Keith Moon Dies at Age 32
Moon was Paul McCartney's guest at a film preview of The Buddy Holly Story on the evening of 6 September 1978.
After dining with Paul and Linda McCartney, Moon and his girlfriend, Annette Walter-Lax, returned to a flat on loan from Harry Nilsson, No.12 at 9 Curzon Place, Mayfair which Cass Elliot had died in a little under four years earlier. Moon then took 32 tablets of Clomethiazole (Heminevrin). The medication was a sedative he had been prescribed to alleviate his alcohol withdrawal symptoms as he tried to go dry on his own at home; he was desperate to get clean, but was terrified of another stay in the psychiatric hospital for in-patient detoxification. However, Clomethiazole is specifically contraindicated for unsupervised home detox due to its addictiveness, tendency to rapidly induce drug tolerance, and dangerously high risk of death when mixed with alcohol. The pills were also prescribed by a new doctor, Dr. Geoffrey Dymond, who was unaware of Moon's recklessly impulsive nature and long history of prescription sedative abuse. He had given Moon a full bottle of 100 pills, and instructed him to take one whenever he felt a craving for alcohol (but not more than 3 per day). The police determined there were 32 pills in his system, with the digestion of 6 being sufficient to cause his death, and the other 26 of which were still undissolved when he died. Moon was found by Annette in the hotel bed with one hand on the floor and one leg as well. Moon may have known he was dying and tried to get help himself.
Moon died a couple of weeks after the release of Who Are You. On the album cover, Moon is seated on a chair back-to-front to hide the weight gained over three years (as discussed in Tony Fletcher's book "Dear Boy"). The chair is labeled "NOT TO BE TAKEN AWAY."
Moon was cremated. His ashes were scattered in the Gardens of Remembrance at Golders Green Crematorium in London 1978.