Autopsy links drug use to designer Alexander McQueen’s suicide, which was not his first attempt

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“He’s wearing your clothes
head down to toes, a reaction to you.”

– Elliot Smith “Need in the Hay”

According to WWD (via Vanity Fair) Paul Knapman, M.D., the physician who performed avant-garde designer Alexander McQueen’s autopsy found “’a significant level of cocaine,’ sleeping pills, and tranquilizers,” in his system, and concluded that the designer ‘killed himself while the balance of his mind was disturbed.” McQueen was not only under the influence of drugs at the time of his death, but was grieving the death of his mother, who died nine days before.

February 11, McQueen was found hanging in his apartment by his housekeeper Cesar Garcia. New details about his suicide reveal a suicide note written in the back of the art book Descent of Man, which features Darwin inspired drawings of pop culture icons by Wolfe von Lenkiewicz: 

Wolfe von Lenkiewicz illusions of a king

'Illusions of a King' by Wolfe von Lenkiewicz, Descent of Man

The suicide note was described as saying goodbye to everyone and ended with this:

“Please look after my dogs. Sorry, I love you.”

McQueen’s psychiatrist Stephen Pereira also shed some light on his psychological state, revealing that this wasn’t his first suicide attempt and that the designer had felt immense pressure from his work for some time:

“He was certainly very pressurized by work. It was like a double-edged sword. It was the only area of his life he felt he had achieved something, but after a show he felt a huge comedown. It gave him a high, but also a severe low.”

A death so young with these heartbreaking circumstances is always a devastating loss, but his influence in fashion and art will continue to ripple through time.

For everyone’s who’s ever felt a little overwhelmed:

“I can’t beat myself
And I don’t want to talk
I’m taking the cure
So I can be quiet wherever I want
So leave me alone
You ought to be proud that I’m getting good marks
Needle in the hay.”

-Elliott Smith