The parked car was unattended, but to the police who arrived at Brad Delp’s home on March 9, it was immediately clear that something was amiss.
A dryer vent hose connected to the car’s exhaust pipe lay on the ground alongside the vehicle. Inside the garage, a note taped to the house door made the owner’s intentions explicit:
“To whoever finds this I have hopefully committed suicide. Plan B was to asphyxiate myself in my car.”
The police had been called to the Boston lead singer’s home in Atkinson, New Hampshire, by his fiancée, Pamela Sullivan, after she’d discovered Delp’s car with the dryer hose attached. Delp “had been depressed for some time,” Sullivan told the police, “feeling emotional [and] bad about himself.”
Inside the house, on a door at the top of the stairs, the police found a second note directing them to the master bedroom. Cautiously they made their way inside and into the master bedroom. There, like a portent, a third note warned them of the possible presence of deadly carbon monoxide.
Outside the bathroom of the master bedroom, a faint smell of burnt charcoal hovered in the air. The police knocked on the bathroom door. “Mr. Delp?” they called. “Sir, are you inside? Are you okay, sir?”
After a lengthy silence, they turned their shoulders to the door and began battering it with their full force. As it gave, the odor of charcoal intensified and hot plumes of blue-grey smoke poured from the excavated room. Broken tape along the door indicated it had been sealed. The police waited for the smoke to abate, then entered the room, covering their mouths and waving away the haze.
As the smoke cleared, the scene within the bathroom slowly came into view. Two charcoal grills perched among the bathroom fixtures, their metal tops emitting heat waves. On the floor beside them lay the body of a man, his head resting on a pillow. A note paper-clipped to the neck of his shirt told them what they needed to know: "Mr. Brad Delp. Jai une ame salitaire. I am a lonely soul.”
Brad Delp was dead, a suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning, according to the New Hampshire medical examiner. He was 55.
Though his fragile emotional state had been known to his fiancée, Delp’s fans were none the wiser. To millions of music fans, he was forever the singer whose buoyant voice carried Boston to the top of the charts in the Seventies and Eighties with hits like “More Than a Feeling, “Peace of Mind,” “Long Time” and “Amanda.” At the time of his death, Delp was preparing for a summer tour with his Boston band mates, guitarists Tom Scholz and Barry Goudreau. He had also planned to marry Sullivan during a break in the tour.
Police found four sealed letters in the home that were addressed to Sullivan; Delp’s children; their mother, Micki Delp; and another unidentified couple. Police lieutenant William Baldwin said the police had given the letters to the family members without reading them.
Whatever insights the letters may have provided, Delp provided sufficient clues to his circumstances in one of the notes found at his house: “I take complete and sole responsibility for my present situation. I have lost my desire to live,” he wrote, adding instructions to the police on how to contact his fiancée. “Unfortunately she is totally unaware of what I have done.”
Brad Delp was cremated on Wednesday, March 14.