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I love you, said Cobain note

A SUICIDE note left by Kurt Cobain, lead singer of the grunge rock band Nirvana, spoke of his love for his wife and child. Investigators looking into Cobain's death on Friday from a shotgun wound to the head refused to divulge the contents of the note, but the Seattle Post-Intelligencer said he had written about Courtney Love, his wife, and daughter Frances Bean, two.

Love yesterday cancelled a London concert she had been due to perform today to coincide with the release of her band Hole's new album. Nirvana was to have played in London later this month.

Until he went missing six days ago, Cobain, 27, had been at his Seattle home recovering from a drug and alcohol overdose in Rome last month. As news of his death sent his European fans into mourning, the band's four albums, Bleach, Insecticide, Nevermind and In Utero, began disappearing from the record shops.

At Tower Records in London's Piccadilly a member of staff said they had been playing Nevermind. 'I know, it's really awful. Somebody dies and you try to make money out of it. But it's not just a sell-out thing. It is kind of like a tribute as well.'

Russ Williams, presenter with Virgin 1215 radio, which linked live with Seattle following the news, said that a friend of his had seen Cobain putting a shotgun into his mouth backstage on Nirvana's last European tour. 'He was allegedly using heroin to ease the pain from a curved spine but people thought it was using the drug that caused him these depressions.'

Followers of the band reflected on the irony of interviews with Love published last week. Q magazine compared Courtney Love with Nancy Spungen, junkie girlfriend of the equally ill-fated Sex Pistol, Sid Vicious. In last week's Select magazine, Love, interviewed shortly after Cobain nearly died in Rome, said: 'If he thinks he can get away from me like that he can forget it. I'll follow him through hell.'

Cobain's body was found by Gary Smith, an electrician, with a shotgun resting on its chest. The note was nearby, on a table covered with the earth from a potted plant. Smith said he only read the last two lines, before handing it over to the police. It said: 'I love you, I love you.'

Smith made the discovery shortly before 9am on Friday, after arriving to do some work at Cobain's luxurious home overlooking Lake Washington. Fans of the King of Grunge Rock soon began to gather outside in the drizzle, hugging each other and weeping.

'He meant so many different things to so many young people,' said a tearful Amy Dewitt, 'and he was so important to so many of them.'

When news of the death broke, it immediately went to the top of the American headlines, ahead of the Japanese political crisis, the violence in Rwanda and the forthcoming South African elections.

Rock radio stations across the United States were inundated by calls and faxes from grief- stricken fans. Disc jockeys found themselves acting as on- air counsellors and some radio and television stations began broadcasting the free-phone numbers of suicide hotlines.

'I am floored, absolutely floored,' said Steve Zanderpool, presenter of a radio rock show in Seattle. 'I have just been through this whole thing with him being in a coma in Rome, and it was kind of frightening then. Now this.'

Cobain's mother, Wendy O'Connor, told a local newspaper that she had feared her son would be found dead. 'Now he's gone and joined that stupid club. I told him not to join that stupid club,' she said.

No one doubted what she meant.

Ben Thompson, page 25

(Photograph omitted)