Elliott Smith, the soft-spoken folk-punk singer-songwriter best known for scoring the movie ''Good Will Hunting,'' died Tuesday, having apparently committed suicide, MTV News reports. According to the Los Angeles County Coroner's Department, a female friend found the 34-year-old musician's body in his apartment, marked with a single, apparently self-inflicted knife wound. Nonetheless, police are investigating the incident for signs of foul play.
Smith emerged from the indie-rock scene in Portland, Ore., in the mid-'90s. His critical and commercial peak came in 1997-98, with the releases of the albums ''Either/Or'' and ''XO'' and his Oscar nomination for the song ''Miss Misery,'' one of several he sang on the soundtrack of ''Good Will Hunting,'' directed by fellow Portlander Gus Van Sant. At the time of his death, he was reportedly working on a new album, ''From a Basement on the Hill,'' and he was booked to play at the All Tomorrows Parties rock festival in Long Beach, Calif., in November.
Smith was frank in interviews and song lyrics about his drug and alcohol abuse and his suicidal feelings. In 1997, during the Either/Or tour, his drinking got so bad that his friends staged an intervention and briefly had him committed in a psychiatric hospital. Recalling that time in a 2001 interview in Magnet magazine, he said he'd wanted to kill himself. '' It's ugly and cruel and I really need my friends to stick around, but dying people should have that right. I was hospitalized for a little while and I didn't have that option, and it made me even crazier.'' In his 1998 song ''Amity,'' Smith sang, ''God don't make no junk but it's plain to see/ He still made me/He told me so/ I'm good to go/ I'm ready to go.''