How did Jean-Michel Basquiat die? Jean-Michel Basquiat was an American artist who refined his craft on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. The artist with dreadlocks had a brilliant genius who was, tragically, forever disturbed. Basquiat was as well-known for his excessive spending as for his artistic skill.
“When he was terrific at what he was doing, which was frequently, he was the greatest,” Houston Menil Collection curator Walter Hopps told The New York Times of Basquiat. The cultural significance of Basquiat’s masterpieces attracted him to the black community.
Jean-Michel passed away on August 12, 1988, at the young age of 27.
Jean-Michel Basquiat Cause of Death
Jean-Michel Basquiat spent a massive portion of his earnings on heroin. Vanity Fair was informed by a person familiar with the artist’s drug use:
“His habit was renowned. It provided him with much cachet. Occasionally, he would lose $20,000 or $30,000. We are discussing ounces, not items that had been sliced and packaged. The widespread consensus was that he wouldn’t be around for too much longer.”
Basquiat’s drug usage was the worst-kept secret in New York: dealers and private collectors gave drugs in exchange for his paintings. Jean-Michel attempted to quit narcotics but was unsuccessful. Andy Warhol was the only person Basquiat listened to, and he urged him to progressively cease his heroin use.
Larry Gagosian, a Los Angeles dealer who sold Basquiat’s art, told The New York Times, “Andy actually adored Jean Michel, and he was very, very harsh on him, even about pot use.” Unfortunately, Basquait’s career was jeopardized by Warhol’s death in February 1987, which destabilized him and threatened his advancement.
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Jean-Michel continued to fight his heroin addiction. He frequently flew to Maui, Hawaii, for drug withdrawal. As a result, Basquiat became more productive and composed. According to reports, the artist stated that Hawaii’s beauty prevented him from using drugs.
A few weeks before his death, Jean-Michel visited to Maui but cut his vacation short by several days. Basquiat intended to fly to the Ivory Coast in order to receive tribal heroin treatment.
According to reports, Basquiat bought narcotics in the East Village on August 11, 1988. While painting, Basquiat was so intoxicated that he fell off of his chair twice.
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On August 12, 1988, at about 2:30 a.m., Kelly Inman, a friend who slept in Basquiat’s leased house, checked on the artist; he was sound sleeping. Kelly discovered Basquiat three hours later laying in a puddle of vomit.
Jean-Michel Basquiat passed away due to a heroin overdose. Due to his drug problem, many people, including Basquiat, expected the painter to die. Martin Aubert, a musician, discussed a chat he had with Basquiat with Vanity Fair:
“He said, ‘I’m on heroin. I assume you disapprove, but I’ve concluded that burning out is the genuine way to creation.’ Janis Joplin, Hendrix, Billie Holiday, and Charlie Parker were discussed. I told Jean, “Those individuals are all deceased.” If that’s what it takes, he said.”
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