Celebrities Who Died Before Turning 30

The following article includes mentions of substance abuse and suicide.

Much has been said about the "27 Club," or the group of famous musicians and other public figures who all died at the age of 27, just when most of them were at the peak of their fame. Some of the most well-known celebrities on this list include Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, and Amy Winehouse. Curse or not, the age carries a sad significance in Hollywood. "27 to me was a year that I really had to protect myself," Miley Cyrus once told Zane Lowe. "That actually kind of really made me want to get sober because we've lost so many icons at 27."

We all know that Hollywood has a dark side. And all too often, we hear of celebrities dying from substance misuse or suicide. Sadly, celebrities have also died from freak accidents, including devastating plane crashes, which shows that no amount of money can prevent a tragedy. 

The entertainment industry has lost way too many young celebrities, including the following stars who all died before they turned 30.

Avicii

The world mourned the death of DJ Tim Bergling, better known as Avicii, when he died on April 20, 2018. TMZ reported that Avicii died by suicide in Muscat, Oman. 

Avicii had become one of the most successful DJs with hits like "Wake Me Up!" and "Levels." The Swedish hitmaker has been credited for bringing electronic dance music to mainstream radio and led the way for music genre crossovers, per Rolling Stone. However, as Avicii continued to tour around the globe, his health began to deteriorate. 

According to Billboard, Avicii was first hospitalized in New York City in 2012 with acute pancreatitis caused by alcohol. By 2014, his pancreatitis had returned, and he had to have his appendix and his gallbladder removed. Many of his gigs were canceled so that he could recover, but by 2016, Avicii announced that he was retiring from live performances. He shared with Billboard at the time, "To me, it was something to do with my health. The scene was not for me. I'm more of an introverted person in general. It was always hard for me. I took on board too much negative energy, I think." In 2017, Avicii released his documentary, "True Stories," which showed the DJ being pressured to perform despite his failing health. He had eerily said in the film of his constant touring: "It will kill me," per The Guardian.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Aaliyah

Aaliyah Dana Haughton, formally known as Aaliyah, was R&B royalty in the '90s and early 2000s. She was known for her sultry hits like "Are You That Somebody?" "If Your Girl Only Knew," and "Try Again." By 22, Aaliyah had three successful albums and starred in two films, "Romeo Must Die" and "Queen of the Damned."

On August 25, 2001, Aaliyah flew to the Bahamas' Abaco Islands to wrap up the music video for the song "Rock the Boat." According to The New York Times, the singer and eight others boarded a Cessna 402-B to return home. The plane crashed immediately after taking off from Marsh Harbour Airport, killing everyone onboard. CNN reported that the small plane was overloaded, which led to the crash. Billboard also reported that the pilot's autopsy showed cocaine and alcohol in his system.

"Rock the Boat" premiered in October 2001 and was accompanied by a half-hour special on the making of the video, per Biography. Aaliyah's then-boyfriend, Damon Dash, revealed on "The Real" in 2021 that she told him that she was hesitant to board the plane before deciding to get on.

Lee Thompson Young

Those who grew up watching the Disney channel in the '90s might remember the 1998 show "The Famous Jett Jackson." The show lasted for three seasons and starred actor Lee Thompson Young. After the show concluded, Young continued to work his way up in Hollywood, starring in television shows like "The Guardian," "Scrubs," and "Smallville," as well as starring in movies like "Friday Night Lights" and "The Hills Have Eyes 2." In 2010, Young landed the role of detective Barry Frost on TNT's "Rizzoli & Isles."

TMZ reported that on August 19, 2013, Young was found dead in his Hollywood home. The report stated that after Young failed to appear for work for the TNT show, his landlord arrived at his house to check on him. The actor died by suicide.

A coroner's report from The New York Daily News reported that Young had bipolar disorder and struggled with depression. According to WIS News 10, his mother, Velma Love, shared, "People know that Lee wasn't the only one. And for them to see everything he accomplished in 29 years it's more than some people accomplish their whole lives. He was able to do that with a mental illness, and, yes, it ended tragically but through that, we're inspired."

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Anton Yelchin

Actor Anton Yelchin, who was best known for starring as Pavel Chekov in the 2011 "Star Trek" reboot and its sequels, "Into Darkness" and "Beyond," suffered a horrific death on June 19, 2016, when he was pinned by his Jeep Grand Cherokee at his Los Angeles home, per The New York Times. The Los Angeles Police Department reported that Yelchin's car rolled down his driveway and trapped him against a security gate around one in the morning. He was later found dead by a friend when the actor did not show up for rehearsal. Yelchin was 27 years old. 

According to the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles coroner's office stated that Yelchin suffered "blunt trauma asphyxia" and did not put his Jeep in park when it began to roll down his driveway. His parents, Victor and Irina Yelchin, filed a lawsuit with Fiat Chrysler, the makers of his Jeep Grand Cherokee which stated that his 2015 model was among 1.1 million vehicles that had been recalled because of issues regarding the gear shifters. The lawsuit stated, "Anton Yelchin was crushed and lingered alive for some time, trapped and suffocating until his death." The suit between the Yelchin's and the car manufacturer was settled confidentially, with the money going towards the Anton Yelchin Foundation and to the 2019 film about his life, "Love, Antosha," per People

Thuy Trang

Actor Thuy Trang did not have an extensive acting resume, but she is remembered for portraying Trini Kwan, the original Yellow Ranger in the beloved '90s television series "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers."

Actor Anglea Rockwood was with Trang when she died. She recalled the night of September 3, 2001 to CNN. Rockwood told the outlet that she was driving to Los Angeles from San Jose with Trang and another friend when their vehicle spun violently out of control and hit the side of a mountain. The car flipped multiple times, with Rockwood getting thrown out of the car several feet away and snapping her neck. Trang and the other woman were still in the vehicle when it hit a railing and flew over a bank before hitting a second rock face. Rockwood survived the accident but was paralyzed from the neck down. The driver survived the accident; however, Trang died from her injuries. She was 27 years old, per ET.

Trang's former "Power Rangers" cast celebrated the show's 25th anniversary in 2018 and paid tribute to their dear co-star. Actor David Yost, who played the Blue Ranger, shared with Entertainment Weekly, "Learning about her early childhood and everything she and her family went through leaving Vietnam, becoming refugees, and immigrating to the United States, I admired her and her family's strength to rebuild their lives. I'll always remember her great laugh and infectious smile."

James Dean

Actor James Dean is widely recognized for starring as the troubled teenager in the 1950s cult classic "A Rebel Without A Cause." The film would be one of three movies Dean would star in before his tragic death from a car accident on September 30, 1955, at age 24. According to his website, "Dean became ... a personification of the restless American youth of the mid-50s."

According to Biography, Dean loved fast cars, and after receiving a hefty paycheck from his work in the 1955 film "East of Eden," he purchased a Porsche 550 Spyder. On the day of his death, Dean was ticketed for speeding a mere few hours before  his car collided with a sedan. Dean was killed instantly while his passenger, Porsche-trained mechanic Rolf Wütherich, was severely injured. The driver in the sedan left the scene with minor injuries. 

The 1955 film "Rebel Without A Cause" was released a month after he died, for which he received an Oscar nomination. Before his death, the actor had also finished filming the western drama "Giant" alongside Elizabeth Taylor, which was released in November 1956. The film also earned the star an Oscar nomination. 

Pop Smoke

Rapper Pop Smoke, whose real name was Bashar Barakah Jackson, was an up-and-coming rapper who rose to stardom with the 2019 singles "Welcome to the Party" and "Dior." His songs were just highlights of what was to come from the talented artist who died way too soon.

According to TMZ, Pop Smoke was killed on February 19, 2020, when he was shot during a home invasion while staying in a rental in the Hollywood Hills. The Los Angeles Times reported that a group of men broke into the house early morning while Jackson was in an upstairs bathroom. Pop Smoke was shot and later found lying at the foot of the staircase. The rapper was rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center but did not survive. The Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner revealed that Pop Smoke's cause of death was a gunshot to the torso, per TMZ. The rapper was 20 years old. 

There has been some discourse about whether or not social media played a part in his death. According to the Los Angeles Times, before the rapper was killed, he had posted a photo on Instagram revealing the address of the California home. The intruders reportedly intended to rob the rapper of his Rolex watch and a gold-link chain. Five people have since been arrested for killing the rapper, per XXL. After his death, his posthumous debut album, "Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon," was released in July 2020. His second album, "Faith," was released in July 2021.

Cameron Boyce

Actor Cameron Boyce died at the age of 20. The Disney star, best known for his roles in the "Descendants" franchise, portraying Carlos, son of Cruella de Vil, died in his sleep at his Los Angeles home on July 6, 2019. His family shared a statement saying the actor "passed away in his sleep due to a seizure that was a result of an ongoing medical condition for which he was being treated," per the AP. The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner determined the cause of death was complications due to epilepsy.

Stars reacted to the news of Boyce's death, including Adam Sandler, who acted alongside Boyce in "Grown Ups" and "Grown Ups 2." He tweeted, "Loved that kid. Cared so much about his family. Cared so much about the world. Thank you, Cameron, for all you gave to us. So much more was on the way. All our hearts are broken." 

Boyce's "Descendants" co-star Dove Cameron paid tribute to the late actor on what would have been his 23rd birthday. She shared a photo of herself reaching for Boyce's hand on Instagram in May 2022 and wrote (via People), "You are here, still. We feel you, still. I will love you, unchangingly, just like this. Happy birthday." 

Bobbi Kristina Brown

Bobbi Kristina Brown had an entire life ahead of her, but it was tragically cut short when she died at 22. Bobbi Kristina, the daughter of the late Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown, was found unresponsive in her bathtub in her home in Georgia in January 2015. She was placed in a medically induced coma for six months when she later died in hospice care on July 26, 2015. According to ABC News, Bobbi Kristina's autopsy report showed "immersion associated with drug intoxication" led to lobar pneumonia. Her death had eerily resembled her mother's, who died in February 2012 in an accidental drowning in a bathtub. Drugs were also found in the singer's system, per the Los Angeles County Coroner Report

According to CNN, after Houston died, Bobbi Kristina became involved in a romantic relationship with Nick Gordon, who the "I Wanna Dance with Somebody" singer had taken in at 12. In a civil court hearing in November 2016, Gordon was found responsible for Bobbi Kristina's death, although he was not charged, and ordered to pay $36 million to the Brown family. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Gordon died of an accidental drug overdose in January 2020.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Buddy Holly

Buddy Holly was a rising rock star of the mid-1950s that had influenced the likes of The Beatles, Bob Dylan, and The Rolling Stones. His most defining songs included "Peggy Sue" and "That'll Be The Day" with his band, The Crickets. Holly was destined to do big things in the music industry, but a plane crash on February 3, 1959, killed the star at the young age of 22.

According to History, Ritchie Valens and J.P. Richardson, known as "The Big Bopper," were also on the plane. Valens, also known as a pioneer in rock and roll, was only 17, and Richardson, a singer and popular disc jockey, was 28.

Don McLean's 1971 hit "American Pie" references that tragic day with the lyric "The day the music died." According to CBS News, McLean spoke about his hit song, which for years has been widely discussed, in a 2022 documentary titled "The Day the Music Died: The Story of Don McLean's 'American Pie.'" He shared, "The song was a phenomenon immediately, and even though I didn't mention Buddy Holly, I dedicated the album to him in, like, two-point type, very small, and everybody figured it out, you know. They started connecting the whole thing."

Christina Grimmie

In 2014, Christina Grimmie showed the world her singing talents when she appeared on Season 6 of "The Voice." The young star impressed the judges when she took on Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball" during the Blind Auditions, and before the song's end, all four chairs had turned. Grimmie ultimately chose Maroon 5's Adam Levine as her mentor, and placed third on the show. Although she didn't win the singing competition, Grimmie already had millions of fans thanks to her YouTube channel, where she would upload videos of herself singing covers of hit songs. In 2013, she released her debut album "With Love."

According to the Los Angeles Times, Grimmie was doing a meet-and-greet with her fans in Orlando, Florida, on June 10, 2016, when Kevin James Loibl approached her and shot and killed the singer. Grimmie's brother was able to tackle Loibl after he shot her, but he turned the gun on himself and died. Grimmie was 22 years old.

Per CNN, a friend of Loibl told authorities that he was obsessed with the singer, so much so that he "spent most of his waking hours watching Christina on YouTube as well as constantly monitoring her social media accounts." After her death, the Christina Grimmie Foundation was created, which helps families impacted by gun violence.

Mac Miller

Malcolm James McCormick, who went by Mac Miller, was known for his innovative lyrics and experimental rap music. Miller struggled with substance abuse and addiction, which he regularly rapped about in his songs. In January 2013, he told Complex about his addiction to promethazine and lean. "I love lean; it's great. I was not happy and I was on lean very heavy. I was so f****** up all the time it was bad. My friends couldn't even look at me the same. I was lost, he admitted." In an interview with Billboard in August 2015, Miller said, "'Grand Finale' was supposed to be the last song I made on earth."

Miller began to make an even bigger name for himself when he dated Ariana Grande in August 2016. However, the two split in December 2018 and remained friends, per TMZ. Rolling Stone reported that Miller's drug addiction played a factor in the two breaking up, with Grande having tweeted, "I am not a babysitter or a mother and no woman should feel that they need to be. I have cared for him and tried to support his sobriety and prayed for his balance for years (and always will of course)."

TMZ reported that Miller died in his San Fernando Valley, California home on September 7, 2018, from a drug overdose. Miller was 26 years old. According to the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner, Miller died from a mixture of fentanyl, cocaine, and ethanol.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Brandon Lee

According to the AP, from 1990 to 2014, there were at least 43 deaths on film and television sets in the United States. One of the most talked about deaths on a movie set involved Brandon Lee while filming the 1993 film "The Crow."

Brandon Lee was the son of actor and martial artist Bruce Lee, who suffered a tragic death at 32. According to Entertainment Weekly, Brandon was filming a scene in which his character gets shot multiple times by actor Michael Massee. Massee fired the 44-caliber revolver and unknowingly struck Brandon, who fell to the ground and started bleeding. Brandon was rushed to the hospital, but he did not survive. He died on March 31, 1993, at age 28. According to the Tampa Bay Times, New Hanover County Medical Examiner Leon Andrews discovered a bullet lodged near the actor's spine and reported that he had "died of a single gunshot wound." 

The actor's death was ruled an accident. According to History, Brandon was struck by a bullet that was lodged in the gun, although the weapon was supposed to be loaded with blanks. In 2005, Massee shared that Brandon's death still haunted him. "I don't think you ever get over something like that," the actor said to Extra

Heath Ledger

Some people speculated that taking on the role of the Joker in 2008's "The Dark Knight" took a severe toll on Heath Ledger's health and led to his untimely death on January 22, 2008. (Per USA Today, his sister disputed this in the documentary "I Am Heath Ledger.") To prepare for the character, Ledger took to the extreme, telling Empire he isolated himself for a month to work on things like getting the Joker's laugh just right; the actor wanted to nail the role of the sadistic clown. However, Ledger struggled with insomnia. In November 2007, the actor revealed to The New York Times, "Last week I probably slept an average of two hours a night. I couldn't stop thinking. My body was exhausted and my mind was still going," adding that he was taking sleeping pills.

Before his death, Ledger was filming what would be his last movie, "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus." Co-star Christopher Plummer told People, "[Ledger] was saying all the time, 'dammit, I can't sleep' ... and he was taking all these pills to help him.'" Reuters reported that Ledger had allegedly struggled with substance abuse. 

Ledger was found dead at the age of 28 in his New York City apartment. The New York City Medical Examiner's Office stated (via Wired), "We have concluded that the manner of death is accident, resulting from the abuse of prescription medications." His role in "The Dark Knight" earned him an Oscar posthumously for Best Supporting Actor. 

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).