Jimi Hendrix was one of the greatest guitarists of all time, the musician is widely regarded as one of the most influential electric guitarists in the history of popular music, and one of the most celebrated musicians of the 20th century. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame describes him as “arguably the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music”.
Although the details of Hendrix’s last day and death are widely disputed, he spent much of September 17, 1970, in London with Monika Dannemann, the only witness to his final hours. Dannemann said that she prepared a meal for them at her apartment in the Samarkand Hotel, 22 Lansdowne Crescent, Notting Hill, sometime around 11 p.m., when they shared a bottle of wine.
She drove Hendrix to the residence of an acquaintance at approximately 1:45 a.m., where he remained for about an hour before she picked him up and drove them back to her flat at 3 a.m. Dannemann said they talked until around 7 a.m., when they went to sleep. She awoke around 11 a.m., and found Hendrix breathing, but unconscious and unresponsive.
She called for an ambulance at 11:18 a.m., which arrived on the scene at 11:27 a.m. Paramedics then transported Hendrix to St Mary Abbot’s Hospital where Dr. John Bannister pronounced him dead at 12:45 p.m. on September 18, 1970.
To determine the cause of death, coroner Gavin Thurston ordered a post-mortem examination on Hendrix’s body, which was performed on September 21 by Professor Robert Donald Teare, a forensic pathologist.
Thurston completed the inquest on September 28, and concluded that Hendrix aspirated his own vomit and died of asphyxia while intoxicated with barbiturates. Citing “insufficient evidence of the circumstances”, he declared an open verdict. Dannemann later revealed that Hendrix had taken nine of her prescribed Vesparax sleeping tablets, 18 times the recommended dosage.
After Hendrix’s body had been embalmed by Desmond Henley, it was flown to Seattle, Washington, on September 29, 1970. After a service at Dunlap Baptist Church in Seattle’s Rainier Valley on October 1, it was interred at Greenwood Cemetery in Renton, Washington, the location of his mother’s grave.
Hendrix’s family and friends traveled in 24 limousines and more than 200 people attended the funeral, including several notable musicians such as original Experience members Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding, as well as Miles Davis, John Hammond, and Johnny Winter.
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