January 24, 2022 2:36 pm

Accidents, excesses and murders: the tragic stories of celebrities who died at the peak of their careers

Fame comes with a host of luxuries and privileges. Parties, travel, expensive clothes and high-end cars are some of the most striking aspects of success. But, for many artists, the best part is being able to share their art with the world. However, no matter how much money or reputation a person has, no one can escape death. And for these artists, their prolific careers were cut short before their 45th birthday because of illness, addiction, or simply the bad luck of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The death of Chadwick Boseman It was a harsh loss not only for comic book fans but for the film industry as a whole. The South Carolina native stood out for multiple roles in movies and series but achieved international fame thanks to his portrayal of Black Panther, a prominent character in the Marvel Kinematic Universe.

Chadwick Boseman passed away from colon cancerInvision

His death was as sad as it was unexpected. Boseman left at age 43 on August 28, 2020, due to a colon cancer that he was diagnosed with in 2016 but which he chose to keep hidden from the public eye. As reported by his family when communicating the painful news, the artist had undergone several operations and chemotherapy in private in recent times. After his funeral, the last film he starred in was released, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, thanks to which he won a posthumous award at the 2021 Oscars.

The death of Naya Rivera and Cory Monteith, despite the fact that they happened several years apart and for different causes, they were attributed by fans to the “curse of Glee”. The renowned series created by Ryan Murphy and broadcast on Fox was a resounding success. But, after its end, many of its main characters lived tragic events.

Cory was 31 years old the day his heart stopped beating and he was about to marry Lea Michele, his co-star in Glee and who played his girlfriend in fiction. The young man had battled addictions for much of his life and that was the cause of death. The media reported death by “A mixture of heroin and alcohol poisoning”.

Cory Monteith died in 2013 of an overdose
Cory Monteith died in 2013 of an overdose Archive

Naya Rivera’s death occurred on July 8, 2020, seven years after her set partner. The case shocked the entire world as it was shrouded in a mystery that culminated in an unfortunate discovery. It all started with the appearance of her four-year-old son asleep and alone in a boat floating in Lake Piru, California.

After five days of intense searching and tons of speculation about the events, the authorities found the lifeless body of Rivera, his mother. According to the creature’s account, they were both swimming when she slammed him into the boat. Looking back, he saw Naya sink. He never surfaced again.

Naya Rivera died after disappearing into a lake
Naya Rivera died after disappearing into a lakeTime

Selena Quintanilla was 23 years old at the time a bullet took her life. At such a young age, the Mexican singer was already a musical phenomenon that had managed to win the love of countless fans. It was precisely one of them who held the revolver that killed her.

The Queen of the Tejano, as she was popularly known, was about to make the big leap into the English-speaking market when problems with Yolanda Saldívar, director of the official fan club and, more importantly, friend of Selena.

In 1995, the author of “Como la flor” was informed that her colleague (Saldívar worked for the singer’s clothing brand) had scammed fans and had stolen a large sum of money from the artist.

Selena approached the hotel where Yolanda was staying to discuss the situation, in order to retrieve a series of relevant documents. In the middle of a violent fight, Saldívar shot him in the shoulder. Hours later, the singer died and her murderer was arrested by the Police.

Selena Quintanilla died at 23 after winning a Grammy and releasing four studio albums
Selena Quintanilla died at 23 after winning a Grammy and releasing four studio albumsInstagram @chris perez

The latest death remains, more than 50 years after it happened, shrouded in controversy. Many love her, others hate her and there is a great debate about who is truly responsible for her death. This is the case of Marilyn Monroe, the face of Hollywood’s golden age and perhaps the most famous actress in history.

On August 5, 1962, an employee of the superstar walked into her room and found a horrifying painting. The artist was lying on her stomach on her bed, completely naked and surrounded by countless empty bottles of antidepressants. Marilyn was dead. The autopsy result determined that the actress from Gentlemen prefer blondes had self-administered the medications and that, therefore, suffered an overdose.

The case was labeled a suicide and the evidence gathered itself: Monroe had suffered from depression for years and, during his last months, had exhibited erratic and changeable behavior that had required the accompaniment of a psychiatrist.

Marilyn Monroe's passing is shrouded in a cloud of conspiratorial theories and secrets
Marilyn Monroe’s passing is shrouded in a cloud of conspiratorial theories and secretspinterest

But, some time later, speculation began to run that there could be something hidden behind the tragic death of the one who is today a pop culture icon. It was an open secret that Marilyn was a lover of John F Kennedy, President of the United States, and her brother, Robert F Kennedy, a civil servant.. Some theories hold that it was actually they who had her killed for fear that she would reveal their relationship or some state secret that she managed to find out by accident.

The truth is that Marilyn Monroe’s death (or murder) will remain an unsolved mystery and it joins the long list of celebrities who, be it due to illness, addiction or violence, were ripped from this world too soon.

Many other figures are also added to the list of these artists. Paul Walker, the star of Fast and Furious that ironically died in a car accident; Brittany Murphy, who died at age 32 from pneumonia and Heath Ledger, who met the end of his life at 28 in the middle of his career ascent and because of “prescription drug abuse or misuse and combined drug intoxication.”

Paul Walker died at age 40
Paul Walker died at age 40THE NATION

Other stars that did not exceed three decades were Brandon Lee, son of Bruce Lee, who died in a tragic incident with a gun on the set of the film The Raven; Y River Phoenix -Brother of actor Joaquin Phoenix- who died at 23 years of an overdose.

Heath Ledger died at age 28 on January 22, 2008
Heath Ledger died at age 28 on January 22, 2008Archive


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