Legendary Alice In Chains and Mad Season singer Layne Staley died 16 years ago today (though we’ll publishing this a few hours before the official April 5th date). When it comes to Layne’s final photos, the story dates back to 1998 and 2002, as the 1998 photo is publicly available while the 2002 one remains unreleased. The final unreleased photo of him was taken in February 2002 with his newborn nephew Oscar. David de Sola’s book Alice In Chains: The Untold Story had a description of the photo from Layne’s stepfather Jim Elmer, who has since passed away.
“We hadn’t seen Layne for awhile, and he looked pretty good. He certainly was shy about his teeth issue, but he looked good, and you could tell that he had a little spark in his eyes when he saw Oscar, because he hadn’t been through this before,” Jim said. “So it was kind of like he knows what life is and he knows what the next generation is and he can be a part of it or maybe not be a part of it, but it was a touching moment, and it didn’t last very long, but it was touching [to] see that next generation come up.”
Jamie Elmer, who was not there but has seen the photograph, said, “He looked like I remember him looking when I had seen him last. He was smiling and looked like Layne, but he looked older than he really was, and he looked like he was sick. He did not look well. He looked sweet, and he looked happy.”
There was a sketch drawing piece of art inspired by what is known about the unreleased photo that circulated online in the Alice In Chains fan community years ago.
Below it is the final publicly released photo of Layne Staley taken on Halloween 1998 backstage at a Jerry Cantrell show in Seattle. Layne was photographed with Jimmy Shoaf wearing a Metal Gear Solid video game shirt. Rest in peace Layne, we miss you.