Joy Division's first album, Unknown Pleasures, was released in 1979 to an enthusiastic response from critics. Emotional suffering, violence, and urban blight were some of the most common topics in Curtis' lyrics, and many fans and relatives believed that he was often singing about his own life.
In the album Closer, released in 1980, Curtis sang lyrics full of hopelessness and despair. At the same time that he was writing these lyrics, various personal problems and illness were causing him to fall into a state of depression and despair from which he would never emerge.
He committed suicide in 1980 at the age of 23. Many have speculated that Curtis had always wished to die young, as he had always been obsessed with the standard story of the short and tumultuous rock star life.
Whether this was the reason he took his life or not, he certainly did live out the stereotypically short and tormented life of the rock artist, and his influence on rock and roll has been substantial. His songs, filled with his grim view of the world as well as depictions of his own despair, have lived on, providing inspiration for countless rock acts in the years since.