Sid Vicious death: How did Sex Pistols member Sid Vicious die?
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Sid Vicious was one of a group of anti-establishment anarchists whose music defined the punk generation. The young man’s life was, however, incredibly short, and he died away from home in New York City. But how did the member of the Sex Pistols die?
How did Sid Vicious die?
Sid Vicious died from a heroin overdose on February 2, 1979.
The Sex Pistols bass player was only 21-years-old when he died, and had before then been going through various legal and personal struggles.
Sid had been a member of the Sex Pistols since early 1977, acting as Glen Matlock’s replacement on the bass guitar.
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They had huge success, but Sid was abusing drugs, creating tensions between the band members.
As well as that, Johnny Rotten, real name John Lydon, was having difficulties with their manager Malcolm McLaren, which added further tensions.
Their final show as a band was in 1978, the famous Winterland performance, after which the band fell apart.
Sid’s drug abuse had become very hard to deal with for the band, and he was also having outbursts at audience members during gigs.
At one point, he scratched the phrase ‘Gimme a fix’ into his bare chest with a razor before going on stage, at a gig which he was also punched by a fan in the face.
Nancy Spungen, his girlfriend since before he joined the group, became his manager after the band ended, and he performed some solo hits including a version of Frank Sinatra’s My Way.
On October 12, 1978, Nancy was found dead of a stab wound to the abdomen in hers and Sid’s room at the Chelsea Hotel in New York City.
Sid was arrested and charged with second degree murder, but he pleaded not guilty and was released on bail.
On December 9, Sid was arrested again for attacking Patti Smith’s brother Todd in a night club, for which he was sent to Rikers Island metro jail for 55 days.
Here, he went on an enforced drug rehabilitation programme, where he was reportedly given methadone as a means to wean him off drugs.
He was released on February 1, 1979, after which he went to a party in Manhattan.
The following morning, he was found dead from a heroin overdose by his mother, Anne Beverle.
Anne attempted to scatter his ashes with Nancy, stating he had asked for this in a note.
The note was claimed to have read: “Please bury me next to my baby. Bury me in my leather jacket, jeans and motorcycle boots. Goodbye.”
In Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain’s Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk, it was also claimed Anne and friends of Sid scattered his ashes over Nancy’s grave, despite this being refused by Nancy’s mother Deborah.
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