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Child Actors Who Tragically Died Young

Updated 1 Apr 2020 38.5m views35 items

Child actors who died young include some of the most recognizable names in entertainment. All the actors and actresses listed enjoyed success from an early age. Contributing factors to their casualties range from health issues to substance abuse to accidents. 

The untimely passing of a star is always a tragedy, but child actors who died at a young age seem especially tragic. Even child celebrities sometimes succumb to pressure, the rigors of fame and a host of other issues that can darken a shining light much too soon. Those included on this list include many of the most famous people who died young.

Some child actors mentioned here departed this world very young, such as Poltergeist star Heather O'Rourke. Heather was just 12 years old when she succumbed to complications during surgery to repair an acute bowel obstruction. Others, like actors River Phoenix and Brad Renfro, died in their early 20s after struggles with substance abuse. 

Other child actors took their own lives. In August 2013, Lee Thompson Young, known for his role as Jett on the Disney Channel show Famous Jett Jackson and a star turn on the TV crime drama Rizzoli & Isles, ended his life by suicide at the age of 29. In November 2003, seaQuest DSV star Jonathan Brandis took his own life at the age of 27.

To learn more about famous people who died young, check out Members Of The 27 Club (celebrities who died at age 27) and The Most Depressing Celebrity Trainwrecks Of All Time.

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