Kurt Cobain was born on 20 February 1967 in Hoquiam, near Aberdeen, 140 km south-west of Seattle.
He grew up in a broken home, something which had a deeply traumatic effect on his psyche in his childhood.
He was surrounded by music from an early age, after being given a children's drum as a gift. He only developed a stronger interest, however, after being given his first guitar at the age of 14. In 1982, at the age of 15, Cobain became friends with Krist Novoselic, and the two of them would often jam together.
Through various music projects and the influence of musicians whom Cobain had got to know over the years, he slowly developed an affinity with indie rock and punk rock.
At the age of 18, Cobain finally dropped out of school and moved to Olympia, Washington, where he lived together with his girlfriend. The relationship was dogged by shouting matches and continuous break-ups, however, as Cobain's girlfriend found it increasingly difficult to deal with his lack of ambition.
Together with Novoselic, Cobain played in a number of bands which eventually metamorphosised into Nirvana in 1987 when Kurt was 20 years old.
Cobain made three studio albums with Nirvana, one compilation of B-sides and numerous singles and EPs. In mid-1989 the first album, Bleach, was released, but was a huge flop. After several changes of drummer, Dave Grohl joined the band. He was to stay with Nirvana until the band eventually split up.
The album Nevermind brought Kurt Cobain and Nirvana worldwide success, simultaneously triggering the grunge boom in Seattle. In January 1992 the album even managed to force Michael Jackson's Dangerous off the top of the Billboard Charts, and eventually sold over 10 million copies.
On 24 February 1992 Kurt Cobain married ex-stripper and singer Courtney Love on Hawaii. They had first met on a club tour three years previously. Kurt had his first and only child by Courtney, Frances Bean Cobain.
By the time the album "Insecticide" was released in 1992, Cobain was already suffering heavily from physical problems, which were aggravated by the pressure being exerted by the record label. Although he presumably tried to create some kind of balance by taking heroin, already at this point he was making frequent references to suicide.
Following the release of In Utero in September 1993 and a now-legendary Unplugged appearance on MTV, Cobain made his first suicide attempt in March 1994. After leaving a detox clinic, he took an overdose of heroin and shot himself with his shotgun on 5 April 1994.
His remains were cremated and Courtney Love spread the ashes at a wide range of different sites.
To this day - in order to prevent a stampede to the site by fans such as that to the grave of ex-Doors singer Jim Morrison in Paris - the Seattle authorities have refused to erect an official gravesite.