We’re back with more celebs and their tragic back stories that led to their death, and the disturbing crime scene photos of the mishaps. Some of these celebs died by their own hand, though they didn’t intend to embark on a suicide mission, rather they were just stuck in a life so riddled with fame, fortune, and drugs that perhaps death seemed to be the easier way out for them.
And for others, life was bright and beautiful and worth living for, but freak accidents took the life right out of them, literally. Other celebs were brutally murdered by those who loved them, wanted them, or even wanted to be like them, or sometimes, by someone who just hated them.
Whatever may have been the cause of their eventual demise, the fact is that they died rather tragically, mostly in their prime or just when they were about to make it big.Their deaths immortalized them. They had the potential to be great, but they couldn’t live long enough to realize that true potential. So their tragic and often violent demise propelled them into even bigger stardom with tributes and tearful farewells pouring in from fans and celebrities alike.
Undoubtedly, despite death being as much a part of life as birth, it does call for mourning and grief. And when the Grim Reaper visits celebs, it brings home that fact that despite all the wealth, fame, and fortune in the world, those who seem larger than life are, in fact, not. They are as mortal as the next person, and life ends in a morbid irony for all. So here are 15 more shocking crime scene photos involving celebrities we loved and were grief-stricken to let go.
15. Aaliyah: Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number, Or Is It?
In August 2001, Aaliyah Dana Houghton and her team had just wrapped up a dream shoot in the Bahamas a day earlier than usual. Excited, happy, and on a high because of the good work on the music video for her new single “Rock The Boat,” they decided to charter an earlier flight and get back home early. It just so happened that the plane they ended up hiring was smaller than the original flight. This Cessna 402B wasn’t enough to carry them and their equipment back and while the pilot did try to put his foot down, the team prevailed and piled into the tiny plane.
The aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff, about 200 feet (60 m) from the runway. Witnesses recall it was having trouble taking off as well and it went nose down when it was barely up. They said that the sight was horrible. The plane was in pieces, there were bodies and burnt body parts everywhere, while a couple of crash victims were screaming and crying for help. 22-year-old Aaliyah and the eight other people on board perished: pilot Luis Morales III, hair stylist Eric Foreman, Anthony Dodd, security guard Scott Gallin, family friend Keith Wallace, makeup artist Christopher Maldonado, and Blackground Records employees Douglas Kratz and Gina Smith. Eerily, a month before the crash, Aaliyah spoke of a recurring dream she had: “Someone’s following me and I don’t know why. I’m scared. Then suddenly I lift off. Far away. As if I’m swimming in the air. Nobody can reach me. Nobody can touch me. It’s a wonderful feeling”.
14. Notorious B.I.G.: When Gangsta Feuds Get Bloody & Real
Despite his larger-than-life gangsta demeanor, Christopher George Latore Wallace, better known as The Notorious BIG, Biggie, or Biggie Smalls, was all of 24 when he was shot dead by unknown assailants. Consistently ranked as one of the most influential rappers of all time, he was a major player of the East Coast-West Coast hip-hop feud that also claimed the life of yet another rapper – Tupac Shakur, the death of whom was often blamed on Biggie.
Despite being the only child of a schoolteacher mother who tried her best in raising him, Biggie Smalls turned drug dealer when he was just about 12 and it was only after he was released from jail after a nine-month stint that he began to get serious about rapping. Once his career took off, Biggie straightened up his act and got serious, working on his music even after a bad car crash. In March 1997, Biggie left with his entourage after a party, heading back to his hotel. When his GMC Yukon stopped at a light, a black Chevy Impala pulled alongside. The window was rolled down and shots were fired directly at Biggie with four hitting him in the chest. He was rushed to the hospital but it was too late – he was pronounced dead.
13. Jayne Mansfield: A Hollywood Sex Symbol Gone Too Soon
While Marilyn Monroe was considered to be a sex symbol but a serious actress, her increasingly difficult behavior made many try and mold Jayne Mansfield as her successor. Beautiful, busty, and with a penchant for “wardrobe malfunctions,” Jayne had no qualms about nudity but also had the acting talent to be able to make it big in Hollywood. She even won a Golden Globe for her performance in The Wayward Bus in 1957.
From being one of the earliest Playboy Playmates, to being the first major Hollywood star to appear nude in a movie way back in the 1960s, to finally being a very highly paid nightclub entertainer, Jayne Mansfield’s personal life was very movie-like as well. Married three times, divorced twice, with a total of five children including Mariska Hargitay, she also had innumerable affairs with the likes of the Kennedys too. After a couple of celebrity appearance, Mansfield left for New Orleans with Sam Brody, her attorney and companion, their driver Ronnie and three of Mansfield’s children – Miklós, Zoltán and Mariska in a 1966 Buick Electra 225. That night, the Buick crashed at a high speed into the rear of a tractor-trailer because of a truck spraying mosquito fogger in front that had completely enshrouded the tractor. Mansfield, Brody, and Ronnie were in the front seat and were killed instantly while the children asleep in the back seat survived with minor injuries.
12. Lisa “Left-Eye” Lopes: Energy Never Dies, It Transforms
A true star, that’s what people who met Lisa Lopes would call her. And she was, in her eight years of career, she won four Grammys. One third of the hip-hop group TLC, she was the driving force behind their songs, lyrics, costumes, and performances. While embarking on a solo album, Lopes releases a song called “A New Star Is Born” where she stated, “I don’t care what happens or what people think about death, it doesn’t matter…”
About two weeks before her death in a car crash, Lopes’ entourage were faced with an accident when her assistant accidentally struck a 10-year-old boy who suddenly darted across the road. The boy, Bayron Lopez, didn’t make it despite Lopes’ efforts. She paid for the funeral and more. During a documentary shoot, Lisa had remarked, “I feel the presence of a ‘spirit’ following me.” She was struck by the fact that they shared a similar last name and even thought that the spirit may have made a mistake by taking his life instead of hers. Ironic last words, because in April 2002, she was driving a rented Mitsubishi Montero SUV in Honduras when she swerved slightly to avoid a truck and then again to avoid an oncoming car. The SUV hit two trees and then rolled many times, throwing all the passengers out of the window. 30-year-old Lopes died instantly of neck injuries and severe head trauma, while the three other passengers survived.
11. Anna Nicole Smith: Of Dreams And Desperation That Turned To Dust
Frankly, when Anna Nicole Smith was dubbed the Jayne Mansfield of the 90s, it held true. She had the same beauty as Jayne did and the same desperation as well. Success didn’t come to Anna Nicole all that much, despite the spectacular face and body and the really strange marriage to J. Howard Marshall. Three marriages and innumerable affairs later, Anna Nicole’s troubles truly began.
She gave birth to her second child, a daughter, in September 2006. Three days later, her son visited her in the hospital and collapsed and died – the autopsy later showed a lethal combination of antidepressants. Anna Nicole’s then partner, Howard K. Stern, later said that emotionally, Anna Nicole had died in that room with her son. Eighteen days later, Anna Nicole and Stern got married off the coast of the Bahamas. Despite this marriage and her infant daughter, Anna did not live to see many more days. On February 8, 2007, he found her in bed, with far too many sedatives and tranquilizers in her for her to ever wake up again. She was 39.
10. Gemma McCluskie: When Blood Turns Savage
Gemma McCluskie was a British actress most known for her role as Kerry Skinner on the BBC soap opera EastEnders. She went missing in March 2012 from her East London flat, where she lived with her brother Tony. Her colleagues and former EastEnders actresses Martine McCutcheon, Brooke Kinsella, and Natalie Cassidy tweeted about her disappearance with the Twitter hashtag “#FindGemma” in hopes of discovering her whereabouts. Another search party of 100 people was organized by McCluskie’s cousins to find out more. Five days after she went missing, the headless torso of a woman was recovered from a canal. Later, authorities announced that the body had been formally identified as the 29-year-old Gemma McCluskie and a day later, her dismembered head was discovered from the same water body.
Her murderer was her jealous, abusive, and controlling brother Tony McCluskie, a drug addict who Gemma was petrified of. He beat her, abused her, and basically made life hell. On the day Gemma went missing, Tony fought with his sister. When she finally asked him to leave, Tony flew into a rage and punched her to the floor. An autopsy showed her death was caused by several blows to the head with a blunt object. Allegedly, Tony then spent several hours dismembering her body and CCTV footage showed Tony carrying a suitcase the next day, presumably containing her remains. He was found guilty of her murder in 2013 and jailed for life.
9. Brittany Murphy: Was It Drugs, Disease?
On December 20, 2009, five days before Christmas, the Los Angeles Fire Department responded to an emergency medical request. This turned out to be the residence of singer and actress Brittany Murphy and her husband Simon Monjack. The victim was Murphy who had collapsed in the bathroom. She was resuscitated and then rushed to the hospital where she went into cardiac arrest and passed away, just like that. A deferred autopsy revealed that the primary cause of Murphy’s death was pneumonia, with secondary factors of iron-deficiency anemia and multiple drug intoxication of other the counter prescription medicines used to treat colds and such. The death was ruled to be an accident.
There were plenty of controversies that followed about toxic mold being a cause of death as well as her father claiming heavy metal poisoning. Nothing was ever proven, but merely five months after Murphy’s death, her widower Simon Monjack was found dead in the same house, of the same causes: pneumonia and anemia! The deaths still remain a mystery but one fact later emerged that both Murphy and Monjack lived as hoarders – as is clear with the state of the bathroom that Murphy collapsed in.
8. Lana Clarkson: From The Barbarian Queen To Ditzy-Blonde Corpse
If you ever watched The Barbarian Queen, you’d know who Lana Clarkson was. She was the Barbarian Queen aka Amathea who was hung topless on a rack, tortured, and raped for information, when she uses her very, very, very strong pelvic floor muscles to trap her rapist’s manhood in a, uhh, painful grip. Yes, it’s a rather shocking scene.
Despite the film managing to achieve moderate success and cult status, and Lana Clarkson being a fairly successful model, her career never really took off. Instead, her career stalled, branding her a B-grade sci-fi film actress. One not so fine day, Lana Clarkson met up with music producer Phil Spector where she was working as a VIP guard in the House of Blues at the Sunset Strip. Told by the management to treat Phil Spector like gold, she reluctantly agreed to go to his house for a nightcap. Two hours later, Phil Spector’s chauffeur heard a gunshot and Phil came rushing out saying “I think I killed someone.” Lana Clarkson had died in true film noir fashion – sprawled on an armchair with the bottom half of her mouth blown off. Lana Clarkson was 40. The gun-crazy Phil got a hung jury at his first trial but was sentenced to a minimum of 19 years during his second trial.
7. Reeva Steenkamp: When Love Leaves The Building & Rage Takes Over
When double-amputee blade runner Oscar Pistorius burst onto the scene, the world revelled in his good looks and his zeal. Everyone found him heroic when he competed against and won in the non-disabled sprinter category in the World Championships in athletics. And when he also became the first double amputee to participate in the Olympics, the world was at his prosthetic feet. With the very stunning Reeva Steenkamp by his side, all seemed glorious in his life. For Reeva too, her modeling career was going well and she did seem truly in love with Oscar.
That is, until a day supposed to be full of love and life turned very dark for Reeva. On Valentine’s Day 2013, her boyfriend and lover Oscar Pistorius shot her four times at their Pretoria residence after he had already attacked her with a cricket bat. Why? Because he mistook her for an intruder, or at least that’s what his defense at the trial was. Messages from Reeva to Oscar on his phone where she had confessed that his anger scared her proved otherwise and so did the overly violent crime scene. Oscar was first found not guilty and sentenced to a reduced five-year sentence of culpable homicide. However in 2016, the sentence was appealed by the prosecution and he was found guilty of murder and sentenced to six years imprisonment for shooting Reeva, who died when she was just 29.
6. Rebecca Schaeffer: When A Crazed Fan Takes Offence…
21-year-old Rebecca Schaeffer was climbing the proverbial Hollywood success ladder after a successful sitcom My Sister Sam (she played Sam) and then the black comedy Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills. Rebecca was being hailed for her breakout performance upon the release of the latter when she was struck by the bane of all celebrities – a crazed fan.
Robert John Bardo had been sending her letters and even tried to meet with her on the set of her sitcom. When his “advances” were ignored and she filmed a scene in bed with an actor for the movie, he decided to punish her for being a Hollywood whore. He hired private investigators to track down Schaeffer’s address after he heard about a similar obsessed fan’s story (who had attacked Theresa Saldana). The PI acquired Rebecca’s address from the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Bardo then paid the object of his affection a visit after getting a gun from his brother. On July 18, 1989, he rang the doorbell and Rebecca spoke to this “fan” asking him not to come back. He returned an hour later and rang the doorbell again. When Rebecca opened the door with a “cold look” on her face, he shot her in the chest point blank. She screamed and collapsed and was later pronounced dead at the hospital. After this incident, a legislation was passed to prohibit DMV employees from disclosing addresses but for Rebecca, the time had passed…
5. Phil Hartman: Sometimes, A Deadly Killer Can Be In Your Bed
We all remember Phil Hartman. He was an Emmy-award winning actor, screenwriter, and all-around funny guy from Saturday Night Live and The Simpsons. In 1987, Phil married aspiring actress Brynn Omdahl, and the couple went on to have two children. That didn’t stop them from having plenty fights over Brynn’s failed career, Phil’s thriving one, and Brynn’s alcohol and drug problems.
Eleven years into the marriage, Phil had had enough. Brynn’s multiple stints in rehab and relapses had troubled their family long enough and so he gave her an ultimatum. One more slip and the marriage was all over. Brynn was enraged, so naturally, she got high. So high, in fact, on drugs and booze, that Brynn shot a sleeping Phil at around three in the morning on May 28, 1998. She then went to friend Ron Douglas’ house and confessed. She and a disbelieving Ron drove back to check on Phil. When Ron found the bloodied body, he called 911. By the time the police arrived, Brynn’s drug high had petered down. She locked herself in the bedroom and shot herself with the same gun – leaving both their kids orphaned in one drug-fueled unraveled rage.
4. Amy Winehouse: They Tried To Make Me Go To Rehab But I Said No, No, No
Amy Winehouse used to famously claim that she may not live to see 30, but on the flipside, also said that she didn’t want to die. Her controversial image of a singer who enjoyed critical and commercial success versus a girl who was drug-fueled and bogged down by personal turmoil proved to be very media savvy. The media dubbed her “a filthy-mouthed, down-to-earth diva,” while yet another publication called her the “perfect storm of sex kitten, raw talent, and poor impulse control.”
But Amy Winehouse was basically a singer heading down a dark path of drugs, alcohol, and mayhem and despite all the soul in her music, her own soul was probably in purgatory. With a codependent husband in jail who had introduced her to crack and heroin, and with whom she cut herself to ease the pain of withdrawal, Amy was in personal hell along with various other health problems like bulimia and emphysema. All this and more came to a head when Amy was at home in July 2011. Her bodyguard observed moderate drinking 2-3 days before her death and when he went to check up on her on the morning of July 23, 2011, he found her asleep. Five hours later, she was still in bed, in the same position but not breathing anymore. Ambulances were called and she was declared dead. Her death was given a verdict of misadventure that reported a blood alcohol content of 416 mg per 100 ml (0.416%), more than five times the legal limit.
3. Buddy Holly: Just A Freak Accident And The Day The Music Died
A pioneer and revolutionary in early rock music, Buddy Holly was an entertainer who produced distinctive works in rock. After a show in Clear Lake, Iowa, rock and roll musicians Buddy Holly, J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, and Ritchie Valens boarded a chartered plane to avoid the cold on the road and get to their destination, Moorhead, Minnesota. The pilot, Roger Peterson, took off in inclement weather, although he was not certified to fly. Shortly after the takeoff on February 3, 1959, Holly, Valens, Richardson, and Peterson were killed instantly when their plane crashed into a cornfield five miles northwest of the Mason City, Iowa airport. The bodies of the three rock and rollers were all ejected from the plane on impact, while Peterson’s body remained entangled in the wreckage. Holly died from trauma to his head and chest and many other lacerations and fractures to his arms and legs.
This day is often referred to “The Day the Music Died” for three young and beautiful lives were extinguished. Buddy was 22, Ritchie was 17, and Richardson was 28. The song “American Pie” by Don McLean eulogizes this day which was later covered by Madonna.
2. Selena Quintanilla-Perez: A Rising Star Extinguished By Greed
Selena Quintanilla was a rising star in the Latin music world and the one who brought Latin music to the world. She was known as the Latin Madonna and her fame attracted many fans. One fan was Yolanda Salvidar who begged Selena and her family to get permission to start an official fan club. Selena gave her blessings and Yolanda began to manage the club. Impressed with Yolanda’s dedication, Selena hired her as an assistant and later promoted her to the manager of her clothing boutique as well.
Trouble began brewing when Yolanda started to embezzle funds – she went from fan to crook. Selena and her father fired Yolanda, and her father also told her to cut off contact with Yolanda, which clearly upset her. On Yolanda’s insistence, Selena agreed to meet up with her at a hotel room in order to collect financial records from her. On March 31, 1995, Selena met with Yolanda and the latter shot the singer in cold blood. Selena, trailing blood, ran to the reception and told them about Yolanda before collapsing. Sadly, Selena died aged 23, despite efforts to save her. Yolanda surrendered after a 9-hour standoff and was sentenced to life. She has spent most of her sentence in solitary confinement, as a move to protect her from angered fans in the jail.
1. Adrienne Shelly: When Success Comes But Posthumously
Born Adrienne Levine, she took her late father’s name as her surname when she began to act professionally. Independent movies like The Unbelievable Truth and Trust gave her recognition. To further showcase her talent, she wrote, co-starred in, and directed the 2007 film Waitress, which ultimately won five awards. This when she was married and the mother of an infant daughter. Unfortunately, Adrienne would never live to see her success or even her daughter grow up.
Andy Ostroy, Shelly’s husband, became worried when, in November 2006, she didn’t get in touch with him as she usually did. So he went to their apartment, only to discover her body hanging from a shower rod in the bathtub with a bed sheet around her neck. Despite the open door and the missing money, the NYPD ruled this as a suicide. Andy repeatedly pestered them to investigate for his wife was a happy and secure woman and would never leave their two and a half year daughter motherless. A re-examination of the bathroom disclosed a suspect footprint and the police finally arrested a construction worker, Diego Pillco, a 19-year-old Ecuadorian illegal who confessed to killing Shelly and making it look as if she had committed suicide. As a tribute to his beloved wife, Andy established the not-for-profit Adrienne Shelly Foundation, which awards scholarships, production grants, and living stipends to artists.
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