Top 49: Famous People That Died Young

There are a lot of stars that had their light out at a very early stage, in their lives. In the majority of the cases, so much talent potential was wasted; that there is still today, a feeling of great loss when remembering those that were gone way too soon.

On this top I will number 49 famous people that passed way too early and despite numbered, there is no particular order of importance. All of them excelled at what they did. It’s such a shame that they could not keep dazzling us, for many more years to come.

So, let’s take a moment, and remember some people that despite of their short time among us, left a mark that will last as long there is cinema, music, sports and so on.


1. River Phoenix
Big brother to Oscar nominee Joaquin Phoenix, River died of a drug overdose at the age of 23.

2. James Dean
50’s Screen Icon James Dean died in a car accident when he was in the midst of great career success, he was 24.

3. John Belushi
Older brother of James Belushi, John was found dead in his room at the famed Chateau Marmont Hotel in West Hollywood. He died from a drugs overdose, he was 33.

4. Brandon Lee
Son of the legendary martial artist Bruce Lee, Brandon died following a tragic on-set accident while he was filming The Crow. He was 28.

5. John Candy
Funnyman John Candy died in his sleep from a heart attack. He was 43.

6. Anna Nicole Smith
Playboy centerfold Anna Nicole Smith died from a drugs overdose at the age of 39. Smith’s former attorney, and husband, Howard K Stern is currently facing trial in relation to her death.

7. Chris Farley
SNL star Chris Farley had struggled with his weight throughout his life. He was discovered dead in his apartment. Farley had died of a heart attack and in addition had overdosed on cocaine and morphine. He was 33.

8. Dana Plato
Sitcom actress Dana Plato died from an overdose of Vicodin and Vanadom. She was 34 years old. Her death was ruled suicide.

9. Heath Ledger
Heath Ledger tragically was found dead in his New York apartment following an accidental overdose of various prescription drugs. He was 28.

10. Brittany Murphy
Brittany Murphy’s untimely death was caused by pneumonia with secondary factors of iron-deficiency anemia and multiple drug intoxication. The actress was 32.

11. Corey Haim
Died at the age of 38 from a drug overdose on March 10, 2010.

12. Amy Winehouse
The British singer famous for the song, Rehab, died from an alcohol overdose when she was 27.

13. Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes
The Philadelphia-born singer was killed in a car crash when she was 30.

14. Kurt Cobain
After years of battling drug abuse, the grunge rocker died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound at age 27.

15. Ryan Dunn
The Jackass star was 34 when he was killed in a car crash.

16. Tupac Shakur
The innovative rapper and actor was shot when he was 25. His murder has never been solved.

17. The Notorious B.I.G.
Christopher George Latore Wallace was a super star hip hop artist when he was shot multiple times while being driven in his truck. He was 24 and his murder has never been solved.

18. Andy Gibb
The Brit-born, Australian-raised singer died at the age of 30 from a heart ailment after years of drug and alcohol abuse.

19. Aaliyah
The singer/actress/dancer was killed in a plane crash at the age of 22.

20. Jimi Hendrix
An overdose of barbiturates killed possibly the greatest electric guitarist in the history of rock and roll when he was 27.

21. Janis Joplin
A heroin overdose killed one of the most innovative women in the history of rock. She was just 27.

22. Buddy Holly
The rock and roll pioneer was just 22 when he died in a plane crash.


23. Selena Quintanilla-Perez
Known to everyone simply as Selena, the singer was shot to death when she was just 23.

24. Cory Monteith
The 31-year-old Glee star was found dead in his hotel room from as yet-unknown causes.

25. Marilyn Monroe
America’s most enduring sex symbol died from an accidental barbiturate overdose when she was 36.

26. Sid Vicious
The punk rocker and member of the Sex Pistols died from a heroin overdose when he was 21.

27. Edie Sedgwick
The actress/heiress and Andy Warhol muse whose life story has been told in several movies died at 28 from a barbiturate overdose.

28. Jayne Mansfield
The blonde bombshell and mother of Law & Order star Mariska Hargitay died in a car crash when she was 34.

29. Sal Mineo
The Rebel Without a Cause star, one of the first celebs to go public as being gay, was stabbed to death when he was 37.

30. Jim Morrison
The singer/songwriter/poet best known for the group, The Doors, died at 27 from what is believed to have been a heroin overdose.

31. Otis Redding
One of the most influential soul and R&B singers ever died in a plane crash when he was 26.

32. Heather O’Rourke
The Poltergeist star died from cardiac arrest and septic shock when she was just 12.

33. Brad Renfro
The child star turned troubled adult died from a heroin overdose when he was 25.

34. DJ AM
Adam Goldstein who pioneered the DJ as a celebrity, died at 36 from a drug overdose just a year after he was in a plane crash

35. John Matuszak
The football superstar turned TV and movie actor and author of the best-selling Cruisin’ with the Tooz, died from an accidental overdose of prescription pain killers when he was 38.

36. Florence Griffith Joyner
Known to millions of track fans as Flo-Jo, the fastest woman of earth died from an epileptic seizure when she was 38.

37. Chris Kelly
One half of the rap group, Kris Kross, died at 34 from a drug overdose.

38. Paul Walker
The Fast And The Furious star died in at 40 in fiery car crash on Thanksgiving weekend, 2013.

39. Peaches Geldof
British socialite, age 25, was found dead at her home in England. The married mother-of-two’s death is being called “unexplained and sudden.”

40. Sharon Tate
Died at age 26, murdered by members of the Manson Family. (Aug. 9, 1969)

41. Sam Cooke
Died on December 11, 1964 at age 33. He was shot by a hotel manager who claimed that she was acting in self-defense.

42. John Lennon
Died on December 8, 1980 at age 40. He was shot in the back by Mark David Chapman, whom Lennon gave an autograph earlier that day.

43. Marvin Gaye
Died on April 1, 1984 at age 44. He was shot by his father, who used a gun that Gaye had given him as a gift.

44. Elvis Presley
Died on August 16, 1977 at age 42. Elvis suffered from glaucoma, high blood pressure, liver damage and his body was weakened from years of drug abuse.

45. Bob Marley
Died on May 11, 1981 at age 36. He died as a result of a rare type of cancer, which was first seen under his toenail, but it was later revealed throughout his entire body.

46. Bruce Lee
Died on July 20, 1973 at age 32. He had a brain condition called cerebral edema.

47. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Died on April 4, 1968 at age 39. He was assassinated by James Earl Ray in Memphis, Tennessee.

48. Diana, Princess of Wales
Died on August 31, 1997 at age 36. She died after being involved in a deadly car accident.

49. Steve Irwin
Died on September 4, 2006 when he was 44 years old. His death was the result of a stingray accident.

Featured Image Bob Marley performing at Dalymount Park, on 6 July 1980. Author: Eddie Mallin ; Source