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Originally published March 20, 2011 at 7:49 PM | Page modified March 20, 2011 at 8:02 PM

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Memorial held for Alice in Chains bassist Mike Starr

Friends, family and fans of Alice in Chains and its first bass player, Mike Starr, gathered at the International Fountain at Seattle Center on Sunday to listen to the band's music as a public memorial to Starr.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Friends, family and fans of Alice in Chains and its first bass player, Mike Starr, gathered at the International Fountain at Seattle Center Sunday to listen to the band's music as a public memorial to Starr.

The former bassist died March 8 in Salt Lake City. He was 44.

Starr left the Seattle grunge band in 1993 after playing on its first two EPs, "We Die Young" and "Sap," and its first two albums, "Facelift" and "Dirt."

He publicly battled drug addiction on the reality show "Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew" early last year. He talked on camera about possibly being the last person to see Alice in Chains lead singer Layne Staley alive; Staley died in 2002 from an overdose.

Many people at the fountain had personal ties to Starr.

"Mike was always a rock star. He had a big personality," said Ricco Frederick, of Seattle, who met Starr in the late 1980s. "He had a lot of demons, and I hope he's in a peaceful place now."

Greg Gendron flew in from Los Angeles for the memorial. He had met Starr through friends and did not know him well but admired his musical style. Gendron found the "Celebrity Rehab" appearances moving, particularly because "everyone thought he was clean."

Kelley McKenzie, of Seattle, whose favorite band in high school was Alice in Chains, met Starr briefly a couple of years ago.

"He was really chill," said McKenzie, who played the band's music all last week after hearing about Starr's death. "My roommates are sick of it."

Melissa Allison: 206-464-3312 or mallison@seattletimes.com

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