First the facts: Courtney Love is not dead.

Not physically, at least--though no one could blame you for checking the newswires to make sure. Over the past six weeks, the 39-year-old rocker/actress' characteristically high level of drama has rocketed off the charts, requiring the successive intervention of the LAPD (who arrested her on suspicion of burglary on October 2 before charging her with two counts of felony drug possession), some Century City paramedics (who rescued her from an OxyContin overdose hours after she posted bail for the aforementioned arrest), the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (who removed Love's 11-year-old daughter, Frances Bean, from her custody on October 10), and California welfare authorities (who ordered her involuntary hospitalization at Pasadena's Las Encinas hospital following Frances' removal and Love's repeated "jokes" about her suicidal urges).

Witnessing Love's brazen downward spiral, no one could be blamed for bracing for the worst. "Can I write the Courtney obit?" asked Stranger writer Hannah Levin sometime between Love's involuntary hospitalization and her drug-charge arraignment. (On November 12, Love pleaded not guilty to both charges of felony drug possession.) The question wasn't crass--"preparedness reports" (ready-to-go obituaries for notables nearing death) are a common component of contemporary media--and Hannah wasn't the only one to ask about one. But what's the fun of devoting a bunch of time, thought, and print space to commemorating someone's life and art if you're left waiting for them to either self-destruct or resiliently stagger on?

Well, we're not waiting for someone as heroically tenacious as Courtney Love to drop dead before we let you read Hannah Levin's passionate elegy for her fallen idol, Jennifer Maerz's predictions for Courtney's pop-culture successors, or Neal Pollack's firsthand (entirely fictional) account of his fights with the mighty Ms. Love. Nor will we hold Charles Mudede's portrait of the artist as a repeat offender in his special, all-Courtney Love edition of Police Beat, Tamara Paris' memories of channeling her inner Courtney, or Ellen Forney's illustrated overview of Loves We Have Known (back on page 111).

The sad fact is that Courtney Love may be dead by the time you read this. She may be alive when you start reading a piece and dead when you finish it. Or she could carry on for decades, stumbling toward her ultimate goal of transforming completely into Blanche DuBois (Love's recent complaints that her criminal trial dates conflicted with her plans to attend the Academy Awards suggest she's closer than we ever feared).

No matter how the remains of Courtney Love spend the balance of their time on earth, there's no denying that the Courtney who inspired and inflamed a generation as the mouthy, whip-smart little-engine-that-could is dead and gone, leaving only a sputtering, scorched-earth shell, for which we're morbidly happy to provide this eulogy.

RIP, Courtney. You will never be forgotten. --David Schmader