An Australian doctor who tried to revive music icon Jimi Hendrix after choking on his own vomit recalls the fateful night the world lost the six-string trailblazer.

John Bannister, 78, was working as a surgical registrar at London‘s St Mary Abbot’s Hospital when the American musician was rushed into the emergency ward on September 18, 1970.

The master guitarist of hits including Purple Haze, Fox Lady and All Along The Watchtower had ‘obviously been dead for at least half an hour’ when he arrived covered in vomit, with red wine and barbiturates in his system.

John Bannister, 78, was working as a surgical registrar at London's St Mary Abbot's Hospital when music icon Jimi Hendrix (pictured) was rushed into the emergency ward on September 18, 1970

John Bannister, 78, was working as a surgical registrar at London’s St Mary Abbot’s Hospital when music icon Jimi Hendrix (pictured) was rushed into the emergency ward on September 18, 1970

The master guitarist (pictured) of hits including Purple Haze , Fox Lady and All Along The Watchtower had 'obviously been dead for at least half an hour' when he arrived covered in vomit, with red wine and barbiturates in his system

The master guitarist (pictured) of hits including Purple Haze , Fox Lady and All Along The Watchtower had ‘obviously been dead for at least half an hour’ when he arrived covered in vomit, with red wine and barbiturates in his system

Dr Bannister recalled a slim woman, likely to be the girlfriend of Hendrix at the time - Monika Dannemann (pictured) - being with the star during his final moments

Dr Bannister recalled a slim woman, likely to be the girlfriend of Hendrix at the time – Monika Dannemann (pictured) – being with the star during his final moments

The 27-year-old died of asphyxia, despite the efforts of Dr Bannister and the team for half an hour. 

‘I said, ”Who was it?”,’ he told Sydney Morning Herald. ‘They said, ”Jimi Hendrix.” Well, I didn’t know who Jimi Hendrix was. I had no idea.’ 

Dr Bannister recalled a slim woman, likely to be the girlfriend of Hendrix at the time – Monika Dannemann – being with the star during his final moments.

She was ‘very upset’ as she watched the team attempt to revive Hendrix from the other side of the door, he said. 

Another Australian doctor, Bob Brown, was also involved in Hendrix’s treatment that fateful day.

He has been a long-time leader of the Australian Greens but at the time met the ambulance Hendrix was in, which had come from Dannemann’s Notting Hill flat.

‘I just came along with the trolley, walked with it for a few steps and on it went,’ he recalled in Our Jimi, a new book by Australian writer and filmmaker Aidan Prewett.

Another Australian doctor, Bob Brown (pictured), was also involved in Hendrix's treatment that fateful day

Another Australian doctor, Bob Brown (pictured), was also involved in Hendrix’s treatment that fateful day

She was 'very upset' as she watched the team attempt to revive Hendrix from the other side of the door, he said. Pictured: Monika Dannermann and Jimi Hendrix

She was ‘very upset’ as she watched the team attempt to revive Hendrix from the other side of the door, he said. Pictured: Monika Dannermann and Jimi Hendrix

The 50th anniversary of Hendrix will be especially important to Kathy Etchingham, who was his girlfriend from 1966 to 1969.

The retired real estate agent in Melbourne was just 20 years old and working as a DJ and hairdresser from Derby when she met him at the Scotch of St James nightclub in London.

‘There were stairs winding down to the basement and everybody was leaning over the banisters to listen to this guy sitting in the corner of the club playing. They were enthralled,’ she told BBC in 2013.

Ms Etchingham recalled meeting the then 24-year-old, who had newly arrived from New York, saying he was ‘fresh and sounded fantastic – everybody’s eyes were glued to him.’ 

Hendrix’s song, The Wind Cries Mary, was written about Ms Etchingham.

The 50th anniversary of Hendrix will be especially important to Kathy Etchingham (pictured), who was his girlfriend from 1966 to 1969

The 50th anniversary of Hendrix will be especially important to Kathy Etchingham (pictured), who was his girlfriend from 1966 to 1969

Ms Etchingham recalled meeting the then 24-year-old, who had newly arrived from New York, saying he was 'fresh and sounded fantastic - everybody's eyes were glued to him.' Pictured: Jimi Hendrix

Ms Etchingham recalled meeting the then 24-year-old, who had newly arrived from New York, saying he was ‘fresh and sounded fantastic – everybody’s eyes were glued to him.’ Pictured: Jimi Hendrix

Her father called her Mary after her middle name and the song was based on an argument about her cooking mashed potatoes terribly.

‘He comes along and tastes them with a fork and says they’re all lumpy,’ she told BBC.

‘I knew he couldn’t cook himself and that’s how the argument started. It ended with my screaming and shouting, throwing the plates on the floor and marching out.’ 

While she was ‘not really a great fan of Jimi Hendrix’s music’, she liked some of it at the time and often went to his shows, where she would have a cigarette while he was on stage.

‘To me, when he walked in the room, he was just Jimi,’ she told the Sydney Morning Herald.  

‘He wasn’t Jimi the big rock star or Jimi the guitarist. He was just Jimi. I used to nag him same as I nag my husband about dropping things on the floor. So, yeah, it was very ordinary in that respect.’ 

While she was 'not really a great fan of Jimi Hendrix's (pictured) music', she liked some of it at the time and often went to his shows, where she would have a cigarette while he was on stage

While she was ‘not really a great fan of Jimi Hendrix’s (pictured) music’, she liked some of it at the time and often went to his shows, where she would have a cigarette while he was on stage

While the pair split up because of Hendrix's drug use, Ms Etchingham said he (pictured) was gentle, funny, entertaining and articulate - a man who 'knew the direction he was going in'

While the pair split up because of Hendrix’s drug use, Ms Etchingham said he (pictured) was gentle, funny, entertaining and articulate – a man who ‘knew the direction he was going in’

While the pair split up because of Hendrix’s drug use, Ms Etchingham said he was gentle, funny, entertaining and articulate – a man who ‘knew the direction he was going in.’ 

The last time she saw Hendrix was at Kensington Market the day before he died.

He was staying at the Cumberland Hotel and invited her around for a drink, which she replied ‘maybe tomorrow’. 

She was then notified by soul singer, Madeline Bell, Hendrix died the following day.

Hearing Hendrix’s music is today painful for Ms Etchingham, who feels sad he lost his life.

She tends to turn the radio down when it comes on, or change the station, and said it does not remind her of the music she loved. 

Ms Etchingham still has one of Hendrix’s badges from his army jacket, his old sofa and a scarf.



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