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Jerry Garcia

Jerry Garcia, a middle-aged man of considerable weight and an even more considerably reedy singing voice, did not seem anything like the archetype of a "rock star". He dressed in a juvenile getup of a t-shirt, sneakers and dungarees and spoke with a sort of childish enthusiasm that would be right at home on the playground.


Jerry Garcia

Garcia considered his stagecraft to be best expressed by standing completely still and not speaking a single word to the delirious masses of fans expressing deafening adoration for him. Despite all of the things that should have made Garcia the antithesis of a stereotypical rock star, he had an unquestionably extreme following.

Alive with Gratitude ...

The sorrowful yet sometimes merriment-filled tones that arose from the depths of his personalized guitar were enough to captivate the hearts of millions. Garcia once remarked, "For me, it's always emotional." For being the leader of a band called Grateful Dead, when Garcia was on-stage, the mood was anything but dead.

Despite his jubilant attitude and indomitable love for the art of music, Garcia was not without his own vices. At 53 years old, Garcia was positively ravaged by years of drug use and related health problems. After being affected by the combination of drugs and failing health for a long time, Garcia's body finally gave up on him.

The guitarist's comatose body was found before dawn during a regular bed check by a counselor at the Serenity Knoll's drug treatment center in the San Francisco Bay area town of Forest Knolls.


Jerry Garcia with Guitar

Garcia had checked in following a significant heroin addiction relapse. While the heroin addiction was a contributor to Garcia's battered condition, the death was officially reported as having to do with natural causes. Garcia had died at a drug treatment center in the summer, the cause of death being described as hardened arteries preventing sufficient blood flow.

Garcia was credited for creating an entire subculture thanks to his brand of psychedelic rock. Former Grateful Dead manager Rock Scully commented that using heroin, to some degree, actually helped Garcia concentrate when in the studio.

Trouble in River City, My Friend ...

Scully remarked, however, the troubles truly began to arise after Garcia began to use at home and in hotel rooms. Scully recalled one particular story in which Garcia had dramatically swung open his door with his pant legs above his knees, revealing his legs to be completely filled with open sores.

Garcia's heroin habit had become so pervasive that former manager Jon McIntire described him as occasionally seeming to go into 'hibernation' if left to his own devices. McIntire attempted staging an intervention for Garcia to receive drug treatment, and four months later, the musician was arrested for possession of cocaine and heroin.

The addiction to heroin may have been due to the fact that Garcia had been apparently losing interest with Grateful Dead as time went on. The musician, while having a jubilant disposition, was wracked with a crushing feeling of depression and dissatisfaction that led him to indulge in all kinds of substances to emulate real feelings of being alive.

 
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