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Staley's Death Ruled an O.D.

May 8, 2002 12:00 AM ET

Layne Staley's death has been ruled a drug overdose by the King County, Washington, Medical Examiner's office. According to the coroner's report, the thirty-four-year-old Alice in Chains frontman died on April 5th shortly after injecting a dose of heroin and cocaine. Staley's decomposed body wasn't discovered until two weeks later.

Staley's battles with heroin addiction were well documented, both in his music and in a 1996 Rolling Stone cover story. "If I'm staying busy, and if I'm getting my job done, and I'm doing things I think are great, then I don't have a problem with anything," Staley said at the time. "[Drugs] worked for me for years, and now they're turning against me -- and now I'm walking through hell."

The singer's family requested that any donations be made to Bellevue, Washington's Eastside Recovery Center.

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Song Stories

“Madame George”

Van Morrison | 1968

One of the first stream-of-consciousness epics to make it onto a Van Morrison record, his drawn-out farewell to the eccentric "Madame George" lasted nearly 10 minutes, combining ingredients from folk, jazz and classical music. The character that gave the song its title provoked speculation that it was about a drag queen, though Morrison denied this in Rolling Stone. "If you see it as a male or a female or whatever, it's your trip," he remarked. "I see it as a ... a Swiss cheese sandwich. Something like that."

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