Death is something that comes to all of us in the end. No matter what our status was while we were alive, death comes for us all the same. It doesn’t care if we have millions of fans who look up to us. It just passes over us like it has for millions of years.
It’s not always tragic, but when we lose someone who has been an influencer for years, the society always mourns. It’s natural for us to try to get inside the head of those we adore, and nothing changes after they have passed. We always want to know what they were thinking before they kicked the bucket.
These final statements range from heartbreaking to ironic. Many of the greats went out with a smile on their faces and wonder in their eyes. Others were involved in tragic accidents, with their last words being a reassurance to their loved ones. Some of these statements illustrate the fact that death is right around the corner, and can come for us at any moment. These people didn’t see their death coming until it was too late.
It’s hard to go out on a dignified note, but these fifteen celebrities gave it their best shot.
15. Marvin Gaye
Marvin Gaye‘s music will be eternally remembered, as he had some of the most catchy tunes imaginable. Songs like “Let’s Get It On” and “S*xual Healing” can still be found on playlists of those who were born long after the great musician had passed. His voice and musical ability perfectly exemplifies an era of music.
Marvin Gaye died in among the most tragic circumstances imaginable. He had intervened in a fight between his parents, where he got physical with his father. Gaye and his father never got along, but this disagreement proved fatal for the younger Gaye. His father shot him twice, once at point blank range. Before the fatal shooting, Marvin told his mother, “Mother, I’m going to get my things and get out of this house. Father hates me and I’m never coming back.”
14. Heath Ledger
Heath Ledger was truly stolen from the world of entertainment too soon. He had a bright career ahead of him, but his use of prescription drugs ended up being his downfall. Ledger had a good resume before The Dark Knight, but his role as The Joker positioned him as one of the best actors in history. At the very least, his Joker is and always will be the best adaptation of the character.
Many rumors attribute the untimely death of Heath Ledger to his iconic role in The Dark Knight. The Ledger family is quick to dispute these claims, saying that there were a variety of elements that led to the star’s death. Ledger died from taking sleeping pills in combination with other prescription pills he was taking. His last words were to his sister over the phone, who warned him about the combination of pills that killed him. He told her that he would be fine and that he just needed to get some sleep.
13. Michael Jackson
The King of Pop’s death took the world by surprise in 2009. Michael Jackson, despite all of his alleged transgressions, was one of the best musicians and performers of a generation. His music transcends genre and music taste, making him one of the most successful artists of all time.
Jackson, unfortunately, turned to drugs when he was in the twilight of his career. His untimely death was undoubtedly fueled by the drugs he was taking, and many attribute his death to his doctor’s tendency to over-prescribe the music legend. His last words were chilling, as he urged for more of the drugs that would ultimately end his life. He asked for “milk,” but “milk” was used as a code name for propofol, the drug he eventually overdosed on later that day.
12. Leonard Nimoy
Leonard Nimoy is an accomplished writer, director, and actor, but he will be most remembered for his role as the original Spock in Star Trek. Nimoy became a legend in his own right, with his trademark Vulcan salute echoing through generations of nerds. The original Star Trek might have been cheesy, but there were always heart and a good plot underneath.
Nimoy was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in 2014. He got the disease from smoking, something he had given up nearly fifty years before his diagnosis. He died of complications of COPD in 2015. Before his death, Nimoy took the time to Tweet one last thing to his fans. His last words to the world were beautiful. It read, “A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP.”
11. Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs is known for being the co-founder and CEO of Apple Inc. There’s no need to explain what Apple is, as many of you are probably reading this on one of their products. Apple became synonymous with innovation under the guidance of Steve Jobs, and many credit him with ushering in the new wave of technology we all use today. The Steve Jobs story is too long and complex to delve into here, but there have been multiple films and documentaries on the subject.
Steve Jobs died on October 5, 2011 in Palo Alto, California. He had been battling pancreatic cancer for a while, and finally fell victim to it at age 56. He died with his family by his bedside, and his sister recounts that his death was almost a feat for Jobs. It was as if Jobs was climbing a mountain, and when he got to the top, he looked his family in the eyes and said “Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow.” Those were the last words he spoke.
10. Ryan Dunn
Ryan Dunn became famous for his role in Jackass, a controversially hilarious stunt show. The Jackass crew have done multiple stunts that have tiptoed the line of “death-defying,” but have never been so dangerous that death is a realistic possibility. Ryan Dunn became one of the stars of the show, often willing to do anything asked of him to get a laugh from the crowd.
Ryan Dunn died on June 20, 2011 in West Goshen Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania when his Porsche ran off the road and hit a tree. The crash also killed production assistant Zachary Hartwell. Dunn posted an Instagram picture before the crash, showing him and Hartwell drinking at a local bar. The toxicology report concluded that Dunn, the driver, had over twice the legal limit of blood alcohol level at the time of the crash. Before the crash, Dunn texted friend and co-star Bam Margera, “Stopping for a beer, be there when I can.”
9. Barry White
Barry White‘s soulful baritone stands as a landmark in music history. His voice was unlike any other, as he was able to deliver smooth hit after smooth hit. He won three Grammys over the course of his career, and went on to be one of the best-selling singers in the entire world by the time his career had finished. There are many imitators of his style, but no one has been able to recreate the success White had in his genre.
White was always a big guy, and was overweight for most of his life. At his heaviest, he clocked in at 375 lbs. This caused a variety of health issues, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and kidney failure. He was admitted to the hospital on multiple occasions, and even had to cancel his tour in 1999 because of his weight issues. White’s kidneys failed in 2002, and he was never able to recover. He died in Los Angeles on July 4, 2003. His last words were almost ironic, telling his nurse, “Leave me alone, I’m fine.”
8. Whitney Houston
Whitney Houston was one of the greatest voices of all time. Her powerful pipes created some of the most memorable songs that have stood the test of time. Her personal life, however, was not as angelic as her voice. She was a notable drug user, and eventually died as a result. She didn’t overdose on drugs, but drowned in her bathtub after passing out. There was a laundry list of drugs in her body at the time of her death, most prominently cocaine. She died in 2012 at the age of 48. Before her death, Houston was on the record saying that she wanted to go see Jesus. On the day she died, she even performed “Jesus Loves Me,” a performance no one knew would be her last.
7. Bob Hope
Bob Hope had one of the most prolific careers in the history of entertainment. His career spanned 80 years, which included appearances in over 70 films. Hope could do it all. He could sing, dance, tell jokes, act, and was quite an athlete. While the prime of his career was likely before many readers were born, the name Bob Hope still rings a bell, which is something not many entertainers can say.
Bob Hope lived until he was 100 years old, which is an achievement in and of itself. He was healthy throughout much of his elder years, though he was hospitalized a few times before his death. In 1998, a pre-written obituary was leaked by the Associated Press, which prompted a short, nationwide scare that a great had died. Hope lived until 2003, and died two months after his 100th birthday. True to his humor until his dying breath, the last thing he told his wife was, “Surprise me,” when she asked him where he wanted to be buried.
6. Paul Walker
Paul Walker is best known for his role in the Fast and Furious franchise. While the series of films began in the underground racing genre, it’s grown into an international spy thriller that no one ever saw coming. Even during its lulls, the Fast and Furious franchise was a commercial and critical success. It was what made Walker a household name, and why many fans were so devastated when he died in 2013.
As you can tell by watching his movies, Paul Walker was a gear-head. He was interested in fast cars, which would ultimately be his downfall. The car he crashed was a Porsche Carrera GT, a car that allegedly had multiple design flaws and eventually had to be recalled. Before he drove off, he told his associate, “We will be back in five minutes.”
5. Alfred Hitchcock
Alfred Hitchcock is considered to be one of the fathers of the psychological thriller genre. As a director, he blazed the path for many of the movies we’ve come to love today. Many of the themes and tropes he used in his films became the standard for the genre, and films like Psycho and The Birds can scare audiences as effectively as they did when they were released.
Before his death, Hitchcock was working on a collaboration with other directors on a spy thriller called The Short Night. The movie was never filmed, though it was published in a later biography of the directing great. Hitchcock’s health was cited as the reason the project was never completed. He was stuck in his home towards the end of his life, taking care of himself and his wife who had suffered a stroke. Hitchcock died on April 29, 1980 at the age of 80. His last words were fittingly bleak, “One never knows the ending. One has to die to know exactly what happens after death, although Catholics have their hopes.”
4. James Brown
The Godfather of Soul got his name for making some of the greatest hits of a generation. He brought the sound of soul to the mainstream audience and helped create a community out of people from all walks of life. Brown had a prolific music career and was active in his social advocacy. His music is just as good today as it was when it came out, which is a testament of how great of an artist he was.
James Brown fell ill in late December of 2006 as he was arriving at his dentist’s office for an implant. He went to the hospital upon the recommendation of his dentist, and remained hospitalized until Christmas of that year. James Brown died on Christmas Day in 2006 from complications of pneumonia. The last thing he said before he died was, “I’m going away tonight.” He was right about that.
3. Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley was one of the most famous entertainers in music history. He helped bridge the divide of listening audiences, and brought his style of music to the mainstream. His controversial style gave him added press, and his charisma had all of the ladies of the day swooning over him. He was nicknamed “The King” and for a good reason. There was no one at that time who could have challenged Elvis for the top spot.
Unfortunately, Elvis fell off in popularity as he aged. He was still an extremely popular musician, but wasn’t as much of a heartthrob as he had been in his heyday. He gained some weight and by all accounts, started using drugs more regularly. He died when he was only 42 years old. Many people attribute his untimely death to some sort of drug he was taking. His last words were, “I’m going to the bathroom to read.” He was found dead on the bathroom floor.
2. John Lennon
John Lennon was one of the most influential artists of all time. His music was widely regarded as some of the best that has ever been made, and his social advocacy was unparalleled. It’s quite a shame that the world lost such a great influence in a violent act like this. John Lennon was assassinated by Mark David Chapman in New York on December 8, 1980.
Chapman was a crazed fan of the Beatles, but he was also extremely religious. He felt that Lennon had betrayed God by saying that the Beatles were as big as Jesus, and meant to extract his revenge. Chapman waited for Lennon outside of his hotel in New York. When he saw Lennon approaching, Chapman asked if it was indeed Lennon. John Lennon confirmed his identity (the last thing he would ever do) and Chapman shot him.
1. Amy Winehouse
Amy Winehouse was like a shooting star in the music industry. She had an excellent voice and created songs with powerful lyrics and a moving tune. She came on to the scene in 2003, but was widely recognized as an international talent in 2006, with the release of popular singles and her Back to Black album. She had physically changed by the time her commercial success was realized, appearing much skinnier and admitting to her problems with eating disorders and addiction. She was admitted to the hospital for a drug overdose, but was unable to change the behavior that would ultimately lead to her death. Winehouse died of alcohol toxicity. Her physician saw her the night before her death, and claimed that Winehouse specifically told her that she didn’t want to die.