All in all is all we are: Kurt Cobain died 30 years ago

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Kurt Cobain, Nirvana frontman and face of counterculture and the grunge and alternative movement of the early ’90s, died April 5, 1994 — 30 years ago Friday.

Born February 20, 1967, in Aberdeen, Washington, Cobain formed Nirvana alongside bassist Krist Novoselic, whom he’d met during high school. Nirvana’s debut album, Bleach, was released in 1989, after which they recruited a new drummer, Dave Grohl.

A follow-up, Nevermind, was released in September 1991. Word quickly spread of lead single “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and its video, which showed Nirvana performing in a high school gym while surrounded by anarchist cheerleaders. In January 1992, Nevermind hit #1 on the Billboard 200 and is now certified Diamond by the RIAA.

Cobain’s lyrics about self-hatred to adolescent rebellion, coupled with Nirvana’s hooky, distorted rock, spoke directly to the disaffection felt by the generation’s youth and was viewed as an antidote to the excess and debauchery of the ’80s hair metal scene.

As Nirvana and Cobain became more and more popular, his personal life, including his reported heroin use and his relationship with his wife, Courtney Love, became tabloid fodder, deeply affecting his already fragile mental and emotional health.

Nirvana released their final album, In Utero, in September 1993 and taped an MTV Unplugged special later that year. Cobain’s drug use continued, and he was hospitalized in March 1994 with an overdose. On April 8, he was found dead at his Seattle home. An investigation ruled that he died by suicide on April 5.

With Nirvana over, Grohl formed his own band, Foo Fighters. He and Novoselic have reunited several times, perhaps most notably at the 2014 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, during which they performed Nirvana songs with guest singers including Lorde and Joan Jett.

If you’re struggling with thoughts of suicide or worried about a friend or loved one, call or text the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 for free, confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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