Throughout his career, Layne Staley of Alice in Chains struggled with drug addiction. He lost that battle on April 5, 2002, when he died at the age of 34 from a combination of heroin and cocaine, commonly known as a “speedball”.
However, Staley’s body wasn’t discovered immediately. It wasn’t until April 19, after no one had heard from him for two weeks, that the police were called in to break down the door to his Seattle apartment. Surrounded, in squalor, by drugs and drug paraphernalia, was Staley. His 6′ 1″ frame had been reduced to 86 pounds, and in his hand was a syringe loaded with another dose of heroin. The autopsy and toxicology report placed the date of his death, which was ruled as accidental, at April 5.
After that, Staley was rarely spotted in public as his addiction grew deeper. The day before his death, Alice in Chains bassist Mike Starr was the last person to see Staley alive. The two argued over Staley’s deteriorating health – Starr wanted to call 911 to help him, but Staley refused – and Starr left in anger. Starr died of a prescription drug overdose in 2011.
In an eerie coincidence, Staley died eight years to the day that Kurt Cobain, whose success with Nirvana began the Seattle-dominated grunge movement off the early ’90s, took his own life with a shotgun.