Rock stars don't always have fantasy lives. Tragically, many notable musicians have died by suicide. Some may have killed themselves as a result of depression or other complex health issues, which is why it is important to be aware of the warning signs. A few of these tragedies have even inspired conspiracy theories, making some wonder if they were cover-ups for foul play.
When you think of famous musicians who died by suicide, Kurt Cobain probably comes to mind. The Nirvana frontman killed himself in 1994. The rocker is referred to as part of the "27 club," among other beloved musicians who died at the young age of 27.
Musician Nick Drake passed in 1974 in an apparent suicide. Linkin Park's Chester Bennington took his own life at his California home in 2017, on the birthday of Chris Cornell, the lead singer of Soundgarden and Audioslave and a close friend. Cornell had perished in the same manner only two months earlier. There are unfortunately a large number of artists who killed themselves.
It may be surprising that so many famous musicians died by suicide; indeed, rates are rising across the US, but treatments for the underlying causes are advancing. If you or someone you know needs support, reach out to organizations like the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Country singer Naomi Judd passed away of a self-inflicted firearm wound on April 30, 2022, her daughter, actress Ashley Judd, shared in a May 12 appearance on Good Morning America.
“Mother used a firearm. That’s the piece of information that we are very uncomfortable sharing, but understand that we’re in a position that if we don’t say it, someone else is going to… When we’re talking about mental illness, it’s very important and — to be clear, and to make the distinction between our loved one and the disease. It’s very real — and it’s enough to — it lies. It’s savage," Ashley said.
She added that her mother “couldn’t hang on until she was inducted into the Hall of Fame by her peers. That is the level of catastrophe of what was going on inside of her, because the barrier between the regard in which they held her couldn’t penetrate into her heart, and the lie the disease told her was so convincing."
- Age: Dec. at 76 (1946-2022)
- Birthplace: Ashland, Kentucky, USA
- Photo: Wikimedia Commons (CC-BY)
- Age: 27 (1967-1994)
- Birthplace: Aberdeen, WA, USA
In late 2018, Cornell's family filed suit against a doctor who allegedly overprescribed anti-anxiety medications and other drugs. They claimed this led to the singer's passing.
- Age: 52 (1964-2017)
- Birthplace: Seattle, WA, USA
Swedish DJ and musician Avicii, born Tim Bergling, was found dead of apparent suicide on April 20, 2018, at age 28. Bergling's family released a statement saying he "really struggled with thoughts about meaning, life, happiness." They also said he struggled with "the business machine he found himself in." Although he stopped touring in 2016, Bergling continued making music until the time of his death.
- Age: 28 (1989-2018)
- Birthplace: Stockholm, Sweden