In Hollywood, anytime a celebrity dies their cause of death immediately becomes the focus of much speculation from the media and fans around the world. Sadly, sometimes the Hollywood environment can be quite toxic and celebs can fall into the pitfalls of society. Check out this list of celebrities and their shocking causes of death!
The late actress Carrie Fisher passed away suddenly at the end of 2016. Carrie was of course most known for her role as Princess Leia in the Star Wars films. Carrie also famously struggled with drug abuse and mental health issues throughout her life. Although at the time of her death she was thought to have been sober, her toxicology reports were released which noted that Carrie did in fact have drugs in her system at the time of her death including cocaine, methadone, heroin and ecstasy. Carrie’s beloved daughter Billie Lourd released a heart-wrenching statement in which she acknowledged her mother’s drug use saying, “My mom battled drug addiction and mental illness her entire life. She ultimately died of it.”
Carrie Fisher’s Lifelong Battle
Carrie’s daughter Billie also said that people should continue to fight the stigma and shame surrounding mental health issues and encourage people to get help, as that is certainly what Carrie would want. Billie said of her mom, “She was purposefully open in all of her work about the social stigmas surrounding these diseases. She talked about the shame that torments people and their families confronted by these diseases. I know my Mom, she’d want her death to encourage people to be open about their struggles. Seek help, fight for government funding for mental health programs. Shame and those social stigmas are the enemies of progress to solutions and ultimately a cure.”
Michael Jackson died at the shockingly young age of fifty. After his autopsy was revealed it was equally shocking. Michael was only 112 pounds at his 5’9” height. His body was also covered with various needle marks and scars. He was also almost entirely bald except for a light layer of “peach fuzz”. The contents of his stomach consisted only of pills. It was quite obvious that Michael had been declining physically for years. While it was publicized years previously that Michael was admitting himself into rehab for pill use, it was unknown to what a massive extent his addiction had reached. Michael had begun to use drugs like propofol, which is commonly known as anesthesia for people during surgery. Unfortunately, Michael’s extreme addiction eventually ended his life much sooner than it should have.
Marilyn Monroe was a movie star and sex symbol who still resonates with today’s generation. Marilyn’s death also came shockingly early at thirty-seven years old and the reason for her death was even more shocking. While it was said to be a suicide by from acute arbitrate poisoning the autopsy seemed to bring up more questions than answers. Apparently, it was said that Marilyn had taken a drug called Nembutals which is a tranquilizer. However, Marilyn’s body showed no apparent injections marks nor the common yellow stains that would have been found on the linings of her throat, esophagus or stomach. These strange findings have led many to believe she was murdered. There is a very popular conspiracy theory that the Kennedy family may have had something to do with her death because of Marilyn’s alleged affairs with both JFK and Bobby Kennedy.
John F. Kennedy remains one of the most well-loved presidents in United States history. JFK was assassinated in Dallas, Texas as he rode alongside his wife Jackie in the back of a convertible in a motorcade in the city. A sniper shot him multiple times basically killing him instantly. Over the years, there have been multiple conspiracies over what really happened – from whether there were multiple shooters, to who the true killer was, to the number of shots. Apparently, according to Parkland Hospital (where the President was taken) there was a bullet that entered JFK from the front of his neck. The Warren Commission, which investigated the President’s death, claimed that he was shot from behind. The doctors at Parkland were also unable to perform an autopsy as JFK’s body had already been moved by the Secret Service. We will likely always have questions surrounding the beloved president’s death.
Natalie Wood was a beloved movie star who was also in a power couple of her time, through her marriage to actor Robert Wagner. In 1981, when Natalie was only forty-three years old, she died mysteriously drowned while out with her husband and friend Christopher Walken. While at the time, everyone found the circumstances to be extremely tragic, rumors also brewed that there was something more sinister behind her untimely death. An autopsy report revealed that urine levels in her bladder as well as two dozen bruises on her body might have indicated she was already unconscious before she fell in the water, which would imply she was murdered.
The Mystery of Natalie’s Drowning
In 2008, Robert Wagner spoke about the night she died in his memoir and admitted the two had a huge fight although he said he was in a room with a door closed when she supposedly went overboard. Only he, Christopher Walken, and the boat captain were on board that day. The captain of the boat Dennis Davern has publicly stated that Wagner was responsible for her death. Christopher Walken refuses to talk about the instance until this day. Natalie’s sister Lana maintains her sister was not a swimmer and would have never willingly jumped in the water. Natalie was wearing a flannel nightgown, a down jacket, and socks when she was later found. The case was re-opened in 2011 and perhaps one day soon, the truth will be known.
River Phoenix was the reigning “IT” boy of the late 1980s and early 1990s, starting his career as a child actor in hit films like Stand By Me. The paparazzi culture at the time was totally too different than that of today, so it came as a total surprise to fans around the world. In 1993, River was playing music onstage at the Viper Room (a club co-owned by Johnny Depp) alongside his friend Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Later in the night, River collapsed outside and fell into convulsions. His brother Joaquin Phoenix called 911 and his sister Rain attempted CPR. His girlfriend, actress Samantha Mathis was also present when River collapsed.
River’s Shocking Overdose
Flea was still onstage performing alongside Johnny Depp when he heard the news and ran outside. River was then in full cardiac arrest by the time the paramedics arrived and Flea rode with him to the hospital. Medics attempted to re-start his heart but were unsuccessful and River died at the unbelievably young age of twenty-three years old. He also regularly spoke up about various social and humanitarian issues. The autopsy showed that River died of a “speedball” combination of high concentrations of both morphine and cocaine in the blood. River’s death came as a huge shock because he had a very “clean” image in which he purported a clean-living vegan lifestyle.
Handsome actor Heath Ledger first got his start in Australian TV before coming to the States and hitting it big. He was particularly known for his extremely moving role in the film Brokeback Mountain. Before his death, he starred in one of his largest roles, as the iconic Joker of the Batman films. Heath Ledger was found 2008, unconscious in his bed by his housekeeper and masseuse. They called friend Mary Kate Olsen for help who then sent a security guard to the scene. They then called 911 and attempted CPR. Paramedics later arrived and attempted to revive him but were unable to do so. Heath Ledger passed away at only 28 years old.
The Unfortunate Mix
The media had a field day over Heath’s death and even photographed medical personnel removing his body from the building. The autopsy found that Heath died because of a mix of drugs in his system that included oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam and doxylamine. The amount and type of drugs mixed were extremely dangerous and only highlight how risky prescription medications can be even when properly prescribed. Heath left behind his estranged fiancé Michelle Williams and daughter Matilda, as well as his parents and siblings. The following year Heath was awarded posthumously the Supporting Actor Academy Award for his role as the Joker. Heath’s parents and sister accepted the award on his behalf and it will be given to Matilda when she turns eighteen.
Elvis Presley is often referred to as “The King of Rock and Roll”. Elvis was also a movie star and loved by fans of all ages around the world. While fans knew that Elvis was known as a womanizer and even looking a little worse for wear, it was not publicly known about his drug use. Those within in his inner circle reported that Elvis had been struggling for some time with prescription medications which almost completely incapacitated him at time. He had multiple performances in which he completely struggled through. Elvis passed away at age 42 from a massive heart attack. It is thought that his drug use definitely played a role in his death. Later reports from an autopsy showed that it was likely that ingesting multiple drugs was actually the primary cause of death.
Elvis’ Massive Drug Use
Later, one alleged report said there were up to fourteen different drugs in his stomach. He also suffered from an enlarged heart and the combination of the two caused his untimely death. Later, Elvis’ main doctor, Dr. Nichopoulos, was criminally investigated to see if his prescriptions had a role in the singer’s death. While Dr. Nichopoulos was exonerated the investigation found that Elvis was prescribed a shocking amount of drugs. The Guardian later published an expose on the doctor which noted the Medical Board’s tribunal in Elvis death. They found, “Between 1975 and 1977, he had prescribed 19,000 doses of drugs. In the first eight months of 1977 alone, he had written 199 prescriptions totaling more than 10,000 doses of sedatives, amphetamines and narcotics: all in Elvis’s name.” Elvis left behind one daughter, Lisa Marie Presley. Although, tons of conspiracy theories exist about Elvis’ death, including one that says he is actually still alive today.
Bruce Lee became famous for being the start of countless martial arts films. He is also the founder of Jeet Kune Do, a particular kind of martial art. Bruce was viewed as being the fittest of the fittest so his early death at age thirty-two shocked his fans around the world. In May, Bruce first began suffering from health problems through headaches and seizures while he was shooting a film in Hong Kong. He was later diagnosed with brain swelling which doctors were able to contain. However, two months later in July of 1973, Bruce again began suffering from the same symptoms. When Bruce complained about a headache he was given an analgesic Equagesic and lied down. Bruce was never to wake up again. The autopsy found that his brain had swollen up to 13% larger than normal and that he probably had an allergic reaction to the medication he was given. Bruce was only 32 years old.
Robin Williams was a beloved comedian and actor whose immense talent was enjoyed by people of multiple generations. In his younger years, Robin was known to have struggled with cocaine addiction and alcoholism which he was able to overcome and remain sober for many years. Because of his public persona, it was hard to believe that Robin died the way he did. In 2014, it was announced that Robin Williams had died and not long thereafter it was confirmed that he had committed suicide by hanging. His wife later stated that Robin had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease which he did not yet want to discuss in public.
Robin Williams Misdiagnosis
However, it turns out that Robin Williams had actually been misdiagnosed and was suffering from something called Lewy body dementia. Some of the symptoms include fear and anxiety, sleeplessness, insomnia, stress, memory issues, and paranoia. His wife at the time said, “Robin was losing his mind and he was aware of it … He kept saying, ‘I just want to reboot my brain.” The disease could also cause depression, which Robin was suffering from at the time of his death. Doctors have said that it is possible that the depression was directly related to Lewy body dementia which more than likely contributed greatly to his suicide. A horribly sad end for such a magnificent actor who was by all accounts, one of the kindest people around.
Brittany Murphy was a loveably actress who got her start rather young and was known for movies like Clueless and various other romantic comedies over the years. Her death came at a young age which seemed to be completely unexplained. Brittany was found on the bathroom floor by her husband Simon Monjack. The coroner initial ruled her death as “natural” because she had both pneumonia and anemia. However, it was later revealed that she also had multiple drugs in her system both prescription and over-the-counter. Her father remained unconvinced by the findings and later had testing done on Brittany’s hair which found that she had “abnormally high levels” of 10 potentially toxic heavy metals.
Brittany’s Case Gets Stranger
Only five months later, Simon also died from pneumonia and overdose of prescription medications. Brittany’s father believes something insidious took place with the death of his daughter. Other people blame Simon for the entire situation, and have directly said that he was not a good guy. Following Brittany’s death Simon even gave an interview which did him no favors. Simon said, “I think the biggest misconception is that I was living off my wife. Brittany, forgive me—people don’t seem to want to hear it. I was paying the bills. Brittany was making these god-awful films that went straight to DVD—so horrible that she wanted to kill herself.” Not particularly, a loving way to speak about your deceased wife. Whatever the true reasoning for Brittany’s death, thirty-two was far too young an age.
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Philip Seymour Hoffman was an amazing talented actor. In his younger years, he suffered from addiction issues, primarily addiction to heroin. However, he was able to maintain his sobriety for over twenty years during which time he garnered the majority of his success. Allegedly, he fell of the wagon while attending a wrap party for the film The Master which was loosely based on Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. Sadly, Philip fell back into addiction although he attempted to attend rehab to once again kick the habit. Unfortunately, it ultimately claimed his life. He was found surrounded by heroin baggies and used syringes. This was quite shocking news, as he had not regularly advertised his addiction and he seemed to be on the straight and narrow for most of his career and time in the limelight. Philip left behind three children and his longtime partner.
David Carradine was an actor who often played roles where the characters were of Asian descent although he himself was not Asian. In his later years, he is most known for his role of Bill in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill trilogy. In 2009, David was found dead in his hotel room in Bangkok, Thailand where he was shooting a film. David was found naked and hanging from a rope in the closet which immediately sprung up rumors that his death was a suicide. However, pathologists later said that the cause of death was accidental asphyxiation due to engaging in autoerotic asphyxiation. Two of his former wives also corroborated this report stating that his sexual interests included self-bondage. His ex-wife Marina Anderson even noted in her reasoning for the divorce filing as “the continuation of abhorrent and deviant sexual behavior which was potentially deadly. Although, Marina also later publicly stated that she did her own investigation and believed that he was actually murdered.