The Most Tragic Celebrity Deaths of the Past Decade
It’s always sad when a celebrity passes on, but some deaths that are just downright tragic. Some celebrities just leave this world too soon, never again to grace fans with their talents. In this day and age, however, it can be hard to keep track of them all. Relive the saddest celebrity deaths you may have forgotten — or never knew about in the first place.
Robin Williams made people laugh for decades. His iconic roles in films like Flubber and Mrs. Doubtfire have left a permanent mark on entire generations. Fans were devasted when Williams passed away on August 11, 2014.
Williams took his own life in an empty bedroom of his home. In his system were antidepressants, Parkinson's drugs and caffeine. He was 63 years old. Fans were in disbelief that such a seemingly cheerful person struggled so much with depression, and his death cause a surge in public awareness about mental health.
Amy Winehouse had a style and sound all her own. Despite her rising star, however, she passed away at the age of 27 in 2011. While her struggle with alcohol and drugs was relatively well-known, many fans didn’t know that she’d turned down psychiatric help out of fear that it would hinder her creativity.
On the 23rd of July, she was found dead in her London home. Eventually, her death was ruled an accident with the cause being alcohol poisoning. There were two empty bottles of vodka lying beside her bed.
Whitney Houston's voice and poise were legendary. She was truly a star loved the world over. Fans were devastated when she passed away in 2012. Some suspicious circumstances surrounded her death even though it was deemed accidental.
The official cause was drowning due to coronary artery disease and cocaine intoxication. Oddly, her driver's license was missing, and many of her pill bottles were removed from her bag and placed on a table. The fact remains that we lost a beautiful soul, but she will live on through her music and her fans.
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Philip Seymour Hoffman starred in movies ranging from Capote to The Master and won awards for several of his roles on Broadway. Despite his successes, in 2014, Hoffman was found dead in his New York home at the age of 46.
His cause of death was a mix of drugs, including heroin, benzodiazepines, amphetamine and cocaine. He had a syringe in his arm, and envelopes stuffed with various substances were found in his apartment. If only his drug problem had been more well-known, perhaps his death could have been avoided.
Rock stars in general are no strangers to surprising deaths. David Bowie was 69 when he passed away after battling cancer in 2016, just days after he released new music. The singer had kept his condition a secret, which made his passing that much more shocking.
He graced the world with great music for most of his life and will always be remembered as one of those most talented musicians to have ever lived. One thing’s for certain: There will never be another Bowie.
Michael Clarke Duncan
Michael Clarke Duncan dazzled audiences with a variety of acting roles over the years. One of his most memorable roles was in the film Green Mile. Off-screen, he was a positive person who embraced life and encouraged fans to do the same.
Sadly, in 2012, he suffered a heart attack. While it didn't kill him, he never really bounced back from the ordeal. In September, he passed away while on life support. He was only 54 at the time of his passing.
Paul Walker was truly a beautiful person. While he was deeply involved with charity work and even founded Reach Out Worldwide, a nonprofit that helps with disaster relief. He was also famed for his role in The Fast and the Furious and its sequels.
In November of 2013, Walker was a passenger in a Porsche the driver, a friend, lost control of the vehicle. The pair were attending a car-themed charity when the accident occurred. He passed away from trauma and burns.
Alan Rickman didn't get his big break until he was 41 with the role of Hans Gruber in Die Hard. After that, he scored roles left and right, gaining a huge fan base and proving that dreams are possible at any stage of life. Sadly, in 2016, his life came to an end.
He lost his battle with pancreatic cancer at the age of 69. It was shocking because he hadn't disclosed his condition to the public. Fans were devastated that the man behind classic villains like Severus Snape was gone.
Carrie Fisher will always and forever be remembered as Princess Leia. After acting in Star Wars, she took roles in everything from The Blues Brothers to 30 Rock. She also produced memoirs, novels and one-woman plays.
Fisher died of a heart attack on an airplane. There were also trace amounts of drugs in her system, but it's unclear if they contributed to her death. Fans knew that she had struggled with addiction and mental health issues. May she rest in peace.
The passing of Anton Yelchin, a promising young actor famed for movies such as Star Trek, shocked the world in 2016. In a freak accident, the actor was pinned against a brick mailbox pillar after his own Jeep Grand Cherokee rolled down his driveway in reverse.
He was only 27 when he died. A known fault in Grand Cherokee vehicles was the cause for the accident, and his family settled with Jeep out of court in response. After his death, it was revealed that he had cystic fibrosis when a foundation to help treat the condition was founded in his name.
Avicii dazzled fans with his amazing music. His real name was Tim Bergling, and even though his life was cut short, he generated a fortune with his music. Fame wasn't kind to him, though, as he battled depression and anxiety that led him to use alcohol excessively.
In 2018, he sadly decided to end his own life during a vacation in Oman. The superstar was only 28 at the time of his death. Fame can sometimes get the best of those who are already suffering. He will undoubtedly be missed.
Back in 2016, fans all over the world grieved when Prince passed away. His cause of death was ruled as an accidental overdose of fentanyl. He was found in his Paisley Park home at the age of 57.
Due to chronic pain, Prince had become addicted to opioids. However, there is no denying that Prince left a one-of-a-kind imprint on the music industry. His songs will continue to bring joy and inspiration to fans all around the world.
George Michael found fame first in the pop duo Wham! and later as a solo artist. While he suffered from substance abuse and was once arrested for public lewdness in a men’s bathroom, he was also prolific in charity work and became something of a gay icon.
Michael died at age 53 in 2016 of fatty liver disease. Many fellow celebrities came forward to speak about Michael’s kindness and generosity after his death. His music and spirit are sure to live on.
Cory Monteith was best known for his role on the hit musical series Glee, although he also had a musical career in his own right. It was no secret that he had struggled with substance abuse issues. Sadly, his troubles began when he was just 13.
On July 13, 2013, he was found deceased in a hotel room. His blood contained alcohol and heroin, but it was ruled that the death was accidental. Tragically, the actor had sought out treatment for his substance abuse issues but was never able to stop his drug use entirely.
Gary Coleman was known for his comedy, both as an actor and writer Because of his roles on Diff’rent Strokes and other shows, he was even named one of the 100 greatest child stars on television by VH1. His death was particularly tragic because it was a complete accident.
Coleman fell into critical condition after falling down the stairs and suffering a head injury. He died the same day while in Utah Valley Regional Medical Center. There was speculation that he may have been pushed, but those allegations were quickly dropped. He was only 42 at the time of his passing.
Lee Thompson Young
The death of Lee Thompson Young was absolutely tragic. He was only 29 at the time but had already proven himself to be a talented actor through Friday Night Lights and The Famous Jett Jackson. He was in the middle of taping Rizzoli & Isles when he failed to show up for work.
Young was found in his home with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He had suffered from depression and was previously diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He certainly left this world too soon.
Chris Cornell was best known as the lead vocalist for Soundgarden and Audioslave. He played a seminal role in the rise of grunge music and also produced many solo works and soundtrack contributions. In short, he was a rock ‘n’ roll legend.
Sadly, he took his own life in 2017 following a show in Detroit. He was 52 when he passed away. While he died from hanging, substances were also found in his system during the autopsy. His passing was a major loss for music fans everywhere.
Death is always tragic, but when somebody is taken so young, it's even more agonizing. That was the case in 2019 with actor Cameron Boyce. He had earned famed with roles like Luke Ross in Disney Channel’s Jessie, and all signs pointed to a promising career ahead.
While sleeping, he passed away from a seizure. It was later revealed that he suffered from epilepsy, a condition he had battled for many years. The actor was only 20 when he left this world. He'll be remembered fondly.
In 2015, Star Trek fans' hearts were broken forever when Leonard Nimoy passed away. While the actor was 83 at the time of his death, Trekkies and Trekkers alike were nonetheless devastated. He was probably the single most beloved actor in all of Star Trek fandom.
The actor had a long battle with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. While his death was no doubt sad, his life as a singer, photographer, author and of course Spock between 1963 and 2013 was undoubtedly worth living.
Anthony Bourdain came to fame as a celebrity chef and author, but his greatest achievement was perhaps showing audiences that there is no part of the world without fantastic people and even better food in shows like Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.
In 2018, he took his own life. Fans struggled to make sense of a person as amazing as Bourdain with such a dream job taking his own life, which in turn led to a push to teach people that even seemingly successful people can suffer from depression . He was filming his show Parts Unknown when he passed away at age 65.
Luke Perry came onto the celebrity scene in the 90s with Beverly Hills 90210. He was known as a heartthrob then, but unlike many of his contemporaries, the actor didn't fizzle out. Instead, he continued to appear on popular shows and movies, including Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
His death was untimely and tragic. At just 52, the Riverdale actor had a stroke and passed away. His family and fans were devastated by his sudden death. Nonetheless, his acting legacy lives on.
Joan Rivers was known for good taste and her ability to make people laugh. However, she was also known for her love of plastic surgery which unfortunately contributed to her death in 2014. Rivers went in for a relatively common and minor surgery and went into critical condition during the operation.
Nonetheless, Rivers lived a full life and brought spunk and good humor to everything she did. She was 81 at the time of her death. Her spirit will live on through her family and fans.
John Witherspoon was a comedian and actor who you may remember from the film Friday and as Robert Jebediah "Granddad" Freeman in The Boondocks. He always knew exactly what to say to make people laugh.
He suffered a heart attack in his home at age 77. While he lived to a respectable age, faans of the comedian were nevertheless devastated by his death. His best friend, David Letterman, was godfather to his two children
Mary Tyler Moore
Mary Tyler Moore was a television icon with a gorgeous smile. She was best known for her roles The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Mary Tyler Moor Show, the latter of which she created along with Allan Burns. although she had appeared in other work. Fans also knew Moore as an advocate for diabetes prevention, animal rights and vegetarianism.
In 2017, Moore passed away from cardiopulmonary arrest due to pneumonia. She was 80 when she passed. While her death as an octogenarian isn’t tragic per se, her absence was still a loss to the world of television.
Bill Paxton showed up in many, many hit films. He was in Titanic, Tornado, Big Love, Aliens and many more titles. He was an actor with a lot to give, but sadly, his life was cut short in 2017.
He passed away from a stroke at age 61, leaving friends and family shocked by his sudden departure. Numerous member of Hollywood publicly mourned him, including Charlize Theron, Jordan Peele, Arnold Schwarzeneggar, Tom Hanks and more.
Elizabeth Taylor was one of the biggest names in Hollywood during the 1950s, starring in films like National Velvet, Father of the Bride, A Place in the Sun, Cleopatra, The Taming of the Shrew and more. She was also a successful businesswoman and earned more money selling perfume than she had during her entire film career — no small feat.
Taylor passed away from heart failure when she was 79. Unlike many of the celebrities on this list, however, her passing was reportedly peaceful, so she thankfully does not completely belong on this list even if her death left the world a sadder place.
Both as Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and as a solo act, Tom Petty was a force to be reckoned with. Having sold more than 80 million records over the course of his career, he was a true rock star in every sense of the word.
Unfortunately, in 2017, Petty died from what kills so many rock stars: an accidental drug overdose. In his case, however, it was prescribed medications. He had been taking a variety of pills to treat medical issues at the time, and it's believed he accidentally took too many at one time.
Mac Miller was on his way to becoming one of the greats in the music industry. The rapper, songwriter and producer hailed from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and was on his way to a bright future. Sadly, in September of 2018, Mac Miller passed away.
Fans knew that Mac Miller struggled with substance abuse. His death was tragic because he had sought help so many times and appeared to truly want to get better. His death was ruled an accidental overdose. Rest in peace, Mac Miller.
Burt Reynolds was an actor, director and producer who delighted fans for years with his smooth style and sex appeal. He appeared in many television series and movies over the course of his career, although many first spotted the handsome actor in the cult classic Deliverance.
In 2018, he had a heart attack while reading lines for a film, he had a heart attack. He later died at Jupiter Medical Center in Florida. He was 82 at the time of his passing.
While James Gandolfini got his start in acting on Broadway, he was best known for his role as Tony Soprano on the HBO hit series The Sopranos. He also produced several documentaries.
Unfortunately, when he was only 51, he had a sudden heart attack. More tragic still is that he died while on vacation with his family in Rome. His 13-year-old son was the one to discover him unconscious before he was taken to the hospital.