You failed to mention that he had been stabbed in the chest during a robbery, which might explain a frail heart.


I dont blame people for thinking mark sandman used drugs.. his band was called morphine, and songs such as candy, like swimming and cure for pain are obviously about hard/ addictive drugs, which indicates he could have had experiences with them

Michael Azerrad

Good thinking. Likewise, I don't blame people for thinking the members of Nirvana were Hindu, or that the members of the Smiths were all named Smith, or that the members of the Eagles can fly.

Teresa the Nurse

*LOL* Michael Azerrad

According to the American Heart Association, in 2011, 382,800 experienced sudden cardiac arrest. Only 33% of those people had symptoms within one hour of death. So what happened to Mark is not at all unusual.

Source: http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/125/1/e2.full#sec-130

Michael Azerrad

I'm not sure what the LOL is for. That seems kind of uncalled for and just weird. Nor did I claim that what happened to Sandman is unusual. I just said it's unexplained.


A first-rate singer-songwriter. I played a lot of Morphine, as a college DJ in the 1990s.

For a variety of reasons, including genetically-high LDL levels, people can have heart attacks at an early age. And the symptoms aren't always the textbook severe chest pain. Some other artists who lost their lives to MIs include Joe Strummer, Robert Palmer, and Paul Young.


morphine refers to the god of dreams not the drug,so no,thank you for your attention,good night we love you all,and the milion goes to,nobody of you....hahahahahahahhahhahahahha

Michael Azerrad

Well, no, morphine is a drug and that is what the band was named after, Sandman's coy claims to the contrary. The drug itself is named for Morpheus. If the band really wanted to say their music was like Morpheus, then they would have called the band Morpheus, or the adjectival form Morphean.
It's OK, you can name your band after a drug and not actually use the drug. Only literal-minded cretins would believe otherwise. By their logic, one would have to assume that the members of the New Jersey Devils hockey team are satanists.


Nice article. Glad to see that someone has tried to authoritatively set the record straight on his death and the mystery that surrounded it. Mark's presence over the 20 years I've lived and played music in Boston is missed to this day, by many. Its kind of hard to see him heavily abusing substances and being a hardworking as he was, honestly. He clearly partied and enjoyed the nightlife. But,I don't think he had the patience to put up with BS that accompanies fatal narcotic addictions.


good thinking,the drug is named after Morpheus,so its the same it just expands the conversation into something more deep or Joda kind of speech


Michael Azerrad, let's look at your last 3 sentences; you say "no one really >>knows<<", then "Sabine Hrechdakian and Dana Colley >>confirm<< it wasn't drugs", and finally "Now everyone >>knows<< the story" (for the hat trick). You can delete my comment, or spin away, but without an ounce of irony, you've contradicted yourself to such an extent that would have all but the most irrational of minds rightfully deducing that you've got some kind of an agenda. "And so rumors started" ...

Michael Azerrad

No, I'd say that it's you who have the agenda, since you seem to deliberately fail to understand how we can rule out one cause and still not know what the cause was. For instance, if a non-smoker contracted lung cancer, we could rule out smoking as the cause and still not know what the cause was. Hopefully, this will clear things up for you.
How brave of you to hide your email address and post anonymously.

Vector Nectar

Nicotine is a deadly drug and one of the most addictive and toxic psychotropic substances that are known to man. 20 cigarettes a day can kill you in the long run. Only because something is legal, it doesn't mean it's good, healthy or non-lethal and only because something is deemed illegal by people who are upholding an anachronistic and historically falsified political agenda based on polemic propaganda(which now even gets questioned by law enforcement officers like "Law Enforcement Against Prohibition"; http://www.leap.cc), to support a global corruption pyramid(look up CIA's Air America, Iran Contra-affair, Operation Overcast/Project Paperclip, Operation ARTICHOKE, MKULTRA, MKSEARCH, MKDELTA, MKNAOMI, MKOFTEN, MKCHICKWIT, Frank Olson, Gary Webb, Harold Blauer, Roberto Calvi, Licio Gelli, Operation Gladio, the Kubark Manual, Operation Condor, Operation Northwoods, Operation Satanique, Operation Phoenix, Bohemian Grove, Propaganda Due, The Royal Order of Jesters, PNAC and ECHELON, especially the economic espionage report by the EU parliament released on 07/11/01 about the latter topic) and increase real crime(with involuntary victims) and violence(Viva El Calderon! Viva la Iniciativa Mérida! Muere Mexico!), while systematically blocking the prevention and prosecution of both, as it's also preventing control of access, age and quality, but guarantees the Mafia monopoly literally billions in tax-free profit, while the state pays all the courts, the damages and the arrests, jail time and resocialization. It doesn't mean it's bad, dangerous or lethal, just because it was deemed illegal by discriminating and stigmatizing fascists, which the American people should abhor since 1933, the end of Ethanol prohibition and Al Capone's empire. And I also think the stabbing during the robbery might have increased the possiblity of heart attack. Think for yourself. Question Authority.

Vector Nectar

Erratum: Possibility, not "possiblity".


I saw Mark Sandman play about 300 shows in the Boston area over 10 years. I also chatted with him here and there, before and after shows, at parties. Mark was not a druggie. That simple. A drink, a toke, yeah, drug mania -absolutely not.


Thanks so much for posting this. I saw "Cure for Pain" yesterday at the Brattle in Cambridge, and thought that Mark's death was kind of glossed over. My dad had a cardiac arrest, but he was 73. No one expects it in a relatively young man (and I was stunned that Sandman was in his mid-40s, thinking that he appeared to be quite younger). His former roommate talks of Mark smoking weed throughout the day, and I tried to reconcile that with what his girlfriend said about him not using drugs. I figured it was a one-time habit that he'd outgrown by the time Morphine started getting a lot of attention. You can't front and co-manage a band like that, churn out music and tour while under the influence of hard drugs; you just can't. I never thought that the band name suggested that they were all addicts.

I didn't know that he'd been stabbed in the chest either.

I was lucky to see Morphine play twice before Mark died. There's been no band like them since and it's hard to wonder about what might have been...but that could be said of so many bands too.


I, too, saw the movie at the Brattle. And yes, its treatment of certain topics is...sparse.

Here, I think, is why.

The movie was only made possible by the co-operation of Mark's family. That co-operation was based on a hope that it would help Guitelle Sandman come to terms with the loss of 3 sons at the end of her life.

Unfortunately, Guitelle Sandman contracted pancreatic cancer near the end of 2009 and she passed away in March, 2010. After her death, there were some requests made to the directors that they wished for certain interview footage to be removed. And I believe the directors complied with their wishes.

At the same time, the legal ownership of certain other footage was successfully contested...and I believe that this footage was also removed.

I very much doubt that Sandman's stabbing contributed in any way to his death. Physical damage to the heart would have lead to a cardiac event very quickly, and almost certainly would have been assessed during his treatment.

Sandman was a chain-smoker, 46 years old, exhausted, and attempting to perform in 100 degree heat. I traveled to Palestina in August, 2001 and though it is some 50km from Rome the air quality is quite poor. And I believe those were the sole contributors to his death.

Oh...and if drugs had been suspected the police would have ordered an autopsy because that is there mandate from the Ministry of the Interior


I never knew Mark but I knew friends of his, and they told me -- before his death -- that he was a pretty heavy pot smoker in addition to the cigarettes. I have also read that the chances of having a heart attack increase something like sixfold in the hour after ingesting marijuana. So while hard drugs may not have played a role in Mark's death, if he had a pre-show joint in Palestrina on a hot night with lousy air quality, a couple of weeks after a minor cardiac incident... that could have pushed him over the edge physically.

Anyway, thanks for writing this and thanks for quoting my Morphine piece.

Teresa the nurse from Oregon

The LOL was for the analogy to thinking that the members of Nirvana were Hindu. Not sure why you think that's weird. Perhaps you thought I was referring to the original post.

You are correct that sudden cardiac death is unexplained, Michael. Except for this: we do know some people with a genetic predisposition and/or lifestyle-related risk factors, in certain circumstances, will suddenly die when plaque in the coronary arteries ruptures, causing accumulation of platelets and thrombus formation, cutting off blood flow to the myocardium, starving it of oxygen. Which leads to a non-viable cardiac rhythm, usually ventricular fibrillation. Few people survive this.

But yeah, otherwise, it's a complete mystery.


Michael Azerrad is a perfect example of a rude, delusional hipster. No one here likes you or agrees with what you are saying. I knew Mark and you are just the type he would make a point to keep away from.

Michael Azerrad

Holderlin, I'm sorry that you are so deeply insecure about not being hip. It's OK, we all get old and out of touch.
But the fact that you made a false email address that contains a hateful homophobic slur pretty much says it all about you.


Look, I'm gay, so I have a right to that email address. I have been a proud homosexual all my life. I hope you don't have a problem with that.

Michael Azerrad

Not at all, Holderlin. But that's still a strange email address. And you still have no idea what my connection to Mark Sandman was, so you should probably know what you're talking about before advertising your ignorance in a public forum.


Then I sincerely apologize and take back everything I said. That was a wonderful post. Keep up the good work, sir.

Michael Azerrad

Thanks, that's big of you, Holderlin. Peace out, buddy.

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