SEATTLE -- Saturday, April 5 marks the 20th anniversary of the death of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, who died at age 27 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound at his home in Seattle.
The singer's body was discovered on April 8, 1994, by an electrician who had come to the house to install a security system.
On April 10, 1994, a public vigil was held for the singer at the Seattle Center, during which a pre-recorded tape of Cobain's widow, Courtney Love, reading a portion of his suicide note, was played for attendees. Part of the note says, "The fact is, I can't fool you, any one of you. It simply isn't fair, to you or to me. The worst crime I can think of would be to pull people off by faking it and pretending as if I'm having a hundred percent fun."
John Rosenfelder, who worked for Nirvana's record label, says the fact that Cobain was considered the spokesman of his generation made his loss even more unbearable to fans and music industry insiders.
"It was the shock of all shocks. At that time there still was a vibrant, huge music business. It was a very important sort of role in culture to be the biggest band in the world. It's unconscionable that somebody would do that," he said.
According to Rosenfelder, Cobain's complicated personality, and how he expressed it through music, is part of why Nirvana is still so popular today.
"He was conflicted, self-doubting, ultra confident and completely insecure at the same time. And he wrote about these things. That's what their universal appeal is. This is the same conflict and duality that everybody feels."
Rosenfelder says one reason Nirvana had such a profound impact because the group opened doors for an entire new genre of music to take over the charts.
"There was a whole scene of artists behind them that had been suppressed by the industry. So when Nirvana broke through of course there were five or six artists behind them that were almost as good and had just as many good songs. And we haven't seen anything like that since. I think that's the big reason Nirvana sort of lasts."
Rosenfelder describes Cobain's legacy as a "kind of ultra pure artist."
"And that's not a bad legacy to have," Rosenfelder said. "He is thought of as some sort of really uncompromising guy with a unique powerful vision that couldn't handle the commercial environment he found himself in."