Top 10 Celebrities Who Died Young

POSTED BY , UPDATED ON January 7th, 2020

Celebrities Who Died Young

There’s nothing more depressing than a person dying before they’ve reached their peak. And while plenty of people pass away before they should, it’s the celebrities we hear the most about because we can’t help but wonder what else they could have done had they lived a little longer. Here are the top 10 celebrities who died young even before they reached 30:

 

1. Heath Ledger (4 April 1979 – 22 January 2008)

Heath ledger death

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In so many ways Heath Ledger was just in the beginning of his career. He had made lots of amazing movies, but it wasn’t until he died that he won an Academy Award for his role of the Joker in The Dark Knight.

Heath was only 28 when he passed away.

 

2. James Dean (February 8, 1931 – September 30, 1955)

James Dean death

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James Dean was arguably one of the freshest young faces on the Hollywood scene in the 1950s. But because he died at such a young age he was probably known more for the films he didn’t make, than the ones he did.

With just a scant three movies filmed and only one released before his death, it’s quite impressive that his legacy still burns so brightly. He died in a car accident.

 

3. Charles Hardin Holley (September 7, 1936 – February 3, 1959)

Charles Hardin Holley death

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The day the music died was in 1959 and Buddy Holly was only 22 years old. How much had you (or do you think you will) accomplished at age 22? Buddy Holly was already incredibly famous and there’s no doubt he would have created a ton more music up until an old age.

 

4. Aaliyah (January 16, 1979 – August 25, 2001)

Aaliyah death

I’ll never forget when Aaliyah passed away in a plane crash back in 2001, when she was only 22 years old. Her music was incredibly well-known and popular and I’ve always wondered if she’d be at Beyonce’s level if she were still alive.

 

5. Brittany Murphy (November 10, 1977 – December 20, 2009)

Actress Brittany Murphy

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This young actress may not have gotten a lot of press until her death, but she was well on her way to becoming something big. She was in Clueless, 8 Mile, Riding in Cars With Boys, and more; and had several films planned when she died an “accidental death” at age 32. She had apparently collapsed in a bathroom. Firefighters attempted to resuscitate Murphy on the scene.

She was transported to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead on arrival  after going into cardiac arrest.

 

6. Dominique Dunne (November 23, 1959 – November 4, 1982)

Actress Dominique Dunne

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Dunne made appearances in several made for television movies, television series, and films, and played a supporting role as the oldest daughter, Dana, in the 1982 film Poltergeist. She was strangled to death by her former boyfriend “Sweeney”,who strangled Dunne in the driveway of her home after she refused to reconcile with him. She fell into a deep coma for five days.

She died on November 4, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, less than 20 days before her 23rd birthday.

 

7. Brad Renfro (July 25, 1982 – January 15, 2008)

Actor Brad Renfro

Lots of people forget about Brad Renfro’s passing because it was greatly overshadowed by Heath Ledger’s death, which happened just a week later. But he was a fabulous young actor who played roles in The Client, Tom and Huck, and The Jacket. He passed away at age 25 from a heroin overdose.

 

8. Tupac Shakur (June 16, 1971 – September 13, 1996)

Rapper Tupac Shakur

Image Source: Getty

This rapper was fatally shot in an East Coast-West Coast rap war at only age 25. His murder case has never been solved and everyone’s certain he’d still be deeply involved in the world of rap if still living.

 

9. Jonathan Gregory Brandis (April 13, 1976 – November 12, 2003)

Actor Jonathan Brandi 2003
He was an American actor, director, and screenwriter. On November 12, 2003, Brandis died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles from injuries he suffered after he hanged himself. He was 27 then.

 

10. Jeff Buckley (November 17, 1966 – May 29, 1997)

Singer Grace Buckley

He drowned at age 30. And ever since we’ve wondered what kind of beautiful music Jeff Buckley would have made if he hadn’t passed away so suddenly.

We love his voice and we love everything about Grace. How many more albums would there have been?