughter Bean in his suicide note
Kurt asked Courtney to look after daughter Bean in his suicide note. Picture: Getty

What did his suicide note say?

The note Kurt Cobain left was addressed to his imaginary friend from his childhood, Boddah.

In the note, Cobain spoke about his disenchantment with music and the industry, stating: "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."

He added: "I'm too sensitive. I need to be slightly numb in order to regain the enthusiasms I once had as a child."

Addressing his wife and daughter at the end, Cobain wrote: "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."

How old was Frances Bean when her father died?

Kurt and Courtney's daughter, Frances Bean, was born on 18 August 1992, and was aged just over one when her father passed away.

Her parents named her after Scottish guitarist, Frances McKee, who played for the band The Vaselines.

R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe and actress Drew Barrymore are her godparents.

It wasn't until September 2005 that Frances gave her first interview. Aged just 13 at the time, Frances spoke to Teen Vogue about her personal style, and briefly touched on her parents.

Last year, Frances attended the Museum of Style Icons' Growing Up Kurt Cobain exhibition in Ireland, where she talked about the impact her father's suicide had on her life.

She told Reuters: "He's unavoidable in my life, I see a Nirvana shirt every day."

The 25-year-old added: "My dynamic with Kurt is probably more similar to a fan's dynamic as there's almost like an untouchable thing. All the information I have [about him] is from stories. He's there every day of my life."

She continued: "On some days it feels a little frustrating, like I've had emotional breakdowns in Ubers and he's come on [the radio] and I've been like, 'I needed you so much right now.'

"It plays out on different days in different ways".

She's also since spoken about the impact of inheriting her father's wealth has had on her.

What has wife Courtney Love said about his death?

Following the death of her husband, Courtney Love gave an interview with Rolling Stone.

In the interview, Love explains that the brown jacket beside her on the sofa was the coat that Kurt was wearing when he died.

She says: "He killed himself in this coat," before adding, "I washed the blood off it. It’s not even sentimental."

The Hole singer also said: "I used to be able to talk to Kurt more, wherever he is. But now he’s really gone.

"I used to feel like mourning him was really selfish because it would make him feel guilty. And the best thing to do was to pray for him and show him joy, so he could feel the vibration of the joy.

"But now I know he’s dissipated, and he’s gone. There’s not anything left. Not even to talk to.”

Love also shared a black and white photo of Kurt on Instagram, on what would've been his 52nd birthday.

If you have been affected by any of the topics raised in this article, we encourage you to reach out to the Samaritans. You can call them for free on 116 123, or visit their website,


Too often, people feel afraid to admit that they are struggling with their mental health. This fear of prejudice and judgement stops people from getting help and can destroy families and end lives.

Heads Together wants to help people feel much more comfortable with their everyday mental wellbeing and have the practical tools to support their friends and family.

One of their partners is the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), an award-winning charity dedicated to preventing male suicide, the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK. In 2015, 75% of all UK suicides were male.

CALM offers support to men in the UK, of any age, who are down or in crisis via our helpline, webchat and website.

NATIONWIDE: 0800 58 58 58
LONDON: 0808 802 58 58

Calls are free from landlines, payphones and all mobiles.

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