The Mystery Of Jim Morrison’s Death And The Theories Around It

Published March 20, 2018
Updated April 9, 2018

Since no autopsy was ever performed, some theorize that Jim Morrison's death didn't go down like it was reported. Others believe he never died at all.

Jim Morrison

FlickrJim Morrison

Jim Morrison was a beloved rocker and the lead singer of The Doors. He was also sadly a member of the 27 Club. Although the official cause of death was listed as congestive heart failure, many questions still remain about the mysterious circumstances surrounding Jim Morrison’s death.

Morrison’s downfall began at a 1969 concert in Florida. There, he was accused of exposing his genitals in front of the audience. Afterward, he was convicted of indecent exposure and profanity, leading many promoters to cancel shows for the band.

Then, with his appeal pending and in the midst of personal and legal troubles, Morrison moved to Paris in March of 1971 with his girlfriend, Pamela Courson. While in Paris, it’s said that the Door’s frontman gained so much weight that he had become unrecognizable, leading many to believe that his health was in danger.

The two rented an apartment at 17 rue Beautreillis. In the early morning of July 3, 1971, he was found dead in the bathroom of that apartment. Courson called the authorities, but they arrived too late to revive him. He was declared dead of heart failure brought on by heroin use.

However, not everyone agrees with the official version of the events. Morrison was known for taking drugs and drinking excessively, so most accounts agree that drugs played a role in his death.

Jim Morrison Performing

Wikimedia CommonsJim Morrison performing on stage.

The most widely accepted account of Jim Morrison’s death is that he and Courson had spent the night together listening to records. They snorted heroin together since Morrison was known to be afraid of needles.

The brand of heroin was particularly strong, and Morrison began to react badly to it. He was brought to the bathroom for a bath of warm water, which is said to help revive people suffering from heroin overdoses. However, it failed to help Morrison.

Some others, including Sam Bernett, the club manager and friend of Morrison’s, claim that he actually died in the bathroom of the Rock & Roll Circus club, a place he often visited during his time in Paris. He showed up the night before his death looking to buy heroin. After he had acquired it, he went into the bathroom and never came out.

“When we found him dead, he had a little foam on his nose, and some blood too, and the doctor said, ‘That must be an overdose of heroin,'” Bernett said of the incident.

Jim Morrison Death

John Pearson Wright/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty ImagesFlowers and graffiti cover the grave of American rock singer Jim Morrison in the Pere Lachaise cemetery, Paris, France, 1979.

He was found dead on the toilet from an apparent overdose due to snorting bad heroin. The dealers who sold him the drugs wanted to cover up the death, so, insisting he was only unconscious, they brought him back to his apartment where they placed him in the bathtub. He was found dead by Courson the next morning.

Then there’s singer Marianne Faithfull’s story. According to her, a former ex-boyfriend and drug dealer by the name of Jean de Breiteuil is responsible for Jim Morrison’s death. In her version of the event, the two had stopped by the frontman’s apartment to drop off some drugs. However, the heroin was too strong and it ended up killing him.

“I mean I’m sure it was an accident. Poor bastard. The smack was too strong? Yeah. And he died,” she said.

As no autopsy was ever performed, crazier theories suggest that Jim Morrison faked his own death. Some suggest that he’s living in New York City, reciting poetry. Others believe that he moved to Oregon and opened up the Jim Morrison Sanctuary ranch under the name of Bill Loyer.

Despite the rumors, three days after his death, the body of Jim Morrison (or someone who at least looks like him) was buried in a small ceremony at the Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris.

Now that you’ve read about Jim Morrison’s death, learn about pervy classic rock songs that are way filthier than most people realize. Then meet Cynthia Plaster Caster, the groupie who made molds out of rock music’s most famous penises.

Aimee Lamoureux
Aimee Lamoureux is a writer based in New York City.