Kurt Cobain’s death was ruled suicide, but some believe he was murdered.

A close up of Kurt Cobain.

Kurt Cobain

An A Frame greenhouse behind some trees.

His body was found in the greenhouse


Diagram of death scene

On April 8, 1994, music fans around the world were devastated to learn of the death of rock star Kurt Cobain, lead guitarist and singer-songwriter for the grunge band, Nirvana. Cobain apparently died of a shotgun blast to the head. An autopsy later revealed a near-lethal dose of heroin in his bloodstream. The official ruling: suicide.

Private investigator Tom Grant has come to doubt that ruling:

“I don’t believe Kurt Cobain committed suicide. I believe there was someone with him in that room. I believe it was someone that he knew. They were doing heroin together. I believe at a certain point, more heroin was injected into Kurt Cobain than what he wanted injected into himself. And after that point, he was shot with a shotgun once he had become totally incapacitated.”

Sean T. O’Donnell of the Seattle Police Department disagreed:

“There was a very thorough, comprehensive investigation done from the very beginning. And everything that the detectives encountered indicated to them that this was a suicide. We actually found nothing to indicate that this was anything but a suicide.”

This was not Kurt Cobain’s first brush with death. A month earlier, a photograph was taken of Cobain being rushed to a hospital in Rome, Italy. He had overdosed on sedatives and alcohol and nearly died. His family and friends persuaded him to check into drug rehab. After two days, he walked out and disappeared. The next day, Cobain’s wife, fellow rock musician Courtney Love, is said to have contacted private investigator Tom Grant and asked him to find her husband. Tom Grant recalled:

“Courtney asked us, of course, not to contact him, not to make any contact with him, just to report back where he was and what was going on.”

A pixelated photo of the suicide note.

Was the letter also a suicide note?

But Grant didn’t find Cobain soon enough. His lifeless body was discovered by an electrician working at Cobain’s Seattle home three days after he died. Tom Grant said that the police told him that the death was a suicide:

“I contacted the police the day the body was found. They basically told me on the phone, ‘Hey, we know a suicide when we see a suicide.’

But the more Tom Grant discovered, the more he became convinced that the official cause of death was wrong. Grant believes that he found important inconsistencies in the case. For instance, Grant said Cobain’s credit card appeared to have been used after his death:

“There was an attempt made on April 6, there was another attempt made on April 8th. Kurt had died sometime on April 5, the previous Tuesday. Who was using the credit card?”

A man looking through a black leather wallet.

Two credit cards were found in his wallet

The police were never able to find out. According to Grant, that credit card was never found:

After the body was discovered, two other cards were found in the wallet, but the same card that someone was attempting to use after, we now know Kurt was already dead, was not found in Kurt’s property.”

The autopsy showed Kurt Cobain’s blood contained 1.52 milligrams per liter of the tranquilizer diazepam and heroin. Some medical experts said that much heroin could kill a person three times over, which Grant sited as further evidence against suicide:

“With that much heroin and diazepam in his system, could he even pick up that shotgun? Wouldn’t he be incapacitated within seconds?”

Dr. Donald Reay inspected Cobain’s body at the scene:

“It’s really an issue of tolerance. How much is this person used to? If a person has gradually, over months or years, increased the dose, a person could function with that amount of drugs, narcotics, whatever it is present in the system. Again, so much of it depends upon individual tolerance over a period of time.”

A shotgun laying on black and white tiled floor

No fingerprints were found on the shotgun

Police found no legible fingerprints on the shotgun, the shotgun shells, or the pen used to write the suicide note. Could they have been wiped clean? Sean T. O’Donnell of the Seattle Police Department didn’t think so:

“I think it’s clear that anyone who is familiar with firearms and their use would know that as they hold a weapon, that frequently that weapon will move in their hand. Additionally, when that weapon is discharged, that causes a jerking motion, which causes the hands to move over the surface of the weapon. And all of those factors could cause any fingerprints that may have been left on the weapon to be unusable.”

The alleged suicide note also raised questions. Tom Grant believed it was actually a retirement letter to Cobain’s fans. There were rumors that Cobain was feeling burned out, and was planning to adopt a lower profile. He had recently pulled out of the annual Lollapalooza tour.

Grant suggested that only the last four lines of the note indicated suicide. They read:

“Please keep going, Courtney. For Frances, for her life which will be so much happier without me. I love you, I love you.”

Unsolved Mysteries asked handwriting expert Marcel Matley to compare a copy of Cobain’s alleged suicide note with two pages of lyrics handwritten by Cobain:

“As to the last four lines, there are more than a dozen differences that should give us pause. And we would have to reasonably explain these differences before we can conclude that the same person wrote the four lines that wrote the body of it.”

Handwriting expert, Reginald Alton, also compared copies of Cobain’s handwriting to a copy of the note. In a five-page written report, Alton pointed out more than a dozen discrepancies.

He believed the bulk of the suicide note was written by Cobain, but raised questions about the first line and the last four lines. His report stated:

“There are many indications that there may have been a second hand at work.”

Sean T. O’Donnell of the Seattle Police responded:

“We did take the note from the scene and have it examined at the Washington State crime lab. And their handwriting analyst has indicated that it is her belief that this note was written by Mr. Cobain.”

Tom Grant offered his take on a possible motive:

“Kurt Cobain had made an important decision in his life. He wanted out of the entertainment business. He didn’t want to tour anymore. He didn’t want to perform anymore. He wanted to be left alone. He never liked that aspect of being a performer. This decision that he had made was going to affect a lot of other people. He was no longer the money machine that he once was. Now Cobain was worth more dead than he was alive.”

But who would have wanted Kurt Cobain dead? Could it have been the mysterious user of his credit card? Did that same person add critical lines to Cobain’s alleged suicide note? Those questions remain unanswered. The Seattle Police consider the case closed. Tom Grant does not. He believes the investigation should be reopened and the inconsistencies resolved once and for all.

Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season nine with Robert Stack and in season one with Dennis Farina. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina. Various seasons available now on Hulu.


  1. MT

    The other person was Pat Smear. He was jealous of Kurt.Even dyeing his hair blonde.He made up he wasn’t there when Kurt called him when actually Kurt did get a hold of him, he went over there and took part in the murder.Shot up with Kurt then put more in his arm and made it look like suicide with the gun and Courtney giving him money for it.If you look at all the nirvana photos with Pat in them he looks out of place jealous and untrustworthy. Pat Smear (2nd guitar player in Nirvana and current guitarist in #foofighters) showed up at Tom’s office after Kurt’s death asking questions – also stating how he was feeling “so scared” of the situation before breaking into tears in front of Tom. Pat Smear knows more about the situation leading up to Kurts death than he has ever spoken about. #JusticeforKurt #KurtCobain #Nirvana #Murder

    MORE INFO AT http://www.cobaincase.com


  2. Rob

    Definitely the Record label knows something or it was one of there guys who pulled the trigger on the Gun and I think they have more power then the SPD!! I believe that the SPD knew going in from the start that he was murdered. But had pacific orders. C Love, well I mean she told her father Hank Harrison once apon a time ago when she was younger I’m a gonna kill myself a rock start. Wait what??? Wow!! We all know she knew he was dead. Kurt’s own personal cars tires were slashed to the point it was Undriveable!! The canceling of the credit cards she was trying to trap him only for him to eventually meet his killer. More than likely Kurt was accompanied I believe 2 persons. I believe C DeWitt was one of those persons. I Also believe Kurt struggled for his life for a brief moment before slipping away while being pinned down by C DeWitt in Kurt’s own house on the second floor somewhere. Jessica Hopper reports (C DeWitt) left the bed for a short time around 1200am only to return around 2-3am right around the time Sun April 5th the actual time stamp of Kurt’s death. I believe later his lifeless body was moved to the greenhouse where the rest happened. So sad.. he was worth to much money and he had to die and I know it sucks and there was nothing that he could of changed about it. Poor judgment from the beginning I must say.
    Meeting and marrying C Love? Well whennKurt wokeup it was tolate, don’t know if he knew she was a sociopath or not, who knows if he ever knew that she wanted him dead? Rest In peace Kurt… Will miss you.ß


  3. Matt

    They need to reopen the case . It’s obvious it was not a suicide it was a homicide . Fingers prints should have been on something I mean we trained men checked this out a can’t find anything it’s all bull they know it guess now he killed his self then wiped the finger prints off everything. Sounds like a group of Americas finest got paid off !!!!!!


  4. Bob

    Nothing is clear and obvious in this case, the murder of JFK is stuff of children.
    El Duce looked convincing, gave the name of whoever did the dirty work and passed the polygraph test too, but he also will die like a fool in a way that no one can believe.
    C. Love apparently had friends everywhere among the cops who dismissed the case as “suicide” and she did everything possible not to release the documentary that hypothesized his involvement in the case.


  5. Some Dude

    Ms Hepatitis sorry Ms love had him killed or was involved in some way that’s all I know. Please God I have somebody open this case to bring him Justice. Whoever believes that he did this himself is a complete idiot I’m not even the biggest Nirvana fan but I still think the man deserves Justice. They have a few great songs though just not like going to get a Nirvana tattoo fan but I still respect human life. 02/19/23 almost 4 am


  6. Something Clearly In The Way

    Love was in LA. She didn’t kill Cobain.

    But I doubt he pulled the trigger. Remember Martha Moxley? Proof that cases deserve a second glance.

    Whatever the ruling, this case was botched from the get-go. What’s truly disturbing is how this man’s life was thrown away with complete and utter disregard. “Just another junkie,” when in reality he was so much more to so many. And deserved more than the three ring circus he got in life and death.

    For those who say he was mentally ill- provide his therapist’s notes. Otherwise it’s all conjecture. Focus on the facts. There was drug abuse. The real tragedy is that his friends and family didn’t push harder to get him help. Sticking someone who they all claimed was “suicidal” (again, where is the documented proof from a licensed physician?) in rehab that they can check out of (he wasn’t stuck there- hopping that wall made no sense) is doing the bare minimum. If he was sincerely that depressed, he needed inpatient treatment and someone to take over as his POA. But selling records matters more than a human life, so it seems.


  7. adamitjr

    The Seattle Police Department’s responses are amateur at best, more like rookie. Their former chief of police at that time said the case needs to be reopen and the head homicide detective at that time was going to be fired in 1999 for basically stealing $10k from a crime scene and then trying to replant evidence. Sounds like what happened in 1994. Love slept with both Detective Terry and ME Hartshorne. Both have been killed off since. The list goes on. I grew up with a father with a PhD in Criminal Justice and he like many professionals believe the SPD’s crime scene investigation should be written in text books on exactly what not to do in this situation. The biggest coverup in world history and if they can’t come to grips with the truth and re-open the case to make this right, then if not corrupt, these are the most inept, incompetent group of collective individuals ever assembled to protect and serve. I had a chance to move to Seattle and chose Los Angeles instead. LAPD is not perfect but they have gotten better and there is no way they would have messed up this case. Love isn’t that smart either but doesn’t take much to pull one over on the gold standard for failure in crime scene investigation. Re-open the case SPD, own your baggage and do your job.


    • Robert Cohen

      I knew Kurt in eighth grade and was in the library with him when he chose the name Nirvana. We were friends off and on throughout high school until I joined the military. When I was in the military, I was the lead singer for an air force band called Static X. I was shot on stage at the Greek theater by Javier Bardem( No country for old men) a several years before Kurt’s death. I was in a band called Black House ( warner bro’s records) when I was contacted by the FBI to help investigate his death. I believe Javier Bardem murdered Kurt. But where is the hidden camera footage of the murder? There were no fingerprints on the shotgun. What confuses me is that there is no hidden camera footage of Kurt’s death. May Kurt rest in peace in Heaven.


  8. kayleigh

    i’m very convinced it was courtney. one thing that was pointed out in this was that his credit card was missing and being used whilst his body was not found. mysteriously, when the media brought out kurt’s death, the purchases ceased. there is so much more evidence that backs up the theory. such as different handwriting in the note to how much heroin was in his system. cobain.case has a few more topics covered on the website, if anyone would like to see.


  9. Ryan Mackey

    I personally think Courtney herself killed Kurt. Think. Courtney wanted Kurt to stay with the band and record label so she could become rich,plus several investigations stated that Kurt was too drunk or high on drugs to even hold a gun.


  10. Annette

    Was that his daughter above…. saying Narvana sucked,… seriously he was from a different generation than myself but your talking about a life here….while the music died …. so did a life-
    ***not one can take away how he loved his daughter….if a picture can say a million words***
    He was killed you don’t have to be a Philadelphia Lawyer-
    Why tear down the greenhouse and melt down the gun? Thats my questions


  11. Len

    I found this in a comment in YouTube:
    What about Kurt Cobain? I bet they didn’t even check his fingerprints or dental records. He was in utero or killed by someone for saying “Everybody is gay!” in one of his songs on his last album. That could of angered somebody who detests the gay community or being called that. In Utero was his last album and he may have killed someone else shooting them in the face so he was unrecognizable and that person is missing. Cobain left his wallet all laid out nearby as if to say, “Make no mistakes here.” Send that to Unsolved Mysteries.

    Maybe Kurt himself used that credit card until he re-established himself somewhere else with another identity.


  12. Molly

    Soaked in Bleach
    Love and Death
    Queen of noise
    Love Kills the Assassination of Kurt Cobain by Hank Harrison. Courtney’s father.


  13. pamela

    maybe Kurt isn’t dead,


  14. carl george

    yes I believe that Courtney was definitely involved in Kurt’s murder. she wanted to be the “Go-getter in the whole situation once she married Kurt for his money and that she 100 percent used his credit card during the supposed murder/suicide incident. Seattle police need to blow this case open again for more clues.


  15. Crystal

    Dylan got him the gun he could have stolen his card as well as his pin number Cally and Eric was involved and Eric told Kristen she split with him he told court that he told her court and Eric had to finish Kirsten Pfaff of too


  16. Crystal

    Dylan got him the gun he could have stolen his card as well as his pin number Cally and Eric was involved and Eric told Kristen Pfaff she split wiv him+he’s told her everything so Eric and court finish her of the same way but without a. Gun as it would b to suspicious thats wat I think


  17. Believer

    Reopen the case… more evidence is there. Someone just needs to make it a priority and look at it… the truth will always prevail


  18. Anonymous

    Don’t know, don’t care.


  19. Anonymous

    i don’t think it was suicide, sure there was someone with him be4 he died,a lot of evidence assure that, no fingerprints on the shotgun what is he wiped his fingerprints after he killed him self, who use his credit card someone close to him,handwriting is confusing how some lines differs from the others, who killed him someone knows his place & injected him 2 look like suicide,the victim knows him ’cause there’s no breaking in signs, i think the reason was all about money


  20. daniel landrum

    to yong a


  21. anonymous

    kurt wasnt killed by his wife but someone should really look at dylan or michael or people shes given money to for no reason. i believe threw all i read that she had the motive and the means what she was waiting on was opportunity. look at all the people that crossed her and knew the truth ended up disappering or dead. ya truly think she had something to do with it.


  22. Ryan

    If I may draw your attention to the three instances in the main body of the suicide note where Kurt writes “for” : notice that in each of the three occurances he connects the “f” and “o” with a small transition line.

    Juxtapose this fact with the two occurances of the word “for” contained in the lower portion and notice there is no connection whatsoever.


  23. Brittany Bell

    His wife killed him no doubt… They should really reopen the case.


  24. f.b.cobain

    just as well…nirvana sucked anyway. wash your hair and put a clean shirt on once in a while, jeez.


  25. john smith

    cops…pppffftttt…clearly another case of “well, if we call it suicide, despite all the indications that it was murder, we can go home and eat donuts…but if we call it murder, then oh my god we have real WORK to do…screw it, it was suicide.” cops are idiots.


  26. Johnny

    I was a teenager when Kurt Cobain died. It shocked the music world in 1994 when he was found dead. Loved Nirvana and their music. It looked like an open and shut case of suicide. The missing credit card and the lack of shotgun prints makes me think though. You could see Kurt ending the cycle of pain and depression but with a new baby and wife…He had much to live for. I don’t think the record company would kill him off since groups will sometimes take a year off. They have a hiatus or write a new record or whatever. I’m thankful for Kurt and his music. You would think after 22 years a drifter or a friend would have been captured now if they killed Kurt.


    • Kelrebec

      Thanks Johnny for such a heartfelt reply. I was not a teenager, but the music impacted my life
      at the same time and I do miss his wit, style and grace. I enjoy seeing Dave Grohl’s success because, in my mind, he kept Kurt alive longer.


  27. AK

    He was severely bipolar. He left rehab early and started using again. He might have thought he would never be free of the addiction, and that he was better off dead.


  28. Mr

    Kurt Cobain was not worth unsolved mysteries time and only the most idiotic just want someone to blame other than the man himself


  29. I Wish Kurt Cobain Wasn't Dead

    I’m convinced this was a murder. Courtney Love is prime suspect, obviously. But I have no say in this. I’m only 13, and I was not alive to see the day Cobain died. I do wish he hadn’t passed on, though. He’s probably my favorite singer/guitarist of all time.


  30. annistaisa

    Many people blame Courtny Love for Kurt Cobain’s death. She was supicious, but i think his death was a little more complex then that. Kurt was about to leave his record lable. he thought Nirvana was becomming to comercialized, something he never wanted. The record lable was making millions off of Nirvana. Musicans who have tried to leave record lables have always “disappeared”. A lot of their deaths become questionable suicides, just like Marylin Monroe’s death. Kurt’s death was very questionable. It does deserve to be reopened and investigated again. As long as the ones who did it are still alive, it will never be. If it was Courtny who did it on her own, the case would have been reopened and she would have been convicted. No one favored her. I would look in the direction of the record lable and the powers at be. They know what happened.


  31. Anonymous

    The case should be reopened I feel. Like grant says how could he have pulled the trigger to the gun with that much drugs in his system. It just doesn’t make any sense.


  32. ??

    She(Courtney)killed Curt or she knows who killed him…Submitted Sun 02/15/15


  33. owlsarenotwhattheyseem

    it was courtney. had to be. nothing will ever change my mind about that. Justice should be done and that horrible woman who is now feasting on Kurts money should be locked up for good.


  34. Anonymous

    Courtney had him killed. No doubt in my mind!


  35. josephene

    hello friends