Stars Who Bizarrely Died Almost The Exact Same Way

The following article includes mentions of domestic abuse, suicide, eating disorders, and sexual assault.

Founding Father Benjamin Franklin famously said, "In this world, nothing is certain except death and taxes." Well, some people manage to dodge the latter, or at least try to -– we're looking at your tax records, Wesley Snipes. But nobody, no matter how rich, famous, or talented, can avoid death. 

The loss of a loved one, a friend, or a pet can be traumatic and devastating. For some, a celebrity's death can feel equally heartbreaking. Actors and musicians become woven into the fabric of people's minds, evoking memories from different stages of life. When a star passes away, it's as if fans have lost a piece of themselves too — as anybody over the age of 40 probably knows following the death of David Bowie or George Michael. It's pretty much impossible to avoid news of a star's death, and even if you weren't a fan, the coverage could prove triggering. "Whether it is cancer, suicide, overdose, accident, or any other type of death, this can hit a nerve," What's Your Grief writes. "It may be because we have struggled with the same thing, or it may be because we lost someone in the same way."

Most celebrities die from the same causes as regular folks. However, some occasionally perish in unusual or weird ways with chilling similarities. Make sure you have some Kleenex on hand; we're looking at stars who bizarrely died almost the exact same way. And, as is usually the case with stories of human demise, there'll be tragedy and sadness aplenty involved.

Michael Hutchence and David Carradine

Michael Hutchence was in his prime when he died in November 1997. INXS was making a comeback and embarking on a world tour. The 37-year-old was father to a little girl and planned to marry her mother, Paula Yates, the following January, per the AP. However, the singer was as famous for his drug use and dark side as his music. Per the Herald Sun, Hutchence was discovered dead in a Sydney hotel room. He'd been drinking "vodka, beer, and champagne." His autopsy also found "cocaine, Prozac, and prescription drugs" in his system.

Just hours before he died, Hutchence called Yates' ex-husband, Bob Geldolf, and pleaded with him to end his bitter custody battle with Yates, who later described Hutchence as "desperate" and distraught. Yates, amongst others, insisted Hutchence had "accidentally" died from "auto-erotic asphyxia." However, the coroner ultimately ruled the death a suicide, per Australia's "PM" radio program.

David Carradine was found naked and dead in the closet of a Bangkok hotel room in June 2009. According to divorce papers obtained by The Smoking Gun, the "Kung Fu" star's last ex-wife, Marina Anderson, had "once accused the actor of 'deviant sexual behavior which was potentially deadly.'" Carradine's family hired a forensic pathologist to investigate the death. He ruled out suicide after examining how Carradine's body was bound, telling Reuters, "The cause of death was asphyxiation, an inability to breathe." Thai police determined that the 72-year-old died due to autoerotic asphyxiation. However, Anderson later told ABC News she was convinced he was murdered.

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.

Prince and Tom Petty

Prince and Tom Petty shared more than multiple Grammys and musical genius. They both suffered painful injuries while performing, resulting in painkiller addiction and, ultimately, death. Per Star Tribune, Prince died in the elevator of his Minnesota home in April 2016. The 57-year-old "appeared to have been dead for at least six hours" before being discovered.

Prince's unexpected death shocked the world. However, sources told ET that he'd developed an opioid dependency following hip surgery in 2010. Per the AP, Prince had been "revived from a drug overdose a week before his death." Friends had urged him to quit painkillers, but Prince insisted his intense pain would prevent him from performing. The autopsy ruled "accidental overdose of fentanyl," a "synthetic opioid" that's "50 to 100 times" stronger than morphine, per the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Cops determined Prince took "counterfeit pills" containing the drug, thinking they were Vicodin.

Tom Petty was found unresponsive at his home in October 2017. He was rushed to the hospital but taken off life support when no brain activity was detected, per TMZ. According to "Petty: The Biography" (via Rolling Stone), the 66-year-old developed a heroin addiction after his first marriage ended. He managed to quit after entering rehab, but sadly, acute pain from a knee injury, hip fracture, and other health issues pushed Petty back to opioids. He died from an "accidental overdose" of "fentanyl, oxycodone, temazepam, alprazolam, citalopram, acetylfentanyl, and despropionyl fentanyl." The lethal drug combo led to "multisystem organ failure due to resuscitated cardiopulmonary arrest," per NPR.

If you or anyone you know is struggling 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).

Paul Walker and James Dean

Filming was underway on the 7th installment of "Fast & Furious" when Paul Walker died in a car crash in November 2013. Per Screen Rant, Walker played Brian O'Conner, a cop-turned-illegal drag racer in the hit movie franchise. The 40-year-old was in the passenger's seat of a Porsche Carrera GT when the driver, his friend Roger Rodas, "lost control of the vehicle," per The Guardian. The coroner's investigation determined Rodas had been driving above 100 MPH on a Los Angeles street when the car careened off the road, smashing into trees before bursting into flames — resulting in the deaths of the two racing fanatics.

James Dean died 18 years before Walker's birth, but their deaths had bizarre similarities. In "Rebel Without a Cause," Dean played a "juvenile delinquent" who competes in a "chickie run" drag race that ends in a fatal crash, per The Independent. Dean was also an avid motorsports fan and was actually en route to compete in a racing event when he died.

Per History, his Porsche Spyder smashed into another car at an intersection, killing Dean, severely injuring his passenger, and leaving the other driver "dazed but mostly uninjured." Eyewitnesses attested to the 24-year-old not speeding. However, their claims were contested. At least one accident reconstruction estimates that Dean was driving about 60-70 mph at the time of collision. 

Redd Foxx and Tommy Cooper

Redd Foxx and Tommy Cooper have to be at the top of the list of stars who bizarrely died almost the exact same way. Both were successful comedians who suffered fatal heart attacks while performing — and both lay dying as onlookers laughed, thinking they were joking. 

Foxx died in October 1991. The 68-year-old was rehearsing on set when he suddenly collapsed, clutching his chest. Per the Television Academy, Fred, Foxx's character on "Sanford and Son," was known for faking heart attacks. So, it's little surprise fellow actors didn't think anything was wrong. "They all thought he was joking around at first," a spokesperson said, per The Los Angeles Times. "And then they called the paramedics." Foxx had experienced a heart attack. He died after arriving at the hospital.

Cooper died in April 1984. Per Entertainment Daily, the 63-year-old British treasure was famous for his red fez hat, (purposely) bad jokes, and portraying a bumbling magician whose tricks failed miserably. Cooper was performing at Her Majesty's Theatre when he suddenly crumpled over and fell to the floor. The show was being broadcast live, and the audience, TV viewers, and even the host laughed, thinking it was part of the act. After Cooper remained lifeless on the floor, crewmembers realized something was wrong and dragged him off stage. He'd suffered heart failure and was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. The public still believed Cooper had been joking until news of his death broke the next day, per Film Daily.

Whitney Houston and Bobbi Kristina Brown

Whitney Houston and Bobbi Kristina Brown's deaths are two of the saddest in pop history. Unexpected and shocking, the mother and daughter bizarrely died almost the exact same way. Per USA Today, Houston was discovered unresponsive in her hotel room bath in February 2012. It was just before the Grammys, where she'd planned to launch her big comeback. 

The coroner's report (via ABC) listed her cause of death as "drowning" with "effects of atherosclerotic heart disease and cocaine use" as contributing factors. An empty Xanax bottle, cocaine, a "plethora of medications," and empty beer bottles were scattered around Houston's room. Cocaine, Flexeril, Benadryl, Xanax, and cannabis were found in her system.

Three years later, in January 2015, Bobbi Kristina was also found submerged in the bath by her partner Nick Gordon. Per ET, she was rushed to the hospital, "placed in a medically induced coma," and hooked up to a ventilator. The 22-year-old died on July 26. The medical examiner ruled Bobbi Kristina's death wasn't "due to natural causes," per BBC. However, they couldn't determine if "intentional or accidental" actions were to blame. Bobbi Kristina's toxicology report listed anxiety medications, sedatives, alcohol, and cannabis. "Immersion in water and drug intoxication" were cited as being "underlying" factors, but the main cause of death was "undetermined." Gordon was suspected of causing Bobbi Kristina's demise but never faced criminal charges, per The Washington Post. He was "found liable" in civil court, though. Gordon died in January 2020 of a heroin overdose, per AP

If you or anyone you know is struggling 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).

Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade

Anthony Bourdain was found dead in a French hotel room on June 8, 2018. He was in the middle of filming a new season of his series "Parts Unknown." Social media was awash with tributes to the much-loved 61-year-old. Per CNN, "The most common sentiment [was] 'I feel like I've lost a friend.'" Family, loved ones, and fans alike were shocked when it was revealed he'd died by suicide.

Bourdain seemed to have it all — a dream job, money, a partner, daughter, and a tight circle of friends. However, the charming, gregarious, and humble chef-turned-TV-host had a troubled and dark side. Over the years, he'd talked extensively about his depression and addiction battles. "I was an unhappy soul, with a huge heroin and then crack problem," Bourdain told The Guardian. "I hurt, disappointed, and offended many, many, many people, and I regret a lot. It's a shame I have to live with."

Kate Spade died in her Manhattan apartment three days before Bourdain. Her death was also by suicide, per BBC. Despite the 55-year-old having a history of depression, family and friends were stunned by her death. "There was no indication and no warning that she would do this," Spade's husband and father of their daughter told The New York Times. "It was a complete shock." Her father said Spade would have hoped her death prevented others from taking their lives. "If that helped anybody avoid anything — fine, she'd be delighted," he told The Kansas City Star.

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.

Brittany Murphy and Corey Haim

Brittany Murphy and Corey Haim were both child stars who suffered heart problems from a young age. Murphy was plagued by rumors of heroin and cocaine addiction, per Film Daily. Haim battled lifelong drug addiction — reportedly entering rehab "more than 15 times," per ABC News. However, the actors' most significant similarity was that they bizarrely died almost the exact same way.

Murphy was discovered dead in her bathroom in December 2009. Per The Hollywood Reporter, she had a heart murmur and was prone to anemia. The 32-year-old also had a rumored eating disorder and developed a prescription meds dependency following a car crash. After contracting a bug in Puerto Rico, Murphy upped her meds even further. Her cause of death was ruled "severe pneumonia, with anemia plus prescription and OTC drugs as contributing factors." Many believed Monjack was involved in her demise; however, he died less than half a year later under similarly "mysterious circumstances," per Time.

Corey Haim died at his mom's house in March 2010. The 38-year-old had suffered from "bad" heart arrhythmia for years. "[Doctors] said he should have it taken care of," Haim's ex-fiancée told People. It was always drugs over health, however. "I did cocaine for about a year-and-a-half, then it led to crack," Haim told The Sun (via Us Weekly). He progressed to "about 85" prescription "downers" daily. Everybody assumed Haim died from a drug overdose, but he'd finally gotten sober years previously. Haim's autopsy deemed his cause of death as "pneumonia" accompanied by heart-related issues.

If you or anyone you know is struggling 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).

Dorothy Stratten and Phil Hartman

Playboy model Dorothy Stratten and Paul Snider died in August 1980. Stratten was raped and shot by Snider, who then killed himself, per ABC News. According to Village Voice, Snider, who'd "discovered" Stratten working at a Vancouver Dairy Queen, was a pimp and hustler. He quickly "[took] charge" and began controlling Stratten's life.

The 18-year-old's acting abilities equaled her modeling skills, and she was in hot demand. As the Playmate's success grew, Snider became increasingly jealous and domineering. He pressured Stratten into reluctantly marrying in 1979. But it all came crashing down after she began a liaison with Peter Bogdanovich. The director insists that wasn't why she was killed, though. "[Snider] knew about that affair for a long time. He never did anything about it," Bogdanovich told Vulture, alleging Snider was livid over being banned from the Playboy Mansion.

Phil Hartman was asleep in bed when he was shot dead by his third wife in May 1998. Brynn Omdah was a former model and actor who'd developed a cocaine and alcohol addiction after struggling to find work, per Biography. She was sober, though, when she met Hartman. Per People, they married after a year of dating, despite being "emotional opposites." Hartman was "sullen and withdrawn," while Omdah was "volatile and insecure." She'd relapsed just before Hartman's murder — resulting in "violent outbursts." The couple had reportedly fought the night Omdah killed Harman. She "fled the scene" before returning home and shooting herself next to her dead husband.

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix

Jim Morrison died in Paris in July 1971. Per People, he'd moved there to join his girlfriend, Pamela Courson. While awaiting Morrison's arrival, Courson spent a lot of time with another flame, "dealer to the stars" Count Jean de Breteuil — who specialized in a highly potent strain of heroin. The Independent reports Courson discovered Morrison unresponsive in the bath and made an "urgent" call for help. 

The first responder noted "congealed blood around [Morrison's] nose and mouth." But no autopsy was performed, and the 27-year-old's death was ruled a "heart attack." Per The Guardian, some skeptics later embraced darker lore, theorizing that Morrison overdosed in a club toilet and was dumped in the bath by drug dealers as a cover-up. 

Jimi Hendrix died in London in September 1970. "When "I woke up ... his face was covered in vomit, and he was breathing noisily," Hendrix's girlfriend, Monika Danneman, allegedly stated, per Far Out

She claimed he'd taken "18 times the recommended dosage" of her prescription sleeping pills. Hendrix was dead on arrival at the hospital. His autopsy determined "cause of death was asphyxia from inhalation of vomit when under the influence of alcohol and drugs." The coroner ruled an open verdict. "Some close to him claim it was suicide, others a terrible accident, some that he was murdered by underworld figures or secret service operatives," The Independent writes. To this day, conspiracy theories abound about Morrison and Hendrix's mysterious, untimely deaths.

If you or anyone you know is struggling 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).

John Belushi and Chris Farley

John Belushi died at the Chateau Marmont in March 1982. In his book "The Castle on Sunset: Life, Death, Love, Art, and Scandal at Hollywood's Chateau Marmont," Shawn Levy paints a sad and sorry portrait of Belushi during his final days. Levy claims the "SNL" alum was "a time bomb, a waste site, a mess. Sweaty, flabby, edgy, pale, disheveled, worn to a stump at the age of thirty-three." 

Belushi was infamous for his hard partying. "The Blues Brothers" budget even included money for drugs. "[Cocaine] sort of brought John alive at night," Dan Aykroyd told Vanity Fair. "That superpower feeling where you start to talk and converse and figure you can solve all the world's problems." Ultimately, it brought about Belushi's untimely end, though, when he suffered an accidental overdose after injecting a speedball — a mix of coke and heroin.

Chris Farley was found dead in Chicago in December 1997. "[He] delivered big laughs while fighting even bigger personal demons," Biography writes, citing his "seemingly insatiable appetite for food, booze, and drugs." As a teen, Farley had "been obsessed" with John Belushi. In 1997, Rolling Stone asked Farley if he'd attempted to mimic his idol. "I don't think so," he said. "Anyway, I'm fatter than him now. Did you know that he died at my age this year, at 33?" Just months later, Farley would also be dead at 33 — from "an accidental overdose" after injecting a speedball -– exactly like Belushi.

If you or anyone you know is struggling 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).

Heath Ledger and Corey Monteith

Heath Ledger was a bonafide star when he died, but the 28-year-old shunned the Hollywood lifestyle. Per The New York Times, the Australian was discovered in his apartment by his "housekeeper and masseuse" in January 2008. Ledger was declared dead at the scene. New York Magazine reports that rumors immediately began flying. He'd died at Mary-Kate Olsen's apartment. A banknote was caked in powder, and pills were scattered all over. Ledger was a heavy drug user. A "shocking" video surfaced of him supposedly snorting coke. Ledger was depressed after splitting from Michelle Williams, mom of their daughter Matilda. The truth was way less sensational, though. Ledger was an insomniac with pneumonia and anxiety. He'd accidentally taken a toxic mix of prescription meds, per the Mirror

Corey Monteith was also top of his game when he died at 31 in a Vancouver hotel room in July 2013. And Monteith was "over" Hollywood. "He was stressed because he wanted to get out of that world," Monteith's mom told People

"He didn't want to die," she continued. "There's no doubt about that. He was looking forward to his future. And he had so much to live for." Monteith had struggled with addiction for years — but he'd completed rehab just three months before dying, per E! News. Sadly, when he relapsed, Monteith consumed a deadly mixture of substances, just like Ledger. The coroner ruled his death an "accidental" overdose due to "combined alcohol and heroin toxicity." 

If you or anyone you know is struggling 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).

Amy Winehouse and Janis Joplin

Amy Winehouse died at home in July 2011. When news broke of the 27-year-old's death, everybody assumed "heroin overdose." Winehouse had a well-documented opioid, alcohol, cigarettes, and bad boys addiction. Her body was ravaged by substance abuse and bulimia. In "27 Heaven" (via The Sun), Ian Halperin writes that before dying, Winehouse "was rail thin and was existing on cigarettes and beverages."

After being booed during shows multiple times, Winehouse vowed to kick heroin in 2008, per Vogue. But as the opioids ceased, the alcohol increased. The original coroner's inquest (via BBC) revealed no narcotics were in Winehouse's system, but she "had 416mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood" (350mg per 100m is lethal). A second inquest found that her death was accidental and confirmed the cause as "alcohol toxicity," per The Guardian

Janis Joplin died in an L.A. hotel room in November 1970. Like Winehouse, Joplin was 27 and had a raw, bluesy voice. She also shared Winehouse's questionable taste in men and love of heroin and booze. Joplin attempted to beat her heroin addiction multiple times, per NPR, but always relapsed. "I'm a victim of my own insides," she told Rolling Stone (via Express). "There was a time when I wanted to know everything ... It used to make me very unhappy, all that feeling. I just didn't know what to do with it." Joplin was finishing her second solo album when she died. Her autopsy determined her cause of death as "acute heroin-morphine intoxication" due to accidental overdose.

If you or anyone you know is struggling 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).

John Lennon and Gianni Versace

John Lennon was shot five times in the back outside of his home in December 1980, resulting in his death at 40. Lennon's murderer, Mark David Chapman, sat calmly, reading "Catcher in the Rye" as he waited for cops to arrive, per Chicago Now. Chapman, whom some experts believed to have paranoid schizophrenia, was obsessed with "The Beatles," per People.

"I always wanted to be a Beatle," Chapman said during an interview, per CNN. However, the devout Christian claimed he'd decided it was his duty to kill Lennon after the singer joked about his band being "more popular than Jesus." In honesty, though, it was all about infamy. "Shooting Lennon was an answer to all of my problems," Chapman admitted. "[It gave] me an identity." 

In July 1997, Gianni Versace was also shot dead outside of his home. Per FBI records, Andrew Cunanan fired twice into the back of the 50-year-old's head at "point-blank range." Maureen Orth writes in Vanity Fair that the pair had met briefly in San Francisco in 1990. However, the pathological liar regularly boasted about his close friendship with Versace. Cunanan, who'd embarked on a gruesome murder spree before reaching Miami, believed murdering Versace would bring him "worldwide attention," Orth claims. "[Versace was] the wealthy, high-profile homosexual success [Cunanan] was never going to be," the ex-head of the FBI's serial killer unit told Orth. "The only way he [was] going to get famous is the same way John Hinckley got famous [by shooting Ronald Reagan]."

Sam Cooke and Marvin Gaye

Sam Cooke and Marvin Gaye both met tragic untimely deaths — and neither of their killers served jail time. Cooke's death remains shrouded in mystery. The 33-year-old was shot by a motel manager in December 1964. Per The New York Times, Bertha Lee Franklin pled self-defense, claiming Cooke "kicked in her door" and beat her while hunting for a woman he'd allegedly "kidnapped." The LAPD deemed the shooting "a justifiable homicide." 

However, according to People, the singer's loved ones have always questioned the verdict. They claim the "gentle" Cooke was lured to the motel — which was a pimp flophouse and hangout — by the "kidnapped" woman who was actually a sex worker in cahoots with Franklin to rob him. The $5,000 Cooke had on him before the shooting "was never recovered."

Gaye's father pumped two bullets into him in April 1984 — the day before the singer's 45th birthday. Per Smooth Radio, Gaye Sr. claimed he feared for his life after Marvin became violent while trying to stop his dad and stepmom, Alberta, from fighting. "I'm really sorry for everything that happened. I loved him," Gaye Sr. insisted. "I wish he could step through this door right now." Gaye Sr. was charged with voluntary manslaughter and "placed on five years probation," per UPI. In 2011, Marvin's little sister told Express "the truth" about the shooting. Zeola said their father never believed Marvin was his son. After "years of jealousy," she claimed he shot Marvin over what he thought was an "inappropriate relationship" with Alberta.