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Kurt Donald Cobain was an American singer-songwriter, musician and artist, best known as the
lead singer and guitarist of the grunge band Nirvana.
</p>
<dl>
<dt>
Born
</dt>
<dd>
February 20, 1967, Aberdeen
</dd>
<dt>
Died
</dt>
<dd>
April 5, 1994, Seattle
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Spouse
</dt>
<dd>
Courtney Love (m. 1992-1994)
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<dt>
Music groups
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<dd>
Nirvana
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{{#raw content}}
**Kurt Donald Cobain** (February 20, 1967 - April 5, 1994) was an American singer-songwriter, musician
and artist, best known as the lead singer and guitarist of the
[grunge](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grunge) band
[Nirvana](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nirvana_(band)).
Cobain formed Nirvana with
[Krist Novoselic](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krist_Novoselic) in
[Aberdeen, Washington](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aberdeen,_Washington) in 1985
and established it as part of the Seattle music scene, having its debut album
[Bleach](http://en.wikipedia.org//wiki/Bleach_(album)) released on the independent
record label Sub Pop in 1989.
After signing with major label DGC Records, the band found breakthrough success with
"Smells Like Teen Spirit" from its second album Nevermind (1991). Following the success of Nevermind,
Nirvana was labeled "the flagship band" of Generation X, and Cobain hailed as "the spokesman of a
generation". Cobain, however, was often uncomfortable and frustrated, believing his message and
artistic vision to have been misinterpreted by the public, with his personal issues often subject to
media attention. He challenged Nirvana's audience with its final studio album In Utero (1993).
During the last years of his life, Cobain struggled with heroin addiction, illness and depression.
He also had difficulty coping with his fame and public image, and the professional and lifelong
personal pressures surrounding himself and his wife, musician Courtney Love. On April 8, 1994,
Cobain was found dead at his home in Seattle, the victim of what was officially ruled a suicide by a
self-inflicted shotgun wound to the head. The circumstances of his death at age 27 have become a topic
of public fascination and debate. Since their debut, Nirvana, with Cobain as a songwriter, has sold
over 25 million albums in the U.S., and over 50 million worldwide.
## Early life
Kurt Donald Cobain was born on February 20, 1967, at Grays Harbor Hospital in Aberdeen, Washington,
to a waitress, Wendy Elizabeth (née Fradenburg) (born 1948), and an automotive mechanic,
Donald Leland Cobain (born 1946). His parents were married on July 31, 1965 in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.
His ancestry included Irish, English, Scottish, and German. Cobain's Irish ancestors
migrated from County Tyrone of Northern Ireland in 1875. Researchers have found them to have been
shoemakers, originally named Cobane, who came from the village of Inishatieve near Pomeroy, settling
in Cornwall, Ontario, Canada, and then in Washington. Cobain had one younger sister named Kimberly,
born on April 24, 1970.
Cobain's family had a musical background. His maternal uncle Chuck Fradenburg starred in a band called
The Beachcombers, his Aunt Mari Earle played guitar and performed in bands throughout Grays Harbor
County, and his great-uncle Delbert had a career as an Irish tenor; making an appearance in the 1930
film King of Jazz. Cobain was described as being a happy and excitable, while sensitive and caring
child. His talent as an artist was evident from an early age. His bedroom was described as having taken
on the appearance of an art studio, where he would accurately draw his favorite characters from
films and cartoons such as Aquaman, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and Disney characters like
Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse and Pluto. This enthusiasm was encouraged by his grandmother Iris Cobain,
who was a professional artist herself. Cobain began developing an interest in music early in his life.
According to his Aunt Mari, he began singing at two years old. At age four, Cobain started playing the
piano and singing, writing a song about their trip to a local park. He listened to artists like the
Ramones and would sing songs like Arlo Guthrie's "Motorcycle Song," The Beatles' "Hey Jude", Terry
Jacks' "Seasons in the Sun" and the theme song to The Monkees television show at a young age.
When Cobain was seven years old, his parents divorced. Later in his life, he said the divorce had a
profound effect on his life. His mother noted that his personality changed dramatically; Cobain became
defiant and withdrawn. In a 1993 interview, he elaborated:
> "I remember feeling ashamed, for some reason. I was ashamed of my parents.
> I couldn't face some of my friends at school anymore, because I desperately wanted to have the
> classic, you know, typical family. Mother, father. I wanted that security, so I resented my parents
> for quite a few years because of that."
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