he drowned during a spontaneous evening swim — fully clothed — in the Wolf River, when he was caught in the wake of a passing boat. His body was found on June 4, 1997.
On the evening of May 29, 1997, Buckley's band flew to Memphis intending to join him in his studio there to work on the newly-written material. That same evening, Buckley went swimming in Wolf River Harbor, a slackwater channel of the Mississippi River, while wearing boots, all of his clothing, and singing the chorus of the song "Whole Lotta Love" by Led Zeppelin. Buckley had gone swimming there several times before. A roadie in Buckley's band, Keith Foti, remained on shore. After moving a radio and guitar out of reach of the wake from a passing tugboat, Foti looked up to see that Buckley had vanished. Despite a determined rescue effort that night, Buckley remained missing. On June 4, two locals spotted his body in the Mississippi River near a riverboat, and it was brought to land.
An autopsy to clarify the cause of Buckley's death showed no signs of drugs or alcohol in his system and the death was ruled as an accidental drowning. The following statement was released from the Buckley estate:
Jeff Buckley's death was not "mysterious," related to drugs, alcohol, or suicide. We have a police report, a medical examiner's report, and an eye witness to prove that it was an accidental drowning, and that Mr. Buckley was in a good frame of mind prior to the accident.
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