What the last day alive was like for these celebs

No one will live forever, but some deaths truly shocked the world. When a professional athlete, famous actor, or successful musician passes away, there is usually an outpouring of grief from their fans — in addition to their friends and loved ones, of course. But, when a public figure dies unexpectedly, many feelings are triggered, including sadness, surprise, and curiosity. These are people whose lives captivated their fans, so it's only expected that the circumstances of their death would as well.

Oftentimes, these celebs had an "ordinary" day, going through their regular routines until a tragedy suddenly struck. Some stars battled addiction, struggling until the very end of their lives. Looking back, there were warning signs in some situations, but, in many ways, especially to the outside world, these final days just seemed like any other. They are full of ordinary occurrences like spending time with family or spending a night in with friends. Let's take a look back at the final moments from some of the most beloved people in sports and entertainment. 

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Heath Ledger's sister warned him about mixing medications

The night before he died, Heath Ledger had an "upbeat" phone conversation with his sister Kate Ledger. Kate told People that she warned him about mixing medications, recounting, "I just said, 'You've got to be very careful mixing things,' and he was like, 'Katie, hello, come on, of course.'" The following morning, director Matt Amato spoke to Heath via iChat.

The last person who saw Heath alive on January 22, 2008, was his housekeeper Teresa Solomon, who got to his apartment at 12:30 PM (via People). At 2:45 PM, masseuse Diana Wolozin arrived, called him, and waited to be let in his room, but the actor never answered. When she walked into his bedroom, he wasn't responding, so she picked up his phone and called one of his speed dial contacts, Mary-Kate Olsen, three times. She finally called 911 at 3:26 PM. Soon after, paramedics showed up at the scene. Wolozin called Olsen again at 3:34 PM, and the Joker star was pronounced dead at 3:36 PM. According to Australia's News.com.au, the toxicology report stated that Heath died from "acute intoxication by the combined effects of oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam and doxylamine." 

Additionally, his death was considered an "accident," which makes sense since he had a massage booked and plans to see model Helena Christensen that day. She revealed that she was en route to Heath's apartment when she found out he died.

Naya Rivera spent her final moments saving her son

On July 8, 2020, TMZ reported that Naya Rivera's 4-year-old son Josey Dorsey was found alone on a boat at 5 PM on Lake Piru, Calif. An eyewitness told ET, "She looked like any other mother with her son." A member of the search and rescue team told Us Weekly that the Glee alum sent a photo of Josey to a relative around 90 minutes to two hours before he was found. The team used the perceived location and timestamp of that photo to narrow down its search for Rivera. At a press conference about Rivera's disappearance, Sheriff Bill Ayub shared that she rented a boat at around 1 PM. Josey told police she jumped in the water that afternoon. The sheriff shared, "It was during that time that her son described being helped into the boat by Naya, who boosted him onto the deck from behind. He told investigators that he looked back and saw her disappear under the surface of the water."

Ayub said, "There are a lot of currents on the lake that appear particularly in the afternoon." He theorized "that the boat started drifting — it was unanchored — and that she mustered enough energy to get her son back on the boat but not enough to save herself." Rivera's death was deemed an accidental drowning. Her body was found floating in the lake on July 13, 2020, on the 7-year anniversary of her Glee co-star Cory Monteith's death.

Cory Monteith relapsed in his hotel room

On July 12, 2013, Cory Monteith tweeted about the Sharknado movie. He also had visitors in his hotel room, according to Yahoo! Entertainment. Then, he went out at some point. His friend and acting coach, Andrew McIlroy, told People that Monteith, who struggled with addiction, was with "longtime sober friends ...There was no double life up here." In contrast, E! News claimed that Monteith hit up two Vancouver nightclubs, Queen's Republic Nightclub and The Roxy, which a rep for The Roxy denied.

During a 2016 TV special, Autopsy: The Last Hours of Cory Monteith, security camera footage confirmed that Monteith returned to his room alone at 2:16 AM on July 13, 2013, the morning of his death (via Us Weekly). Glee director Adam Shankman revealed to CNN that he talked to Monteith hours before he died and recalled that "he was doing amazing" and that Monteith even said, "I am feeling fantastic." During the Autopsy special, forensic pathologist Michael Hunter said, "hotel staff [found] him collapsed on the floor, and near him on a table was a spoon with heroin residue, as well as a hypodermic needle."

Even with a slightly unclear timeline of events, the coroner concluded that Monteith died accidentally from "mixed drug toxicity, involving intravenous heroin use combined with the ingestion of alcohol." Ironically, this tragedy was attributed to Cory's recent rehab stint, where he "lost the tolerance he built up" during his previous drug usage.  

Kobe Bryant used his last words to help someone succeed

January 26, 2020, started out as a busy day for Kobe Bryant. He attended 7 AM mass at Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church. CNN reported that Kobe asked a priest "about making his confirmation." At 8:19 AM, he DM'ed Shaquille O'Neal's son Shareef O'Neal. Shareef shared that he wished he "didn't sleep in," so he could have responded to Kobe. At some point that morning, Kobe spoke to LeBron James on the phone to congratulate him on surpassing his scoring the record the night before. 

After church, Kobe boarded a helicopter en route to coach his daughter Gianna Bryant's basketball team. Two of Gianna's teammates, their parents, and the team's assistant coach joined the Bryants in the helicopter. During the trip, Kobe texted Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka, which Pelinka shared during a speech at Kobe's memorial. Kobe was hoping to secure an internship for Lexi Altobelli, whose parents John and Keri Altobelli and sister Alyssa Altobelli were in the helicopter that day.

Kobe and Pelinka stopped texting at 9:30 in the morning. The National Transportation Safety Board reported that the helicopter's pilot, Ara Zobayan, said he was climbing to avoid a cloud layer (via CNN). When air traffic control asked what he planned to do, there was no reply. The last radar contact occurred at 9:45 AM. Soon after, the helicopter crashed into a hill, and everyone on board, including the pilot, passed away.

Amy Winehouse died watching videos of herself

Amy Winehouse met with her personal physician Cristina Romete at 7 PM on July 22, 2011, the night before she passed away, according to Rolling Stone's report on the inquest following her death. Romete testified that the Grammy winner was sober for most of that month until she resumed drinking two days prior. She said the singer was "tipsy" when she saw her, but "she didn't slur her words." Winehouse's live-in bodyguard Andrew Morris also described her as "tipsy," sharing that she was singing and playing the drums at home that night (via E!). As Morris went on, "She was showing me some clips on her laptop and she was singing and she said 'boy, I can sing' and I said 'damn right, you can sing" (via Mirror). Winehouse told Morris, "If I could I would give it back just to walk down the street with no hassle, I would."

Morris revealed that he checked on her at 2 AM on July 23, 2011. He looked on her again at 10 AM, noting that she was still asleep. When he popped back in her room at three in the afternoon, the singer wasn't breathing, with three empty vodka bottles in her room, as reported by Rolling Stone. The coroner's report stated that her blood-alcohol level was more than five times the legal limit. The 27-year-old star died from accidental alcohol poisoning which was officially classified as "death by misadventure."

Michael Jackson spent his final hours begging for propofol

CTV News reported that Jackson had ahi tuna and a salad for his final meal with his children in the afternoon on June 24, 2009. His personal chef Kai Chase said that the singer "put his hands together for a prayer" and noted that he was in a good mood. He left his Holmby Hills mansion around 7 PM, heading to the Staples Center for rehearsal. His vocal director Dorian Holley recalled that Jackson was "was grinning from ear to ear." This was the first time that Jackson and his dancers rehearsed in full costume. Grammys executive producer Ken Ehrlich said Jackson "didn't exhibit any signs of being tired or not being with it." After rehearsal, he thanked the crew, telling them, "God bless you."

CNN confirmed that Jackson left rehearsal "around midnight." When he got home, he greeted a small group of fans who waited at the gate, according to CTV News. Jackson's bodyguard noticed Dr. Conrad Murray's car parked outside. According to CNN, Jackson had trouble sleeping, so he begged Murray for propofol, a very powerful anesthetic. Murray refused and instead gave him Valium at 1:30 AM. That didn't work, so he injected him with Ativan at 2:00 AM. At 3 AM, Murray injected Jackson with Versed. "As dawn broke ... Michael Jackson was still awake, restless, and pleading for propofol." He was still awake at 10:40 AM, so Murray administered the propofol, leading to Jackson's overdose and, ultimately, his death. 

Whitney Houston was singing in the tub before she died

On February 11, 2012, Whitney Houston had breakfast with her daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, according to Radar Online. After breakfast, Whitney ordered more food to her room and allegedly took some Xanax. TMZ reported that Whitney's cousin Dionne Warwick called to coordinate their plans for Clive Davis' pre-Grammy party later that night. Whitney talked to her mom Cissy Houston 25-30 minutes before she died. They also discussed their plans for Davis' party.

After her calls, Whitney ate a hamburger and french fries before she drew a bath. Then, she brought a turkey sandwich into the bathroom. Her two bodyguards reportedly heard Whitney singing as she soaked in the bathtub. However, one of the bodyguards realized that she had been quiet around 3 PM. He called out to her and knocked on the door, but there was no response. Then, someone in Whitney's entourage pushed the bathroom door open and found Whitney slumped over in the tub with her head underwater. A bodyguard pulled her out of the tub, another reached out to the front desk, with hotel staff calling 911 at 3:43 PM. There were already police at the hotel because of the party, so they arrived at 3:45 PM. Paramedics tried to revive her, but she was pronounced dead at 3:55 PM. The Washington Post shared that the toxicology report stated that Whitney died from "drowning and effects of atherosclerotic heart disease and cocaine use."

Alan Thicke posed for a photo in the ambulance

On December 13, 2016, Alan Thicke played hockey with his youngest son Carter Thicke, who was 19 at the time, according to People. After he had a heart attack and collapsed at the rink in Pickwick Gardens, an ambulance was called. Darin Mathewson, the vice president of Pickwick Gardens, told KCBS (via People) that Alan gave a "thumbs up" and asked Carter to take a photo of him on the stretcher.

Carter told ET, "The ambulance came and the paramedics had stabilized him and everything seemed fine." He recalled, "I got to give him a hug and said, 'I love you,' and that was the last time I saw him." During another ET interview, Carter shared, "He asked me to take a picture of him in the stretcher and, you know, he's telling all the EMTs to smile and put the thumbs-up, and he was cheery and happy and doing well, so I took the picture and then we were off to the emergency room after that." He described that as "a moment of relief," explaining, "That's why, obviously, how that day ended was quite a shock."

When Alan was heading into the operating room, he bragged about Carter scoring a hockey goal earlier that day, even "joking" that it was quite a "way to go out." Unfortunately, that joke became a reality, with Thicke dying that day at the hospital.

Mac Miller struggled with addiction

At around 11:30 AM on September 7th, 2018, Mac Miller's assistant went to wake him up, as part of their usual routine, according to Rolling Stone. However, this time, he discovered that the rapper had passed away. Prior to that, the assistant saw Miller at 10:30 the night before at his home, the same evening Miller talked to his mom on the phone. The autopsy report declared that Miller died from an accidental overdose with Fentanyl, cocaine, and alcohol present in his system when he died. Miller struggled with addiction for years. 

Although he was attempting sobriety during that time period, his assistant said he slipped up on September 4th, 2018, three days before he died. Even so, his overdose was still surprising, because he had a relaxed evening with friends the night before. A source told People that he spent that night watching football on TV with his friends. That source told the outlet, "Everyone who he worked with was aware that he was delicate, but thought it was because of the new album, nerves, nothing like this."

Even though Miller's last night was a relaxing evening, court documents revealed that he messaged his dealer for drugs on September 4th, 2018, in addition to arranging services with sex workers in another conversation (via Mirror). It's not clear exactly what happened after Miller said goodbye to his assistant the night before, but he "consumed the counterfeit oxycodone pills that contained fentanyl" at some point.

Princess Diana tried to escape the paparazzi

The Washington Post reported that Princess Diana woke up on Dodi Al Fayed's yacht in Sardinia, Italy on August 30, 1997. From there, they boarded a plane and headed to the Ritz Hotel in Paris. Then she went to the salon for a hair appointment. She called her friend, Daily Mail reporter Richard Kay from the Ritz that evening. She also spoke to her sons Prince William and Prince Harry on the phone. At around 7 PM, the Princess of Wales and Fayed left the hotel and spent some time at his Paris apartment, according to USA Today. They intended to have dinner at Benoit Paris, but they left because of the photographers present. 

As revealed by The Washington Post, Fayed planned to propose to her that night. They returned to the Ritz at 9:50 PM for a later dinner at L'Espadon restaurant. They left the restaurant at around 12:20 AM on August 31, 1997, trying to escape the paparazzi by exiting the hotel through a back entrance. Their driver, Henri Paul, attempted to evade photographers, crashing the vehicle into a concrete pillar. Paul and Fayed died immediately.  Xavier Gourmelon, the firefighter who pulled Diana out of the wrecked car, told The Sun that she said to him, "My God, what's happened?"

Princess Diana arrived at Pitié-Salpétrière Hospital for surgery at 2:00 AM. She was pronounced dead two hours later, but her legacy has lived on forever.