The Tragic Life And Death Of Mark Lanegan From Queens Of The Stone Age And Screaming Trees

Mark Lanegan had one of the most recognizable voices in music. He was the vocalist of the rock band Screaming Trees, and his deep and scratchy tone added a unique element to the grunge group's music. The band was formed in the mid-1980s in Ellensburg, Washington, and their first album titled "Clairvoyance" was released in 1986. Lanegan stayed with Screaming Trees until their official breakup in June 2000, per All Music.

Aside from being part of Screaming Trees, Lanegan also had solo projects and collaborations with various artists including Kurt Cobain, Mike McCready, and Chris Cornell just to name a few. When the Screaming Trees disbanded, Lanegan joined rock band Queens of the Stone Age in 2000 and recorded five albums with them until his departure in 2005 in the middle of a tour. At that time, as reported by MTV, the band released a statement that Lanegan suffered from exhaustion. He didn't stop making music, though. Aside from being a musician, Lanegan has also published poetry books and a memoir titled "Sing Backwards and Weep," wherein he detailed some of the most tragic moments in his life.

He had a difficult childhood

Mark Lanegan was born on November 25, 1964, in Ellensburg, Washington. He had a complication when he was born and had his umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck. According to The Guardian, his home life wasn't great; his mother was abusive and his father was an alcoholic, and they went their separate ways when Lanegan was just in primary school. Lanegan said that his mother had her own troubles and took them out on him. His father, on the other hand, was "a good-hearted, caring man who means well but could not control me," he said.

By the time he was 12 years old, he had already started drinking and gambling, and five years later, he was an alcoholic who had a lengthy rap sheet that included charges for vandalism, drug possession, breaking and entering, fraud, and underage drinking. Lanegan was longing for a sense of adventure, and it was then when he decided the best way to do that was with Screaming Trees, as reported by Variety. "I would never find any of it in this dusty, isolated cow town. If the band could get me out, could get me into that life I so craved, it was worth any indignity, and hardship, any torture," he wrote in his memoir.

The death of Kurt Cobain hit him hard

Being from the same state and sharing a love for music, Mark Lanegan and Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain had a genuine friendship. Sadly, Cobain died by suicide in 1994, and the loss was devastating. Per The Sun, he felt a sense of guilt after his friend's passing, as he oftentimes bought heroin for Cobain. "At heart, I was just a sick f***ing enable," he wrote in his memoir. He also stated that Cobain called him several times on the day he died, but he ignored him, as he didn't want to be involved with his issues with his wife, Courtney Love. "The shame of my life is that I just f***ing sat there and listened to him speak into my answering machine three times that day," he said (via Vice).

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Lanegan said that Cobain looked up to him, and he regretted not providing him the guidance that he needed. "I just was a guy who became one of those people that would go out and buy drugs for his more famous friends who couldn't go out in public. That was hard to reconcile, and it will always be. I could have been a different kind of person, and I wasn't," he said. The death of Cobain somewhat led Lanegan to reevaluate his life, and Cobain's widow was instrumental as well. Love left material for him about the Musicians' Assistance Program– an organization that aids musicians to get clean. Love helped him by paying his rent for three months, and she also sent him a letter that read, "Kurt loved you as a big brother and would have wanted you to live."

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

He struggled with heroin addiction

Mark Lanegan was always open about his struggle with drugs, particularly heroin, and it was so bad that he had rotten teeth and was even homeless at one point, per NME. In 1997, he was charged with drug possession after authorities spotted him during an alleged drug deal, and he was found to be in possession of drug paraphernalia as well. However, the charges were later dropped because the amount of drugs involved was below the minimum requirement for prosecution, as reported by MTV.

Lanegan stated that at his worst, he was on all sorts of drugs "I was very ill at the end. Heroin, crack, just about everything. I was a hard-core heroin addict for several years, that was the main thing, but I did just about everything," he told the Tampa Bay Times. Lanegan watched his friends die of drugs, and he admitted that he almost died several times. Fortunately, he was able to kick his drug habit after spending time at a rehabilitation center and in recovery homes.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Anthony Bourdain's death devastated him

Chef Anthony Bourdain's death was another devastating blow to Mark Lanegan. The two communicated through phone and email before they met, and they had a solid friendship. Lanegan — together with musician Josh Homme — also provided the theme song for Bourdain's show "Parts Unknown." In an interview with Vice, Lanegan said that it was Bourdain who pushed him to write a memoir. In fact, he wasn't too keen on releasing a "stupid f***ing bio" but the chef encouraged him to do so.

Lanegan had written only a few chapters of his memoir when Bourdain died by suicide in 2018. After that, he knew that he had to finish his book to honor his friend. Lanegan wrote a tribute to Bourdain, per The Guardian, where he said that writing his book was "like climbing Everest" but Bourdain was greatly supportive. "I'd sent chapters to him before my editor, and he's reply with comments and suggestions. That was the kind of person he was — always giving, always wanting to support people.," Lanegan wrote. He also said that losing Bourdain was like losing a part of himself because the chef always encouraged him and had such a positive force (via The Australian). He dedicated "Sing Backwards and Weep" to Bourdain and the friends he lost by writing, "For Tony / And all my other absent friends."

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Mark Lanegan's death

On February 22, 2022, news of Mark Lanegan's death was the subject of headlines. It was officially announced on his Twitter account, which read, "Our beloved friend Mark Lanegan passed away this morning at his home in Killarney, Ireland." No other details regarding his death were shared. He was 57 years old.

In 2021, Lanegan contracted COVID-19, and he shared that he nearly lost his life. He suffered from temporary hearing loss and was in a month-long induced coma. In addition, he also had other conditions and was on kidney dialysis, and he suffered from a "chronically f***ed up knee" as he told Heavy Consequence. While in recovery, Lanegan decided to write another memoir titled "Devil in a Coma" that chronicled his horrible experiences while battling COVID-19. "I actually started writing it while I was still going through it because I had months of hospitalization and ... a bit of time on my hands," he said (via Louder Than War). It is not known whether or not his recent illnesses had anything to do with his death.

Lanegan is survived by his second wife, Shelley Brien.