The Story of Jim Morrison’s Too Early, Very Sad, Deeply Mysterious Death
Jim Morrison was clearly not in a good way when he headed off for Paris during the mixing of the Doors‘ L.A. Woman album in early 1971. But for a time, those close to him held out hope that he’d be able to sort through his personal issues and find his way back to a state of physical, emotional, and creative well-being.
Those hopes were dashed on July 3, 1971, when the singer’s body was discovered by his girlfriend Pamela Courson in the bathtub of the apartment they shared.
Morrison’s life had become increasingly clouded by controversy during the years leading up to his move to Paris, and that sadly remained the case even after his passing. Shortly after the news broke, Morrison’s death fell under a persistent shadow of suspicion, with fans and friends calling into question everything from the official cause (a naggingly non-specific “heart failure”) to the events that allegedly transpired during the hours leading to his demise.
In fact, the Doors frontman’s death would eventually become as exhaustively investigated as his life, with entire books devoted to his final days and dozens of rumors — many of them unfounded — purporting to offer the “real story” of how he died (or, according to others, managed to fake his death and live in seclusion for decades).
Given Morrison’s public image and private proclivities, it’s always seemed safe to assume that drugs were involved in his death, and more than one person has stepped forward over the years to claim that he was killed by a bad batch of heroin supplied by notorious dealer Jean de Breteuil — a death that was then allegedly covered up by a pair of lower-level dealers who are accused of smuggling Morrison’s body into the apartment. While this theory is the basis of a book penned by one of Morrison’s self-described friends — and has been more or less given credence up by singer Marianne Faithfull — it remains unconfirmed.
What’s indisputable is that after July 3, 1971, Jim Morrison was gone, and one of rock’s more turbulent and unpredictable careers ended with his departure. In another sense, however, Morrison’s star has only continued to rise over the following decades. Although the Doors ceased to record shortly after his death, the band’s music continues to sell well, and has served as the basis for scores of books, films, compilations, and spinoff projects. Even in death, the Lizard King lives on.
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