On Friday, May 7, the FBI released a 10-page file from its archives on the death of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain. Fans have never seen these documents before, though many have harbored conspiracy theories about Cobain's suicide in 1994. However, for all the excitement it caused, the new file revealed little new information.
The new file consists of letters the FBI has received asking it to look at Cobain's death again, and the responses it sent in return. According to a report by Esquire, the bureau mostly sent back standard-reading responses to each individual. Still, the letters are interesting for fans of Cobain and those who are curious about his death and his urban legend status. They show the intense pain of his fans and the inconsistencies in his passing that have bothered them the most over the years.
For decades, the FBI kept a file on conspiracy theories about Kurt Cobain's death. Here's what's in the newly released documents. https://t.co/giatcCFQdR— Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) May 9, 2021
"I'm writing you in hopes for your help to press for a reexamination of Mr. Cobain's death," read one particularly eloquent letter. "Millions of fans around the world would like to see the inconsistencies surrounding the death cleared up once and for all. It is sad to think that an injustice of this nature can be allowed in the United States."
The FBI responded: "In order for the FBI to initiate an investigation of any complaint we receive, specific facts must be present to indicate that a violation of federal law within our investigative jurisdiction has occurred."
Esquire notes that more files like this are likely to be released in the years to come, though chances are that most will consist of letters to this effect. Cobain's legacy is deeply important to many people, and the confusion around his death still haunts an entire generation. Authorities officially determined that Cobain died by suicide on April 5, 1994, at the age of 27, but there are still plenty of unanswered questions about the circumstances.
Cobain was suffering from drug addiction, and his wife Courtney Love told authorities that he had made at least two suicide attempts in the month leading up to his death. She and some friends arranged an intervention and convinced Cobain to go to rehab at the end of March, but he climbed over a fence and left the facility after just one night.
Cobain was spotted around his hometown of Seattle, Washington in the week that followed, but did not contact his friends or family. His body was discovered by an electrician visiting his home on April 8, and a coroner determined that he had died on April 5. He left a cryptic suicide note and had traces of drugs in his body.
There is no evidence of outside foul play in Cobain's death, and today many people condemn conspiracy theorists for re-traumatizing Love and others in Cobain's family with their speculations. Nothing in the FBI's newly-released file changes the official narrative either.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741.