The 12 Most Haunting Final Performances Before The Artist’s Death

When a legendary artist passes away, it can happen unexpectedly, often in the middle of a tour or at the peak of their career. Occasionally, the demise is drug-related, but sometimes illness is the culprit. No matter the cause, though, it's always tragic when a musician loses their life.

However, there's video documentation of many great artists' final performances. Some of the footage is truly haunting, but the singers' respective talent shines through every time. 

Photo: Warner/Reprise Records / Wikimedia Commons

  • Tom Petty (2017)

    Tom Petty (2017)
    Video: YouTube

    Tom Petty expected his final show to become part of his last major tour, not serve as the conclusion to his career. Petty and his Heartbreakers left the fateful 2017 show after playing "American Girl" - it was the last time they all made music together.

    Before his death, Petty doubted his participation in many more huge tours, noting:

    We [the band] are all on the backside of our sixties... I have a granddaughter now; I'd like to see [her] as much as I can. I don't want to spend my life on the road. This tour will take me away for four months. With a little kid, that's a lot of time.

    The final performance, which took place at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, CA, was just one week prior to his passing on October 2, 2017.

  • Chris Cornell (2017)

    Chris Cornell (2017)
    Video: YouTube

    Chris Cornell's final performance took place in Detroit, MI,  just a short while before he took his own life on May 18, 2017. The show ended with a performance of "Slaves and Bulldozers," which seemingly included a bit of Led Zeppelin's "In My Time of Dying."

    Soon after, Cornell's body was found. In response, his publicist mentioned:

    His wife, Vicky, and family were shocked to learn of his sudden and unexpected passing, and they will be working closely with the medical examiner to determine the cause.

  • Whitney Houston (2012)

    Whitney Houston (2012)
    Video: YouTube

    Whitney Houston's final performance occurred only two days before her death on February 11, 2012. Kelly Price invited the late singer to join her onstage during the Kelly Price & Friends pre-Grammys party, and said, "You are a class act; you are an icon."

    After the show, Houston reportedly got into a verbal altercation with singer Stacy Francis, but it quickly diffused.

    Two days later, Houston was found dead in her hotel room. 

  • Amy Winehouse (2011)

    Amy Winehouse (2011)
    Video: YouTube

    Amy Winehouse's final performance - which was unexpectedly her last - happened a few weeks before the 27-year-old's passing. In fact, she was planning to finish a European tour, but a disastrous show in Serbia weeks earlier forced her to cancel the remaining dates. During the concert, Winehouse slurred her words.

    After the singer was found dead on July 23, 2011, fellow performer Moby noted:

    Since Amy had just gotten out of rehab, I had naively and presumptuously hoped to talk to her before or after her show to find out how she was feeling, and to see if she needed any help... There's a fairly extensive network of musicians on tour who are all trying to stay sober, and we generally reach out to each other and offer support when and where we can.

    The talk between the two musicians never took place.

  • GG Allin (1993)

    GG Allin (1993)
    Video: YouTube

    GG Allin was known for his disturbing performances involving throwing feces and assaulting audience members. He even claimed he would kill himself on stage.

    The final show was chaotic; Allin destroyed a microphone and fought a sound technician. Afterwards, the musician went to a New York City hotel and partied throughout the night.

    The next morning, on June 28, 1993, Allin was found dead on the floor from a drug overdose. Johnny Puke was at the hotel, writing:

    One thing that I hadn't thought about that looked really weird and suspicious was that after GG fell asleep, Liz, my girlfriend, and I all took Polaroids of us laying next to GG that we were gonna show him in [the] morning. We were cuddling with him and smiling in the photos...

    Well, the police found the Polaroids and confiscated them. And then we all had to go down to the 9th Precinct to tell our version of the story. At first, they were very suspicious of us.

    Authorities cleared Puke and his friends of any wrongdoing, but Allin's death and his final show went down in history.

  • Dimebag Darrell (2004)

    Guitarist Dimebag Darrell spent his last earthly moments performing in 2004 at a Columbus, OH, nightclub with his post-Pantera band, Damage Plan. A disgruntled fan ran onto the stage, opening fire on the guitarist.

    "The [shooter] was way determined," Billy Payne, the opening band's singer, recalled. "He was on a mission. He looked angry. He was walking like he was going into battle."

    Three other people died during this show on December 8, 2004. Police killed the shooter, Nathan Gale, after his attack.