These Famous Celebrities Died Far Too Soon

When a beloved star passes away, the shock and sadness affect millions. While plenty of talented people have died over the years, some lives were lost earlier than expected. Whether involving an accident, disease, or addiction, these celebrities died too soon. Doctors couldn’t revive one beloved star during surgery (page 10).

1. Bill Paxton: The Aliens actor passed away after having open heart surgery. Paxton’s official cause of death was ruled a stroke.

Bill Paxton on the red carpet, looking to his right and smiling

Bill Paxton | Christopher Polk/Getty Images

  • Cause of death: stroke from surgical complications
  • Age: 61

Next: A beloved food critic reached out for help too late.

2. Anthony Bourdain: Despite previous heavy drug use, the legendary chef didn’t die from an overdose; He committed suicide in his hotel room. Friends later said he’d been in a “dark mood.”

Anthony Bourdain speaks onstage during a panel at New York Society for Ethical Culture

The Parts Unknown host had a huge number of fans. | Craig Barritt/ Getty Images for The New Yorker

  • Cause of death: suicide by hanging
  • Age: 61

Next: This woman had one of the greatest voices of all time. 

3. Whitney Houston: Found unconscious in her hotel bathtub, the late singer had drugs in her system. Ruled as coronary artery disease, Houston’s death stemmed from years of drug use.

Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston | Samir Hussein/Getty Images

  • Cause of death: coronary artery disease
  • Age: 48

Next: This talented hearthrob left fans wondering what could’ve been.

4. Heath Ledger: Found in his hotel room, The Dark Knight actor died from a deadly combination of oxycodone and alprazolam, despite Ledger being warned about mixing meds.

Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams

Heath Ledger and former wife Michelle Williams | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

  • Cause of death: cardiac arrest
  • Age: 28

Next: The ironic way this actor died upset his fans.

5. Paul Walker: The Fast and Furious star crashed his Porsche while driving more than 100 miles per hour. Walker left behind a young daughter and an unfinished Fast and Furious movie.

Paul Walker

Paul Walker | Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images

  • Cause of death: car accident
  • Age: 40

Next: This star comedian tragically died during a common throat procedure.

6. Joan Rivers: During a routine throat surgery, the comedian went into cardiac arrest and died. Rivers’ daughter sued for medical malpractice after she found that the doctor took a selfie with Rivers during the procedure.

Joan Rivers and Prince Charles

A routine procedure caused this funny lady to go into cardiac arrest. | YouTube

  • Cause of death: cardiac arrest
  • Age: 54

Next: This actor struggled with both weight and addiction. 

7. Chris Farley: The Tommy Boy actor battled addiction and was found dead from a combination of morphine and cocaine. Farley had cardiovascular disease, which contributed to his death.

Chris Farley with Tyron Montgomery(L) and Thomas Stellmach(R)

Chris Farley (center) | Vince Bucci/AFP/Getty Images

  • Cause of death: drug overdose
  • Age: 33

Next: This singer was plagued with a deadly disease. 

8. Freddie Mercury: The lead singer of Queen contracted AIDS and eventually died from complications. In the ’80s, when Mercury was sick, the disease had far fewer treatment options than it does today.

Freddie Mercury

Freddie Mercury | Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

  • Cause of death: HIV/AIDs
  • Age: 45

Next: This rock star’s wife said his death was due to years of untreated mental health issues. 

9. Chester Bennington: The Linkin Park frontman battled depression, taking his own life in 2017. Bennington’s wife said he had untreated mental health problems.

Chester Bennington in February 2017

Chester Bennington seen in February 2017. | Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

  • Cause of death: suicide by hanging
  • Age: 41

Next: This female rocker was the most well-known of her decade. 

10. Janis Joplin: The rock star built a successful career in her 20s, but she also abused drugs. Joplin relapsed after being clean for a few months. She was found dead from an opioid overdose.

Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin | Evening Standard/Getty Images

  • Cause of death: opioid overdose
  • Age: 27

Next: This rapper’s death devastated fans. 

11. Mac Miller: The rapper’s death came just days after releasing a successful album. Miller struggled with addiction, overdosing on fentanyl and cocaine.

Mac Miller

Mac Miller | Rich Fury/Getty Images

  • Cause of death: accidental overdose
  • Age: 26

Next: This artist survived a gunshot but not a routine gallbladder surgery.

12. Andy Warhol: In 1987, the famous artist passed away during a routine gallbladder surgery. It came out later he was not healthy enough for the surgery, and his gallbladder was full of gangrene.

Andy Warhol with the BMW M1 Art Car

Artist Andy Warhol with the BMW M1 Art Car, 1979 | BMW

  • Cause of death: ventricular fibrillation
  • Age: 58

Next: A rock star who couldn’t see past his sadness

13. Kurt Cobain: The Nirvana frontman was using heroin and battling depression before he was found inside his Seattle home — days after he took his own life.

Kurt Cobain

Kurt Cobain | Frank Micelotta/ Getty Images

  • Cause of death: suicide by gunshot
  • Age: 27

Next: This soap opera star’s height helped define his roles.

14. Josh Ryan Evans: Best known from the soap opera Passions, the 3-foot-tall actor had surgery to address the congenital disease that stunted his growth. He passed away during the procedure.

Comedian Marty Ingels, right, gives actor Josh Ryan Evans a squeeze at The Fifth Annual Golden Satellite Awards in 2001.

Marty Ingels and actor Josh Ryan Evans | Newsmakers

  • Cause of death: surgical complications
  • Age: 20

Next: This TV star was found deceased in his hotel room. 

15. Cory Monteith: The Glee star died from a drug overdose in his Vancouver hotel room. Monteith had entered rehab a few months prior, but addiction got the best of him.

Cory Monteith at premiere of "Glee The 3D Concert Movie"

Cory Monteith | Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

  • Cause of death: drug overdose
  • Age: 31

Next: This supermodel left behind young twins.

16. Solange Magnano: Leaving behind young twins, the former Miss Argentina died from breathing issues during a plastic surgery on her buttocks.

Solange Magnano

Solange Magnano left behind twins when she died. | STR/AFP/Getty Images

  • Cause of death: pulmonary embolism
  • Age: 37

Next: This guitarist was in a dark place. 

17. Jimi Hendrix: In 1970, one of the most influential guitarists of all time died from a barbiturate overdose resulting in asphyxia.

Rock guitar virtuoso Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix | Evening Standard/Getty Images

  • Cause of death: barbiturate overdose
  • Age: 27

Next: A fashion designer afraid of ruining her image

18. Kate Spade: Ruled a suicide, the fashion designer was found dead in her Manhattan apartment. A note to her teen daughter said it wasn’t her fault. Spade’s sister said she’d been drinking to cope with a mental illness.

Kate Spade in a purple dress

Kate Spade considered rehab but didn’t want to ruin her image. | Amy Sussman/Getty Images

  • Cause of death: suicide by hanging
  • Age: 55

Next: This singer was unexpectedly murdered. 

19. Selena: The singer-songwriter was shot by her former manager Yolanda Saldívar outside her hotel in Texas. Saldívar was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison.

Selena Quintanilla-Pérez

Selena Quintanilla-Pérez | YouTube

  • Cause of death: gunshot wound
  • Age: 23

Next: This singer’s death was dubbed, ‘The Day the Music Died.’

20. Buddy Holly: A plane crash killed the singer along with three others near Clear Lake, Iowa when the pilot lost control of the plane. Don McLean referred to the event as “the day the music died” in his hit song “American Pie.”

Buddy Holly | Hulton Archive/Getty Images

  • Cause of death: plane crash
  • Age: 22

Next: This Hollywood star had been battling addiction for years. 

21. Judy Garland: Best known as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, Garland struggled with drug addiction. Her husband found her in their bathroom. She’d accidentally overdosed on barbiturates.

Judy Garland in 1939

Judy Garland in 1939 | MGM/Wikimedia Commons

  • Cause of death: barbiturates overdose
  • Age: 47

Next: The “King of Cool” died too soon.

22. Steve McQueen: After undergoing surgery to remove a cancerous tumor, the actor suffered a heart attack. McQueen’s lung cancer was likely the result of either his smoking habit or prior work with asbestos.

Steve McQueen

“The King of Cool” died of a heart attack shortly after surgery. | STAFF/AFP/Getty Images

  • Cause of death: cardiac arrest
  • Age: 50

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