The IntraView: Author Investigates the Death of Elliott Smith


Anyone who remembers musician Elliott Smith realizes his music left a great impression on fans and industry icons alike.

Alyson Camus has written a book called “A Question Mark, An Investigation Into the Mysterious Death of Elliott Smith,” which further investigates the musician’s passing. Was it suicide or was it not?

Camus answered a few questions for The IntraView.

“Elliott Smith’s music has been praised by many musicians and magazines, and his influence is all over the work of many current artists,” Camus said. “He has been covered and sampled by many artists, from Billie Eilish to Pearl Jam to Madonna, to Frank Ocean to Queens of the Stone Age, and his work is mentioned in some music review or interview almost every week.”

Buy the Elliott Smith book here.

Smith was adored by the fans, Camus said.

“He was not a superstar by any means, but he still has a lot of devoted fans,” she said. “I think they recognize how talented he was, and how humble he was too (for the ones who have seen him in concert). They like the fact he is not completely mainstream, he is like an underground Beatle. The Beatles is a band he has loved since he was a child.

Smith died in 2003. As the title of Camus’ book suggests, there are a lot of suspicions surrounding whether the musician died of suicide or whether someone else killed him. He died from a stabbing in the chest and, in fact, had two stab wounds in the chest, the author writes.

“Yes, he died of two stab wounds in the chest on October 21 2003,” Camus said. “He and his girlfriend Jennifer Chiba were fighting at the time and we know that she called 911 at 12:18 pm. He died an hour later (1:36 pm) at the hospital.

“This type of suicide is extremely rare. Suicide by stabbing represents less than 2 percent of all suicides and most suicides by sharp injuries are done in the neck or the abdomen, rarely in the chest,” she said. “In addition, Elliott had an accumulation of oddities usually not found in cases of suicide.”

Go to The IntraView Podcast for more on the mysterious death of Elliott Smith.