An estimated 17 to 30 per cent of people who commit suicide leave behind a last note. The crazy thing is a lot of the notes are often insightful. Even the world’s most famous people suffer from isolation and lack coping skills. Who knew? We assume fame and fortune brings about self-esteem or a sense of purpose in life.
"Suicide is a symptom of an uncaring society... The suicide is the victim of conditions which we cannot tolerate [...] which overwhelm him, for which there is no recourse... I have been in a suicidal mood myself today for perhaps the first time in my life, so I have personal empathy...” - Jim Jones
An uncaring society? As it turns out, even the people we show the most love and devotion to still suffer from depression. Famous people have their dark sides. They battle substance abuse, mental disorders, and everything common to the human experience. It could also be the lack of social support, erratic moods swings of depression, disappointment and failure.
Unfortunately, life is hard for all people. It's like putting a giant weight on someone’s shoulders. And no one except Superman can carry the weight of an 18-wheeler truck on their back. Everyone is susceptible to crumbling under pressure. It’s interesting to see the last thoughts of some of the world’s greatest people. And it definitely shows you their vulnerable side - the side away from the cameras and the glamorous lifestyles. The inevitable shadow side we all hide.
Here are 10 Chilling Celeb Suicide Notes You Didn't Know Existed.
10 Marilyn Monroe’s Last Words
Marilyn Monroe's drug addiction had become severe. Makeup was “applied while she was still asleep under the influence.” Her films were gaining bad reviews. She spent four weeks in the hospital for depression. Colleagues described her as unprofessional. Her mood swings were unpredictable. And she was overdosing on barbiturates.
Monroe died in her bedroom in 1962. A “probable suicide” was declared by the coroner. Three empty medicine bottles lay next to her bed. Her last words were, “Say goodbye to Pat, say goodbye to the president, and say goodbye to yourself, because you’re a nice guy.”
A note written to one of Monroe’s mentors: "I still am lost [...] everything is pulling against my concentration […] My will is weak […] I sound crazy, but I think I'm going crazy […] I get before a camera and my concentration and everything I'm trying to learn leaves me. Then I feel like I'm not existing in the human race at all."
9 Adolf Hitler’s Last Words
All German forces Adolf Hitler depended on to rescue Berlin were under submission. Only 40 hours before, Hitler and Eva Braun tied the knot. After having lunch, Hitler and Eva said their farewells. A gunshot rang out. Hitler shot himself with his own pistol. Eva died of cyanide poisoning. The day before, Hitler left behind both a political and personal testament.
“I die with a happy heart, aware of the immeasurable deeds and achievements of our soldiers […] our women at home, the achievements […] unique in history, of our youth who bear my name.”
The last lines of Hitler's personal testament: "I myself and my wife - in order to escape the disgrace of deposition or capitulation - choose death. It is our wish to be burnt immediately on the spot where I have carried out the greatest part of my daily work in the course of a twelve years' service to my people."
8 Kurt Cobain's Last Words
Born in Aberdeen, Washington in 1967, Kurt Cobain grew to fame with the band Nirvana in the 1990s. His music inspired a generation of grunge music enthusiasts. The singer and songwriter reportedly had issues with ADHD and battled bipolar disorder. This coupled with excessive drug and alcohol abuse compounded his problems.
Before he shot himself to death, leaving his child Frances Bean Cobain fatherless and Courtney Love a widow, Cobain left a suicide note. "Frances and Courtney, I'll be at your altar. Please keep going Courtney, for Frances for her life will be so much happier without me. I LOVE YOU. I LOVE YOU," he wrote.
He was 27.
7 Hunter S. Thompson’s Last Words
Known worldwide for “Hell’s Angels” (1965). Thompson spent a year living and riding with the Angels as part of a journalism project, becoming a counter-culture figure in the 1970s. A major advocate of “New Journalism” he's best known for “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.” He once ran for sheriff and had a lifelong affiliation with Rolling Stone magazine. Alcoholism, drug addiction, and firearms ruled his life.
"No More Games. No More Bombs. No More Walking. No More Fun. No More Swimming. 67. That is 17 years past 50. 17 more than I needed or wanted. Boring. I am always b*tchy. No Fun — for anybody. 67. You are getting Greedy. Act your (old) age. Relax — This won't hurt."
6 Vincent Van Gogh’s Last Words
In 1889, Van Gogh requested confinement in an asylum. During this time he ventured between extreme mood swings, demonstrating modern-day bipolar disorder. He began creating some of his most famous works, including “Starry Night.” On July 27th, 1890, Van Gogh left the inn he was staying at, and did not return at his regular time. He finally arrived during the night, holding his stomach, coughing up the words, “I tried to kill myself” and “the sadness will last forever.”
Van Gogh left a note to his brother Theo, three days before his death.
“... my own work, I am risking my life for it and my reason has half foundered because of it--that's all right--but you are not among the dealers in men as far as I know, and you can still choose your side, I think, acting with humanity, but que veux-tu (what do you want)?”
5 Kevin Carter’s Last Words
Kevin Carter took this famous photograph while freelancing for the “Bang Bang Club.” He was one of four photographers active during the break down of South Africa’s apartheid system. Soon after, he received the Pulitzer Prize. “I can’t wait to show you the trophy […] the highest acknowledgement of my work I could receive,” he wrote his parents.
Eliane Laffont said, “…girls were falling for him, and everybody wanted to hear what he had to say.” Months later, he poisoned his body with carbon monoxide near a river he visited as a child.
His last note: “… sorry. The pain of life overrides the joy to the point that joy does not exist... depressed ... without phone ... money for rent ... money for child support ... money for debts ... money!!! ... I am haunted by the vivid memories of killings and corpses and anger and pain ... of starving or wounded children, of trigger-happy madmen, often police, of killer executioners…”
4 Robert Budd Dwyer’s Last Words
R. Budd Dwyer was an American politician. Serving the state of Pennsylvania from 1971 to 1987, as senator and treasurer. In 1986, Dwyer was caught receiving a bribe. He maintained his innocence, insisting it was a setup. Facing 55 years in prison, he called a press conference the day before his sentencing.
"I've repeatedly said that I'm not going to resign as State Treasurer […] I ask those that believe in me to continue to extend friendship and prayer to my family, to work untiringly for the creation of a true justice system here in the United States […] Joanne, Rob, DeeDee - I love you! Thank you for making my life so happy. Good bye to you all…”
After telling the squeamish to leave the room, he turned a .357 magnum revolver to his head and fired. Later, William T. Smith admitted to lying under oath about Dwyer taking a bribe.
3 Ian Curtis’s Last Words
Ian Curtis of Joy Division was only 23 when he died. “He had three personas he was trying to juggle […] married-man persona […] the laddish [bro-ish] side [..] [and the] literary side,” says Peter Hook, author of “Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division.” “He was actually, most of the time, acting quite normal.”
During autumn 1979, Ian was suffering epileptic seizures and blackouts onstage. Things worsened before Joy Division’s first American tour. The band’s schedule was more demanding and Ian's marriage was sinking. One evening, while staying at his parent's house, Ian was alone without company. That night Curtis hanged himself. His wife found his body the next morning. She later claimed Curtis had no wish to live past his 20s. According to Hook, there were two notes left: one of Ian’s notes allegedly read, "At this moment I wish I were dead. I just can't cope anymore.”
2 Elliott Smith’s Last Words
Elliott Smith was an American singer/songwriter, proficient on many instruments and was graced with a vocal style described as “whispery.” Around 2001, he became paranoid. He suspected a white van was following him everywhere. He wouldn't eat and he'd go days without sleep.
And around this time, Smith threatened to take his own life. Wanting his record label to release him from contract, he was smoking enormous amounts of heroin and crack everyday. He tried to overdose many times.
On May 2, 2002, he played one of his worst shows ever. People named it “one of the worst performances ever by a musician.” And a “nightmare.” Glorious Noise magazine speculated he would be “dead within a year.” But he gave up many of his addictions the year of his death. Written on a post-it note: "I'm so sorry—love, Elliott. God forgive me.” The official autopsy left open homicide as a possibility.
1 Virginia Woolf’s Last Words
Virginia Woolf was a prominent “modernist” writer. Her most famous novel, “Mr. Dalloway,” gained entry into a TIME magazine “100 Best” list. But since childhood, she suffered severe bipolar disorder, possibly influenced by sexual abuse from her half-brothers. After completing her last manuscript, World War II had come. Her home fell during a bombing raid and she fell into depression. On March 28, 1941, Woolf filled her overcoat with stones and walked into the River Ouse. She drowned there, at the age of 59.
Her last note to her husband read, “…I feel certain that I am going mad again […] I shan't recover this time. I begin to hear voices, and I can't concentrate. So I am doing what seems the best thing to do. […] You see I can't even write this properly [...] What I want to say is I owe all the happiness of my life to you…”