Layne Thomas Staley (August 22, 1967 – April 5, 2002) was an American musician who served as the lead singer and co-songwriter of the rock band Alice in Chains, which he founded with guitarist Jerry Cantrell in Seattle, Washington in 1987. Alice in Chains rose to international fame as part of the grunge movement of the early 1990s. The band became known for his distinct vocal style, as well as the harmonized vocals between him and Cantrell. Staley was also a member of the supergroups Mad Season and Class of '99. By mid-1996, Staley would be out of the public spotlight, never to perform live again. Staley also struggled throughout his adult life with depression and a severe drug addiction, culminating with his death on April 5, 2002.
Layne Staley was born to Phillip Blair "Phil" Staley and Nancy Elizabeth Staley (née McCallum) in Kirkland, Washington. He was seven years old when his parents divorced, after which he was raised by his mother and stepfather, Jim Elmer. He was raised Catholic. He took his stepfather's name while enrolled in Meadowdale High School in Lynnwood, and was known for some time as Layne Elmer. In late 2001, shortly before his death, he would describe the experience of witnessing his parents' divorce: "My world became a nightmare, there were just shadows around me. I got a call saying that my dad had died, but my family always knew he was around doing all kinds of drugs. Since that call I always was wondering, 'Where is my dad?' I felt so sad for him and I missed him. He dropped out of my life for 15 years." In that same interview he hinted that his parents' break-up and his father's drug use were at least partially responsible for his own drug problems, and also said that he was convinced that if he became a celebrity his dad would return...
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