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Elliott Smith Dies at 34

By: Ginny YangSinger-songwriter Elliott Smith was found dead in his Silverlakeapartment on Tuesday, October 21. The apparent cause was suicide bya self-inflicted knife wound, according to the Los AngelesCoroner’s office. Smith was brought to the University of SouthernCalifornia Medical Center by his live-in girlfriend after shediscovered the artist’s body at 12:18pm. Smith was pronounced deadan hour after arrival.

Elliott Smith, né Steven Paul Smith, was known for haunting acoustic compositions and unusual chord structures, earning him frequent comparisons to Nick Drake and the Beatles. Born in Nebraska in 1969, Smith began writing songs at the age of 14 and established himself as a fixture in Portland’s thriving indie rock scene in the early ’90s. 1997’s Either/Or and the following year’s XO drew critical acclaim, as well as attention from fellow Portland resident Gus Van Sant: The director used Smith’s music for the soundtrack to the film “Good Will Hunting,” and the track “Miss Misery” went on to receive an Oscar nomination in 1997. Despite his professional recognition, Smith was plagued by drug and alcohol addiction. At the time of his death, Smith was working on a follow-up to 2000’s Figure 8, to be titled From a Basement on the Hill, and was slated to perform in LA’s All Tomorrow’s Parties music festival on November 9.