Most Shocking Celebrity Deaths of All Time (2024)

The loss of a Hollywood great is never easy, but in certain cases, a star’s passing comes long before it was their time to go.

Talents like Amy Winehouse, Prince, Whitney Houston, Cory Monteith and Robin Williams all left this world abruptly and without warning.

Stars including Chadwick Boseman, Willie Garson and Norm Macdonald all fought private battles with cancer.

Boseman was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2016. After quietly fighting the disease — and filming numerous movies, including Ma Rainey’s Black Bottomhe died in August 2020 at the age of 43.

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While some of Hollywood’s greatest talents were taken too soon, including Bob Saget, who passed away in January 2022 at age 65, other stars left fans wanting more … even if they lived into their 90s. That was the case when Betty White died on New Year’s Eve 2021 at age 99.

Scroll down to see what other greats went too soon:

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Most Shocking Celebrity Deaths of All Time

The loss of a Hollywood great is never easy, but in certain cases, a star's passing comes long before it was their time to go.Talents like Amy Winehouse, Prince, Whitney Houston, Cory Monteith and Robin Williams all left this world abruptly and without warning.Stars including Chadwick Boseman, Willie Garson and Norm Macdonald all fought private battles with cancer.Boseman was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2016. After quietly fighting the disease — and filming numerous movies, including Ma Rainey’s Black Bottomhe died in August 2020 at the age of 43.While some of Hollywood’s greatest talents were taken too soon, including Bob Saget, who passed away in January 2022 at age 65, other stars left fans wanting more … even if they lived into their 90s. That was the case when Betty White died on New Year’s Eve 2021 at age 99.Scroll down to see what other greats went too soon:

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Charlie Colin

Colin, who was the bassist for the band Train, died in May 2024 at the age of 58. He died after accidentally falling in the shower, which his mother confirmed to TMZ.

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Matthew Perry

In October 2023, Perry passed away at age 54 following an apparent drowning. He was found in a jacuzzi by law enforcement who had responded to a call about someone suffering from a cardiac arrest.

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Angus Cloud

The Euphoria actor died in July 2023 at age 25. Cloud’s passing came one week after he buried his father. “It is with the heaviest heart that we had to say goodbye to an incredible human today. As an artist, a friend, a brother and a son, Angus was special to all of us in so many ways,” the actor’s family said in a statement at the time. “Last week he buried his father and intensely struggled with this loss. The only comfort we have is knowing Angus is now reunited with his dad, who was his best friend.”

Cloud’s loved ones added: “Angus was open about his battle with mental health and we hope that his passing can be a reminder to others that they are not alone and should not fight this on their own in silence. We hope the world remembers him for his humor, laughter and love for everyone. We ask for privacy at this time as we are still processing this devastating loss.”

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Stephen 'tWitch' Boss

The former So You Think You Can Dance contestant died at age 40 in December 2022. His wife, Allison Holker, addressed the news in a heartbreaking statement soon after.

"To say he left a legacy would be an understatement, and his positive impact will continue to be felt. I am certain there won't be a day that goes by that we won't honor his memory. We ask for privacy during this difficult time for myself and especially for our three children," she told People. "Stephen, we love you, we miss you, and I will always save the last dance for you."

The couple tied the knot in December 2013 and raised three children together.

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Kirstie Alley

The Emmy winner died in December 2022 after a short battle with cancer. She was 71.

“We are sad to inform you that our incredible, fierce and loving mother has passed away after a battle with cancer, only recently discovered,” the actress’ family shared in a letter via Alley’s Instagram at the time. “She was surrounded by her closest family and fought with great strength, leaving us with a certainty of her never-ending joy of living and whatever adventures lie ahead. As iconic as she was on screen, she was an even more amazing mother and grandmother.”

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Ray Liotta

Deadline reported in May 2022 that the No Sudden Move star died in his sleep. He was 67.

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Bob Saget

The Full House alum was found unresponsive in January 2022 in his Florida hotel room while in town for a comedy show. He was pronounced dead at the scene at age 65. One month later, authorities concluded that Saget passed from “head trauma” after he “accidentally hit the back of his head on something,” according to a statement from his family.

“Every day it feels a little bit better, but then it’ll hit you outta nowhere,” Candace Cameron Bure, who played Saget’s eldest TV daughter on Full House, told Us in February 2022 of his passing. “I will really greatly miss his friendship and the laughs and the hugs.”

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Betty White

While the Golden Girls alum lived a long life — and had a very successful career in Hollywood — her death in December 2021 shocked her fans as it came just shy of her 100th birthday. The legendary actress passed away on New Year’s Eve at age 99. Her milestone birthday was on January 17, 2022.Us confirmed in January 2022 that White suffered a cerebrovascular accident, according to her death certificate. The incident causes tissue damage as a result of losing blood flow to the brain. The Hot in Cleveland alum previously suffered a stroke several days before her death.

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Willie Garson

The Sex and the City alum’s September 2021 death at age 57 came as a surprise to much of Hollywood. It was later confirmed that the actor, who was in production on And Just Like That when he died, had been fighting pancreatic cancer.

“So deeply, deeply sad we have lost @WillieGarson. We all loved him and adored working with him,” former costar Cynthia Nixon tweeted at the time. “He was endlessly funny on-screen and in real life. He was a source of light, friendship and show business lore. He was a consummate professional — always.”

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Norm Macdonald

The Saturday Night Live alum died in September 2021 at age 61. The comedian privately battled cancer for nearly 10 years before his passing. “He was most proud of his comedy,” his longtime producing partner, Lori Jo Hoekstra, told Us in a statement at the time. “He never wanted the diagnosis to affect the way the audience or any of his loved ones saw him. Norm was a pure comic. He once wrote that ‘a joke should catch someone by surprise, it should never pander.’ He certainly never pandered. Norm will be missed terribly.”

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Dustin Diamond

The Saved by the Bell alum died at the age of 44 in February 2021, just three weeks after being diagnosed with stage IV small cell carcinoma. “In that time, it managed to spread rapidly throughout his system; the only mercy it exhibited was its sharp and swift execution," his rep said in a statement to Us. “Dustin did not suffer. He did not have to lie submerged in pain. For that, we are grateful.”

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Chadwick Boseman

The Black Panther star died at the age of 43 in August 2020 at his Los Angeles home after secretly battling colon cancer for four years. “It is with immeasurable grief that we confirm the passing of Chadwick Boseman,” the family said in a statement at the time. “Chadwick was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2016 and battled with it these last four years as it progressed to stage IV. A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much. From Marshall to Da 5 Bloods, August Wilson's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom and several more, all were filmed during and between countless surgeries and chemotherapy. It was the honor of his career to bring King T’Challa to life in Black Panther. He died in his home, with his wife and family by his side.”

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Naya Rivera

The former Glee star died in July 2020, following a boating incident where she went missing. On July 8, the actress, who was 33, was declared missing after taking a pontoon boat out on Lake Piru near Los Angeles with her 4-year-old son, Josey. Her child was found asleep on the vessel by a boater that afternoon, alongside Rivera’s purse, wallet and ID. The Ventura County Sheriff’s Department announced on July 13 that they recovered her body following an extensive search and recovery effort.

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Kobe Bryant

The former L.A. Lakers player died in January 2020 in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. He was 41. The 18-time NBA All-Star was traveling with eight other people on his private helicopter when a fire reportedly broke out on board. Witnesses reported the helicopter going down quickly and then slamming into the ground, Fire Capt. Tony Imbrenda told KTLA. Bryant's 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, was also killed in the crash.

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Cameron Boyce

The Grown Ups actor’s family confirmed his death at age 20 in July 2019. “It is with a profoundly heavy heart that we report that this morning we lost Cameron. He passed away in his sleep due to a seizure which was a result of an ongoing medical condition for which he was being treated,” a statement read at the time. "The world is now undoubtedly without one of its brightest lights, but his spirit will live on through the kindness and compassion of all who knew and loved him.”

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Luke Perry

The Beverly Hills, 90210 and Riverdale star died at the age of 52 on March 4, 2019. He had suffered a massive stroke five days earlier at his Los Angeles-area home, and remained hospitalized until his death. “[Perry] was surrounded by his children Jack and Sophie, fiancé Wendy Madison Bauer, ex-wife Minnie Sharp, mother Ann Bennett, stepfather Steve Bennett, brother Tom Perry, sister Amy Coder and other close family and friends,” his rep said in a statement to Us. “The family appreciates the outpouring of support and prayers that have been extended to Luke from around the world, and respectfully request privacy in this time of great mourning.”

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Mac Miller

The rapper died at age 26 on September 7, 2018. The LAPD confirmed to Us that authorities responded to his home in the San Fernando Valley, and he was pronounced dead at the scene. TMZ reported that he died from an apparent overdose.


Anthony Bourdain

The celebrity chef died of an apparent suicide in France at the age of 61. "It is with extraordinary sadness we can confirm the death of our friend and colleague, Anthony Bourdain,” CNN said in a statement on June 8. "His love of great adventure, new friends, fine food and drink and the remarkable stories of the world made him a unique storyteller. His talents never ceased to amaze us and we will miss him very much. Our thoughts and prayers are with his daughter and family at this incredibly difficult time."

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Kate Spade

The 55-year-old designer was found dead of an apparent suicide in her New York apartment on June 5, 2018.

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The Swedish DJ and producer, whose real name was Tim Bergling, was found dead in Muscat, Oman, on April 20, 2018, at age 28. The Grammy-nominated artist retired in 2016 due to health issues, including acute pancreatitis.

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Mark Salling

The Glee alum died at age 35 on January 30, 2017. The LAPD confirmed to Us Weekly that he passed away from an apparent suicide just three months after pleading guilty to possession of child p*rnography. He was facing 7 years in jail.

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Tom Petty

The rock legend died at the age of 66 on October 2 after suffering cardiac arrest. The Grammy winner was best known as the lead singer of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, the group behind hits including "Free Fallin'" and "American Girl." The band was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.

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Chester Bennington

The Linkin Park lead vocalist died at age 41 on July 20, 2017. According to TMZ, the singer reportedly passed away from an apparent suicide at a private residence in the Palos Verdes Estates neighborhood of Los Angeles.

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Chris Cornell

The Soundgarden frontman died at age 52 on Wednesday, May 17, 2017, after the band played a sold-out concert in Detroit. He was found dead in his hotel room by a family friend. The Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office said in a statement to Us Weekly that the musician’s cause of death was “hanging by suicide.”

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Christopher “Big Black” Boykin

The Rob & Big star died at the age of 45 on Tuesday, May 9, 2017. According to TMZ, he died of heart failure in a Texas hospital.

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Florence Henderson

The Brady Bunch alum died of heart failure at the age of 82 in November 2016. According to TMZ, her death certificate revealed that she had suffered from heart disease for a decade and was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat five years before her death.

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Bill Paxton

The Titanic and Big Love star died at age 61 in February 2017. He suffered an aortic aneurysm and required surgery, but had a stroke during the valve replacement operation.

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Mary Tyler Moore

The iconic actress died at age 80 in January 2017 from cardiopulmonary arrest. TMZ reported that aspiration pneumonia, diabetes mellitus and hypoxia (lack of oxygen to the tissues) also contributed to her death.

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Alan Thicke

The Growing Pains star, dad of R&B singer Robin Thicke, died of a heart attack at the age of 69 in December 2016. He was reportedly playing hockey with his son Carter before he was transported to Providence St. Joseph's Medical Center in Burbank, California.

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Erin Moran

The Happy Days actress died at her home in New Salisbury, Indiana, from complications of stage IV cancer in April 2017. She was 56.

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Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher

The Star Wars actress died at the age of 60 on December 27, 2016, from cardiac arrest. One day later, her famous mother passed away at the age of 84 following a medical emergency, believed to be a stroke.

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George Michael

The former Wham! singer died with a weakened heart and a damaged liver in December 2016 at age 53. He was found unresponsive at his home Oxfordshire, England, by his boyfriend, Fadi Fawaz, on Christmas Day.

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Diem Brown

The MTV Challenge star died in November 2014 at the age of 32, after losing her brave battle with cancer. Having overcome the disease in 2006 and again in 2012, the reality star was diagnosed with cancer for the third time in summer 2014. Still, Brown's fierce fight to survive continued to inspire many. In one of her final tweets, she wrote: "Whatever option I have to LIVE I'm grabbing! … No is not an option."

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Misty Upham

Misty Upham's body was discovered in a wooded area near Seattle in October 2014. The August: Osage County star was 32 years old. Her cause of death has yet to be determined.

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Paul Walker

The Fast and the Furious star Paul Walker’s life was cut tragically short in November 2013. While going for a drive with friend and business advisor Roger Rodas after a charity event, the car collided with a pole, engulfing the car in flames and killing both Walker and Rodas, who was behind the wheel. Walker was 40 at the time of his death.

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Robin Williams

The world got a little less funny in August 2014 when Oscar-winning actor and comedian Robin Williams died at age 63. The troubled star committed suicide after years of battling depression. He was honored later that month at the Emmys in a special tribute from his close friend Billy Crystal.

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Amy Winehouse

In July 2011, the British soul singer was found dead in her London apartment at the age of 27. After a history of substance abuse, Winehouse’s death was a result of consuming too much alcohol, according to the coroner.

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Cory Monteith

Glee star Cory Monteith’s life was cut tragically short in July 2013 when he was found dead in his Vancouver hotel at the age of 31. Monteith had been open about past struggles with addiction and substance abuse, checking himself into rehab multiple times. His cause of death was an overdose on heroin and alcohol.

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Philip Seymour Hoffman

The Oscar-winning actor was found dead in his New York City apartment in February 2014. The admitted drug addict died at age 46 of a heroin overdose, leaving behind his longtime partner and three children.

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Joan Rivers

Another comedy great passed away in September 2014 when Joan Rivers died at age 81 after suffering complications from a minor throat surgery. The shocking loss led to an outpouring from Hollywood stars, praising the Fashion Police’s unmerciful critiques and trailblazing comedy.

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Michael Jackson

The King of Pop died suddenly at the age of 50 after suffering a cardiac arrest in June 2009. His death, however, was ruled a homicide. His personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, is the target of a manslaughter investigation for giving the singer — who was known for his ever-changing appearance, odd relationships and child sexual abuse accusations — the drug Propofol on several occasions.

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Heath Ledger

The Brokeback Mountain actor was found dead in his New York City apartment January 22, 2008. The 28-year-old is survived by his ex Michelle Williams and their daughter Matilda.

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Whitney Houston

Grammy-winning, iconic pop diva Whitney Houston was found dead in the bathtub in February 2012 at the age of 48. The vocal legend drowned after a drug overdose at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

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Bernie Mac

Comedian Bernie Mac passed away August 9, 2008, from complications of pneumonia at age 50. "Bernie Mac was the personification of the word 'real.' He kept it real," Mac's former costar Niecy Nash told Us. "That kind of genuine spirit that he carried all the time cannot be easily duplicated, but I will do my very best to try."

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Kurt Cobain

The lead singer of the iconic band Nirvana battled depression and addiction before committing suicide at the age of 27 in April 1994. He is survived by wife Courtney Love and their daughter,Francis Bean.

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Farrah Fawcett

When she was 62, the Charlie's Angels star — whose 1976 swimsuit poster is one of the most iconic ever made — chronicled her lengthy battle with anal cancer for an NBC documentary that aired a month before she died in June 2009. Although they didn't have time to do so, the bedridden actress and longtime beau Ryan O'Neal announced plans to wed.

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The celebrity spinner, whose real name was Adam Goldstein, died in August 2009 of an apparent drug overdose at the age of 36. The star — who battled drug addictions and had attempted suicide before getting sober more than 10 years ago — survived a tragic plane crash that had left him critically injured.

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River Phoenix

The gifted actor — acclaimed for Stand by Me and My Own Private Idaho — died from a lethal mix of cocaine and heroin outside of a West Hollywood club in October 1993. He was 23.

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Anna Nicole Smith

The 39-year-old model, reality television star and Playboy Playmate died in February 2007, just five months after the death of her 20-year-old son. Both died from accidental overdoses. She is survived by daughter Dannielynn, the sole heir to her estate, who is now under the custody of father Larry Birkhead.

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Tupac Shakur

The rapper and poet was just 25 when he was killed in a 1996 drive-by shooting.

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Steve Irwin

The Crocodile Hunter died at the age of 44 when his heart was pierced by the poisonous spine of a stingray in September 2006. He was videotaped removing the barb before he lost consciousness.

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Jonathan Brandis

The SeaQuest DSV star hanged himself at age 27 at his L.A. home in November 2003. No suicide note was left, though he reportedly drank heavily and felt depressed about his career.

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The Grammy-nominated R&B singer died in a plane crash in the Bahamas in August 2001. The 22-year-old had numerous hit songs to her name and was due to costar in the sequel to The Matrix.

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Brad Renfro

The actor, best known for his role in the 1994 thriller The Client, died on January 15, 2008, the victim of a possible overdose. Though he had long struggled with substance abuse and legal woes, the 25-year-old was turning a corner and hoped to reunite with his 4-year-old son, who lived in Japan.

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James Gandolfini

The Sopranos star James Gandolfini suffered a heart attack at age 51 in June 2013. The Emmy-winning actor was traveling in Italy at the time of his death.

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Notorious B.I.G.

The rapper (also known as Biggie Smalls, Biggie and Big Poppa) — who worked with artists including Sean Combs, Lil' Kim, Faith Evans, and Jay Z —was shot dead following the 1997 Soul Train Music Awards. He was 24.

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Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes

Lopes was the 'L' in the Grammy-winning R&B trio TLC. She died at the age of 30 in a car accident in Honduras in 2002, where she was on a spiritual retreat.

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James Dean

The teen heartthrob, known for his starring role in Rebel Without a Cause, died in a car accident in 1955 at the age of 24.

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Tim Russert

The host of NBC's Meet the Press and the Washington Bureau Chief for the network died of an apparent heart attack at the age of 58 in 2008. He is survived by wife Maureen Orth and their son Luke.

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Brittany Murphy

The Clueless star died at age 32 after she collapsed in her Los Angeles home. She was transported to the hospital where she went into cardiac arrest. Though her death was ruled natural at the time, Murphy’s father Angelo Bertolotti claimed his daughter was murdered, but no evidence of this has been produced.

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Chris Farley

The comedian, known for movies such asTommy Boy and his time on Saturday Night Live, died in 1997 from an overdose of cocaine and morphine at the age of 33.

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Phil Hartman

The NewsRadio actor, 49, was shot to death by his wife, Brynn, in 1998. Brynn killed herself later that same night.

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Adrienne Shelly

The actress, 40, who appeared in the 2005 film Factotum was murdered in 2006.

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Brandon Lee

The Kung Fu actor died at the age of 28 in 1993 when a gun malfunctioned while filming The Crow.

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Isaac Hayes

Singer/songwriter Isaac Hayes died August 10, 2008 in Memphis, Tenn., after being found unresponsive at his home. A cause of death is unknown. Hayes, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002, was scheduled to release his next album a month after his death.

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Peaches Geldof

British socialite and TV personality Peaches Geldof died in April 2014 at the age of 25. The daughter of world-famous musician Bob Geldof left behind her husband Thomas Cohen and two children after overdosing on heroin.

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David Strickland

The 29-year-old actor — with roles in the sitcom Suddenly Susan and the 1999 romantic comedy Forces of Nature — committed suicide in a Las Vegas motel room in March 1999. The previous year he was arrested for cocaine possession and was ordered to enter rehab.

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Shain Gandee

MTV Buckwild star Shain Gandee (Gandee Candy) died at age 21 in April 2013 after the car he was driving was submerged in mud, killing the reality star and his two passengers.

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Lisa Robin Kelly

After battling an ongoing addiction problem for the past few years, That '70s Show actress Lisa Robin Kelly (she played Topher Grace's older sister, Laurie Forman, on the Fox comedy) died in her sleep at a rehab facility in California on Aug. 14, 2013. She was 43.

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Lee Thompson Young

Former Disney star Lee Thompson Young committed suicide at the age of 29 in August 2013. The actor, who was starring on TNT’s Rizzoli & Isles, got his start on Disney’s The Famous Jett Jackson, in the title role.

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Gia Allemand

Bachelor contestant Gia Allemand, who competed on Jake Pavelka’s season of the hit reality show in 2010, committed suicide in August 2013 at the age of 29. Fellow Bachelor alums were quick to convey their condolences, and Pavelka tweeted, “I had to pull over, I can’t stop crying. We have lost an angel.”

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Eric Hill

Before his season of The Bachelorette even aired, contestant Eric Hill’s life was cut tragically short at the age of 31 when he suffered a fatal paragliding accident in April 2014. At the time he had already been eliminated from Andi Dorfman’s season of the ABC reality series.

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The icon — who released 39 studio albums, won seven Grammys and an Academy Award, and was known for hits including "Purple Rain," "Kiss," "Little Red Corvette" and "When Doves Cry," among many others — died at his Paisley Park residence in Minnesota on April 21, 2016, at 57. While his autopsy results have yet to be released, Prince was found with prescription painkillers in his possession at the time of his death. The DEA and U.S. Attorney’s Office joined the ongoing investigation into his death, and investigators are looking into whether a doctor was prescribing drugs to him prior to his death, and are considering a possible overdose.

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Bobbi Kristina Brown

Brown, the daughter of Bobby Brown and the late Whitney Houston, was found facedown and unresponsive in a bathtub in her Atlanta-area home in January 2015. She remained in a medically induced coma and was eventually moved to hospice care until she died at just 22 years old on July 26, 2015, nearly six months after she was found unconscious. The late R&B scion died as a result of drowning and drug intoxication, according to the autopsy results.

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The WWE star was found dead at 46 on April 20, 2016, at her Redondo Beach, California, home. Though an official cause of death has yet to be determined, Chyna’s tragic passing was reported as a possible overdose to the Los Angeles County coroner’s department. After retiring from the world of wrestling, Chyna posed for Playboy and appeared in adult films and on reality TV, including the shows The Surreal Life and Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew. Most recently, she was working as an English teacher in Japan.

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Vanity, the lead singer of girl group Vanity 6 and former protégé of Prince, died at age 57 from kidney failure and an abdominal illness on February 15, 2016. The pop star (née Denise Katrina Matthews) found fame after releasing her 1982 hit, "Nasty Girl," which was written and produced by the "Purple Rain" singer.

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David Bowie

The iconic visionary died peacefully at his home on January 10, 2016, at the age of 69, following a private 18-month battle with liver cancer. Prior to his death, his wife, supermodel Iman, shared a telling quote on social media: “Sometimes you will never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” Bowie released his last album, Blackstar, just two days before his death. He and Iman welcomed their only child, daughter Alexandria, in 2000.

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Garry Shandling

The beloved comedian died at the age of 66 on March 24, 2016. Stars such as Jimmy Kimmel, Andy Cohen, Ricky Gervais and Kathy Griffin shared their grief on social media. He was best known for his standout role on The Larry Sanders Show. In January, Shandling appeared on Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee and revealed that he had been diagnosed with a hyper parathryroid disorder. Ironically, the episode was titled “It’s Great That Garry Shandling Is Still Alive.” His cause of death has not yet been confirmed, but The Associated Press reported that it was likely a heart attack.

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Natalie Cole

Natalie Cole died at age 65 from heart failure induced by lung disease on December 31, 2015. The “Miss You Like Crazy” songstress suffered a myriad of health complications during her lifetime. She was diagnosed with Hepatitis C, which she had said she believed she contracted from her heroin use in the ’80s (and required a kidney transplant in 2009). However, she made a comeback with the release her 1987 album, Everlasting. But her return to fame reached a critical peak with her 1991 album, Unforgettable Love. The Grammy-winning record was a tribute to her late father, the great Nat King Cole, and was comprised of his songs, with the feature being “Unforgettable,” a duet that came about by remixing the elder Cole’s 1951 recording with Natalie’s performance.

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