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Australian nurses may hold clues to Hendrix death

A Jimi Hendrix researcher is seeking to record the medical witness accounts of nurses at the death of the legendary guitarist back in 1970, Linda Belardi reports

An American researcher is on an international hunt for a handful of nurses on duty in a London resuscitation room on the night of Jimi Hendrix’s death more than 40 years ago.

Brian Doyle, a long-time researcher of the famous rock musician, is seeking to corroborate a memory from an Australian doctor, John Bannister, that Hendrix’s lungs were “grossly and abnormally” filled with wine. If corroborated, the evidence could give weight to claims that the guitarist’s death, at age 27, was not accidental.

Doyle told Nursing Review that Australian nurses “may possess a serious medical witnessing that they’re not aware of” and urged them to come forward. Due to contemporary training practices at the time, some of the attending nurses were thought to be Australians working in the UK and have since returned to Australia.

London’s St Mary Abbots Hospital closed in 1992 and has been converted to apartments, making it difficult to obtain hospital records.

According to Doyle, in 2002 a nurse broadcast a public advertisement on UK radio seeking to reconnect with her fellow nurses from the night of September 18, 1970. However, researchers in subsequent years have failed to identify and make contact with her.

Doyle said it was incredulous that these doctors and nurses had not been sought out in the past.

In a further Australian association, it has been widely reported that retiring Australian senator and outgoing Greens leader, Bob Brown, a medical doctor, was the attending triage doctor at the time of Hendrix’s admission to hospital. To date, Doyle’s attempts to arrange an interview with the senator have been unsuccessful.

Hendrix’s death is one of music history’s most heated and unresolved controversies. An inquest into his death was told that the musician had asphyxiated on his own vomit.

In 2009 Dr Bannister told The Sydney Morning Herald that he had witnessed Hendrix’s body saturated in wine. Others have strongly refuted these claims.

Doyle is currently working with US Public Radio in Washington DC on a radio program on this subject and has been connected with Hendrix archivists since 1980. He is also collaborating with Dr Cyril Wecht of the US government’s 1970s House Select Committee on Assassinations.

Any nurse who was in attendance at the St Mary Abbots Hospital, London resuscitation room on the morning of September 18, 1970, or has any information of interest has been asked to contact Brian Doyle on [email protected]

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