Williams had first attempted suicide in 1993 by hammering a knife into her chest; the knife lodged in her sternum and she changed her mind, calling Swenson to take her to hospital. She attempted suicide again in 1997 with an overdose of ephedrine.
Williams died at age 48 on April 6, 1998 of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in a wooded area near her home. Rod Swenson, who had been Wendy’s significant other for more than twenty years, returned from shopping to the wooded area where the two had lived since moving to Connecticut from New York. He found a package that Wendy had left him with some special noodles he liked, a packet of seeds for growing garden greens, some oriental massage balm, and sealed letters from Wendy. The suicide letters which included a “living will” denying life support, a love letter to Swenson, and various lists of things to do set Swenson searching the woods looking for her. After about an hour, and after it was almost dark, he found the body in woods near an area where she loved to feed the wildlife. Several nut shells were on a nearby rock where she had apparently been feeding some of the squirrels before she died. Swenson checked the body for a pulse, and there was none. A pistol lay on the ground nearby, and he returned to the house to call the local authorities. “Wendy’s act was not an irrational in-the-moment act,” he said, she had been talking about taking her own life for almost four years. Swenson reportedly described her as “despondent” at the time of her suicide. This is what she is said to have written in a suicide note regarding her decision:
“I don’t believe that people should take their own lives without deep and thoughtful reflection over a considerable period of time. I do believe strongly, however, that the right to do so is one of the most fundamental rights that anyone in a free society should have. For me, much of the world makes no sense, but my feelings about what I am doing ring loud and clear to an inner ear and a place where there is no self, only calm.”
Gene Simmons, Joey Ramone, and many others issued statements on her achievement at the time of her death. On Motörhead’s 1999 live album Everything Louder Than Everyone Else, before the song “No Class”, Motörhead vocalist Lemmy said that he wanted to dedicate this song officially to her.