The End Of A Beautiful Voice: Layne Staley - Amy Brooks

There is just so much tragedy surrounding Layne Staley's death, it's almost too much to bear.  14 years ago, he was found dead. Dead from a drug overdose, in his home in Seattle.  They say he died all alone- which is also how he had been spending most of his days and nights.  It's believed that he died on the 8 year anniversary of Kurt Cobain's death but he wasn't found for two whole weeks after the OD.

Layne Staley with Alice in Chains during filming of one of their videos in Los Angeles, CA. August 1990 (Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)

And sadly, it wasn't friends or family who felt his absence from the world for those 2 weeks, nope.  It was his accountants who noticed that there hadn't been any withdrawals made from his bank account.

Sean Kinney, Layne Staley, Mike Starr and Jerry Cantrell of Alice in Chains during an In-Store record promotion in Los Angeles, CA. September 1990. (Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)

He weighed under 90 lbs when the Seattle Police kicked in his door.  They found him on his couch surrounded by drugs and pipes and spray paint cans not to mention a syringe in his leg and one in his hand.

Now enter the regret and the what ifs.  Could those closest to him have done more?  Alice In Chains' bassist Mike Starr spent a long time blaming himself.  Mike was the last to see him alive on the day before his death which also happened to be Mike's birthday. They argued.  They argued over Layne's refusal to get help.  But Layne told Mike if he called 911 he would end their friendship.  So Mike stormed away and didn't make that call.

Rock group Alice in Chains. Left to right Jerry Cantrell, guitar; Layne Staley, vocals, Michael Starr, bass and Sean Kinney in Hollywood for rehearsal July 1991. (Photo by Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

As Mike was leaving, Layne called out to him, "Don't leave like this, Not like this". And that was it. Mike died in 2011 of what is believed to be a prescription drug (methadone) over dose.  (Ironically Layne had saved Mike's life in 1993 at a Nirvana/AIC show after a near OD of heroin. Layne gave Mike CPR and revived him).

Sadly, his death from drugs was hardly a surprise, and by the time his life was gone soo was grunge's hey-day.  Layne was written off and that year he didn’t even get a mention during the Grammys In Memoriam segment.

It's just crushing to think this man behind this beautiful voice was too dependent on heroin to be able to appreciate his importance in the amazing music scene that HE had helped create.

-Amy Brooks

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