For famous people, their entire life is constantly documented in movies, books, and social media. Everything they say can be found online for years to come. Then, when a celebrity dies, one of the most common things that people want to know is: what were their last words? This famous person who had so much to say in life, so what were the words they ended with? Last words seem to be a reflection of an entire life, or a summary of what a person believed.
We often look to a person’s last words for guidance, wisdom and reassurance. Sometimes, they provide us with just that, but other times, a person’s last words are completely unexpected and out if the blue. Here are the last words of 15 legendary celebrities—from Bob Marley to Michael Jackson and Elizabeth Taylor. Some of their words are profound, others are tragic. Let us know if any of them surprise you.
15. Leonard Nimoy – “A life is like a garden…”
Leonard Nimoy will forever be remembered as Mr. Spock, a character he played for years, on Star Trek. The actor’s massive fan base was saddened to hear of his passing at the age of 83, in February of 2015. He was diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), which he announced on Twitter the year before his death. The disease was caused by smoking, and Nimoy encouraged his fans to stop smoking. His final Tweet was, “A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP.” That’s deep. Oh, and for those of you that aren’t fans of Star Trek, the acronym at the end of the Tweet means “Live Long and Prosper,” his character’s catchphrase in Star Trek.
14. Amy Winehouse – “I don’t want to die.”
Amy Winehouse became famous with a song about her alcohol addiction, specifically about not wanting to go to rehab to get treated for it. It’s unfortunate that she refused the help she so desperately needed. In 2011, the talented singer was found dead, with two empty vodka bottles beside her. The cause of death was alcohol poisoning. Her doctor had seen her the night before and according to her, Amy’s last words were, “I don’t want to die.” Apparently, Amy had fallen into a pattern of abstaining from alcohol and returning to it. She had begun drinking again because she “was bored.” It’s really too bad that she didn’t put more of her energy into her music, because her time in the spotlight was definitely too short-lived.
13. George Harrison – “Love one another.”
George Harrison was the guitarist and the youngest member of the legendary music group, The Beatles. His battle with cancer began in 1997. He was diagnosed with throat cancer and blamed it on smoking. In 2001, he was being treated for lung cancer, but it had spread to his brain, leading to his death that same year. What were the last words of the Beatle known as “the quiet one”? Well, they were simply, “Love one another.” It totally makes sense that he said this because he embraced Hinduism and spirituality (even practicing meditation, going on a pilgrimage, and trying to live as peacefully as possible). These three words pretty much encompass the main teaching of most major religions. Yep, leave it to George to leave us with such simple, yet touching last words.
12. Bob Marley – “Money can’t buy life.”
Bob Marley is known as one of the greatest musicians of all time. The Jamaican singer popularized reggae music when he rose to fame in the 1970s. He left us with catchy, relaxing hits that can still be heard on the radio today. We will probably never get tired of hearing his songs, such as “Jamming,” “Three Little Birds” and “One Love.” If you pay close attention to his lyrics (which isn’t hard to do because they’re very clear), you’ll realize that this was a man who took pleasure in the little things and had a lot of simple, yet true advice to offer. Just go on social media and you’ll see thousands of people still reposting his meaningful and relatable quotes, decades after his death. It’s unfortunate that the star passed away at such a young age (he was only 36), after a four-year battle with cancer. His last words, spoken to his son Ziggy, are as simple and true as we’d expect. He said, “Money can’t buy life.” Now, he could have been talking about the adage, “Money can’t buy you happiness,” or he could have meant it more literally (he had a lot of money, but it couldn’t save him from death). Interpret it as you may.
11. Whitney Houston – “[Going] to see Jesus.”
Whitney Houston was propelled into stardom by her powerhouse voice. There are few people since Whitney that have matched or even came close to hitting the notes or perfect vibrato that she did. Despite being so talented, famous and successful in her career, Whitney had a tragic life. She had a controversial relationship with Bobby Brown, who she divorced in 2007. She admitted to being a drug addict, too. But, things seemed to be going well for the singer in 2007. Whitney was back in the studio, had a new movie coming out, and was scheduled to appear at a pre-Grammy party. However, she was found dead in a bathtub the day of the party. What was the cause of her death? It was accidental drowning, with cocaine use as a contributing factor. In the days leading up to her death, Whitney told her friends that she was going “to see Jesus.” Perhaps she knew (or even desired) what was going to happen to her.
10. Selena – “Yolanda, in room 158.”
Selena was a legendary Tejano singer, winning a Grammy in 1994 and dominating Billboard charts. Her trademark outfits (sparkly, midriff-baring tops paired with flared pants) were responsible for her often being referred to as a Tejano Madonna. Jennifer Lopez famously portrayed her in the movie, Selena. Unfortunately, this talented singer’s life was tragically cut short weeks before her 24th birthday, when she was shot in a motel. Her last words were, “Yolanda, in room 158,” revealing her killer. Yolanda Saldívar was the creator of Selena’s fan club. She had become close to the singer, and was signed on as her agent and manager of her boutiques. She had owed Selena money (tens of thousands of dollars) and when the singer confronted her about it, she made up excuses, even going so far as to say she was r*ped. After shooting the singer, Yolanda attempted to flee but was caught and is serving life in prison.
9. Marvin Gaye – “I made him do it.”
Marvin Gaye was known as the “Prince of Soul.” He pretty much defined the genre in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Even if you’re not an RnB or soul fan, you’re probably familiar with his songs, “Sexual Healing” and “Let’s Get It On.” This music legend’s life was tragically cut short, though. Like something straight out of a drama film, Marvin was killed one day before his birthday, by his own father. The story goes that an argument between the father and son had escalated and Marvin’s last words (to his mother) were, “Father hates me and I’m never coming back.” His dad grabbed a revolver (which Marvin had bought for him the previous Christmas) and fatally shot the singer. Marvin’s brother, who lived next door, wrote in a memoir that as he held his dying brother, he said, “I got what I wanted….I couldn’t do it myself, so I made him do it.” How sad.
8. Jimi Hendrix – “Until we meet again.”
Can you believe that Jimi Hendrix’s career only lasted four years, yet he’s had such a huge impact on music and is considered an icon? Seriously, many music fans still have a Hendrix t-shirt or poster (or would like to have one). It really speaks volumes about his talent and the mark he made in the world. The vibrant musician had his life cut short at the age of 27 (just one of many stars who died at that particular age) from a drug overdose and choking on his vomit. He was at a hotel in London and a note found beside his bedside table read, “The story of life is quicker than the blink of an eye. The story of love is hello and goodbye, until we meet again.” It’s interesting and very poetic. You can’t really be surprised that those words came from this legend. Some people believe that this shows that he knew he was about to die, but the coroner’s report had ruled out suicide as a possible cause of death, even though he had taken 18 times the amount of sleeping pills he was supposed to take. His last (written) words are actually in his song, “The Story of Life.”
7. Charlie Chaplin – “It belongs to Him.”
Today, movies are filled with witty dialogue, dramatic music, computer-animated creatures, and more. And even so, we’re constantly complaining that all the movies out in theaters are boring! So, there must have been something special about silent film actors (well, one of them, anyway) that made them so entertaining to watch. There’s hardly anyone that can make a silent film as entertaining as Charlie Chaplin. The star, with his trademark felt bob hat and toothbrush mustache, rose to fame in the early 1900s. But, for someone who was famous for being silent, his last words were pretty witty. Chaplin was 88 years old when he passed away from a stroke. It’s reported that his immediate family and a priest were at his bedside when as he was dying. The priest was reading him his rites and said, “May the Lord have mercy on your soul.” Chaplin replied, “Why not? After all, it belongs to Him.”
6. Walt Disney – “Kurt Russell.”
Walt Disney was a theme park and movie industry legend. He gave us the beloved character of Mickey Mouse and classics such as Bambi and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. He also gave us the “happiest place on Earth” (AKA Walt Disney World). With such a big imagination, you’re probably wondering what this famous animator’s last words were. Well, don’t get too excited; it’s probably not something that you’ll want to post on Instagram to inspire your followers. But, it is pretty interesting, regardless. There’s a popular rumor that Walt wrote the name, “Kirt Russell” (misspelling Kurt) on a piece of paper before he passed away. So, just who was this Kurt Russell he referred to? Well, he was a child actor that Disney had just signed on. In 2009, Kurt Russell appeared on television and confirmed that Walt did write his name down, but he had no idea why. It’s likely that Walt had Russell in mind for an upcoming movie project, though.
5. Steve Irwin – “I’m dying.”
Steve Irwin, also known as “The Crocodile Hunter,” entertained us all for years through his television series, The Crocodile Hunter. Through his enthusiasm, you could tell that this was, without a doubt, what this man was born to do. He cared about animals and wanted to protect them, resulting in the creation of many organizations, including the Steve Irwin Conservation Foundation. He also raised awareness of issues such as poaching. Steve Irwin lived his life doing what he loved, right until the end. In 2006, Steve was working on a documentary series called Ocean’s Deadliest at Batt Reef (off the coast of Queensland, Australia). He saw a stingray and approached it, so that he could film it as it swam away. He told his crew, “Don’t worry, they don’t usually swim backwards,” before the stingray had punctured Steve in his heart, causing him to bleed to death. His last words were reportedly, “I’m dying.”
4. David Bowie – “[Music] has been my doorway of perception…”
Many musicians are eccentric, but David Bowie arguably takes the cake. The “Space Oddity” singer led a quiet life, but never failed to entertain fans through his music videos and performances. In January 2016, the star passed away after battling liver cancer for 18 months. It’s reported that he struggled to speak towards the end of his life. Bowie said, “Music has given me over 40 years of extraordinary experiences. I can’t say that life’s pains or more tragic episodes have been diminished because of it, but it has allowed me so many moments of companionship when I have been lonely and sublime means of communications when I have wanted to touch people. It has been my doorway of perception and the house that I live in.” Those are the words of a true musician.
3. Michael Jackson – “Please give me some more.”
Michael Jackson is another music legend whose life ended unexpectedly. In 2009, he passed away from acute propofol (used to treat his insomnia) and benzodiazepine (a tranquilizer) intoxication. He had been preparing for a massive comeback performance. There was a lot of controversy surrounding his death. People wondered whether or not he was addicted to the drugs, if it was a suicide, or if his doctor was to blame. What were the music icon’s last words? He said to his doctor, “I’d like to have some milk. Please, please give me some more.” No, he wasn’t referring to regular milk; rather it was his nickname for propofol. In 2011, his doctor was sentenced to four years in prison for involuntary manslaughter (but was released after two years).
2. Elizabeth Taylor – “All you can do in this world is help others…”
Elizabeth Taylor had a life that rivals some of the best dramatic movies. She was an icon. Her piercing violet eyes, dark hair, and most importantly, acting talent, landed her huge movie roles. She went on to become one of the greatest actresses ever and was the first celebrity to have created her own fragrances (a trend that is all too common today among celebrities). Despite being born in the 1930s, Taylor kept up with the times. She was an active Twitter user! Her last Tweet mentioned someone who is also no stranger to the spotlight—Kim Kardashian. What could she have possibly said about Kim K? Well, the Tweet reads, “My interview in Bazaar with Kim Kardashian came out!!!” But, just for the fun of it, let’s look back at the Tweets before this one. They were actually quite profound. On July 22, 2010, Taylor Tweeted 10 times in one day. She wrote, “Hold your horses world. I’ve been hearing all kinds of rumors about someone being cast to play me in a film about Richard and myself.” That was followed by, “No one is going to play Elizabeth Taylor, but Elizabeth Taylor herself” and “Not at least until I’m dead, and at the moment I’m having too much fun being alive…and I plan on staying that way. Happiness to all.” Then she wrote, “I would like to add something to my earlier tweet. Always keep love and humility in your heart” along with, “Never let yourself think beyond your means… mental, emotional or any otherwise,” and “You are who you are. All you can do in this world is help others to be who they are and better themselves and those around them.”
1. Heath Ledger – “I’ll be fine!”
It’s safe to say that we were all shocked when we heard of Heath Ledger’s passing. We were all anticipating the actor’s portrayal as the Joker in The Dark Knight, when news broke that the actor died of a drug overdose in January 2008. The drugs in this case were all prescription medications, commonly used to treat insomnia, anxiety, or pain. The actor’s last conversation was a warning about mixing the medications. His sister told him, over the phone, “You can’t mix drugs that you don’t know anything about.” He replied, “Katie, Katie, I’ll be fine!” We all wish that his words were true, but sadly, the only things that movie fans have left of Heath are the movies in which he acted so amazingly well.