Hendrix - Death

Death

Though the details of his last day and death are unclear and widely disputed, Hendrix spent much of September 17 in London with Monika Dannemann, the only eyewitness to his final hours. Dannemann claimed to have 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.

According to Dannemann, around 4 a.m., Hendrix, struggling with insomnia after having consumed amphetamines earlier that evening, asked her for sleeping pills. She claimed she refused his request hoping he would fall asleep naturally. Dannemann said she surreptitiously took a sleeping pill sometime around 6 a.m., with Hendrix still awake, and awoke around 10 a.m. According to Dannemann, at this time, Hendrix appeared to be sleeping normally. She claimed to have then left to purchase cigarettes, and when she returned around 11 a.m., found Hendrix breathing, though unconscious and unresponsive. She called for an ambulance at 11:18 a.m.; they 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 an post-mortem examination on Hendrix's body, which was performed on September 21 by Professor Robert Donald Teare, a forensic pathologist. Teare did not find any evidence of violence or suicide and concluded that Hendrix accidentally overdosed. Thurston held the inquest on September 28, and concluded that Hendrix aspirated his own vomit and died of asphyxia, while he was subdued with barbiturates. Nevertheless, citing "insufficient evidence of the circumstances", he declared an open verdict. Dannemann later stated that Hendrix, unaware of the brand's high potency, took nine of her prescribed Vesparax sleeping tablets, which were intended to be taken in half-tablet increments. Nine tablets of the powerful German sedative amounted to 18 times the recommended dosage.

While Dannemann stated that Hendrix was alive when placed in the back of the ambulance at approximately 11:30 a.m. and that she rode with him on the way to the hospital, the ambulance crew later denied that she was there. Statements from the paramedics who responded to the call show that they found Hendrix alone in the flat when they arrived at 11:27 a.m., fully clothed and apparently already dead.

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