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Celebrities who died young: The 10 most famous celebs who passed away early – Who

River Phoenix

1. River Phoenix

River Jude Phoenix was an American actor, who was best-known for starring in the film Stand by Me. He also earned an Academy Award nomination for his performance in Running on Empty. Phoenix was a vegan, environmentalist and animal rights activist. He was the older brother of Rain Phoenix, Joaquin Phoenix, Summer Phoenix, and Liberty Phoenix.

Born: August 23, 1970

Died: October 31, 1993

Age at death: 23

Cause of death: Phoenix collapsed and died of a combined drug intoxication following a drug overdose on the sidewalk outside the West Hollywood nightclub The Viper Room (owned by Johnny Depp).

Amy Winehouse

2. Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse was a world-famous jazz, blues, and soul singer. The British, six-time Grammy winner had been tabloid fodder for years. Unfortunately the Back to Black singer’s talents were often overshadowed by her personal life, which was filled with drug addiction and erratic behavior. 

Born: September 14, 1983

Died: July 23, 2011, age 27

Age at death: 27

Cause of death: Accidental alcohol poisoning, illegal drugs were ruled out.

Heath Ledger

3. Heath Ledger

The Australian Home And Away actor rose to fame in 1999 when he starred in 10 Things I Hate About You.

He became one of the youngest people ever nominated for the Best Actor Oscar for his role in Brokeback Mountain. Shortly after portraying the Joker in The Dark Knight, Ledger died from an accidental drug overdose. He posthumously received the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for the role.

Heath Ledger tragically died at the age of 27 from an accidental prescription drug overdose. He had been in the middle of filming his final movie “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.” His friends Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell finished up the movie and donated their salary to Ledger’s daughter.

Born: April 4, 1979,

Died: January 22, 2008

Age at death: 28

Cause of death: An accidental toxic combination of prescription drugs.

Cory Monteith

4. Cory Monteith

Cory Monteith was best known as Finn Hudson in Glee and for dating his co-star Lea Michele. The actor started abusing substances at the age of 13. After an intervention by family and friends, he entered drug rehabilitation at age 19. In March 2013, he again sought treatment for addiction and just four months later he was found dead.

Born: May 11, 1982

Died: July 13, 2013

Age at death: 31

Cause of death: He died of a toxic combination of heroin and alcohol in a Vancouver hotel room.

Brittany Murphy

5. Brittany Murphy

Brittany Murphy died in December 2009 at the age of 32, with the cause of death still under debate. She was in numerous movies, including “Girl, Interrupted,” “8 Mile,” and “Sin City,” and did a lot of voice work, including in the Fox series “King of the Hill.” Despite rumors of drug use, pneumonia and a lack of iron was listed as the official cause of death. When her boyfriend died at the same house of the same causes five months later, toxic mold was introduced as a possible culprit. No final conclusions were reached in either case. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

The actress, who first burst on the scene for playing Tai Frasier in “Clueless,” died of complications from pneumonia and multiple drug intoxication. She was only 32.

Born: November 10, 1977

Died: December 20, 2009

Age at death: 32

Cause of death:


6. Aaliyah 

R&B singer and actress Aaliyah was best-known for hits such as, Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number and Are You That Somebody?

Born: January 16, 1979

Died: August 25, 2001

Age at death: 22

Cause of death: Aaliyah died when a small plane that was to carry her and eight others back to the United States crashed after takeoff in the Bahamas.


7. Tupac

Tupac Amaru Shakur was just 25 when he was killed in 1996 in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas. The celebrated rapper had already released five studio albums, served time for a sexual abuse conviction and survived a previous shooting during a robbery. 

Born: June 16, 1971

Died: September 13, 1996

Age at death: 25 

Cause of death: Tupac died six days after an unknown gunman in a white Cadillac shot him four times in the chest at a stoplight in Las Vegas. 

Kurt Cobain

8. Kurt Cobain

Kurt Cobain ushered in a new era in rock in the early ‘90s with his band Nirvana. But fame was never his intention, and it seemed to add to his suffering, brought on by depression, chronic bronchitis and heroin addiction. He died at 27 of a self-inflicted gunshot to the head. 

Kurt Donald Cobain was an American singer, songwriter, and musician, best known as the guitarist and frontman of the rock band Nirvana. He is remembered as one of the most iconic and influential rock musicians in the history of alternative music. 

Kurt Cobain had a long battle with heroin addiction, but he died from a self-inflicted gunshot to the head. He was 27 years old

Born: February 20, 1967

Died: April 5, 1994

Age at death: 27

Cause of death: Died by a self-inflicted gunshot wound while intoxicated.


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