Jimi Hendrix Death

History Uncovered Episode 9:
The Death Of Jimi Hendrix

Published September 29, 2023

On the morning of September 18, 1970, paramedics arrived at the Samarkand Hotel in London's Notting Hill neighborhood to find music legend Jimi Hendrix dead at the age of 27 — and to this day, some believe that foul play may have been involved.

Rock icon Jimi Hendrix famously met his untimely death in September 1970 at the age of 27, joining the likes of Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, and Amy Winehouse in the star-studded yet tragic “27 Club.” Official reports state he asphyxiated on his own vomit after taking too many sleeping pills, and his death was ruled an unfortunate accident. But what really happened that night?

On the night of his death, Hendrix and his girlfriend Monika Dannemann spent the evening drinking and smoking at a party in Notting Hill.

They left the party at around 3 a.m. and returned to Dannemann’s apartment. Hendrix had been having trouble sleeping in the weeks preceding his death, and he also reportedly took an amphetamine that night, which was keeping him awake. Dannemann said he asked her if he could take one of her sleeping pills, which she refused.

The next morning, September 18, Dannemann found Hendrix unconscious and covered in his own vomit. She called paramedics, but by the time they got Hendrix to the hospital, he was blue and had no pulse. His airway was clogged, completely closed all the way down to his lungs, and he was pronounced dead.

Jimi Hendrix At Woodstock

Wikimedia CommonsJimi Hendrix performing at Woodstock in 1969, just a year before his death.

Jimi Hendrix’s official cause of death was asphyxiation caused by an overdose of sleeping pills, and his death was ruled an accident. But not everyone believes that was the case.

Many think that Hendrix died by suicide. Dannemann counted nine of her sleeping pills missing — 18 times the recommended dose. Hendrix also left Dannemann a poem before they left her apartment to attend the party that sounds eerily like a suicide note.

“The story of life is quicker than the wink of an eye,” it read. “The story of love is hello and goodbye, until we meet again.”

Those who knew Hendrix well said this kind of writing was not out of the ordinary for him — including his manager, Michael Jeffery. But Jeffery himself has come under suspicion in the death of Jimi Hendrix.

Jeffery took out a $2 million life insurance policy on Hendrix not long before his death. And James “Tappy” Wright, a roadie for Hendrix, claimed in his book that Jeffery confessed to killing Hendrix.

“I had to do it, Tappy. You understand, don’t you? I had to do it,” Wright claims Jeffery said. “…Jimi was worth much more to me dead than alive. That son of a bitch was going to leave me. If I lost him, I’d lose everything.”

Hendrix’s death was officially ruled an accidental overdose. But many believe the pressure of the music industry led Hendrix to take his own life. Others believe he was killed for money and power. And the forensic pathologist who completed the autopsy left it as an “open verdict,” citing “insufficient evidence of the circumstances.”

To many who don’t believe the official account, Hendrix’s death remains a mystery to this day.

Delve into the theories surrounding the devastating death of music legend Jimi Hendrix.

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