I wouldn't. Sympathize, that is.
I actually met Kurt Cobain, on the day he hooked up with Courtney, in fact. He noted that our birthdays were 10 days apart, same year. I always felt somewhat akin to him. Not that anyone would be likely to remember me from those days - especially the way I look now, LOL!
I was saddened, but not overly surprised, when I heard of his death. I had well moved on from that scene at that point. I would be surprised if any of his friends or family mourned this anniversary quite as much as your friend.
In short, she's waaaay OTT. I note that she focuses on youngish men who died before their times. They're an easy choice to expend emotional energy without having to deal with any reality, perhaps? I don't know. But the sooner she snaps out of this nonsense, the better, particularly as she's dealing with 7th graders, who tend to be drama-llamas at the best of times. In a 7th grader, such foolishness is understandable. In an adult, supposedly guiding 7th graders? It's completely absurd and embarrassing.