Kurt Donald Cobain (February 20, 1967 – April 5, 1994) was an American singer, songwriter, and musician, best known as the guitarist and frontman of the rock band Nirvana. Regarded as a Generation X icon, he is considered to be one of the most iconic and influential rock musicians in the history of alternative music.
Born in Aberdeen, Washington, Cobain formed the band Nirvana with Krist Novoselic and Aaron Burckhard in 1987 and established it as part of the Seattle music scene which later became known as grunge. After signing with major label DGC Records, Nirvana found global success with “Smells Like Teen Spirit” from their critically acclaimed second album Nevermind (1991). Following the success of Nevermind, Nirvana was labeled “the flagship band” of Generation X, and Cobain was hailed as “the spokesman of a generation”; however, Cobain resented this, believing his message and artistic vision had been misinterpreted by the public, with his personal problems often subject to media attention.
During the last years of his life, Cobain struggled with heroin addiction and chronic health problems such as depression. He also struggled with the personal and professional pressures of fame, and his marriage to musician Courtney Love. On April 8, 1994, Cobain was found dead at his home in Seattle at the age of 27; police concluded he had died on April 5 from a self-inflicted shotgun wound to his head.
Cobain was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, along with Nirvana bandmates Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl, in their first year of eligibility in 2014. In 2003, David Fricke of Rolling Stone ranked him the 12th greatest guitarist of all time. He was ranked 7th by MTV in the “22 Greatest Voices in Music”. In 2006, he was placed 20th by Hit Parader on their list of the “100 Greatest Metal Singers of All Time”.