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The Greatest Musicians Who Died Before 40

List RulesGreat musicians who died before their 40th birthdays

Some of the best musicians in history only lived for a few short decades. This list ranks those musicians whose lives were taken before they turned 40, whether intentionally or accidentally, including everyone from Bob Marley to Mozart. They may all come from different genres and backgrounds, but the loss of each of these musicians left a major emptiness in the world of music. Singers and rock stars like Amy Winehouse, Buddy Holly, and Jimi Hendrix didn’t live to 40, but they did live long enough to secure a lasting legacy in music history as some of the greatest artists of all time.

Many people think of rock stars like Kurt Cobain (of the 27 Club) when they consider musicians who died young, but the world of rap music can be just as deadly. Who can forget the feud between black superstars Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G.? While no one has ever conclusively proven who killed the two stars or even that the two deaths were linked, there is no doubt that both musicians were killed far too early. These musicians were murdered in their prime, and hip hop fans still mourn them.

Other deaths have rocked the music world as well. Can any fan of hip hop or R&B every truly recover from Aaliyah’s death in 2001? She was only 22 years old when her plane crashed in the Bahamas, killing not only her but also eight others. This gifted musician died before reaching the age of 40, and the world of R&B is not the same with her loss.

Many of the deceased musicians listed below died in unfortunate and horrific circumstances, while other songwriters and composers passed away more peacefully, and some from natural causes. Whatever the case, all of these artists left us too soon, and we will forever remember their influence and listen to their extraordinary music for generations to come.

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