Kurt Cobain, lead singer of American grunge rock band Nirvana and a man widely seen as a spokesman for his generation, took his own life at the age of 27 on this day in 1994.

Cobain was discovered at his Seattle home on April 8 with a shotgun lying across his body and a visible head wound. A suicide note was found nearby. Forensic analysis later determined that he had died three days earlier.

Cobain, uncomfortable with life in the spotlight and the adulation and expectation heaped upon him as the front man for the cynical, disaffected 'Generation X', had seen his regular use of heroin become an addiction by the time Nirvana's album Nevermind, with its signature hit Smells Life Teen Spirit, had become a worldwide hit in early 1992.

He had suffered an overdose of the drug in 1993, and in March 1994 had overdosed in Rome on a combination of Champagne and Rohypnol. Later the same month his wife Courtney Love reported that he had locked himself in a room with a gun, and soon he had agreed to enter a detox programme in Los Angeles.

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On his second night at the rehab centre, Cobain climbed over the compound's six-foot fence and boarded a flight to Seattle. Attempts by Love, friends and family and even a private detective to track him down proved unsuccessful, and his body was found by an electrician on April 8.

As well as the gunshot wound, police found injection marks on his arms and the coroner later reported a high concentration of heroin and traces of diazepam present in his body.

As well as his wife, Cobain left behind a two-year-old daughter, Frances Bean.