Kristen Pfaff, the bass player of the acclaimed rock band Hole, was found dead at her Seattle home Thursday, according to Seattle police.
Hole is fronted by Courtney Love, the widow of Nirvana leader Kurt Cobain, who died from a self-inflicted shotgun blast in April.
The body of Pfaff, 27, was found in her bathtub by a friend. The police report noted that a nearby purse contained syringes and other drug paraphernalia. An autopsy was completed Friday, but a spokesman for the King County coroner said that no cause of death had been determined, pending results of toxicology tests, which are expected in four to six weeks.
A spokesman for the band’s label, Geffen Records, said that Pfaff had completed a drug rehabilitation program last winter and was preparing to move back to her previous home in Minneapolis to wait until Hole resumed touring that had been on hold since Cobain’s death. The surviving members of the band, whose album “Live Through This” was released to highly positive reviews shortly after Cobain’s suicide, say that they plan to regroup and continue.
“We are deeply anguished over the loss of an extremely talented musician, beautiful soul and a great friend,” said Love, guitarist Eric Erlandson and drummer Patty Schemel in a statement released through Geffen.
Following Cobain’s suicide, reportedly after his return to heroin use, Love lamented the easy availability of heroin in Seattle. Pfaff’s is the latest in a string of deaths of Seattle alternative-rock musicians. Andrew Wood, the lead singer of Mother Love Bone, died of a heroin overdose in 1990 shortly before the release of the band’s debut album. (Two members of the group went on to form Pearl Jam.) Stefanie Sargent, the guitarist for the all-female band 7 Year Bitch, also died from a heroin overdose in 1992, while Mia Zapata of the band the Gits was killed last year in a still-unsolved case.
Pfaff was raised in Buffalo and trained as a classical pianist. At 22 she became infatuated with rock music. Living in Minneapolis, she founded the band Janitor Joe and later joined Hole in 1993.
“I was a fan of rock since I was a teen-ager,” she told The Times’ Robert Hilburn in March.
Editor’s Note: Sunday Calendar’s Pop Eye column includes an item on Courtney Love using a computer bulletin board to communicate with fans. The section was printed before the news of the death of Love’s bandmate, Kristen Pfaff, became public.