Smith Autopsy Inconclusive

Police keep investigation of singer-songwriter's death open

December 31, 2003 12:00 AM ET

Two months after Elliott Smith's death, the Los Angeles coroner's office said that it could not conclusively confirm that the fatal knife wound to his chest was self inflicted.

"The trauma that he sustained could have been inflicted by him or by another and the coroner has not been able to make a determination," a spokesman for the coroner said.

Smith, 34, was found by his live-in girlfriend at their Los Angeles apartment on October 21st with a stab wound in his chest. He was rushed to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. The Los Angeles Police department listed the death as a suicide.

Initial reports claimed Smith died of a single trauma, but the coroner found that he suffered "two penetrating stab wounds" to the chest. Though Smith had struggled with addiction for several years, the coroner's investigation turned up no signs of illegal or controlled substances in his system.

According to the LAPD, Smith's death remains an open investigation.

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Song Stories


Lou Reed | 1972

Opening Lou Reed's 1972 solo album, the hard-riffing "Vicious" actually traces its origin back to Reed's days with the Velvet Underground. Picking up bits and pieces of songs from the people and places around him, and filing his notes for later use, Reed said it was Andy Warhol who provided fuel for the song. "He said, 'Why don't you write a song called 'Vicious,'" Reed told Rolling Stone in 1989. "And I said, 'What kind of vicious?' 'Oh, you know, vicious like I hit you with a flower.' And I wrote it down literally."

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