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Twenty Years Ago: Kurt Cobain Overdoses in Rome

by Rob Slater on March 04, 2014

Twenty years ago today, news broke that Kurt Cobain had slipped into a drug induced coma following an overdose. Original reports suggested that the Nirvana frontman would be fine. "He's going to make it," Cobain's mother told the LA Times. He would make it out of the coma, but upon his return to Seattle Cobain wouldn't live much longer, taking his own life just a month later.

The overdose occurred just a few days after Nirvana was forced to cancel their highly lauded European tour in support of the band's junior effort In Utero after Cobain's voice gave out. Upon a visit to the doctor, Kurt retreated to Rome with wife Courtney Love, where he would overdose on pills and champagne.

In recent years, Dave Grohl has spoken about the incident, noting a phone call he made to Kurt shortly after his recovery. "I said, '"Hey, man, that really scared everybody. And I don't want you to die.'" Grohl says that was the second to last time the two spoke, with a final brief exchange occurring in Seattle shortly thereafter.

Nirvana's last show would serve as one of its most bizarre, with power outages and strained voices dominating the iconic band's final chapter. Lasting just 80 minutes, the shortest of the tour, Cobain, who has a long history with bronchitis, struggled through cuts such as "Drain You," "Come As You Are" and the finale, "Heart Shaped Box," which mercifully brought the show to a close. "Smells Like Teen Spirit" had to be cut from the setlist due to the power outage.

Krist Novoselic stepped to the mic following the band's return to the stage, delivering an eerie moment of foreshadowing. "We’re not playing the Munich Enormodome tonight. ‘Cos our careers are on the wane. We’re on the way out. Grunge is dead. Nirvana’s over....our next record’s going to be a hip-hop record!” Turns out, he was right.

Watch footage from Nirvana's last show on March 1, 1994 in Munich, GER.

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