Gene was tortured by, among other things, the inequality that is endemic in the world.
He said Snowbird came to him in only a few seconds while walking on Spring ice-pans on the N. Rustico Beach (PEI, Canada) and earned him weakly an average person's annual salary; and did so for many many years. To some this would cause contentment if not elation but to Gene this (from everything I've come to know of his life) triggered tremendous depression caused by his clairvoyant-like empathy for the suffering of others.
A semi-famous anecdote tells of a time he went to his own attic, removed fiberglass insulation, and took it, and installed it himself, in the home of a man who could not afford it -- it has been suggested he wanted to make sure the man's home was warm for an upcoming cold-snap and he knew the heat-loss in his home was a trivial issue given his enormous (relatively) wealth. He intervened directly to alleviate the suffering of others as often as he could but perhaps never felt he was able to make a difference of a magnitude to satiate his own concerns.
Ultimately it was this kind of grotesque inequality, perhaps triggered by Snowbird -- hardly his best tune, that led him to take his own life.
Tears flowed like rain across the Island and around the world (Mexico in particular).