Jimi Hendrix was in the spotlight for just four years, but he is remembered as one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame described him as “the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music.”
That talent, that great gift went dark in London England on September 18, 1970.
The only witness to his death was Monika Dannemann, a German figure skater and painter he met on his European tour. Jimi was staying in her flat at the Samarkand Hotel in the Notting Hill district of West London.
The night before they were at a party together where Jimi is known to have had at least one amphetamine pill called a ‘black bomber.’ They got back to Monika’s flat in the early hours of September 18.
Monika told authorities that around 3 a.m. she made two tuna fish sandwiches. An hour later, Jimi, an insomniac, asked her for some of her prescription sleeping pills. Finally he slept.
Just after 10 a.m. Monika woke up and said Jimi was still asleep. She left the apartment to buy cigarettes and when she returned an hour later Jimi was still in bed, breathing but unconscious and unresponsive. She called an ambulance which arrived at 11:27am.
Where was Monika?
The ambulance crew said the door to the flat was wide open, the gas fire was on, the curtains were drawn and the apartment was dark. They called out several times but got no response. They went inside and found Jimi Hendrix alone in bed. Dannemann was not there.
Jimi Hendrix was taken to hospital where all attempts to resuscitate him failed. He was pronounced dead at 12:45 p.m. He was 27.
An autopsy showed the cause of death was an overdose of barbiturates and sleeping pills. He had taken nine of Monika’s prescription sleeping pills — 18 times the recommended dosage.
The coroner said there was “insufficient evidence of [suicide]” and recorded an open verdict.
No evidence of suicidal intent
“The cause of death was clearly inhalation of vomit due to barbiturate intoxication,” the coroner ruled, “but there is no evidence as to intention to commit suicide.”
Monika Dannemann’s inconsistent stories about Jimi’s death, her slanderous comments about his former girlfriend Kathy Etchingham and her own premature demise cast doubt on the true cause of death.
Dannemann reportedly committed suicide in 1996 at the age of 50, but reports of “foul play” continue to circulate — payback for what really happened on September 18, 1970.
Purple Haze all in my brain
Lately things just don’t seem the same
Actin’ funny but I don’t know why
‘Scuse me while I kiss the sky
I can’t go on like this