‘God help me’: Jim Morrison, heroin and his final days in Paris

Morrison despised heroin and always preferred to drink himself into oblivion. But an overdose – accidental or deliberate – was the most likely cause of his death that night in Paris 50 years ago, writes Sean Smith

Friday 02 July 2021 06:30
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<p>Death held a fascination for Morrison</p>

Death held a fascination for Morrison

Responding to a call for urgent medical assistance, a young fireman named Alain Raisson arrived at a fourth-floor apartment in the Marais quarter of Paris on the morning of 3 July 1971 to find a distraught woman weeping over the body of a man in a bathtub. Although he had congealed blood around his nose and mouth and was no longer breathing, he was not yet cold to the touch. During resuscitation it became apparent that the residual warmth had been imparted by the tepid bath water and that in all likelihood, he had died an hour earlier.

Raisson didn’t recognise the young American but he would be mourned by millions as Jim Morrison, the lead singer of ground-breaking rock group, The Doors. The mysterious circumstances surrounding his death have fuelled his legend and 50 years on, his grave is still one of the most visited tourist sites in Paris.

Friends believe that the seeds of his self-destruction were sewn during that infamous Miami concert in March 1969, when a drunken Morrison was arrested for flashing his genitalia. After protracted legal proceedings, Morrison was eventually found guilty of indecent exposure in September 1970 and would face six months in a penitentiary if his legal team failed to overturn the conviction.

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