The music icon was found dead at his Seattle home on April 5, 1994—27 years ago. He was 27 years old. At the time, police said they believed Cobain killed himself with a single shotgun blast to the head and that a suicide note was found next to the musician's body, which was discovered by an electrician. But for years, the circumstances surrounding Cobain's death have spurred many conspiracy theories, with many fans believing he was actually murdered.
The public uncertainty regarding the cause of his passing is the theme of a file about Cobain that was made public by the FBI last month and accessed by E! News on Saturday, May 8.
Rolling Stone, first reported about the unearthed documents, which span 10 pages. The outlet said the Bureau has not specified a reason regarding the timing of the file's release. Here is a summary of the findings:
Letters Urging an FBI Investigation
The Bureau released two letters it received from recipients whose names have been redacted and who called for an FBI investigation into Cobain's death.
One letter, an email with no subject, was sent in 2013 to the FBI's Seattle office.
"Dear whoever it may concern, I believe a great injustice might have been committed in the case of Kurt Cobain," the author states. "The official story from the Seattle police department is that he took his own life, however there are a lot of unanswered questions and inconsistencies with this."
The writer continues, "I feel...information has gone ignored and suppressed long enough by the Seattle police and the media. I'm writing you in hopes for your help to press for a reexamination of Mr. Cobain's death. Millions of fans around the world would like to see the inconsistencies surrounding the death cleared up once and for all. It is sad to think that an injustice of this nature can be allowed in the United States."
The other message, typed and printed on floral letterhead and sent in 2007, reads, "Dear US government officials, I write to you for the reason, every family member, friend, fan, and colleague...I only wish to receive justice for...and others who loved this man as much as I did. This man was Kurt Cobain, belonging to a band called Nirvana and it was origanally [sic] thought and still excepted [sic] as the truth that he commited [sic] suicide."
The author of the letter claimed "his killer is still out there and now, because of the haste of the police department, has the chance to claim other victoms [sic]."
The FBI's Response to Letters About Cobain
In its file, the Bureau included two identical responses to two 2006 letters about Kurt's death, sent by fans.
"Your letter...to the FBI expressing your belief that Kurt Cobain was murdered has been referred to me for reply," it reads. "We appreciate your concern that Mr. Cobain may have been the victim of a homicide. However, most homicide investigations generally fall within the jurisdiction of state and local authorities."
The Bureau's generic response letter continues, "In order for the FBI to initiate an investigation of any complaint we receive, specific facts must be present to indicate that a violation of federal law within our investigative jurisdiction has occurred. Based on the information you provided, we are unable to identify any violation of federal law within the investigative jurisdiction of the FBI. We are, therefore, unable to take any investigative action in this case."
Letter to Then-Attorney General Janet Reno
The FBI also included a letter from an official working in the legislative counsel department of the U.S. Office of Congressional and Public Affairs in response to a letter sent to then-Attorney General Janet Reno in 2000. The person's original message was not included.
"Your recent communication to Attorney General Janet Reno expressing your belief that Kurt Cobain was murdered has been referred to the FBI for reply," the official stated. "Based on the limited information you provided, we are unable to justify any violation of federal law within the investigative jurisdiction of the FBI. We are, therefore, unable to take any investigative action in this case."
Production Company's Fax Correspondence
The FBI file included part of a fax sent by Cosgrove/Meurer Productions, the production company of the TV series Unsolved Mysteries, in 1997. That year, the group's documentary series aired an episode that examined the circumstances of Kurt's death.
The fax makes no mention of the TV series. It includes a short summary about Cobain's death and theories and reports about his and wife Courtney Love's whereabouts in the days prior to his passing, as well as the suicide note found at the scene. The document states "private investigator and former L.A. County Sheriff's deputy" Tom Grant "strongly disagrees" that the "All Apologies" singer took his own life and "believes he has found a number of inconsistencies, including questions about the alleged suicide note itself," which he thinks is "actually a retirement letter to Cobain's fans."
Grant was featured on the episode of Unsolved Mysteries and has also documented his theories about Cobain's death online.
The production company's co-founder Terry Meurer told Rolling Stone that the fax marked a "typical communication" with the FBI, who the group constantly contacts for information. The outlet said he doesn't recall much about the original request about Cobain.