PARIS (AP) — The official story goes like this: On the last night of Jim Morrison's life, the rocker went to a movie in Paris, listened to records, fell ill and died of heart failure in his bathtub at the age of 27. But rumors have always swirled around the death of The Doors frontman and, 36 years later, a former Paris nightclub manager is telling a different story.
In a new book, Sam Bernett says that Morrison died in a toilet stall of his club after what he believes was a heroin overdose.
He writes of his shock on finding Morrison's body: "The flamboyant singer of 'The Doors,' the beautiful California boy, had become an inert lump crumpled in the toilet of a nightclub." Bernett, whose French-language book is called "The End: Jim Morrison," says he believes two drug dealers brought Morrison's body back to his apartment.
Bernett, who was in his early 20s when Morrison died in 1971, went on to become a prominent radio personality, rock biographer and a vice president of Disneyland Paris
. Though he was pestered for years by reporters investigating Morrison's death, he kept his story quiet until his wife suggested writing a book last year.
"For me it's a very bad (memory)," Bernett told The Associated Press.
Rumors have long suggested that Morrison died of an overdose and that he had fallen ill at the nightclub, but witnesses did not come forward.
Patrick Chauvel, a noted war photographer and writer, sometimes helped run the bar at the club. He recalls giving a hand to men who were carrying Morrison in a staircase there.
"I think he was already dead," said Chauvel, who considered putting the episode in a 2005 book before his publisher cautioned against it. Chauvel said he thought an ambulance would have been called if Morrison were still alive.
"I don't know," he said. "It was a long time ago, and we weren't drinking only water."
An official at the Paris prosecutor's office said it was very unlikely the case on Morrison's death would be reopened or that anybody could be prosecuted in the affair, because the statute of limitations — the time limit on legal proceedings — had run out.
Stephen Davis, the author of "Jim Morrison: Life, Death, Legend," says he would not rewrite history because of the new book. Based on his reporting, he believes Morrison did overdose at the club, but that it was shortly before his death — not the same night — and that he survived the experience.