50 Celebs Who Passed Away Without Us Knowing It
Jonathan Brandis – Suicide
Brandis became a teen idol for his role in SeaQuest DSV. The star had a lot going for him, but when he grew up, his career went downhill. It led him to suffer from depression according to his friends, and eventually, he took his own life. If only they all helped him go to counseling or therapy, he might still be around.
Bill Nunn – Leukemia
Bill Nunn appeared in over 70 different shows and movies, but his most famous role was as Radio Raheem in the movie Do the Right Thing, and also as Robbie Robertson in the Spider-Man movie. Tragically, when he was only 62 years old, Bill Nunn died of leukemia on September 24, 2016.
Alexis Arquette – Cardiac Arrest
Arquette was always known to be a hero, especially to the LGBT community. Best known for her gender transitioning, she made sure to fight and be active in supporting others in her community. Unfortunately, she died on September 11, 2016 because of a sudden cardiac arrest caused by her HIV infection.
Ron Glass – Respiratory Failure
Even though Ron Glass had participated in tons of movies and TV shows, he was best remembered for his role as Det. Ron Harris in the hit sitcom, Barney Miller, and also when he played Derrial Book’s role in the show, Firefly. Unfortunately, Ron wasn’t meant to have a long, and fruitful life ahead of him when he passed away on November 25, 2016, due to respiratory complications.
Laura Branigan – Brain Aneurysm
Aside from top-charting hits, singer Laura Branigan became famous for the soundtracks of the blockbuster hits the Ghostbusters and Flashdance. Tragically, she passed away on August 26, 2004, at age 47 due to an undiagnosed brain aneurysm. If only she sought medical help and received treatment earlier, she may still be with us today.
John Hurt – Pancreatic Cancer
Sir John Vincent Hurt was widely considered to be one of the most famous and finest actors of Britain. Despite a successful 50-year old career, John’s personal life wasn’t as bright as it seemed to be. In 2015, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and eventually passed away on January 25, 2017.
Teena Marie – Natural Causes
Teena Marie was a singer, songwriter, and producer. Back in 2004 and six years before her death, a large picture frame fell on her head, which caused some brain damage and for her to experience seizures the rest of her life. It is unclear if she underwent treatment for it. She died on December 26, 2010, from natural causes.
Leslie Carter – Drug Overdose
Leslie Carter was the sister of pop stars Nick and Aaron Carter of the Backstreet Boys. Even though she wasn’t as well-known as her siblings, just like them, Leslie also pursued a singing career. Unfortunately, she battled depression and anxiety, and in 2012, she passed away because of a drug overdose on prescription drugs. She was only 25.
Pat Morita – Kidney Failure
Pat Morita was one of the most popular and talented Asian-American actors of all time. He gained immense fame for playing Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid films. Sadly, on November 24, 2005, he died of kidney failure at his home. He was 73. We hope he had a last will and testament for the loved ones he left behind.
Corey Haim – Pneumonia
Corey Haim quickly became one of the most popular and biggest teen stars of the ’80s, particularly for his role in the movie, The Lost Boys. Just like many other young stars during that time, Haim had trouble with drug and alcohol addiction. He passed away on March 10, 2010, from pulmonary edema and an enlarged heart.
Chris Penn – Heart Disease
The brother of fellow actor Sean Penn, Chris was going through treatment for a heart disease, but he also had an addiction to drugs, which may have made his health worse. He passed away back in 2006 at just 40 years of age due to his heart disease. Reports have shown that there were drugs in his system. It’s sad to think that if he had gone to rehab, he might still be with us.
Leonard Nimoy – Smoking-related Illness
Leonard Nimoy was Star Trek's, Mr. Spock. His doctor diagnosed him with a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, due to a smoking addiction that he developed many years before his death. He received treatment, but passed away on February 27, 2015, due to complications of the disease.
Avicii – Suicide
Swedish DJ and producer Avicii, one of the world’s biggest dance music stars was found dead at the age of 28. Avicii, known for some mega hits such as “Wake Me Up” and “Hey Brother,” announced in 2016 that he was retiring from live concerts due to his complex medical condition. News of his death shocked the international dance community and his fans, particularly in Europe, where he was a popular attraction at festivals and clubs. Avicii will surely be missed by his fans and music lovers from all around the world.
Thuy Trang – Car Accident
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers‘ original Yellow Ranger, Thuy Trang, tragically died from a car crash with her friend and fellow actress, Angela Rockwood. The fatal accident took place just outside San Francisco, on September 3, 2001. She was just 27 years old when she passed away. Substance addiction as the cause of the accident was ruled out.
Dana Hill – Diabetes
Since childhood, Dana had struggled with Type 1 diabetes, and the disease was eventually the trigger that led to her death at only 32 years of age. She suffered a paralytic shock in 1996 and died almost immediately. She is best remembered as the voice of Jerry in Tom and Jerry: The Movie, among other notable roles.
Nelsan Ellis – Congestive Heart Failure
Nelsan Ellis became known for True Blood where his character was supposed to die early on, but the producers kept him until the show’s end. Ellis had problems with alcohol abuse, but instead of going to an alcohol addiction treatment center, he tried quitting by himself. Unfortunately, alcohol withdrawal syndrome brought on heart failure and he died on July 8, 2017.
James Avery – Complications from Open Heart Surgery
The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air‘s Uncle Phil was portrayed by James Avery. James suffered from a kidney disease, a heart disease, type-2 diabetes, and was receiving treatment. But sadly, he died from complications of a heart surgery. He was only 68 when he died. Rest in peace Uncle Phil.
Michael Nyqvist – Lung Cancer
Swedish actor Michael Nyqvist made the move to Hollywood films after his performance in the original The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and the other two Millennium films that impressed audiences and critics. He got parts in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol and John Wick, and it seemed he was to be the next great movie villain. Sadly, lung cancer took him on 27 June 2017, after treatments failed to completely cure the disease.
Bob Denver - Cancer
Bob Denver was widely known for television roles as Gilligan, the wacky first mate in Gilligan's Island, and Maynard G. Krebs, the beatnik with a bongo in The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. Both were first hits, then cult classics. Sadly, this comedic actor died from cancer on September 2 in 2005, aged 70.
Alice Playten – Heart Failure
Alice Playten was an actress and singer. She battled with juvenile diabetes and pancreatic cancer and was receiving treatment for her health problems. She fought hard, but tragically, she passed away on June 25, 2011, at the age of 63 due to heart failure. Her treatment for her many health issues took a toll on her body.
Holly Lewis – Unknown Cause
Holly Lewis was an actress who appeared in minor roles. Her best-known project may be voice acting in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Holly passed away on June 22, 2012, at the age of 46 due to unknown circumstances. Her death is still a mystery to the public. Did she die from natural causes or an accident? We’ll never know.
Marcia Wallace – Breast Cancer
Marcia Wallace was famous for voicing Bart Simpson’s teacher Mrs. Krabappel and even won an Emmy award for her role. She battled with breast cancer, but unfortunately, the treatment didn’t succeed, and she passed away in 2013. She had a troubled childhood and struggled with alcohol addiction, so she had to receive treatment and counseling to overcome her condition.
Sunny Johnson – Burst Blood Vessel in Brain
Sunny Johnson may not have been a star for long, but she became famous nonetheless. She was recognized for her roles in the ’80’s hit movie, Flashdance. Sadly, a blood vessel burst in her brain which caused her to fall into a coma without any use of treatment or any hopes of recovery. On June 19, 1984, her family decided to take her off the respirator.
Nicole Dehuff – Pneumonia
Nicole DeHuff received international fame for her role in Meet The Parents. Nicole’s death was truly a tragedy. She didn’t have an addiction or any lingering illness, but she died from a misdiagnosis. The doctors initially thought she suffered from bronchitis and prescribed the wrong medications, and by the time they found out it was pneumonia, it was too late.
Richard Griffiths – Complications from Heart Surgery
Richard Griffiths became internationally famous for his role as Uncle Vernon in the Harry Potter films. Richard underwent treatment for heart problems but sadly passed away on March 28, 2013, due to complications from heart surgery. He was 65 at the time of his passing. Rest in peace, Uncle Vern.
Romi Koch – Unknown Cause
Romi Koch was a woman shrouded in mystery. She was known as the doll in the movie Dead Doll back in 2004. Just a year later, she passed away. The public doesn’t know if she died from natural causes, addiction, or even from foul play. All we know is that she died on August 22, 2005.
Justin Pierce – Suicide
Justin Pierce was known for his roles in the films Kids and Next Friday. Justin had a troubled childhood, and this may have caused his depression and ultimately, suicide. He hanged himself in his hotel room leaving two suicide notes which weren’t released to the public. If only he received counseling or therapy to help him with his problems.
Trevor Goddard – Drug Overdose
Trevor Goddard was Kano in the live action Mortal Kombat movie, and he also starred in the TV show JAG. Trevor had a terrible drug addiction, and if only he went to rehab, and was given proper counseling, he may not have died from an overdose of different drugs on June 7, 2003. Drug addiction is hard to beat, but it isn’t impossible.
Andrew Koenig – Suicide
Andrew Koenig was an actor and the son of Star Trek actor Walter Koenig. Andrew was apparently a troubled man. He was found by his loved ones hanging from a tree on February 25, 2010. We don’t know if he received counseling or therapy or received psychological treatment for his depression. Depression is a serious problem among actors it seems.
Michael Jeter – Epileptic Seizure
Michael Jeter was an Emmy Award-winning film, stage, and television actor. Michael was HIV positive, but the good thing was that he received treatment early on and was in good health for many years. Sadly, on March 30, 2003, at the age of 50, Michael was found dead inside his home after suffering from an epileptic seizure.
J. T. Walsh – Heart Attack
J. T. Walsh mostly played bad guys, and was even labeled by Playboy Magazine as “everybody’s favorite scumbag.” However, he was a good guy in real life. Walsh died from a heart attack on February 27, 1998, at the age of 54. It was unclear if he suffered from heart disease and was receiving medical treatment before his death.
Paul Gleason – Pleural Mesothelioma
Paul Gleason was best remembered for his role as Principal Richard Vernon in the movie The Breakfast Club. He developed a rare form of lung cancer called pleural mesothelioma which he got from exposure to asbestos while working as a teen. He received treatment, but sadly, he died on May 27, 2006. He was 67.
Richard Attenborough – Heart Failure
Richard Attenborough was an actor, director, and producer. He suffered from heart problems and a stroke back in 2008 and even had a pacemaker fitted to his heart. Years before his death, he was already receiving treatment for his condition, but due to his age and deteriorating health, he passed away on August 24, 2014, just a few days before his 91st birthday.
Len Lesser – Cancer-related Pneumonia
Len Lesser was known for his roles in the war film, Kelly’s Heroes, and the sitcom, Seinfeld. Len passed away on February 16, 2011, at the age of 88 from cancer-related pneumonia. We don’t know if it there could have been a treatment that prevented his pneumonia from developing, but we just hope he’s in a much better place now.
Barney Martin – Lung Cancer
Barney Martin worked as an NYPD officer and detective for twenty years before going into show business. He was best remembered for his role as Jerry’s father in the hit sitcom, Seinfeld. Barney was diagnosed with lung cancer and treatment for his disease extended his life for a few years. However, he lost the battle on March 21, 2005, at 82 years old.
Brittany Murphy – Pneumonia & Anemia
Brittany Murphy was one of the hottest and sweetest actresses in Hollywood, and she had an amazingly bright career in front of her. That was why her death was a real tragedy in Hollywood that left many people, including fans, heartbroken. She passed away on December 20, 2009, at the age of only 32 years old, and the official cause of her death was traced to pneumonia and anemia.
Antoine Ashley – Heart Failure
Drag queen Antoine Ashley was a well-known reality TV star who also went by the name of Sahara Davenport. Sahara had an addiction to designer drugs such as ketamine, and with the help of her mother and undergoing rehab and counseling, she was able to get over her addiction. Sadly, the drugs were too much for her body, and so she died from heart failure on October 1, 2012.
Bill Paxton – Stroke
Actor and director Bill Paxton was known for having more than 100 films and TV shows under his belt. Unfortunately, the movie veteran had to undergo a heart and aorta surgery on February 14, 2017. Bill couldn’t survive the operation and passed away on February 25, 2017, due to a stroke that resulted from complications caused by the procedure.
David Graf – Heart Attack
David Graf was best known for his role of trigger-happy Sgt. Tackleberry in the movie Police Academy. David died of a heart attack on April 7, 2001, during a family wedding. It’s unclear if he had a heart disease and was going through treatment. He died at the age of 50, just nine days before his 51st birthday. His father and grandfather also died from a heart attack.
Wendie Jo Sperber – Breast Cancer
Wendie Jo Sperber was Marty McFly’s sister in the classic 80’s movie, Back to the Future. Wendie battled breast cancer, and after undergoing intensive treatment, she went into remission. However, the cancer returned with a vengeance and defeated her. She succumbed to the disease on November 29, 2005, at the age of 47.
Gina Mastrogiacomo – Myocarditis
Gina Mastrogiacomo was discovered by famous and veteran director Martin Scorsese, who, in turn, got her the roles in the movies Goodfellas and The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell Of Fear. Gina died from a heart infection called myocarditis on May 2, 2001. At the age of only 39, she had a lot of potentials but sadly left us too soon.
Anita Mui – Cervical Cancer
Anita Mui was an actress and singer dubbed as “The Madonna Of Hong Kong,” mainly because of her powerful voice and attention-grabbing performances. Anita had cervical cancer and was receiving chemotherapy treatment to fight the disease, but alas, it was a fight she didn’t win. She died on December 30, 2003, at the age of 40.
Lynne Thigpen – Cerebral Hemorrhage
Lynne Thigpen was best known for her roles as “The Chief” in the Carmen Sandiego television series. On March 12, 2003, Lynne died from a cerebral hemorrhage. It turned out that she had been experiencing headaches for several days before her death. She was only 54 years old. Rest in peace, Chief.
James Rebhorn – Melanoma
James Rebhorn was a veteran actor who appeared in more than a hundred films and TV shows throughout his long career. Twelve years before his death in 2004, James had been going through chemotherapy treatment for his melanoma cancer. He must have felt that his time was almost up, so he wrote his own obituary.
Malcolm Mclaren – Peritoneal Mesothelioma
Malcolm McLaren was a performer, musician, and clothes designer, and much more. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2009, called peritoneal mesothelioma, and had been receiving treatment at a hospital in Sweden. A year later, he died of the disease on April 8, 2010. He was 64-years-old at the time of his death. It was not known if McLaren sought advice from a mesothelioma lawyer when he learned of his disease, which is usually contracted from long exposure to asbestos.
Andy Hallett – Congestive Heart Failure
Many know him from the TV series Chance, but few know that Andrew started to have medical issues around 2005. First, it was a dental infection which developed into cardiomyopathy. He had tried different medical treatments for several years until his heart gave up due to a congestive cardiac failure in 2009.
Christopher Pettiet – Drug Overdose
The Young Riders made him famous and just like many Hollywood stars, Pettiet had succumbed to the underground life with his drug addiction problems. He had never attempted to get into a drug treatment program despite all the warnings, and his life ended after a drug overdose in 2004. He was only 24 years old.
Guillaume Depardieu – Pneumonia
Guillaume Depardieu was the eldest son of French actor Gérard Depardieu. He was known to be a fantastic actor, winning numerous awards. Unfortunately, it was his passion that killed him. In 2008, Depardieu was filming one of his movies, L’Enfance d’Icare when he contracted pneumonia. It was this disease that would later cause his death.
Jean Stapleton – Natural Causes
This lady came a long way with over 60 appearances in movies and TV series, but in 2013, at the ripe age of 90, she said her last goodbyes. Jean died of natural causes after a long and happy life. Given her career success, she probably left a huge trust fund to her family. She will always be remembered by her fans as the kind of star who was not born every day.
Steve James – Pancreatic Cancer
James was prominent in the 1970s and the 1980s with appearances in American Ninja and The Delta Force. Unfortunately, he left too soon. He was only 41 and had a battle with pancreatic cancer behind him. Years of different medical treatments could not save his life. Pancreatic cancer is one of the most common aggressive cancer types.
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