With funeral plans remaining to be announced, family, friends and fans said a second goodbye to the late Layne Staley on Friday night.
Though the singer’s Alice in Chains bandmates, friends and family members gathered on April 20, the day after police first discovered Staley’s body in his home, for a small and impromptu candlight vigil (see “’An Angry Angel’ — Layne Staley Remembered By Bandmates, Friends” ), fans then organized a much larger eulogy to the singer at the same location, the International Fountain at the Seattle Center.
Close to 400 people came to the tribute, which was promoted via fan sites and word of mouth, despite rainy weather that made it difficult to keep candles lit. Among those who attended were Staley’s immediate family — including his father, his mother, his younger sister, his stepfather and his father’s girlfriend — who accepted hugs and condolences from fans, according to eyewitnesses.
“Layne was a hell of a guy. I’ve watched him outside of concerts sign hundreds and hundreds of autographs,” the singer’s father, Phil Staley, told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. “I’d say, ’C’mon, let’s go already,’ but he’d stay for the longest time. He didn’t want to turn anybody down. … Believe me, we ached along with him every day.”
With the fountain turned off, the crowd used the space to set up a ring of candles, pictures, flowers and letters around its ledge. Some people walked around the fountain in circles, whispering to one another, holding yet more candles, and singing and humming snippets of Alice in Chains songs such as their early classic “Man in the Box.”
No cause of death has been officially announced, as forensic investigators are still awaiting toxicology results to determine if Staley died of a drug overdose, as is widely believed (see “Layne Staley, Alice In Chains Singer, Dead At 34″ ).
For fan reaction to the death of Layne Staley, see “You Tell Us: Paying Tribute To Layne Staley.”