It came as a shock when the news hit that Cory Monteith of Glee had died at the age of 31. He was a young, healthy, and talented man at the height of his career. He had a great job, a wonderful girlfriend, and was beloved by Glee fans across the globe. But his life ended on Saturday, July 13th in a hotel room in Vancouver, shocking his friends, family, fans and co-stars on Glee.
I am not a regular watcher of Glee, but when I did tune in, I did very much appreciate Cory Monteith’s talent, presence, and on-screen magnetism. Finding out that he was suddenly gone was a tragic thing to hear, I was surprised and stunned but I was not a die-hard fan, those people were really hit hard by the news. Every now and then, and more often than it should, a celebrity dies far too young — from causes ranging from drugs and alcohol to a tragic plane crash. Each time a star leaves this earth too early, we are in a state of shock. Here are 16 of the most surprising celebrity deaths of the last twenty years. Which one was the saddest for you?
Stars Who Died Too Young 1 of 17
Cory Monteith 2 of 17
Known For: Glee
Died: At age 31
Cause of Death: Unknown, but speculation leads to a drug related overdose.
Why shocking: Cory was freshly out of a month-long stint at rehab and was fighting against the substance abuse urges that haunted him. Sadly, it appears, he fell off the wagon. He leaves behind family, friends, fans, and his beloved girlfriend and co-star Lea Michele.
Heath Ledger 3 of 17
Known For: Roles in Brokeback Mountain, A Knight's Tale, and The Dark Knight.
Died: At age 28
Cause of Death: Accidental intoxication from prescription drugs
Why shocking: He was in the midst of a stellar career and seemed to have everything going for him. What made the story even more heartbreaking is that he left behind a daughter, Matilda, with ex-girlfriend Michelle Williams.
DJ AM 4 of 17
Known For: Adam Michael Goldstein was a world famous DJ and one-time boyfriend of Nicole Richie.
Died: At age 36
Cause of Death: Died from an apparent drug overdose.
Why shocking: He had survived a deadly plane crash (Travis Barker of Blink 182 had been with him) and had stopped doing drugs for a while, but had, apparently started up again with a devastating end.
Amy Winehouse 5 of 17
Known For: Her soulful songs such as "Rehab" and "You Know I'm No Good," among many others.
Died: At age 27
Cause of Death: Her death was alcohol related, with the coroner saying, "the unintended consequences of such potentially fatal levels was her sudden death."
Why shocking: She had been known for her battles with drugs from heroin to cocaine, but she had stopped her drug usage and instead started to consume large amounts of alcohol. It seemed to some she had turned a corner, but it lead to a dead end.
Brittany Murphy 6 of 17
Known For: Roles in Clueless, 8 Mile, and Girl, Interrupted.
Died: At age 32
Cause of Death: At the time of her death, Brittany Murphy had been suffering from pneumonia and had been taking a variety of legal drugs for her illness. The coroner stated that her death was due to the "the possible adverse physiological effects of elevated levels of these medications cannot be discounted, especially in her weakened state." She was also very anemic.
Why shocking: She was just 32 and died due to an illness she should have been able to beat. Also shocking was that her husband Simon Monjack died five months later - at the age of 40 - also due to pneumonia and anemia.
Tupac Shakur 7 of 17
Known For: His album All Eyez on Me which was one of the best selling hip hop albums of all time.
Died: At age 25
Cause of Death: Tupac was shot in a gang-related shooting in Las Vegas after he had attended a Mike Tyson boxing match. To this day, there is no proof of who actually killed the rap superstar.
Why shocking: 25-year-old Tupac's star was very much on the rise, not just in music but also for his budding acting career.
Anna Nicole Smith 8 of 17
Known For: Her Playboy centerfolds and reality TV show.
Died: At age 39
Cause of Death: Anna Nicole Smith had been suffering from a stomach flu and died from a - as the coroner noted - "combined drug intoxication" with the sleeping medication chloral hydrate as the "major component."
Why shocking: Anna Nicole Smith left behind an infant daughter and had just had a heartbreaking tragedy months before her death when her 20-year-old son Daniel Smith died. Daniel passed away while visiting his mother at the hospital after Anna Nicole gave birth to her daughter Dannielynn, and died in her hospital room after an apparent drug overdose.
Aaliyah 9 of 17
Known For: Her bestselling album Age Ain't Nothing but a Number.
Died: At age 22
Cause of Death: Aaliyah has been a passenger in a small plane leaving the Bahamas that was heading to Florida, the plane had not just one extra person but 700 pounds of excess baggage. It went down shortly after takeoff. Aaliyah and the eight others on board were killed.
Why shocking: Plane crashes are always shocking no matter what, but this one hit the music community very hard.
Ryan Dunn 10 of 17
Known For: His antics on the MTV show Jackass and Viva La Bam
Died: At age 34
Cause of Death: Ryan Dunn had been drinking at a bar with a Jackass production assistant and was twice over the legal limit. He got behind the wheel of his new Porsche, veered off the road and hit a tree killing both he and the PA. An accident report stated that, "speed may have been a contributing factor in the accident," he may have been driving over 100 MPH on the windy road.
Why shocking: He had done so many stunts for Jackass and Viva La Bam but didn't die from a silly stunt but from his own bad judgement.
Natasha Richardson 11 of 17
Known For: Her roles in such films at Patty Hearst, The Handmaid's Tale, and the The Parent Trap.
Died: At age 45
Cause of Death: Natasha had been taking a beginners ski lesson and had an accident. She was lucid, walking and talking after her accident, and refused medical attention. Three hours later she had an intense headache and went to the hospital and died a couple of days later due to an "epidural hematoma due to blunt impact to the head."
Why shocking: She was healthy, happy, and had everything going for her. But accidents can happen at anytime, to anyone.
Whitney Houston 12 of 17
Known For: Her many chart-topping albums and movie roles in such hits as The Bodyguard.
Died: At age 48
Cause of Death: Houston died from drowning in the bathtub of her hotel room. She apparently fell asleep but drugs seems to have played a role - she had Benadryl, Xanax, marijuana, Flexeril, as well as cocaine in her system.
Why shocking: She had been busy, getting her career back on track, with musical performances and a new movie she was promoting. Many had thought she had left her substance abuse days behind her, but she apparently did not.
Michael Jackson 13 of 17
Known For: His many, many hits and being the "King of Pop."
Died: At age 50
Cause of Death: Michael Jackson died from, "acute propofol and benzodiazepine intoxication after suffering a cardiac arrest."
Why shocking: Michael Jackson had been prepping for a huge comeback tour and had been working long hours singing, dancing, and getting ready. But his life, and the tour, was cut short after he died from the mix of drugs. The wrongful death suit is still pending years later.
Steve Irwin 14 of 17
Known For: His alias as The Crocodile Hunter, his zoo and TV programs.
Died: At age 44
Cause of Death: While filming a documentary entitled Ocean's Deadliest in the Great Barrier Reef, Steve Irwin was filming underwater by a stingray, and the sea creature turned and pierced Irwin in the chest, killing the adventurer.
Why shocking: It was shocking for the rarity of the accident. Only about thirty people are on record for meeting their fate due to a stingray.
Cory Haim 15 of 17
Known For: His role in the iconic film The Lost Boys.
Died: At age 38
Cause of Death: Cory Haim had issues with prescription drugs but that was not the cause of death - according to the coroner he died from pneumonia.
Why shocking: Although his career was not going well, it was still a shock, especially for fans of his '80s films, that he died so young.
River Phoenix 16 of 17
Known For: His roles in films such as Stand By Me, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and My Own Private Idaho.
Died: At age 23
Cause of Death: River Phoenix was at a Hollywood club, The Viper Room (which had been owned by Johnny Depp). River was there with his brother Joaquin Phoenix and sister Rain. River apparently had taken cocaine and heroine, and had a fatal overdose soon after, right outside the club.
Why shocking: River Phoenix was known for his film work, his social and humanitarian work, and was not known for his partying. He was at the crest of an amazing career which ended far too soon.
Photo Source: Wiki Commons
Kurt Cobain 17 of 17
Known For: His band Nirvana.
Died: At age 27
Cause of Death: Kurt Cobain took his own life, after jumping the fence of a rehab center in Los Angeles. He flew home to Seattle and shot himself.
Why shocking: Although he had battles with depression, drug abuse, and had tried to kill himself before, his death still came as a shock to the world.
Photo Source: Wiki Commons
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