HomeDeciphering Kurt Cobain's Heartbreaking Suicide Note

Deciphering Kurt Cobain’s Heartbreaking Suicide Note

“I’d rather be hated for who I am than loved for who I am not,” said Kurt Cobain, the lead singer and vocalist of ‘Nirvana. On April 8, 1994, the world lost a gem after Kurt’s body was found at his Seattle home, and it was reported that he was found with a shotgun across his body. His suicide reminds us nothing, but of heartbreak.

However, a suicide note was also found after which the Seattle Police ruled Cobain’s death as a suicide. Considered one of the most combed-over suicide notes in music history, this piece of paper prompted several conspiracy theories about the legendary singer’s death. Let us take a peep into what this note contained.

The Sad Life Of A Star

Kurt Cobain was the lead singer and guitarist of the American grunge rock band Nirvana, one of the most influential acts of the 1990s and one of the best-selling bands of all time. However, the legendary singer’s stardom came with its due share of troubles.

Throughout his life, the “Come As You Are” artist suffered from chronic bronchitis and intense pain due to an undiagnosed chronic stomach condition. Cobain was addicted to alcohol, suffered from depression, and was mostly high on drugs and inhalants.

A few days before his death, a depressed Cobain had restricted himself in the greenhouse of his Seattle, Washington home. When he died on April 8, 1994, Kurt Cobain, was drugged on heroin and was found with a gunshot wound to his head. At the time of his death, Kurt Cobain was surrounded by a pair of sunglasses, a cigar box (where he hid his stash), his classic American Spirit cigarettes, and of course, a controversial suicide note.

The Seattle police ruled Kurt’s death as suicide. On April 14, 1994, the “Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported that Nirvana’s lead singer was “high on heroin when he pulled the trigger”. The paper even reported that his toxicological tests suggested that the level of morphine in his bloodstream was 1.52 milligrams per litre. Besides this, there was evidence of Valium in his blood.

Before his death, Kurt was hospitalised in Rome after overdosing on painkillers. Initially reported as an accident, the incident was later reported as an attempt to suicide. This was narrated by Cobain’s wife Courtney, who told publications that he took around 50 pills. “He probably forgot how many he took. But there was a definite suicidal urge, to be gobbling and gobbling and gobbling, she stated in March 1994.

Cobain’s cousin, who was a nurse revealed at the time of his death that Kurt’s family has a history of suicide and that the singer was diagnosed with “attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and bipolar disorder”. However, it was Kurt’s suicide note, which prompted several conspiracy theories, even raising fingers at his wife Courtney Love. 

Deciphering The Official Suicide Note

Despite lingering conspiracy theories about his death, Kurt’s official suicide note prompted authorities to rule his death as suicide. His official suicide note, however, remains the most heart-breaking piece of paper in America’s music history. This suicide note was addressed to Cobain’s childhood imaginary friend, Boddah.

His note starts with, “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.”

The above was the beginning clause of Kurt’s suicide note. Some online fans suggest that Boddah was a perfect person in his mind, a role model of how everyone should be. Consider it as someone who never does wrong. However, “emasculated, infantile complain-ee” may be a metaphorical indication to commit suicide because of people who often complained about him.

This indicates he was unhappy and unsatisfied despite the stardom. Kurt may have written that this note should be “pretty easy to understand” but then, this very note gave water to several conspiracy theories about his brutal end.

Another line in the note, “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”, suggest that he regretted not acting like the real him. Kurt may have meant that everything he is done as a musician in front of the public is not the real him because he himself did not feel.

In his suicide note, Kurt described his wife: “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 where I can barely function.”

When Kurt wrote, “I can’t stand the thought of Frances becoming the miserable, self-destructive, death rocker that I’ve become,” he meant that he didn’t want his daughter Frances to see what his dad had become. The uneasy feeling towards his daughter may have promoted the star to take his own life. Well, that’s what the latest research on this suicide note suggests.

Through the line, “Thank you all from the pit of my burning, nauseous stomach for your letters and concern during the past years,” he thanked his fans. “Pit of the burning metaphorically refers to his grave.

When he wrote, “I don’t have the passion anymore, and so remember, it’s better to burn out than to fade away,” he meant that he found it better to die than to live this life. FYI, who knew that a reference from Neil Young’s song would prompt one of his fans to commit suicide a few days after his death?

The Conspiracy Theories

Kurt Cobain’s suicide note is the most combed-up note in American music history. But was it a break-up of sorts? Some suggest that this suicide note was an unfinished draft for his band. What they meant was that the note signalled the end of “Nirvana”, serving as a new direction for his music career. It came out that he had contacted R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe for new work.

On the other hand, for most of his fans, the suicide note was a heart-breaking piece of paper, narrating the pain of the legendary singer. The second half of Kurt’s suicide note certainly raises doubts. Some conspiracy theorists believe that this part of the note was forged by his own wife, Courtney Love. If you’re not aware, their relationship was not perfect, and there were rumours of divorce amidst his addiction and celebrity stress.

“A note was found,” Courtney Love’s manager Janet Billig said at the time, “but Kurt insisted that it wasn’t a suicide note. He just took all of his and Courtney’s money and was going to run away and disappear.”

“Do you Kurt Cobain take Courtney Michelle Love to be your lawfully shredded wife,” the letter reads, “even when she’s a bitch with zits and siphoning all yr money for doping and whoring.” Without an understanding of the context, it’s impossible to know whether these lines are sarcastic or sincere.

Well, in the official suicide note, Cobain referred to Courtney Love as “a goddess of a wife who sweats with ambition and empathy”. He calls on his widow to “please keep going” and to look after their daughter. “Frances and Courtney, I’ll be at your alter [sic] … [Frances’s] life … will be so much happier without me.”

While conspiracy theorists have suggested Cobain was murdered, officials roundly rejected that premise, and despite the review, Kurt’s death hasn’t been reinvestigated. According to cold-case detective Mike Ciesynski, police were right to withhold the note that seems critical of Love. “There were so many conspiracy theories out there, it was good judgment … to hold [on] to this,” he told CBS.

In 2014, Kurt was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, along with Nirvana bandmates Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl. His wife, Courtney was also present to pay tribute to her husband. Kurt may be gone, but his fans, wife and daughter continue to carry his legacy.

Even though Kurt is gone, conspiracy theories still prevail, and we don’t know what one could make out of his suicide note. If you ask my opinion, I believe that the official suicide note was genuine and contained the proposition of suicide.

This note is a heart-breaking piece of metaphor provided by Kurt before he took his own life. Who knew this would be an end of a talented soul, who had almost everything but still had nothing? Are you a Kurt Cobain fan? What do you think?

I am Mallika Singh, a lawyer and writer by profession. Writing gives me a sense of freedom and independence. I am a keen observer and an ardent reader. When not at work, you can find me at the stable. Horse riding is another passion that keeps me going.


  1. I agree. I’m sure that Courtney was difficult to live with and maybe not always the best influence, but people need to realize that Kurt had many problems that put him under so much pressure especially all this attention that he didn’t have to deal with so much before.

    That humiliating Vanity Fair article by Lynn Hirschberg especially devastated him and Courtney both, and I am sure caused some of the worst emotional damage and anger between them.
    And funny, Cobain had for a while a few territorial competing ladies and admirers in his time, there was a lot of jealousy and judgement. especially from the groupies and stans he was beginning to acquire. And they are so disappointed and angry for who he chose to marry and have a daughter with. They sanitize and victimize the image of Kurt and completely demonize and blame his grieving widow in collective mob-mentality. Without any thought that this is very disrespectful to the memory and legacy of Kurt.

    Without any thought as to how it affects his daughter Frances Bean to hear such things said about her mother. I seriously believe Kurt would be absolutely horrified and miserable to know that some of his obssessive zealous unhinged fans have been making life hell for his wife and daughter with those rumors.

    It’s easy to hate Kurt’s chosen wife, widely considered obnoxious, lewd and sinister, declaring her guilty on all accounts. Some feel so disappointed or even jilted by his choice partner in marriage, and get delusional in their obsessive fantasies. A vigilante mob of haters indulging in the belief of these conspiracies with the collective confidence of a cult.

    Regardless of what anyone’s opinion is on that, vilifying his widow or harassing her with accusations does not show any respect to the memory, legacy, or “justice” of Kurt. Real fans would have more respect and decency with sensitive private issues such as this.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular