Don’t get us wrong, it goes without saying that it’s sad when anyone dies – celebrity or otherwise – but when you think about what some people have given to the world, what they could have offered to the world or how many people they’ve entertained or brought a smile to the faces of, it’s particularly upsetting when they pass away.
Any time there is a celebrity death, it invariably makes the news and people – particularly those who were specifically fans of said celebrity, obviously – mourn the loss. That has been the case since the concept of celebrity became a thing and the new millennium has been no different in that regard.
Some of the biggest names in show business have left us since the year 2000 and fans around the world have been impacted by their passing. In this article, we’re going to take a look at some of those who have left the biggest gaps in their industry and the ones who were mourned by the most people. Here are the ten saddest celebrity deaths of the new millennium.
10. Philip Seymour Hoffman
Philip Seymour Hoffman was a brilliant Academy Award-winning actor whose movie credits include the likes of Capote (for which he won the Oscar for Best Actor), Charlie Wilson’s War, Doubt and The Master (all of which he was nominated as Best Supporting Actor for), as well as the likes of Twister, Boogie Nights, Red Dragon, Mission Impossible III and the Hunger Games movies.
He tragically died from drug-related issues in February of 2014. He was found with a syringe in his arm and a mixture of drugs in his system (heroin, cocaine, benzodiazepines and amphetamine, for instance) – although his death was deemed to have been caused by an accidental overdose, rather than through suicide. He was 46 years old.
Aaliyah was both a talented and extremely promising young R&B star whose hit singles included the likes of “The One I Gave My Heart To”, “Are You That Somebody”, “I Don’t Wanna” and “Try Again” – the latter of which was her biggest success. She also dabbled in modelling, dancing and acting, having appeared in movies like Rome Must Die and Queen of the Damned.
In 2001, she was on board a small aeroplane travelling from the Bahamas to Florida, when the plane crashed before it reached the end of the runway. It exploded and killed the star, as well as the eight other people on board. Aaliyah was just 22 years old at the time.
8. Amy Winehouse
It’s easy (and probably fair, to an extent) to be critical of the life Amy Winehouse lived, but there’s absolutely no doubting that her story was a tragic one. The incredibly talented English singer and songwriter had a huge impact on the music industry in her relatively short career, with hits including “Rehab” and “Back to Black”.
She was a notoriously troubled individual with a history of abusing both drugs and alcohol – and it would be the latter that killed her. In July 2011, her bodyguard found her on her bed – she wasn’t breathing and had no pulse – and she was pronounced dead by ambulance staff upon their arrival to the scene. She had died of alcohol poisoning at the age of just 27.
7. Brittany Murphy
Brittany Murphy was an actress of film, television and stage and a singer whose movie credits included the likes of Girl, Interrupted, Drop Dead Gorgeous, 8 Mile, Riding in Cars with Boys, Sin City and Happy Feet. Her television credits included the likes of Drexell’s Class, Almost Home and King of the Hill.
In December of 2009, emergency services were called to the home of Murphy and her husband Simon Monjack. She had collapsed in the bathroom and was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where she died after going into cardiac arrest. The primary cause of death was specified as being pneumonia, with secondary factors of iron-deficiency anaemia and multiple drug intoxication (all the drugs in question were legal). She was just 32.
6. James Gandolfini
Beloved actor James Gandolfini was best known for his brilliant performance as Tony Soprano in the hit HBO television series The Sopranos. His other notable acting roles all came in movies, such as True Romance, Terminal Velocity, Crimson Tide, Get Shorty, She’s So Lovely, 12 Angry Men, 8mm, The Mexican, All the Kings Men and Where the Wild Things Are. Although he often played big, intimidating men, he was a renowned gentleman in reality.
In June of 2013, while on vacation in Rome, he was discovered unconscious on the bathroom floor of his hotel room by his 13-year-old son Michael. He was taken to hospital, but was pronounced dead within twenty minutes of his arrival, with the cause of death deemed to be a heart attack. He was 51 years old.
5. Paul Walker
Popular actor Paul Walker started his career on television before becoming a huge Hollywood film star. He had worked on shows like The Young and the Restless and Touched by an Angel, prior to starring in teen movies like She’s All That and Varsity Blues and going on to make a huge name for himself in the Fast and Furious franchise.
His life was cut tragically short in November of 2013 when he and his friend Roger Rodas were driving home from a charity event (which happened to be held on behalf of Walker’s own charity Reach Out). Rodas was driving the vehicle in question (a Porsche) in California when he crashed it into a concrete lamp post and two trees. Both men died at the scene – their bodies burnt beyond recognition. Walker was 40 years of age.
4. Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson‘s life was full of controversy – from his dramatic change in skin colour to accusations of interfering with children – but there is no doubt about the fact that he was one of the greatest entertainers of all time, one of the most famous people in the world, a much loved individual and that he had a massive impact on the world. The singer’s huge catalogue of massive hits included the likes of “Billie Jean”, “Thriller”, “Bad” and “Smooth Criminal”.
In June 2009, he died while laying on his bed in his rented Los Angeles home. Emergency services arrived within three minutes of being notified by his personal physician, but they could not revive him. The official cause of death was deemed to be a cardiac arrest induced by propofol and benzodiazepine intoxication. He was 50 years old.
3. Steve Irwin
Steve Irwin was one of the most beloved celebrities on the planet, thanks to his contagious enthusiasm and love for animals and the environment. He was also one of the most unique people on planet, as he was both fearless and endearing in his work. The Australian wildlife expert and conservationist rose to fame as “The Crocodile Hunter” on his show of the same name and viewers and fans often feared for him, as he regularly went nose-to-nose with dangerous animals like crocodiles and snakes.
However, in September of 2006, he was killed by a relatively harmless animal – a stingray – whilst snorkelling in Batt Reef off the coast of Queensland. The creature’s barb pierced his chest and body several hundred times (reacting as if a shark was attacking) during filming for a documentary. Crew members attempted to resuscitate him but he died, having been taken ashore, soon after. He was 44 years of age.
2. Heath Ledger
Australian actor and director Heath Ledger started his career in his homeland in television soap operas, but went on to become a Hollywood megastar. His film credits included the likes of 10 Things I Hate About You, The Patriot, A Knight’s Tale, Monster’s Ball, Casanova and The Dark Knight – the latter in which he portrayed The Joker in the role that would ultimately define him (he died before the movie was actually released, but went on to win a posthumous Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for his performance).
Ledger was found unconscious by his housekeeper in January of 2008. His friend – actress Mary-Kate Olsen – called for help, but paramedics were unable to revive him. The cause of death was deemed as being accidental abuse of prescribed medications. He was just 28 years of age.
1. Robin Williams
Robin Williams was a hugely beloved stand-up comedian and actor whose television credits included the likes of The Richard Pryor Show, Mork and Mindy, Saturday Night Live and The Crazy Ones, while his film credits included the likes of Popeye, Good Morning, Vietnam, Dead Poets Society, Hook, Aladdin, Mrs. Doubtfire, Jumanji, Flubber, Good Will Hunting, Patch Adams, Bicentennial Man, Happy Feet and Night at the Museum.
He appeared to be one of the jolliest men in show business. However, underneath his lively and happy exterior was a man with a very sad private life. Constantly depressed, Williams’ health had long-suffered due to his emotional and mental issues and he tragically hanged himself in August of 2014 at his California home. He was 63 years of age.