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Rock, pop and blues music has a long history of premature deaths of influential musicians.

The following is a list of notable musicians, from various genres of music, that died of causes unrelated to old age, before the age of 60.

Died in TeensEdit

Artist Notoriety Age Born Died Cause of Death
Ritchie Valens singer 17 May 13, 1941 February 3, 1959 Airplane Crash[1]
Hiromi Yanagihara singer 19 October 19, 1979 July 16, 1999[2] car crash

Died in 20sEdit

Artist Notoriety Age Born Died Cause of Death
Aaliyah Solo R&B artist 22 January 16, 1979 August 25, 2001 Airplane crash[3]
Johnny Ace Solo R&B artist 25 June 9, 1929 December 25, 1954 Accidental suicide
Duane Allman Lead guitarist of The Allman Brothers Band/Famous Session Man Guitarist 24 20 November 1946 29 October 1971 Motorcycle collision with a truck[4] carrying lumber (often perceived to be a peach truck)
Bix Beiderbecke Jazz 28 March 10, 1903 August 6, 1931 Alcoholism
The Big Bopper Disc Jockey and Singer-songwriter 28 October 24, 1930 February 3, 1959 Airplane crash
Marc Bolan Lead singer and songwriter, T-Rex 29 September 30, 1947 September 16, 1977 Car crash[5]
Tim Buckley Singer–songwriter 28 February 14, 1947 June 29, 1975 Drug overdose
Cliff Burton Metallica bassist 24 February 10, 1962 September 27, 1986 Coach accident[6]
Kurt Cobain Singer-songwriter 27 February 20, 1967 c. April 5, 1994 Suicide[7]
Eddie Cochran Singer–songwriter 21 October 2, 1938 April 17, 1960 Car accident [8]
Darby Crash Singer for The Germs 22 September 26, 1958 December 7, 1980 Heroin overdose
Ian Curtis Lead singer of Joy Division 23 15 July 1956 18 May 1980 Suicide [9]
Dead Mayhem Vocalist 22 January 16, 1969 April 8, 1991 Brain hemorrhage [10]
Nick Drake Singer-songwriter 26 June 19, 1948 November 25, 1974 Amitriptyline overdose [11]
Sabine Dünser Singer of Liechenstein band, Elis 29 June 27, 1977 July 8, 2006 Cerebral Haemorrhage
Richey James Edwards Lyricist and Guitarist of Manic Street Preachers 27 December 22, 1967 February 1, 1995 (Disappeared) November 23, 2008 officially "Presumed Dead" Presumed Dead Circa [12]
Jimi Hendrix Rock guitarist, singer–songwriter 27 November 27, 1942 September 18, 1970 Autopsy revealed asphyxiation due to overdose of Vesparax. Regarding the question of suicide or accidental death, the inquest gave an open verdict.[13]
Buddy Holly Singer–songwriter 22 September 7, 1936 February 3, 1959 Airplane crash [14]
Shannon Hoon Lead Singer of Blind Melon 28 26 September 1967 21 October 1995 Cocaine overdose
Brian Jones Member of The Rolling Stones 27 28 February 1942 3 July 1969 Drowned in a swimming pool
Janis Joplin Singer-Songwriter 27 January 19, 1943 October 4, 1970 Heroin overdose
Frankie Lymon Lead singer of Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers 25 30 September 1942 27 February 1968 Heroin overdose [15]
Bradley Nowell Lead singer/guitarist of Sublime 28 22 February 1968 25 May 1996 Heroin overdose[16]
Ron "Pigpen" McKernan Keyboardist for the Grateful Dead 27 September 8, 1945 March 8, 1973 Alcoholism
Jim Morrison Lead singer of The Doors 27 December 8, 1943 July 3, 1971 Autopsy gave cause of death as "heart failure"[17]
Yutaka Ozaki Singer-songwriter 26 November 29, 1965 April 25, 1992 Pulmonary edema[18]
Gram Parsons Singer/songwriter, 'founder' of Country rock November 5, 1946 September 19, 1973 Accumulated drug toxicity [19]
Randy Rhoads Guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne 25 December 6, 1956 March 19, 1982 Airplane crash [20]
Otis Redding American soul singer 26 September 9, 1941 December 10, 1967 Airplane crash [21]
Selena Quintanilla-Pérez Solo Tejano and Pop artist 23 April 16, 1971 March 31, 1995 Murdered by the president of her fan club[22]
Tupac Shakur Prominent West Coast rapper 25 June 16, 1971 September 13, 1996 Shot to death
Hillel Slovak Guitarist of Red Hot Chilli Peppers 26 April 13, 1962 June 27, 1988 Speedball overdose [23]
Stuart Sutcliffe Original bassist for The Beatles 21 23 June 1940 10 April 1962 cerebral paralysis
The Notorious B.I.G Prominent East Coast rapper 24 May 21, 1972 March 9, 1997 Shot to death
Freaky Tah Member of The Lost Boyz (East Coast) 27 May 17, 1971 March 28, 1999 Shot to death
Ronnie Van Zant Singer of Lynyrd Skynyrd 29 January 15, 1948 October 20, 1977 Plane crash
Sid Vicious Bassist of Sex Pistols 21 May 10, 1957 February 2, 1979 Heroin overdose [24]
Hank Williams Country music singer/songwriter 29 September 17, 1923 January 1, 1953 Alcohol, Chloral hydrate, and Morphine [25]
Andrew Wood Lead singer of Mother Love Bone 24 January 6, 1966 March 19, 1990 Heroin overdose

Died in 30sEdit

Artist Notoriety Age Born Died Cause of Death
Harry Chapin Singer-Songwriter, #1 Song (Cat's in the Cradle) 38 December 7, 1942 July 16, 1981 Car Accident
Patsy Cline Singer 30 September 8, 1932 March 5, 1963 Plane Crash[26]
Jim Croce Singer-Songwriter, Two #1 Songs, One #1 Album 30 January 10, 1943 September 20, 1973 Plane Crash
Dimebag Darrell Guitarist of Pantera 38 August 20, 1966 December 8, 2004 Shot to death
Eazy-E Member of N.W.A (West Coast) 31 September 7, 1963 March 26, 1996 AIDS[27]
Cass Elliot Singer in The Mamas and the Papas 32 September 19, 1941 July 29, 1974 Contrary to popular belief:[28] heart attack[29]
Bon Scott Lead singer of AC/DC 33 July 9, 1946 February 19, 1980 Acute alcohol poisoning[30]
Jeff Buckley Singer–songwriter 30 November 17, 1966 May 29, 1997 Accidental drowning
Bob Marley Lead member of The Wailers 36 February 6, 1945 May 11, 1981 Acral lentiginous melanoma[31]
John Bonham Led Zeppelin drummer 32 May 31, 1948 September 25, 1980 Pulmonary edema
Keith Moon Drummer of The Who 32 August 23, 1946 September 7, 1978 Chlormethiazole overdose
Elliott Smith Singer-songwriter 34 August 6, 1969 October 21, 2003 Stab wounds to the chest
Dennis Dannell Social Distortion guitarist 38 June 24, 1961 February 29, 2000 Brain aneurysm
Terry Kath Chicago guitarist, vocalist 31 January 31, 1946 January 23, 1978 Accidental suicide
Ian Stuart Skrewdriver vocalist 36 August 11, 1957 September 24, 1993 Car crash
Layne Staley Lead singer of Alice In Chains 34 August 22, 1967 April 5, 2002 Speedball overdose
Stevie Ray Vaughan Blues guitarist/singer 35 October 3, 1954 August 27, 1990 Helicopter crash
Jaco Pastorius Jazz bassist 35 December 1, 1951 September 21, 1987 Brain hemorrhage
Michael Hutchence Lead singer of INXS 37 January 22, 1960 November 22, 1997 Suicide[32]
David Byron Lead singer of Uriah Heep 38 January 29, 1947 February 28, 1985 Alcoholism
Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes Member of musical trio TLC 30 May 27, 1971 April 25, 2002 Car accident
Sam Cooke Gospel, R&B, soul, and pop singer, songwriter 33 January 22, 1931 December 11, 1964 Shot dead[33]
Steve Clark Guitarist of Def Leppard 30 April 23, 1960 January 8, 1991 a mixture of anti-depressants, painkillers and alcohol
Dwayne Goettel Keyboardist of Skinny Puppy 31 February 1, 1964 August 23, 1995 Heroin overdose[34][35]
Stephen Foster American music composer 37 July 4, 1826 January 13, 1864 Starvation, fever, blow to head
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Austrian classical music composer 35 27 January 1756 5 December 1791 Disputed, possibly rheumatic fever
Blind Lemon Jefferson Creator of the Texas Blues ? 1890s December 12, 1929 Heart attack
Criss Oliva Savatage lead guitarist and co-founder 30 April 3, 1963 October 17, 1993 Car Accident

Died in 40sEdit

Artist: Notoriety: Age: Born: Died: Cause of Death:
Marvin Gaye Singer-songwriter 44 April 2, 1939 April 1, 1984 Shot dead by his father
Billie Holliday 44 April 7, 1915 July 17, 1959 Cirrhosis of the liver [36]
John Lennon Singer-songwriter. Founding member of The Beatles 40 9 October 1940 8 December 1980 Shot dead
Freddie Mercury Lead singer of Queen 45 September 5, 1946 November 24, 1991 AIDS[37]
Rich Mullins Contemporary Christian music singer and composer 41 October 21, 1955 September 19, 1997 Ejected from a Jeep and run over by a truck
Karl Mueller Bassist of Soul Asylum 42 July 27, 1963 June 17, 2005 Throat Cancer
Ricky Nelson American singer, musician and actor 45 8 May 1940 31 December 1985 Airplane crash
Elvis Presley Singer, actor and musician. "The King of Rock and Roll". 42 January 8, 1935 August 16, 1977 Heart attack
Joey Ramone Singer for The Ramones 49 19 May 1951 15 April 2001 Lymphoma[38]

Died in 50sEdit

Artist Notoriety Age Born Died Cause of Death
Brad Delp Lead singer of Boston 55 12 June 1951 9 March 2007 Charcoal-burning suicide
John Denver Country music/folk singer-songwriter and folk rock musician 53 December 31, 1943 October 12, 1997 Plane crash [39]
Maurice Gibb Member of The Bee Gees 53 22 December 1949 12 January 2003 Volvulus[40]
Jerry Garcia Founder of The Grateful Dead 53 1 August 1942 9 August 1995 Heart Attack
George Harrison Lead Guitarist for The Beatles 58 21 February 1943 29 November 2001 Lung cancer
Michael Jackson Singer, member of Jackson 5, "King of Pop" 50 29 August 1958 25 June 2009 Cardiac Arrest
Johnny Ramone Guitarist for The Ramones 55 8 October 1948 15 September 2004 Prostate cancer
Dee Dee Ramone Bassist for The Ramones 50 18 September 1951 5 June 2002 Heroin overdose
Joe Strummer Lead singer of The Clash 50 21 August 1952 22 December 2002 Congenital heart defect
Frank Zappa Composer, guitarist, founder of the Mothers of Invention 52 21 December 1940 4 December 1993 Prostate cancer

ReferencesEdit

  1. Lehmer, Larry (2004). The Day the Music Died. http://books.google.com/books?id=yY-qrbtfonUC&printsec=frontcover&dq=ritchie+valens. 
  2. "Famous Deaths on 16th July". http://www.historyorb.com/deaths/july/16. Retrieved 27 June 09. 
  3. "Obituary: Aaliyah". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/2001/aug/27/guardianobituaries.carolinesullivan. Retrieved 2009-06-28. 
  4. Poe, Randy; Billy F. Gibbons (2006). Skydog. http://books.google.com/books?id=gUolq3X7E_MC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Duane+Allman. 
  5. Paytress, Mark (March 1, 2003). Bolan: The Rise And Fall Of The 20th Century Superstar. Omnibus Press. pp. 282. ISBN 0711992932. 
  6. "Metallica History Part 2". Metallica. http://www.metallica.com/Band/history.asp?part=2. Retrieved 2009-06-27. 
  7. "Sound of the outsider: Obituary of Kurt Cobain". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/1994/apr/09/obituaries.adamsweeting1. Retrieved 2009-06-27. 
  8. Cochran, Bobby; Susan VanHecke (2003). Three steps to heaven. 
  9. Curtis, Deborah (1996). Touching from a Distance: Ian Curtis and Joy Division‎. http://books.google.com/books?q=Joy+Division&btnG=Search+Books. 
  10. Greene, Joshua M.. Here Comes the Sun. http://books.google.com/books?id=BSZtZUWge-IC&pg=PA29&dq=Stuart+Sutcliffe. 
  11. Dann, Trevor (2006). Darker than the deepest sea. De Capo Press. pp. 190. http://books.google.com/books?id=cIyLX-I6FZAC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Nick+Drake. 
  12. Wise, Nick; Mick St. Michael, Chris Charlesworth. Manic Street Preachers. Omnibus Press. pp. 2004. http://books.google.com/books?id=HOCd4REHzEAC&pg=PA2004&dq=Richey+James+Edwards. 
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  21. Bronson, Fred. The Billboard book of number 1 hits. http://books.google.com/books?id=PgGqNrqfrsoC&pg=PT247&dq=Otis+Redding. 
  22. Valdez, Carlos (2005). Justice for Selena -The State Versus Yolanda Saldivar. Trafford Publishing. http://books.google.com/books?id=z7waXGPG3lgC&pg=PA357&dq=Selena. 
  23. Stanton, Scott. The Tombstone Tourist. http://books.google.com/books?id=CBPlr55pgF4C&pg=PA375&dq=Hillel+Slovak. 
  24. Spungen, Deborah (1984). And I Don't Want to Live This Life. Fawcett Crest. http://books.google.com/books?id=BWpH6RQ1jT8C&q=Sid+Vicious&dq=Sid+Vicious&pgis=1. 
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  30. Walker, Clinton (April 15, 2001). Highway to Hell : The Life and Times of AC/DC Legend Bon Scott. Verse Chorus Press. pp. 280. ISBN 1891241133. 
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  32. Pierre Perrone (1997). "Obituary: Michael Hutchenc". The Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/obituary-michael-hutchence-1296068.html. Retrieved 2009-06-27. 
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  34. Discogs.com
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See alsoEdit

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