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The world of Grunge changed forever on April 5th, 2002 when Alice in Chains lost their lead singer. With Layne Staley dead from a drug overdose at the age of 26-years old, he became both an inspiration and icon for people all over America to connect with this genre that was now out into public sight as well.
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When Staley died, he had been struggling with addiction for years. His fiancee Demri Lara Parrott also died in 1996 and this sent the singer into a deep depression that wouldn’t go away – even after their relationship ended following The Grammy Awards of 1997.
Staley’s Last Interview
Three months before he died, Layne Staley spoke to an Argentinian interviewer about his life and music. In this conversation, the singer revealed that despite being famous for delivering hit records with frantic energy on stage or in recording sessions where drugs were always present (cocaine mostly).
What made Staley the happiest was creating moody ballads like “Fire” which tells stories from someone’s perspective outside of their own reality – often symbolized by fire.”
In a recent interview, Staley admitted that addiction is “like the insulin someone needs to survive”. While many people think of drugs as something you use for fun or relaxation purposes.
However, he mentioned how it became an important part of helping him feel better after being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes back when he was still at home nursing his mother who had recently passed away from cancer.
“I have never experienced pain like this before. The worst part about it is that I am sick and throwing up constantly, so my pants are always full of sh—e plus there’s the constant ache in your stomach from not eating anything for so long.”
“I know I’m near death, but this is not how it was meant to end. My crack and heroin use took over my life for years; now that the reality of addiction has set in—with no chance left—it’s time really think about what you want instead.”
Alice In Chains – Down in a Hole (MTV Unplugged – HD Video)
Staley’s Last Photos
As Layne Staley smoked his final cigarette, he was outside the venue waiting for award winners to arrive. The last photos of him were published in 1997 and they show an exhausted but proud man with a smile on his face who seemed happy that soon enough it would be all over.
In July 1996, Layne Staley performed his final show with Alice in Chains at the Kemper Arena. The band opened up for KISS and played an 11-song set to crowds of fans who had gathered around them as they got ready for their performance (which included songs like “No Excuses”).
The band went on hiatus after Staley’s death, reuniting three years later in 2005.
Staley’s Unprecedented Final Years
In 1996, Staley’s former fiancee died and he fell into depression. According to some reports from the NME, he was put on a 24-hour suicide watch during that time.
Staley attended the 1997 Grammy award show as Alice in Chain’s song ‘Again’ was nominated for Best Hard Rock Performance, but she quickly left and never made another appearance publicly.
Staley spent his final years in a three-bedroom apartment, rarely leaving home. He never went outside and preferred to stay inside where it was safe from any potential intruders that might come by looking for him.
15 Facts About Layne Staley You Probably Didn’t Know