Death in Music: Gone too soon and too young - History Key

Death in Music: Gone too soon and too young

Not just wars and politicians are influencing our future. There are also other moments or characters that marked history and for sure the lives and memories of many.

We all have our favorite singers and artists. Every generation has its classics, but there are figures that work as classics for several generations, also considering the myths built around them.

In most of the cases, we are talking about some young and very talented people who have become famous not only for their talent, but also for their private life. It is well known that sudden fame would bring a number of problems to deal with, and it is also known that some of them have not been able to manage it.

History Key will unlock for you a list of iconic musicians who left too soon, dying in most of the cases from excesses related to a hard to control and agitated life.

Jimi Hendrix

Born Johnny Allen Hendrix (November 27, 1942 – September 18, 1970) is considered one of the best guitarist. He was an American rock guitarist, songwriter, and singer with a short but blazing four years career. Inspired by electric blues and American rock&roll, when his third album ”Electric Ladyland” came out, he already was a legend.

He is remembered for his iconic performance at the Woodstock Festival in 1969 and for his show at the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970. In order to highlight only a few of his biggest hits, we would remember “Purple Haze”, “Hey Joe” or “All along the Watchtower”.

Already having problems with alcohol, Hendrix started to use drugs somewhere between 1966 and 1967. Considering that drinking turned him into a raging and violent person, the drugs became a suitable substitute for him. He started using LSD and amphetamines, especially while on tour, quickly becoming a figure directly associated with drug use.

Hendrix was found dead on September 18, 1970, in a room of the Samarkand Hotel in London. The official cause of his death was related to an overdose of barbiturates, which made him suffocate with his own vomit. He was only 27.

Jimi Hendrix
Jimi Hendrix ©

Kurt Cobain

Kurt Donald Cobain (February 20, 1967 – April 5, 1994) was the angel face with an incredible rage inside him. A musician, artist, guitarist, and songwriter born in Aberdeen, Washington, a small town based mostly on wood processing and marketing. Cobain became worldwide known during his years as the frontman of the grunge band Nirvana (together with Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl). Their album “Nevermind” is considered one of the recent turning points in the contemporary music, being praised even by Paul McCartney, and Cobain was considered the voice of a generation, an aspect that made him felt uncomfortable.

“Smell Like Teen Spirit”, a single from the 1991 album Nevermind, became the anthem for more than a generation, but Cobain was dealing with some serious problems in his life, among depression, health problems and heroin addiction.

Already having cases of depression and suicide among members of his family, Kurt was found dead in his house from Lake Washington Blvd. A note was found near his body, and clear signs that he had committed suicide were reported. He shot himself with a shotgun. He was also 27.


Kurt Cobain
Kurt Cobain © Sites at Penn State


Born Lesane Parish Crooks, but better known as Tupac Shakur (June 16, 1971 – September 13, 1996) was an American rapper, actor, and songwriter (also considered a poet).

2Pac has sold more than 75 million records and he’s considered one of the most (if not the most) influential rappers of all time. He gained worldwide fame since the release of his double disc album titled “All Eyez on Me” and in April 2017 was included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

His songs were raging statements against the society or comments related to the violence and gangs from the suburbs and big cities. His motto was “Live by the gun, Die by the Gun”, and that’s exactly what happened. Shakur was shot in a drive-by shooting at the intersection of Flamingo Road and Koval Lane in Las Vegas on September 1996; He died from his wounds six days later. He was 25.

2Pac © Pinterest

Amy Winehouse

Amy Jade Winehouse (September 14, 1983 – July 23, 2011) was considered one of the last big revelations related to soul and rhythm and blues. She was an English singer and songwriter who registered a very quick success starting with her debut album “Frank” (2003). Her following album “Back to Black” (2006) brought her 5 Grammy Awards in 2008, becoming the first British woman to win five Grammys.

Her “Rehab” single was worldwide known, reaching the front position in several tops and charts, but the rehab was the thing she truly needed. Amy reported several problems related to drugs abuse, looking fragile and in danger in the eyes of her family and friends, but also in front of her fans, who saw her being confused on stage in several occasions.

After managing to stay sober for a while, she poisoned herself with alcohol on 23 July 2011. Her body was too fragile and in the recovery process when she decided to drink again. So the alcohol became fatal for her body. She was 27.


Amy Winehouse
Amy Winehouse © Fionn Kidney – Flickr, Image Source: Wikipedia


Aaliyah Dana Haughton (January 16, 1879 – August 25, 2001) was an American singer, actress, and model. Born in Brooklyn, New York but raised in Detroit, Michigan, she was artistically raised by R. Kelly, who became a leading figure for her. She collaborated with big names from the music industry, like Missy Elliot or Timbaland, and appeared in the movie “Romeo Must Die”, in 2000, being her first movie feature. She won a Grammy for her single “Try Again” and released her third and last album “Aaliyah” in 2001.

On August 25, 2001, after filming in the Bahamas the music video for her new single “Rock the Boat”, Aaliyah died in a plane crash together with eight others. The following investigations stated that the pilot was unlicensed an intoxicated with alcohol and cocaine at the moment of the flight. Remembered as the “Princess of R&B” or “Queen of Urban Pop”, she was 22 at the moment of her death.

Aaliyah in Berlin, May 2000
Aaliyah in Berlin, May 2000 ©

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