The rock legend Jimi Hendrix was murdered by his manager, who stood to collect millions of dollars on the star's life insurance policy, a former roadie has claimed in a new book.
James "Tappy" Wright says that Hendrix's manager, Michael Jeffrey, drunkenly confessed to killing him by stuffing pills into his mouth and washing them down with several bottles of red wine because he feared Hendrix intended to dump him for a new manager, according to a report in the Mail on Sunday.
In his book, Rock Roadie, Mr Wright says Jeffrey told him in 1971 that Hendrix had been "worth more to him dead than alive" as he had taken out a life insurance policy on the musician worth $2m (about £1.2m at the time), with himself as the beneficiary. Two years later, Jeffrey was killed in a plane crash.
Hendrix died in September 1970, aged 27. An ambulance crew found his body in the Samarkand Hotel, west London, in the room of a woman called Monika Dannemann, whom he had known for only a few days.
Hendrix was alone in the room, lying on his back, with the gas fire on and the door open. There was no record of who had called the ambulance. His inquest recorded the cause of his death as barbiturate intoxication and inhalation of vomit, and recorded an open verdict.
Describing the night of Jeffrey's confession, Mr Wright wrote: "I can still hear that conversation, see the man I'd known for so much of my life, his face pale, hand clutching at his glass in sudden rage."
Wright claims Jeffrey told him: "I had to do it, Tappy. You understand, don't you? I had to do it. You know damn well what I'm talking about.
"I was in London the night of Jimi's death and together with some old friends... we went round to Monika's hotel room, got a handful of pills and stuffed them into his mouth... then poured a few bottles of red wine deep into his windpipe.
"I had to do it. Jimi was worth much more to me dead than alive. That son of a bitch was going to leave me. If I lost him, I'd lose everything."
John Bannister, the surgeon who dealt with Hendrix at hospital, has said he was convinced the star had drowned in red wine, despite having very little alcohol in his bloodstream.
"I recall vividly the very large amounts of red wine that oozed from his stomach and his lungs and in my opinion there was no question that Jimi Hendrix had drowned, if not at home then on the way to the hospital," he wrote in 1992.Reuse content