Famous People Who Died Young

They weren’t around long, but their lights keep shining brightly. The planet has been graced by magnificent talents who left us so early, whether they be rock gods or screen goddesses. The most famous musicians and actors who have died tragically young are here.

Many prominent actors stay forever young despite their premature deaths, including Heath Ledger, whose shocking death shook the world in 2008, to Kurt Cobain, who joined the tragic fraternity of stars who died at the age of 27 (including Jimmy Hendrix, Jim Morrison, and Brian Jones).

Age Name Info Died
15 Anne Frank Famous for her diaries. Died in a concentration camp. 1945
17 Ritchie Valens A professional singer for only 8 months, he recorded “La Bamba”. Died in a plane crash along with Buddy Holly (age 22) and the Big Bopper (age 28). Other early rockers to die young include Johnny Burnette (30), and Eddie Cochran (21). 1959
18 Ryan White Infected with HIV via a blood transfusion, Ryan’s case did much to raise awareness about AIDS before his death due to AIDS-related pneumonia. 1990
20 Billy the Kid Famous outlaw shot and killed by Sheriff Pat Garrett. 1881
21 Sid Vicious Sex Pistols star died of a heroin overdose. 1979
21 Aaliyah Famous R&B; singer died in an aircraft crash. 2001
22 Freddie Prinze Comedian, Actor, and father of movie star Freddie Prinz Jr died in a possible suicide. 1977
22 Robert Wadlow At 8’11”, the tallest man ever died of an infection caused by an ill-fitting knee brace. 1940
23 River Phoenix Hollywood actor died of a drug overdose. 1993
24 Notorious B.I.G. Famous East Coast rapper shot to death in a drive-by shooting, possibly as retaliation for earlier killing of Tupac Shakur. 1997
25 Tupac Shakur Killed in a drive-by shooting. 1996
27 Kurt Cobain Nirvana lead singer died after gunshot and lethal dose of heroin. Presumed suicide. 1994
27 Jimi Hendrix Musician died of a sleeping pill overdose. 1970
27 Janis Joplin Singer died of a heroin overdose. 1970
27 Jim Morrison Doors singer died of a heart attack due to possible drug overdose. 1971
27 Pat Tillman Football player who left the NFL to join the Army Special Forces. Killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan, which the military tried to cover up. 2004
28 Brandon Lee Actor and son of Bruce Lee accidentally shot and killed when prop gun malfunctioned on set of “The Crow.” 1993
29 Hank Williams Country musician died of accidental overdose of morphine and alcohol. 1953
29 Percy Shelley Romantic poet died of drowning under mysterious circumstances. 1822
31 Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes Singer died in car accident. 2002
32 Bruce Lee Martial arts actor died of unknown causes in Hong Kong. 1973
32 Srinivasa Ramanujan Brilliant self-taught mathematician died of tuberculosis. 1920
33 Jesus Founder of Christian religion crucified in the Middle East. 33
33 John Belushi Actor and comedian died of overdose of cocaine and heroin. 1982
33 Eva Peron Actress and Argentina first lady died of cancer. 1952
33 Chris Farley SNL star died of cocaine and heroin overdose complicated by obesity. 1997
34 Owen Hart Professional wrestler died after fall while being lowered to ring during live televised event. 1999
34 Jesse James Legendary outlaw shot in the back. 1882
34 Charlie Parker Jazz saxophonist died of pneumonia and ulcer, brought on by drug abuse. 1955
35 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Composer died of rheumatic fever. The movie “Amadeus” suggested he was driven to death by rival composer Antonio Salieri. 1791
36 Bob Marley Reggae musician died of melanoma which started in his toe and spread to lung and brain. 1981
36 Marilyn Monroe Actress and pin-up died of a drug overdose. 1962
36 Lord Byron Famous poet and lover died of fever while fighting in the Greek War of Independence. 1824
37 Lou Gehrig NY Yankees slugger died of the eponymous disease. 1941
37 Jam Master Jay Run-DMC DJ killed by gunshots from an unknown attacker in the recording studio 2002
39 Martin Luther King Civil rights pioneer assassinated by James Earl Ray and possible co-conspirators. 1968

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