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. Luke Perry

Riverdale's Luke Perry arrives for the 2018 PaleyFest Los Angeles - CW's "Riverdale" in 2018.
Luke Perry of CW’s Riverdale in 2018 | Gabriel Olsen/FilmMagic
  • Cause of death: stroke
  • Age: 52

On March 4, 2018, the Beverly Hills 90210 actor had a massive stroke at his LA home, dying later at the hospital. Luke Perry was best known as Dylan McKay on 90210, but he recently appeared on CW hit Riverdale. As NBC reports, “He was hospitalized the same day Fox announced it would reboot ‘Beverly Hills, 90210.'”

Next: A 2018 film reignited the public’s interest in this man.

2. Freddie Mercury

Freddie Mercury
Freddie Mercury | Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
  • Cause of death: HIV/AIDs
  • Age: 45

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.

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

3. Anthony Bourdain

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

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.”

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

4. Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston
Whitney Houston | Samir Hussein/Getty Images
  • Cause of death: coronary artery disease
  • Age: 48

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.

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

5. 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

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

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

6. Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin
Janis Joplin | Evening Standard/Getty Images
  • Cause of death: opioid overdose
  • Age: 27

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.

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

7. Andy Warhol

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

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.

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

8. Kurt Cobain

Kurt Cobain
Kurt Cobain | Frank Micelotta/ Getty Images
  • Cause of death: suicide by gunshot
  • Age: 27

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

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

9. Joan Rivers

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

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.

Next: This actor struggled with both weight and addiction.

10. 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

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.

Next: Surgical complications took this Hollywood star too soon

11. 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

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

Next: This rapper’s death devastated fans.

12. Mac Miller

Mac Miller
Mac Miller | Rich Fury/Getty Images
  • Cause of death: accidental overdose
  • Age: 26

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

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

13. Josh Ryan Evans

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

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.

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

14. Heath Ledger

Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams
Heath Ledger and former wife Michelle Williams | Kevin Winter/Getty Images
  • Cause of death: cardiac arrest
  • Age: 28

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.

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

15. Paul Walker

Paul Walker
Paul Walker | Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images
  • Cause of death: car accident
  • Age: 40

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.

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

16. 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

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.

Next: This supermodel left behind young twins.

17. Solange Magnano

Solange Magnano
Solange Magnano left behind twins when she died. | STR/AFP/Getty Images
  • Cause of death: pulmonary embolism
  • Age: 37

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

Next: This guitarist was in a dark place.

18. Jimi Hendrix

Rock guitar virtuoso Jimi Hendrix
Jimi Hendrix | Evening Standard/Getty Images
  • Cause of death: barbiturate overdose
  • Age: 27

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

Next: A fashion designer afraid of ruining her image

19. Kate Spade

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

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.

Next: This singer was unexpectedly murdered.

20. Selena

Selena Quintanilla-Pérez
Selena Quintanilla-Pérez | YouTube
  • Cause of death: gunshot wound
  • Age: 23

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.

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

21. Buddy Holly

Buddy Holly | Hulton Archive/Getty Images
  • Cause of death: plane crash
  • Age: 22

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.”

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

22. Judy Garland

Judy Garland in 1939
Judy Garland in 1939 | MGM/Wikimedia Commons
  • Cause of death: barbiturates overdose
  • Age: 47

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.

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

23. Steve McQueen

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

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.

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