Richest CelebritiesRock Stars
Net Worth:
$50 Million
Feb 20, 1967 - Apr 5, 1994 (27 years old)
5 ft 9 in (1.77 m)
Singer, Songwriter, Musician, Guitarist, Artist, Visual Artist
United States of America
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What was Kurt Cobain's Net Worth?

Kurt Cobain was an American musician and artist who had a net worth of $50 million at the time of his death. Kurt Cobain became massively popular after becoming the frontman for the Grunge band Nirvana. Kurt Cobain struggled with various issues throughout his life, including mental health problems and drug addiction. He also found it difficult to handle his fame, as he felt many people were misinterpreting his message. His death in 1994 was one of the biggest events of the 90s.

Early Life

Kurt Donald Cobain was born on February 20th of 1967 in Aberdeen, Washington. Kurt came from a family of artists and musicians, and he was soon drawing his own cartoons and learning how to play various instruments. As early as age four, he was playing the piano and singing songs that he had written himself. When Kurt was nine, his parents divorced. This led to a period of considerable anguish for Cobain, and he started to become more rebellious. That being said, he briefly became Christian after living with a friend. He endured ridicule from classmates, which became worse after he befriended a gay student.

He later became involved in the punk scene that was developing in the Pacific Northwest, and eventually, he dropped out of high school. After meeting a female punk musician called Tobi Vail, Cobain began a relationship with her and then created a musical project with her interestingly enough, Vail wore a deodorant called "Teen Spirit," which indirectly inspired the song "Smells Like Teen Spirit."


Nirvana began when Kurt Cobain convinced Krist Novoselic to join him in a new band. Named after a Buddhist concept related to heaven or "freedom from the external world," Nirvana was initially closely aligned with punk rock philosophy. Their debut album was Bleach. After working with a string of drummers who were eventually fired, Cobain settled on Dave Grohl. With this lineup, Nirvana recorded their second album, Nevermind.

Nevermind instantly propelled the band to mainstream success, and Nirvana found themselves at the head of a new rock sub-genre called Grunge. In the years that followed, Nirvana helped pave the way for other Grunge bands. Kurt Cobain also became a controversial figure, especially because of his personal views and songs with blunt but poignant lyrics such as "Rape Me."

(Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Relationship With Courtney Love

Kurt Cobain met Courtney Love in 1989, and they later started dating in the early 90s. By 1992, they were married and Courtney Love gave birth to Cobain's child.

Health Problems

Kurt Cobain suffered from serious health problems throughout his life, ranging from chronic stomach issues to depression. He also suffered from bronchitis. Kurt Cobain's family had a history of suicidal tendencies and alcoholism, and the musician suffered from addiction for his entire adult life.

Drug Use

Kurt Cobain's heavy drug use was a defining aspect of his life, especially in his later years. He first started using various drugs to deal with his stomach pain, and he eventually switched from oxycodone to heroin in 1986. After doing heroin for three days straight, Cobain allegedly realized his stomach pain was completely gone. This prompted him to continue using. However, some observers have stated that Cobain's heroin use actually caused the stomach pain. In 1993, Cobain suffered from a drug overdose before a concert but was revived by Courtney Love, who administered naloxone. Cobain went on stage immediately afterward.


In 1994, Cobain overdosed once again. After being released from the hospital, he locked himself in a room and allegedly threatened to commit suicide. Police arrived, confiscating several guns and some prescription drugs. Cobain was later put in a rehab center, but he escaped not long after and returned to his home in Seattle. On April 4th of 1994, Kurt Cobain's body was found by an electrician visiting his house. Coroners later confirmed that he had been dead for three days upon discovery. The death was immediately ruled a suicide by a self-inflicted shotgun wound to the head.

Murder Conspiracies

There are a number of conspiracy theories that suggest Cobain's death was the result of a murder, not a suicide. Some argue that Cobain was so high on heroin at the time of his death that he could not have lifted a shotgun. Others point out that Cobain's suicide note seems to have been written by two different people, as the last four lines are very different compared to the rest of the note. These last four lines represent the only part of the suicide note that explicitly mentions suicide.


In 2014, it was estimated that Nirvana's record sales amounted to $4.4 million in the preceding year. Around that time, Kurt Cobain's estate was valued at $450 million. At the time of his death, Kurt Cobain's publishing rights to Nirvana were transferred to Courtney Love. Prior to 2006, Love owned 98% of the publishing rights for Nirvana's music. After 2006, the CEO of a company called Primary Wave purchased a stake in Love's publishing rights in a deal worth $50 million. Primary Wave then sold their publishing rights to BMG, a music recording company.

In 2010, Courtney Love accepted a $2.75 million loan from the trust of Frances Bean Cobain. This was part of a deal that saw her give up her rights to Cobain's name and likeness. Also in 2010, Frances Cobain became 18 and subsequently took control of her trust fund. This gave Frances a 33% share in her late father's estate.  She is expected to take control of the full estate, worth $200 million, on her 30th birthday. Today she earns over $100,000 per month in royalties, publishing rights, and investment dividends.

A subject of controversy is the use of Cobain's likeness and music for commercials and other projects that some deem to be incompatible with the late musician's priorities and morals. For example, Love claimed that his memory was "raped" when one of Nirvana's song was used in a Muppets movie. His likeness was also used in a beer commercial for Bavaria, which was seen as controversial in some circles. Courtney Love did approve of a posthumous collaboration with Converse sneakers, however.

In 2019, it was reported that Cobain's house in Seattle (the site of his death) had been put on the market with an asking price of $7.5 million. In 1997, Love sold the 117-year-old home for $2.9 million.

All net worths are calculated using data drawn from public sources. When provided, we also incorporate private tips and feedback received from the celebrities or their representatives. While we work diligently to ensure that our numbers are as accurate as possible, unless otherwise indicated they are only estimates. We welcome all corrections and feedback using the button below.
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