Alice In Chains' Layne Staley Found Dead

Layne Staley, lead singer and guitarist for the grunge band Alice In Chains, was found dead in his Seattle apartment, authorities said today (April 20). He was 34. Tests were required to establish the

Layne Staley, lead singer and guitarist for the grunge band Alice In Chains, was found dead in his Seattle apartment, authorities said today (April 20). He was 34. Tests were required to establish the identity because the body, discovered Friday, had started to decompose. The cause of death had not been determined, a representative of the King County Medical Examiner's office said.

"It was natural or an overdose -- that's the way it was determined by our investigators," said Seattle Police spokesman Duane Fish. Police did not immediately release details on anything that was found at the scene, and a spokesperson did not respond to several messages.

Alongside Pearl Jam, Nirvana, and Soundgarden, Alice In Chains rose to prominence in the early '90s Seattle heyday of grunge rock. The group's first album, "Facelift," was released by Columbia in 1990, and subsequent albums such as 1992's "Dirt" and 1994's "Jar of Flies" gained Alice In Chains an international following.

Staley frequently struggled with drug abuse, and his lyrics often reflected the battle: "What's my drug of choice? / Well, what you got? / I don't go broke and I do it a lot," he sang in "Junkhead," from "Dirt." His problems ultimately derailed the band following the release of a 1995 self-titled album, the final full-length the group would put to tape. In recent years, Columbia cleared through its archives to release the boxed set "Music Bank" as well as a greatest-hits and live album.

Fans quickly took to Internet bulletin boards to mourn Staley's loss, some planning candelight vigils in Seattle and New York. The artist's surviving bandmates and Columbia Records have yet to comment on today's news.


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