The pioneer of heavy music, who played the guitar in a way that was never heard before, Jimi Hendrix died on 18 September 1970. Even after 40 years of his death, mystery shrouds the question - how did Jimi Hendrix die?
Many say there was a pre-planned Jimi Hendrix death conspiracy and he was murdered by his own manager. The police claim that Jimi Hendrix's death cause were the 9 Vesperax sleeping pills in his system and he choked on his own vomit. But nothing is conclusive enough that establishes the cause of his death.
Let us go back in time and learn more about these various Jimi Hendrix death conspiracy theories that have been put forth to explain his death.
Jimi Hendrix Death Conspiracy
Jimi Hendrix was found dead on September 18, 1970 in his flat, at the Smarkand Hotel, 22 Lansdowne Crescent, Notting Hill, by his girlfriend Monika Dannemann. It is said he may have died on the night of September 17, within a few hours after midnight.
The recorded facts were quite contradictory to each other, as there were many events that remain unanswered. The statements made by his girlfriend were inconclusive and wavered in every television interview she gave afterward.
According to the original testimony of Dannemann, they had returned to her lodgings in the evening and Jimi took nine of her prescribed Vesperax sleeping pills. He was unfamiliar with the German brand pills and took more than the prescribed half a tablet dose.
She woke up the next morning and found him sleeping normally. She went for cigarettes and came to find Jimi Hendrix sick and having breathing troubles. She immediately called Eric Burdon of the Animals, who asked her to call for an ambulance immediately. The ambulance arrived by 11.30 am and she went with Jimi to the hospital, in the ambulance.
Jimi Hendrix suffocated to death en route to the hospital, according to Dannemann. But, the paramedics who attended Jimi Hendrix that fateful day, claim otherwise. They said, when they arrived on the scene, there was no one present in the flat other than Jimi lying on the bed, dead. They tried to revive him, but were unsuccessful.
The surgeon who attended him, John Bannister, said Jimi Hendrix asphyxiated on his own vomit that mainly contained red wine. It filled his airways, which was termed as the cause of death according to the autopsy report.
Unfortunately, the autopsy failed to conclude the exact time of death and declared he had been dead sometime before the paramedics arrived on the scene.
Jimi Hendrix Death - Suicide or Accident
Another theory dwells on the question - was it a suicide or an accidental death? Eric Burdon claimed that he had committed suicide, but the facts pointed out that it could not be suicide. He was comparatively happy at the time of his death, in spite of the troubles and problems present in his life and his erratic behavior.
He had a pack of 42 Vesperax in his pocket when he died and only 9 Vesperax in his system. He was a chronic insomniac and was found to be resistant to barbiturate effects. Thus, nine pills would not have led to his death and the other 42 found in his pocket prove that he didn't intend to kill himself.
The police claim that he was dead when they and the paramedics arrived on scene. It was further speculated as a suicide as some reports claimed there was a depressing poem found in his apartment by the police.
Jimi Hendrix's long-term English girlfriend Kathy Etchingham filed a libel case against Monika Dannemann in 1996. Dannemann committed suicide following the case. This further made matters worse regarding his death.
A former Animals 'roadie' James 'Tappy' Wright came up with his side of story regarding his death in his book that was published in May 2009. It claimed that Jimi's manager had admitted to him that he killed the rock star as Jimi wanted to end his contract.
This theory was supported by John Bannister, the surgeon who conducted the autopsy. He publicly stated in 2009 that the amount of wine present in Jimi's system was extraordinary. He stated, "Not only was it saturated right through his hair and shirt, but his lungs and stomach were absolutely full of wine. I have never seen so much wine.
We had a sucker that you put down into his trachea, the entrance to his lungs and to the back of his throat. We kept sucking him out and it kept surging and surging. He had already vomited up masses of red wine and I would have thought there was half a bottle of wine in his hair.
He had really drowned in a massive amount of red wine." But, again the ambulance drivers and a few others present at that time contradicted his statements.
So, now the singers death palisades with many speculations and theories. Jimi Hendrix had an extraordinary talent of showmanship and technical prowess. He is one of the top rock stars of rock and roll in spite of the fact that he recorded just 5 albums. Jimi Hendrix is an inspiration to many top artists today and yet his death remains unsolved.
Jimi Hendrix's death will continue to flummox his fans as one cannot say for sure, was his extraordinary lifestyle the cause of his death or is it due to the common fate met by musicians.
The contradictory statements, the theories of conspiracies and foul play will continue to unravel one single thought: if there is something fishy that is being overlooked or a closed guarded secret that does not allow the truth to show itself. Whatever maybe the truth, the world of rock-n-roll lost one of its greatest artists forever to the angels of death.