These Famous Celebrities Died Tragic Deaths 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. Kurt Cobain

Kurt Cobain

Kurt Cobain | Frank Micelotta/ Getty Images

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

Despite fame and fortune, the frontman of the popular band Nirvana dealt with an internal battle that money couldn’t help. Kurt Cobain had been using heroin and living with depression shortly before an electrician found him inside his Seattle home two days after he took his own life.

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

2. Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston | Samir Hussein/Getty Images

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

Whitney Houston’s death sent shockwaves across the globe. One of the greatest singers of all time, Houston appeared to have it all. But she also had a serious battle with drug use over the years, which led to an unexpected death. Houston was found unconscious in the bathtub of her hotel room in 2012. The autopsy report found drugs in her system. Her cause of death was ruled as coronary artery disease, which stemmed from years of drug use.

Next: This actor struggled with both his weight and addiction. 

3. Chris Farley

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

Chris Farley, known for his roles in Saturday Night Live and Tommy Boy, captivated audiences with humor. But Farley battled a serious addiction problem during his career, and it eventually took his life. He was found dead from a combination of morphine and cocaine. He also had cardiovascular disease, which was cited as a contributing factor in his death.

Next: This singer was unexpectedly murdered. 

4. Selena

Selena Quintanilla-Pérez

Selena Quintanilla-Pérez | YouTube

  • Cause of death: gunshot wound
  • Age: 23

Singer-songwriter Selena Quantanilla-Pérez, also known as Selena, had achieved international fame and was adored by fans. But when a financial scheme by her former manager, Yolanda Saldívar, came to light, Selena was shot by Saldívar outside her hotel room in Corpus Christi, Texas in 1995, and did not survive. Saldívar was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison.

Next: This rapper’s death devastated fans. 

5. Mac Miller

Mac Miller

Mac Miller | Rich Fury/Getty Images

  • Cause of death: accidental overdose
  • Age: 26

Rapper Mac Miller’s tragic death came just days after releasing a critically-acclaimed album in September 2018. Miller had struggled with addiction, which was a factor in his high-profile split from singer Ariana Grande. A few months later, Miller died from an accidental overdose. Fans were devastated to learn of the rapper’s death; he had a very dedicated following.

Next: This actor assured his family and friends he would be okay. 

6. Heath Ledger

Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams

Heath Ledger and actress Michelle Williams | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

  • Cause of death: cardiac arrest
  • Age: 28

Talented actor Heath Ledger was found unconscious by a masseuse, who called 911. The Dark Knight actor couldn’t be revived and the autopsy found a dangerous combination of medications in his system, including oxycodone and alprazolam. Supposedly, Ledger had been warned that mixing medications could be lethal, but he thought he would be fine. Sadly, he was wrong.

Next: This guitarist was in a dark place. 

7. Jimi Hendrix

Rock guitar virtuoso Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix | Evening Standard/Getty Images

  • Cause of death: barbiturate overdose
  • Age: 27

Jimi Hendrix is widely regarded as one of the most influential guitarists of all time, but his tragic passing devastated fans. In 1970, Hendrix died from a barbiturate overdose that resulted in asphyxia. There was some question as to whether or not Hendrix’s death was intentional, but there was no sufficient evidence to prove he had committed suicide.

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

8. Buddy Holly

Buddy Holly | Hulton Archive/Getty Images

  • Cause of death: plane crash
  • Age: 22

A plane crash killed Buddy Holly, along with Ritchie Valens, J.P. Richardson, and pilot Roger Peterson, near Clear Lake, Iowa in 1959. Peterson had lost control of the plane. Don McLean referred to the event as the day the music died in his hit song “American Pie,” and the event became known as such.

Next: This actor’s fast and furious lifestyle took his life. 

9. Paul Walker

Paul Walker

Paul Walker | Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images

  • Cause of death: car accident
  • Age: 40

Paul Walker’s untimely death was upsetting for any Fast and Furious fan who adored the actor. Walker was driving his Porsche at more than 100 miles per hour when he lost control of the vehicle and crashed. Both he and friend Roger Rodas were pronounced dead at the scene. The men had neither drugs nor alcohol in their systems. Walker left behind a young daughter and was still filming the newest Fast and Furious movie when the crash occurred.

Next: This actor went in for surgery — and it cost him his life. 

10. Bill Paxton

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

Actor Bill Paxton had open heart surgery in February 2017 to replace a heart valve and correct an aortic aneurysm. He passed away 11 days after surgery. Paxton’s death certificate stated he died from a stroke after surgical complications. Paxton was still relatively young to have died such an untimely death.

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

11. Judy Garland

Judy Garland in 1939

Judy Garland in 1939 | MGM/Wikimedia Commons

  • Cause of death: barbiturates overdose
  • Age: 47

Judy Garland, known best as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, struggled with drug addiction for years before an accidental overdose took her life. With no evidence of suicide, Garland had overdosed on barbiturates; her husband found her in the bathroom of their rental home. Some believe the pressures of acting at such a young age contributed to her lifelong drug addiction.

Next: This singer was plagued with a deadly disease. 

12. Freddie Mercury

Freddie Mercury

Freddie Mercury | Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

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

Freddie Mercury died of complications related to AIDS in 1991. The lead singer of Queen, Mercury experimented with his sexuality through the years and contracted AIDS. In the 1980s, when Mercury was sick, the disease had far fewer drugs than it does today. Unfortunately, the disease took his life.

Next: This television actor was found deceased in his hotel room. 

13. Cory Monteith

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

Cory Monteith | Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

  • Cause of death: drug overdose
  • Age: 31

Cory Monteith, star of the hit TV show, Glee, died from a drug overdose in his Vancouver hotel room. Monteith had struggled with substance abuse for a while. His girlfriend, co-star Lea Michele, was devastated by his passing, as were Glee fans. Monteith had checked into rehab voluntarily just a few months earlier to once again try and become sober. Tragically, addiction took his life.

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

14. Chester Bennington

Chester Bennington in February 2017

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

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

Chester Bennington, frontman of rock band Linkin Park, was widely regarded as a talented, well-liked musician. But Bennington had been battling depression for a while, and it eventually became too consuming. Bennington took his own life in 2017. His widow has since spoken out about his death, saying it was nobody’s fault and it was the result of years of untreated mental health problems.

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

15. Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin | Evening Standard/Getty Images

  • Cause of death: opioid overdose
  • Age: 27

One of the most well-known female rock stars of all time, Janis Joplin had built a successful career by her mid-20s, but this was also when she began to spiral. The rocker was found dead in 1970 from an opioid overdose. Those close to her said she’d been clean for a few months, but ultimately she relapsed. It was a sad day in the world of music when the news of her death broke.

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