14 heart-wrenching celebrity deaths

On Cory Monteith’s 2nd death anniversary today, we remember a few other artistes who left us all too quickly

Photos: EPA, TPG, Getty Photos, various
Photos: EPA, TPG, Getty Photos, various
12 Jul 2015

Photos: EPA, TPG, Getty Photos, various


On this date two years ago, beloved actor-singer Cory Monteith had an accidental death from an overdose of the toxic combination of heroin and champagne in a hotel room in Vancouver at 31 years old.

He got off to a rough start before he began his career in showbiz, attending 16 schools in total before dropping out completely at the age of 16.

Not only was he talented in singing and acting, but Cory was also the drummer of his band Bonnie Dune and had been in the midst of recording songs for their debut album Miramar. After his passing, the band decided to go ahead and debut their first single ‘Maybe Tonight’, later releasing all the songs they had in February last year. His band mates described the album as “a celebration of his (Cory’s) life and what he enjoyed doing”.

His last relationship was with reel-to-real girlfriend Lea Michele whom he co-starred with for the biggest role of his lifetime (playing quarterback Finn in Glee who has a tribute episode in Season 5). As said by the singer-actress currently dating actor-model Matthew Paetz who “makes her smile again”, Cory will continue to live on in our hearts forever.

Click on for a look back at more celebrities who also died accidental deaths.

EunB and RiSe from Ladies' Code
EunB and RiSe from Ladies' Code
12 Jul 2015

EunB and RiSe from Ladies' Code

When: September 3 (EunB) and 6 (RiSe), 2014
How: Died from a car accident

K-pop girl group member EunB (then 21 years old) died on the spot when their van went off-road and slammed into a guardrail. RiSe (then 23 years old) passed away four days later due to her failing blood pressure sustained from the accident. Their 26-year-old manager, who was speeding on the rainy highway, was arrested and sentenced to over a year of prison. The three remaining members Ashley, Zuny and Sojung, who were also injured in the crash, were discharged after over a month of hospitalisation. They were offered psychological counselling and spoke through their representative, “We’re not preparing a comeback but are still attending vocal and dance lessons.”

Whitney Houston
Whitney Houston
12 Jul 2015

Whitney Houston

When: February 11, 2012
How: Accidentally drowned in a bathtub

Pop icon Whitney Houston died in a bathtub at a hotel in Beverly Hills at 48 years old, but heart disease and cocaine overdose were the other contributing causes of death. Her daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, was found brain dead in a bathtub (similar to her mother) in January this year and passed away on July 26, leaving Whitney’s husband Bobby Brown torn between being upset about his daughter being gone and happy for his new child with Alicia Etheredge-Brown who was born on July 11.

Amy Winehouse
Amy Winehouse
12 Jul 2015

Amy Winehouse

When: July 23, 2011
How: Died of alcohol poisoning

The ‘Rehab’ singer was found slumped on her bed dead at age 27 (thus joining the 27 Club) after binge drinking so much vodka that she stopped breathing. That wasn’t the end of her musical success though. Her posthumous album Back to Black became the best-selling album of the century in the UK.

Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson
12 Jul 2015

Michael Jackson

When: June 25, 2009
How: Died of acute drug intoxication after suffering cardiac arrest at home

The King of Pop experienced a sudden death at the age of 50 and his personal physician was convicted of involuntary manslaughter. His physician had found Michael in bed with a weak pulse and still alive but failed to conduct the standard CPR practice of using both hands for compression on a hard surface (he had placed one hand in front and the other at the back while attempting CPR on the bed), resulting in Michael’s tragic death. Michael’s music continues to live on, as Sony Music Entertainment will be releasing seven posthumous albums over the decade following his death.

Related Story:
ODE TO THE KING: K-pop's tributes to Michael Jackson

Natasha Richardson
Natasha Richardson
12 Jul 2015

Natasha Richardson

When: March 18, 2009
How: Died after a skiing accident

English actress Natasha Richardson died at 45 years old after suffering severe head injuries from crashing into a rock during her beginner skiing lesson. Her Irish husband Liam Neeson said in an interview five years after her death that she told him “Oh darling, I’ve taken a tumble in the show” in her final phone call. Natasha had been lucid initially, but was taken to the hospital when she began to experience pain in her head. She was eventually declared brain dead hours later at the hospital. Liam still lives in hope that Natasha would come home through their door, saying in a 2014 interview: “[Her death] was never real. It still kind of isn’t.”

Lee Eon
Lee Eon
12 Jul 2015

Lee Eon

When: August 21, 2008
How: Died in a motorcycle accident

Korean actor Lee Eon of Coffee Prince fame died on the spot from a broken neck after crashing his motorcycle into a guardrail. He had been on his way home from a party celebrating the airing of the last episode of his last TV show Strongest Chil Woo. A book titled Twenty-seven, Burying Youth was published the following year posthumously and featured his own writing and music.

Heath Ledger
Heath Ledger
12 Jul 2015

Heath Ledger

When: January 22, 2008
How: Died of a combined drug intoxication

Academy Award-winning actor Heath Ledger suddenly died just months before the release of what would have been his Oscar-winning performance in The Dark Knight (he played the villain we love to hate, the Joker). The 28-year-old was found unconscious in his bed from an overdose of his insomnia medication as well as other prescription drugs later discovered in his system.

Beatrice Hsu
Beatrice Hsu
12 Jul 2015

Beatrice Hsu

When: January 28, 2007
How: Died from a car accident

Taiwanese actress-singer Beatrice Hsu was travelling with her assistant to Nantou, Taiwan to shoot the romance series Daughter of the Sun when her car, which was witnessed to be speeding, crashed into a barrier on the highway. Still conscious, she unbuckled her seatbelt and was about to exit when the rear-end of the Mini Cooper was hit by a truck seconds later. She died in the hospital of cardiac arrest despite 43 hours of treatment. A posthumous memorial concert was held in her memory, fulfilling her dream of having her own concert. Even years after her passing, ex-boyfriend Lee Wei still sends birthday messages to her on his social media every year.

Aaliyah Houghton
Aaliyah Houghton
12 Jul 2015

Aaliyah Houghton

When: August 25, 2001
How: Died in a plane crash

Grammy-nominated R&B singer-actress Aaliyah Houghton was only 22 years old and had just got done filming her music video ‘Rock The Boat’ when she died an instant death on the plane ride home. The overload of luggage on the Cessna 402B plane caused the crash which killed all nine people on board when the plane exploded on impact.

Princess Diana
Princess Diana
12 Jul 2015

Princess Diana

When: August 31, 1997
How: Died from a car crash

The beloved Princess of Wales passed away from fatal injuries in Paris, France, sustained from her accident in the Pont de l’Alma road tunnel as her car was trying to escape from paparazzi. Claims were made about her being pregnant at the time of her death with a Muslim baby whom she had with film producer Dodi Fayed and when her pregnancy was highlighted in a West End play titled Truth, Lies, Diana which was in theatres earlier this year. However, Royal author Margaret Holder described the claims in the play as “nonsense”.

Koma Wong Ka Kui
Koma Wong Ka Kui
12 Jul 2015

Koma Wong Ka Kui

When: June 30, 1993
How: Died of internal bleeding after three-metre fall

Hong Kong rock band Beyond member Koma fell off a three-metre platform head-first during a game show shoot in Tokyo, Japan and went into a state of coma. Nearly a week later, he died of brain injuries and internal bleeding.

Brandon Lee
Brandon Lee
12 Jul 2015

Brandon Lee

When: March 31, 1993
How: Died of a gunshot wound

Martial arts legend Bruce Lee’s actor son Brandon was accidentally shot on the set of The Crow when he was acting in a scene where his character who walks into his apartment to discover his fiancée being beaten and raped by thugs. The single bullet that took his life had been lodged in a prop gun which was supposed to be a blank, and the doctors couldn’t save him. The movie was still released a year later where unfinished scenes were fixed with special effects and a rewritten script.

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