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 News Pop / Rock 02/01/2004

Elliot Smith suicide uncertain

LOS ANGELES (Film music news website) - The Coroner's Office in Los Angeles has been unable to determine whether singer-songwriter Elliot Smith committed suicide. Two stab wounds were given as cause of death of the 34-year-old, whose body was discovered in October.

Despite initial police suggestions of suicide, a coroner's report has left open the nature of death. Smith, who battled drink and drugs, was nominated for an Oscar a song included on the Good Will Hunting soundtrack.

Coroner's spokesman David Campbell said in a statement that Smith died from two "penetrating stab wounds" to the chest. "The trauma that he sustained could have been inflicted by him or by another and the coroner has not been able to make a determination," he added.

Los Angeles police said they would now "look again" at the investigation following the coroner's report. Results of toxicology tests found no illegal or controlled substances in Smith's system at the time of death. It is thought the singer had been prescribed anti-depressants for attention deficit disorder.
David Campbell said the case would remain open and that coroner's officials would revisit their findings if additional information surfaced.

Smith released five folk rock albums, including the critically-acclaimed Either/Or and XO in the 90s. His material tackled difficult subjects such as his own unhappiness, his drug problems and heartbreak. He garnered modest commercial success and inspired a cult following in the UK, and it was his song Miss Misery that saw him nominated for an Academy Award in 1997.

Smith, who was 34, was nominated for best song Oscar for "Miss Misery," which was featured in the film Good Will Hunting. Ironically his "Needle in the Hay" was played during the suicide scene in The Royal Tenenbaums.

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