12 Famous People Surrounded By Tragedy 

Celebrity Lists
Updated January 22, 2020 589.9k views 12 items

Several famous people have experienced a lot of tragedies. Some celebrities have had several family members die in terrible ways, while others have experienced a series of personal illnesses and injuries. One famous singer lost three of her family members in a horrific shooting. This list of famous people who have been surrounded by tragedy is loosely ranked by fame and popularity. 

Who is the most famous person who is surrounded by tragedy? Sofia Vergara tops our list. "Modern Family" actress Sofia Vergara's brother Rafael was murdered in Bogota in 1998. In 2000, Vergara was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and in 2011, her younger brother Julio was deported to Colombia after being arrested.

In 2008, Jennifer Hudson's mother Darnell Donnerson, her brother Jason and her nephew Julian were all killed by her estranged brother-in-law William Balfour. John F. Kennedy, Jr.'s father John F. Kennedy and uncle Robert Kennedy were both assassinated.

How would you attempt to recover from a personal tragedy? Share your thoughts in the comments section.
Kelsey Grammer is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 12 Famous People Surrounded By Tragedy
Photo: Tenebrae/Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY-SA 3.0

In 1968, when Kelsey Grammer was just 13, his father, Frank, was shot and killed outside of his home. In 1975, Grammer's 18 year-old sister, Karen, was abducted, sexually assaulted, and murdered by killer Freddie Glenn. Five years later, in 1980, Grammer's twin half-brothers, Billy and Stephen, died in a scuba-diving accident off the coast of St. Thomas.

In 2001, his good friend, David Angell, was aboard American Airlines Flight 11  that crashed into the World Trade Center in the 9/11 attacks.

Age: 64

Birthplace: Saint Thomas, United States Virgin Islands

More Kelsey Grammer 

Frasier Star Kelsey Grammer Has Had The Most Interesting (And Kind Of Tragic) Rise To Fame #90 of 177 The Best Living American Actors #331 of 1,030 The Best Actors in Film History

Jennifer Hudson is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 12 Famous People Surrounded By Tragedy
Photo: Helga Esteb/Shutterstock

In 2008, Jennifer Hudson's mother, Darnell Donnerson (57) and her brother, Jason (29) were shot to death by her estranged brother-in-law, William Balfour. Hudson's nephew, Julian (7), was reported missing, but found three days later dead of multiple gunshot wounds.

In 2012, Balfour was convicted of three life sentences with no parole.

Age: 37

Birthplace: USA, Chicago, Illinois

More Jennifer Hudson 

The Best Jennifer Hudson Songs #189 of 269 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World #25 of 198 The Greatest New Female Vocalists of the Past 10 Years

Marlon Brando is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 12 Famous People Surrounded By Tragedy
Photo: Sofi/Flickr
In May 1990, Marlon Brando's son, Christian, shot and killed Dag Drollet, the boyfriend of his pregnant half-sister, Cheyenne. Christian pleaded guilty to manslaughter and spent five years in prison. Cheyenne Brando attempted suicide twice during his trial. Then, in 1995, after she lost custody of her son, Tuki, Cheyenne hanged herself at age 25. 

Age: Dec. at 80 (1924-2004)

Birthplace: Omaha, Nebraska, United States of America

More Marlon Brando 

15 Insane Facts About Marlon Brando, One Of The Weirdest Actors Ever #3 of 310 The Coolest Actors Ever #34 of 1,030 The Best Actors in Film History

Sofía Vergara is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 12 Famous People Surrounded By Tragedy
Photo:  iDominick/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0

"Modern Family" actress Sofia Vergara has had her share of hardships. In 1998, her brother, Rafael, was murdered in Bogota. In 2000, Vergara was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, and she underwent iodine radiation therapy before making a full recovery.

In 2011, her younger brother, Julio, was deported to Colombia after longterm drug addiction and an arrest in the U.S.

Age: 46

Birthplace: Barranquilla, Colombia

More Sofía Vergara 

#242 of 339 The Funniest People Of All Time #322 of 853 The Best Actresses in Film History #178 of 410 The Most Beautiful Women Of 2020, Ranked