Alcohol Musicians Who Died of Alcoholism  

Steve Shafer
226k views 20 items

While we may be more accustomed to musicians dying to heroin and other drugs, plenty have died due to an addiction to alcohol. This is a list of alcoholic musicians who drank themselves to death. Alcoholism is more than simply a lack of self control; today, it is considered an all out addictive disorder. In other words, it's not a bad habit-- it's a disease. Fortunately, alcohol abuse is a treatable disease and many addictions have been broken.

While harder drugs may take more of the spotlight, alcohol dependence is a serious syndrome as alcohol has the potential to damage every organ in the body, including the brain, which can lead to other psychiatric disorders. Many of music's most famous and beloved singers and rock stars have suffered from alcohol addiction. For these musicians with alcohol addition, death is a very real and very scary possibility.

Which famous musicians died of alcoholism? Take a look at this list and you'll see the people who bit the big one because they couldn't put down the bottle.
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Richard Swift is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Musicians Who Died of Alcoholism
Photo: Michael Stewart/Getty Images/Rights-managed

When Richard Swift died on July 3, 2018, the cause of death was not immediately released. A week after his passing, his family confirmed that he had been battling alcoholism for a good portion of his life, and the disease ultimately took it.

"Yes, Richard Swift suffered from alcohol addiction, and it's ultimately what took his life. With the support of family and friends and the assistance of MusiCares, Richard had checked himself into rehab for multiple stays over the past two years, but his body gave out before he could overcome the disease," the family wrote on Swift's official Facebook page.

Swift was diagnosed with hepatitis and liver and kidney distress in June 2018. The musician requested he be put in hospice care when he felt his body would not be able to handle the stress.

Genres (Music): Indie pop, Alternative rock, Lo-fi music

Albums: The Atlantic Ocean, Dressed Up for the Letdown, Library Catalog Music Series Volume 7: Music for Paradise Armor, Music From the Films of R/Swift, Walt Wolfman, + more

Nationality: United States of America

Labels: Secretly Canadian, Velvet Blue Music, Polydor Records

Career Began: California, United States of America

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Billie Holiday is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Musicians Who Died of Alcoholism
Photo: via Reddit
Billie Holiday suffered from alcoholism for most of her life.  She died of pulmonary edema and heart failure caused by alcohol induced cirrhosis of the liver on July 17, 1959. She was 44 years old.

Genres (Music): Torch song, Ballad, Swing music, Traditional pop music, Vocal jazz, + more

Albums: Lady in Satin, Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday at Newport, The Best of Billie Holiday, Billie Holiday Sings, Lady Sings the Blues, + more

Nationality: United States of America

Labels: Aladdin Records, Decca Records, Commodore Records, Verve Music Group, Brunswick Records, + more

Career Began: Harlem, New York City, New York, United States of America

Also Ranked

#13 on The Best Female Vocalists Ever

#52 on The Best Female Rock Singers

#34 on The Best Singers of All Time

#17 on The Best Blues Artists of All Time

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Bon Scott is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Musicians Who Died of Alcoholism
Photo: via Twitter
AC/DC singer Bon Scott died of alcohol poisoning combined with choking on his own vomit after night of heavy drinking on February 19, 1980.  He was 33 years old.

Genres (Music): Blues-rock, Rock music, Heavy metal, Rock and roll, Progressive rock, + more

Albums: The Early Years 1967-1972, With the Spektors and the Valentines, Round and Round: The Forgotten Years, Round and Round and Round, Seasons of Change Raven/RCA 1971-72 (disc 2)

Nationality: Scotland, Australia

Career Began: Fremantle, Australia

Also Ranked

#25 on The Best Rock Vocalists

#13 on The Best Frontmen in Rock

#38 on The Druggiest Rock Stars of All Time

#22 on Dead Musicians You Most Want to See Perform as Holograms

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Brian Connolly is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Musicians Who Died of Alcoholism
Photo: via Imgur
Sweet musician Brian Connolly died at age 51 after suffering renal failure, liver failure and repeated heart attacks on February 9, 1997. He was a severe alcoholic since the mid-1970s.

Genres (Music): Pop music, Rock music, Glam rock, Hard rock

Albums: Performs the Greatest Hits of The Sweet

Labels: Carrere Records, Polydor Records, RCA Records

Career Began: Hamilton, United Kingdom

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