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Thirty years after his death, Kurt Cobain remains an iconic figure. Beyond his musical talent, Kurt’s life was marked by struggles with mental health, stemming from a turbulent childhood marred by his parent’s divorce, when he was nine years old.

Years later, Kurt’s ascent to fame with Nirvana catapulted him into the spotlight, where he grappled with the pressures of stardom while battling inner demons.

Amidst this whirlwind of emotions and fame, Kurt Cobain found solace in an unlikely source – his childhood imaginary friend, Boddah. This article delves into the intricate relationship between Kurt and his imaginary friend, Boddah.


Who is Boddah to Kurt Cobain?

Kurt Cobain was born on February 20, 1967. Around the age of 3, Kurt created an imaginary friend named Boddah. Boddah would become a central figure in Kurt’s complex life story until his tragic death on April 5, 1994. Kurt’s parents, Donald and Wendy Cobain became concerned when Kurt wouldn’t stop talking about his “phantom” best friend. It was just a name that a hyper-creative kid came up with.

Charles R. Cross’s biography, Heavier Than Heaven, suggests that Boddah became a source of solace for a young Kurt Cobain. Following his parents’ divorce and family life fractured, Kurt likely sought comfort in Boddah’s presence.

Kurt Cobain and his imaginary friend, Boddah, had a complex relationship. Boddah often served as a scapegoat for Kurt’s misdeeds. Close friends knew Kurt would jokingly claim Boddah was his “dark side.” This manifested in some morbid stories. As a child, when Kurt was suspected of torturing a neighbor’s cat, he blamed it on Boddah.

This pattern continued. In another incident, after writing “Kill Your Parents” on a school wall, a young Kurt again used Boddah as his alibi.

There was one called Boddah, He blamed everything on him.
Wendy Cobain, Rolling Stone interview

To Boddah: Kurt Cobain Suicide Note


Kurt Cobain was found dead at his Lake Washington Boulevard home on April 8th, 1994. An electrician who arrived to install a security system discovered his body. The medical examiner estimated Kurt had been dead for days, with the official cause of death being suicide by gunshot on April 5th, 1994, at the age of 27.

Kurt Cobain’s death remains one of the most saddest events in rock history. In his final days, Kurt Cobain suffered from a handful of challenges, including heroin addiction, bronchitis, stomach pain, bipolar disorder, and the overwhelming pressures of fame. Yet, amidst his struggles, Kurt found solace in the presence of his imaginary friend, who remained a constant companion during his darkest moments.

Wrote in red ink, Kurt Cobain’s suicide note was addressed to Boddah and was found with a pen presumably stabbed through its center, placed in a flower box inside the greenhouse. Some sentences were crossed out, and the handwriting appears increasingly hurried and erratic as the note progresses.

On Sunday afternoon, April 10th, a public candlelight vigil occurred at Seattle Center’s Flag Pavilion, drawing 7,000 people. Courtney Love played a tape recording and then proceeded to read Kurt Cobain’s suicide letter, visibly emotional throughout. Towards the end, she spoke about Boddah, Kurt’s childhood imaginary friend, a reference that moved Kurt’s family members and close friends to tears.


Boddah: Insights from Kurt’s Uncle, Mari Earl

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In the 1998 documentary, “Kurt & Love”, directed by Nick Broomfield, Kurt Cobain’s aunt Mari Earl was interviewed. The excerpt above shows Mari’s influence on Kurt’s relationship with music and how she kept recordings of him from a toddler to a teenage boy.

It highlights a specific part in the documentary (around 4:08) where Mari talks about Kurt Cobain’s imaginary friend Boddah. You can hear a very young Kurt Cobain’s voice asking “Where is Boddah? He did it! Where is Boddah? He did it again!” while laughing, likely at the echo effect on the tape recording.


Who Killed Kurt Cobain? The Story of Boddah

You can learn more about the relationship between Kurt Cobain and Boddah by reading the award-winning graphic novel “WHO KILLED KURT COBAIN?” by acclaimed creator Nicolas Otero.

Inspired by the French novel “Le Roman de Boddah” by Heloise Guay de Bellissen, this graphic novel is a fictionalized account of Kurt’s life, narrated by his childhood imaginary friend, Boddah.

Through Boddah’s unique perspective, readers experience the highs and lows of one of music’s most influential figures. Witness the journey of modern rock’s icon, from Seattle’s underground scene to the world stage, in this captivating tale filled with angst, joy, and the raw emotions of a generation.

Please note, that this is an illustration book, and the title may mislead the reader; Kurt Cobain’s official cause of death was suicide by shotgun.


Frequently Asked Questions

What syndrome did Kurt Cobain have?

Kurt was reportedly diagnosed with bipolar disorder, though there is no confirmation from medical professionals who treated him. Bipolar disorder, formerly called manic depression, is a mental illness that causes extreme mood swings that include emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression).

Cobain’s cousin, a nurse, said that he had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Friends described his behavior as consistent with the illness. Cobain himself never spoke publicly about the diagnosis.

Did Cobain have ADHD?

Yes, Kurt Cobain is reported to have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) as a child. His mother briefly mentions it in the documentary “Montage of Heck,” and biographies mention him being prescribed Ritalin, a common medication for ADHD, which he stopped taking after a short period. Some experts believe Kurt Cobain’s childhood behavior and struggles align with ADHD symptoms.

What health issues did Kurt have?

Kurt battled several health issues throughout his life. He struggled with chronic depression. Some sources suggest he may have had bipolar disorder. He also suffered from chronic stomach pain and heroin addiction, which he tried to overcome in rehab.

 

Is just a guy who got tired of bothering his friends talking about music, and decided to create a blog to write about what he loves the most.
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