The last public photo of Layne Staley before his death depicted a pale and gaunt figure with sunken eyes surrounded by dark circles. The photo in question was reportedly taken backstage at bandmate Jerry Cantrell’s solo concert in Seattle on Halloween in 1998, about four years before he was found dead in his Seattle home on April 5, 2002.
Other reports claim that the singer’s last photo was taken by his mother, Nancy McCallum, on February 14, 2002, and featured him rocking his newborn baby nephew Oscar. He reportedly looked even more sickly in that photo which is yet to be published, and there are several reports about the singer missing an arm at the time of his death.
Layne Thomas Staley (born Layne Rutherford Staley; August 22, 1967 – April 5, 2002) was an American singer and songwriter who will go down in history as one of the greatest rock music artists of his generation. He was the original lead vocalist of the music group Alice in Chains and enjoyed a glittering musical career that spanned fourteen years from 1984 to 1998. Staley, like several musicians, had his demons and struggled with a terrible drug addiction.
So how did the talented musician go from looking hale and hearty to looking like he did in the last photo that was taken of him before he was found dead in his home? Read on to find out what happened as well as the real truth about his arm.
Where Was Layne Staley Found Dead?
Layne Staley was found dead in his Seattle home after the police had gone with his mother, Nancy McCallum, and her ex-husband to the late singer’s home after Nancy had contacted them to say that she had not heard from him in two weeks.
Nancy herself had been contacted by Staley’s manager, Susan Silver, following a call she (Silver) had received from his accountants to inform her that the Facelift crooner had not affected any withdrawals in the two weeks leading up to the call.
When the police eventually broke through to the apartment, they found the partially decomposed body of the singer and were only able to identify him through the medical examiners who compared his dental records. Staley’s mother later revealed that though she was not entirely surprised when she got the phone call about her son’s whereabouts, she was slightly worried.
Her worry stemmed from the fact that two days before she got the phone call, she had gone to the late singer’s house to inform him of the demise of Demri Lara Parrott, Staley’s former fiancee’s brother, but got no response when she knocked on his door. She returned after the call, and after she still got no response, she was then compelled to inform the appropriate authorities.
When Did Layne Staley Die?
Based on the events that led to the singer being found dead, several sources have arrived at the consensus that Layne Staley died on April 5, 2002, which was about two weeks before the call that led to the finding of his nearly decomposed remains.
That date has also been verified through autopsy and several interviews, one of which involved Alice in Chains bass player, Mike Starr who claims to be one of the last people to have seen Staley alive.
According to Starr, he had spent time with Staley on April 4, which was Starr’s birthday, and during the time they spent together, he noticed that the singer was very sick but he was adamant in his refusal to go to the hospital. This refusal to have himself properly checked out by competent medical personnel led to an argument between the pair, and Starr stormed out angrily.
The bass player recalls the singer calling out to him and urging him not to leave in that manner but he was too high and angry to listen. Starr also revealed that he regretted his decision to preserve their friendship and not call the hospital himself after Staley had threatened to end their friendship if he made the call.
His regret was mainly a result of the fact that Staley died the following day, at the age of 34, about three months before his 35th birthday. Mike Starr ended his interview by apologizing to his friend’s mother, who was also part of the interview, for not calling the hospital when he had a chance to. She reassured him of the fact that there was nothing to forgive by insisting that no one in the family blamed him for the singer’s death.
How Did Layne Staley Die?
Layne Staley died from an overdose of Speedball, a mixture of heroin and cocaine. This fact was confirmed by the autopsy and toxicology report on the late singer’s body. It also confirmed the date of his death as April 5, the same date that fellow grunge musician Kurt Cobain had died eight years prior in 1994.
Layne Staley’s struggles with drug addiction were well documented and, according to the late singer’s mother, he even attempted rehab thirteen times before his death. Nonetheless, it became increasingly clear that none of those attempts were enough to dissuade the singer from persisting in the nasty habit.
His experiment with drugs reportedly began during the years when Alice in Chains was on a break. The reports of his drug use and subsequent abuse gained more traction particularly because of the drastic change in his physical condition which had all the signs of someone who was under the influence of prolonged drug use.
Layne Staley’s death fell under the accidental category but following his death, the tributes flowed in, including the statement from his Alice in Chains bandmates which not only essentially extolled the late singer’s qualities as a musician and a valued friend, but also drew attention to how much he struggled, primarily with drug addiction. The statement ended with them hoping that he had found peace at last.
On April 20, 2002, just a day after he was found dead, an informal memorial was held in Staley’s honor at the Seattle Center, and the event attracted at least 100 fans and friends, including some of his bandmates from Alice in Chains. His body was cremated and a private memorial service was held for him on April 28, 2002, on Bainbridge Island in Puget Sound, Washington.
What Happened To Layne Staley In His Last Days?
Layne Staley lived his last days as a recluse, filled with regrets about the lifestyle choice that eventually led to his death. We have established the fact that before he became a shell of his former self, Staley was a high-flying rock musician with Alice in Chains. As the lead singer of the group, he led the group to their first number-one record in the United States following the release of their Alice in Chains album in 1995.
Unfortunately, it was the last time the group released an album with the late singer. As has been revealed by several sources, Staley’s life took a turn for the worse in 1996 after his former fiancee, Demri Lara Parrott, died of a drug overdose. Her demise also killed something akin to a will to live inside Staley, and his life unraveled from there.
He barely left his apartment and his disregard for his well being eventually led to a reliance on food supplements for the last few years of his life due to an inability to ingest food. He was last seen in public at bandmate Jerry Cantrell’s solo concert in Seattle on Halloween 1998, and even then, he could not deal with the challenge of joining Cantrell on stage due to his gaunt and deathly-looking appearance.
Further insight into what Staley’s last days were like was provided by Argentine writer and music fan, Adriana Rubio in her book: Layne Staley: Angry Chair – A Look Inside the Heart and Soul of an Incredible Musician. The book, a product of an exclusive interview Staley granted Rubio, revealed the fact that the late singer was aware that he was nearing his death and had made peace with that impending reality.
He expressed regret for using drugs in the first place and revealed how he depended on drugs not because he liked it but because he could not deal with the addiction, no matter how hard he tried. During the interview, Staley also revealed the negative influence his father had on him, including how the latter lured him back into using drugs again at a time when he was earnestly trying to deal with it.
Drugs were essentially Staley’s way of dealing with all the traumatic experiences he faced in life. Like many drug users, he used several hard substances, including heroin and cocaine to temporarily escape from the pain of life’s realities but he soon became a prisoner of the same drugs he looked to for escape.
The addiction to these substances became a constant in the talented singer’s life, and despite how hard he worked to break that addiction, it became the motivating factor that eventually led to his death.
What Happened To Layne Staley’s Arm?
One of the rumors that started making the rounds in 1996, around the time that Layne Staley disappeared from public view was that the hi arms were covered in abscesses from years of heroin use, and by 1997 an internet rumor that he had lost an arm to gangrene became an urban legend.
Another school of thought posited the theory that Staley did indeed lose an arm but it maintained that it was not from gangrene as suggested by the 1997 internet rumor. This source speculated that the singer had been in a motorcycle accident with a friend in 1998 and that he had lost an arm from the accident.
However, neither of these facts was or has ever been verified. There is no photographic evidence to confirm that Layne Staley lost an arm.
Is It True That Layne Staley Lost His Teeth?
At the time of his death, Layne Staley had no teeth. The primary cause of his dental malady was reported as a combination of his drug use and poor oral hygiene. In addition to his unfettered use of heroin and cocaine, Layne Staley was also addicted to crack, a hard substance known for its debilitating effect on the teeth of the user because it tends to become acidic when mixed with human saliva.
The use of crack also leads the user to grind his or her teeth a lot which can eventually lead to the breakdown of the integrity of the teeth. It’s on record that Staley recorded his last songs in 1998 and by that time he had lost virtually all of his teeth. The evidence of this fact becomes clearer when one listens to some of his recordings at the time, including Died, Get Born Again, and a cover of Another Brick In The Wall.
In these recordings, one can hear the lisp in his lyrics to the point that the band was forced to change some of the lyrics to eradicate the lisp.
Truth About Layne Staley’s Teeth
According to Staley’s stepfather, Jim Elmer, the late singer did not lose his teeth overnight. The deterioration of his dentures began gradually around 1995 or 1996. In fact, this fact is backed up by the evidence provided by Staley’s reunion with the band to perform for MTV Unplugged in New York.
As a result of the fact that the band had not performed together for a while, fans and neutral observers were curious to catch a glimpse of the late singer because of the rumors that had circulated about his health and physical appearance. In truth, Staley was already showing signs of ill health at the time but he was excited about the show.
He was, nonetheless, self-conscious about his teeth at this time which had seen better days because of his poor oral hygiene and incessant drug use. The poor state in which many found his teeth at the time led to the widespread rumor that he had lost all of his teeth, even though that was untrue at the time. While his teeth were in poor condition, Staley still had most of it.
What Was Layne Staley’s Net Worth At The Time Of His Death?
According to several reliable sources, Layne Staley was worth an estimated $5 million at the time of his death. Most of his net worth came from his 14-year music career with various bands, including Alice in Chains, Alice N’ Chains, Sleze, Class of ‘99, and Mad Season.