29 Heartbreaking Photos From The Scene Of Kurt Cobain’s Suicide

Published March 16, 2024
Updated March 21, 2024

Two decades after Kurt Cobain's death on April 5, 1994, Seattle police released haunting never-before-seen photos from the scene of his suicide.

Scene Of Kurt Cobain's Death
Kurt Cobain's Body
Photo Of Kurt Cobain's Death
Kurt Cobain's Cigarettes And Towel
29 Heartbreaking Photos From The Scene Of Kurt Cobain’s Suicide
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In the early 1990s, Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain took American pop culture by storm. His face appeared on T-shirts and magazine covers while his music rose to the top of the Billboard charts.

But this story came to a tragic end when Kurt Cobain's dead body was discovered in his Seattle home on April 8, 1994. Dead from an apparent suicide by a gunshot to the head, the grunge icon was gone at the age of just 27.

Twenty years later, photos from the scene of Kurt Cobain's death were released, allowing the world to confront this tragedy like never before. And though more photos of Kurt Cobain's suicide are out there, including fully-explicit photos of Cobain's body, many have yet to be released.

Nevertheless, the haunting glimpse that the public has been given into the scene of Kurt Cobain's death is as heartbreaking now as it was at the moment of his untimely demise.

Kurt Cobain Death Photos

Frank Micelotta/Getty ImagesKurt Cobain at the taping of MTV Unplugged, in New York. Nov. 18, 1993.

Inside The Tragedy Of Kurt Cobain's Suicide

Kurt Cobain had only spent a couple of days in a California rehab center due to his heroin addiction in early 1994 before he scaled the facility's six-foot brick wall and made his way home to Seattle.

By the time his wife Courtney Love could cancel his credit cards, Cobain was already back in Washington. Some reported seeing him walking around, hanging out in a park, and spending the night at his old home in Carnation. Meanwhile, his mother, Wendy O'Connor, issued a missing person's report.

Scene Of Kurt Cobain's Death

THERESE FRARE/AFP/GettyImagesA police officer stands guard outside of the greenhouse where Cobain's body was found.

Investigators, friends, and relatives all combed the town and even searched his Seattle home three times. But nobody thought to look in his greenhouse.

On April 8, 1994, an electrician did — and stumbled upon the grisly scene of Kurt Cobain's death.

Kurt Cobain was dead on the floor with a shotgun across his chest, fresh injections in both of his arms, and a cigar box full of drugs beside him. According to a medical examiner's report, he had been lying there at the scene of his death for two and a half days. In the end, Kurt Cobain's body was identifiable only by his fingerprints.

A high concentration of heroin was found in Cobain's bloodstream, along with traces of Valium. A suicide note was also left behind at the scene of Cobain's death.

In 2014, nearly 20 years after Kurt Cobain's death, the Seattle Police Department released never-before-seen photos of the grisly crime scene.

Publicized Photos Of Kurt Cobain's Death And The Crime Scene

Kurt Cobain's suicide photos were taken by responding officers from the Seattle Police Department inside the greenhouse at Cobain's home, shortly after he was discovered on April 8, 1994.

None of the photos show Kurt Cobain's body of face in full. The Seattle Police Department announced that it developed the photos in 2014 as part of the procedure in re-examining his cause of death, which has been ruled a suicide since 1994.

In 2016, additional photos from the scene of Kurt Cobain's death were released that showed the shotgun he allegedly used to kill himself. These photographs eerily transport viewers to this dark day.

Kurt Cobain's Dead Body

Seattle Police DepartmentHe was still wearing a patient wristband from the rehab facility he had escaped from a few days earlier when he died.

Unreleased Photos Of Kurt Cobain's Death Scene And His Body

There are other photos from the scene of Kurt Cobain's death that have yet to be released — including images of Cobain's full body.

For some journalists like Richard Lee, these images are of public interest and vital to assess whether or not the singer actually committed suicide or was murdered. Lee was described in court documents as "a conspiracy theorist who believes that Mr. Cobain was murdered." However, he's far from the only person who thinks that.

He's researched the apparent suicide for years and even hosted a show called Now See It Person to Person: Kurt Cobain Was Murdered.

Lee sued the city of Seattle and its police department in 2014 to reinvestigate the case, citing Washington State's Public Records Act, but the courts decided the mysterious photos from the scene of Kurt Cobain's death weren't enough to warrant a new investigation.

Scene Of Kurt Cobain's Suicide

Seattle Police DepartmentKurt Cobain had his cigar box stash of heroin, sunglasses, and other personal belongings with him when he died.

A lower court said releasing these photos would violate both Courtney Love and Frances Bean Cobain's privacy. Love was worried about the potential release as early as 1995 when, according to the police, she called and asked if the photos could be destroyed to prevent any mistaken release.

Love claimed:

"I have never seen these graphic and disturbing images, nor do I ever want to. Certainly, public disclosure would reopen all my old wounds and cause me and my family permanent — indeed, endless and needless — pain and suffering, and would be a gross violation of our privacy interests...[the photos would] "wind up on the internet, where they would be permanently circulated. By virtue of the fact that Kurt is my late husband, they will also likely end up in search results about myself. I would unavoidably come across them, and I would never be able to erase those haunting images from my mind. I cannot even imagine the enormity of the trauma and mental scarring this would cause me, not to mention many others."

Frances Bean Cobain filed a similar declaration, citing mental and emotional distress as the primary reason not to release these photos of Kurt Cobain's death:

"I once saw mock photos depicting my father's body. That experience irreparably scarred me. I cannot imagine how terrible it would be knowing that the photographs Mr. Lee seeks were public and that I or any of my loved ones, including my father's mother and sisters, might inadvertently see them. Release and publication of the photographs would shock me and exacerbate the post-traumatic stress that I have suffered since childhood. I have had to cope with many personal issues because of my father's death. Coping with even the possibility that those photographs could be made public is very difficult. Further sensationalizing it through the release of these pictures would cause us indescribable pain."

Fortunately, Frances Bean Cobain seems to have built a quiet, healthy life for herself in recent years. As for Courtney Love, it seems she can rest easy knowing that the courts are on her side. They see that she's certainly suffered enough.

And to save his family from further anguish, it's likely that more photos from the scene of Kurt Cobain's death may never be released. But the images that have surfaced certainly convey the tragedy of the grunge icon's untimely demise.

After seeing these heartwrenching photos of Kurt Cobain's suicide, learn about the tragic story of Evelyn McHale and "the most beautiful suicide." Then, take a look at history's most famous suicides.

Marco Margaritoff
A former staff writer for All That’s Interesting, Marco Margaritoff holds dual Bachelor's degrees from Pace University and a Master's in journalism from New York University. He has published work at People, VICE, Complex, and serves as a staff reporter at HuffPost.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.