15 Celebrities Who Committed Suicide
Death in Hollywood is nothing new. Every year at the Oscars, the Academy dedicates a memoriam segment looking at the stars of Hollywood who died the previous year. Like anyone else, Hollywood stars often struggle with their mental health. While ordinary people usually deal with their mental health in private, celebrity issues are often thrust into the spotlight where everyone can comment and pass judgment.
Many famous entertainers and artists struggle with depression and anxiety, and battle various addictions. Thankfully most get the help they need, but sometimes it comes too late and these famous people end up taking their own lives. From the shocking deaths of Robin Williams and Kurt Cobain to the recent loss of model Stephen Boss, the impact of celebrity suicides extends far beyond the entertainment industry.
In this article, we will detail some of the tragic suicides that have plagued Hollywood celebrities and the factors that contributed to these unnecessary deaths in hope of raising awareness and promoting mental health support for everyone.
1. Robin Williams
Robin Williams‘ legacy lives on in his critically acclaimed roles, such as Dead Poets Society, Good Will Hunting, and Mrs. Doubtfire. The 63-year-old actor and comedian tragically committed suicide on August 11, 2014, at his home in Paradise Cay, California. The coroner later ruled the suicide death from “asphyxia due to hanging.”
At the time of his death, Williams was struggling with severe depression, anxiety, and paranoia. The autopsy revealed Williams had Lewy body dementia, causing insomnia, delusions, and memory loss. Before his death, doctors misdiagnosed his illness as Parkinson’s. After his cremation, Williams’ family spread his ashes in the San Francisco Bay.
2. Marilyn Monroe
The iconic Marilyn Monroe is a Hollywood sex symbol that transcends time. Part of her continued fame is due to her heartbreaking suicide at the age of 36. Before her death, Monroe was struggling with depression, substance abuse, career setbacks, and relationship problems.
On the evening of August 4, 1962, Monroe likely committed suicide by overdosing on barbiturates as police discovered an empty bottle next to her body. While there are no signs of foul play, the coroner could only rule the cause as “probable suicide.” Despite the ruling, numerous debunked conspiracy theories suggest her death was an accident or murder involving either then-President John F. Kennedy, his brother Robert F. Kennedy, union leader Jimmy Hoffa, or mob boss Sam Giancana.
3. Kurt Cobain
Regarded as the voice of his generation, Kurt Cobain became world-famous as the lead singer of Nirvana. In the years leading up to his death, Cobain battled chronic depression and heroin addiction. He also felt an added strain from his tumultuous marriage to Courtney Love. The pressure from his newfound fame also added to his mental health issues.
On April 8, 1994, a VECA electric employee discovered Cobain’s body in his greenhouse in Seattle. Despite several conspiracy theories, investigators determined the 27-year-old legend committed suicide with a shotgun on April 5th. He had a visible gunshot wound to the head and a gun lying on his chest. Investigators also found a suicide note in a flower pot.
4. Sylvia Plath
In the 1960s, American poet Sylvia Plath helped usher in confessional poetry allowing the writer to describe taboo topics regarding trauma, mental health, and sexuality. Throughout Plath’s life, she struggled with severe depression and intense anxiety. Since her college years, she attempted suicide numerous times. Plath even took the drastic measure of undergoing electroconvulsive therapy to help with her mental illness.
Nothing seemed to work and as her depression and insomnia worsened, her doctor prescribed her antidepressants. On February 11, 1963, Plath sealed her kitchen with tape, towels, and clothes to protect her children. She then committed suicide at the age of 30 by putting her head in the oven. The official cause of death was suicide due to carbon monoxide poisoning.
5. Tunisha Sharma
The suicide of 20-year-old Indian actress Tunisha Sharma on December 24, 2022, sent shockwaves throughout the country. At the time of her death, she was starring in the series Ali Baba: Dastaan-E-Kabul with Sheezan Mohammed Khan. Reportedly, Sharma and Khan were in a romantic relationship, although Khan recently ended it.
Sharma committed suicide by hanging herself in Khan’s dressing room on the set of Ali Baba. Later, investigators arrested Khan for abetment to suicide after Sharma’s mother filed a suit. Sharma appears posthumously in her final role in 3 Monkeys.
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6. Anthony Bourdain
Celebrity chef and author Anthony Bourdain traveled the world embracing new cultures, enjoying the finest cuisine, and examining the human condition. Bourdain was also a recovering addict who suffered from depression, although that was not widely known. During the filming of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown season 12, the crew traveled to France. Sadly, Bourdain committed suicide on June 8, 2018, in his room at the Le Chambard Hotel at 61.
Bourdain’s friend and collaborator Éric Ripert became concerned when Bourdain failed to show up for dinner and breakfast. He found Bourdain hanging in his hotel. After cremation in France, his ashes returned to the United States.
7. Hana Kimura
Japanese joshi puroresu professional wrestler Hana Kimura was best known for her time with Stardom and Wrestle-1. The second-generation wrestler also appeared in Fuji Television and Netflix reality series Terrace House. After an incident in the series, Kimura began receiving death threats and endured relentless cyberbullying.
On the morning of May 23, 2020, fans and friends became concerned when Kimura shared hateful comments she received and posted images of self-harm on social media. Later that day, 22-year-old Kimura committed suicide by inhaling hydrogen sulfide. Several individuals who participated in the online abuse face legal charges and lawsuits from her family.
8. Jiah Khan
Bollywood actress Jiah Khan had a short career but left a lasting impression with roles in Ghajini, Nishabd, and Housefull. Shockingly, Khan died on June 3, 2013, at her parent’s home in Mumbai. They found the 25-year-old actress hanging from the ceiling fan in her bedroom.
Due to the circumstances, police ruled her death suicide by hanging. Khan’s mother disagrees, insisting that her daughter’s boyfriend, Sooraj Pancholi, killed Khan. Khan left behind a note that detailed Pancholi’s abusive nature. The case continues to work its way through the courts.
9. Kate Spade
In the 90s, fashion designer Kate Spade changed the industry with her groundbreaking line. She quickly became a household name through her various products. Kate was married to the brother of comedian David Spade, Andy. Her daughter is actress Rachel Brosnahan, who uses her mother’s maiden name.
Kate struggled with depression and anxiety for most of her life. A few months before her death, Kate and Andy separated. On June 5, 2018, Kate’s housekeeper discovered the 55-year-old hanging in her Manhattan apartment. She left behind a note for her daughter. Kate Spade stores paid tribute to the late owner with plans to release Kate’s unfinished work.
10. Chris Cornell
For much of his life, legendary musician Chris Cornell struggled with depression, anxiety, and isolation. He had a long and successful career as a member of Soundgarden and Audioslave, but despite his fame, Cornell battled with mental health issues every day.
After performing with Soundgarden at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, Michigan, Cornell took his own life at 52 in the bathroom of his MGM Grand hotel room. His bodyguard found him lying on the floor with an exercise band around his neck. Doctors pronounced him dead on May 18, 2017. Cornell’s heartbreaking death made headlines around the world and was another cautionary tale of depression and the devastating impact it can have on people.
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11. Goo Hara
South Korean singer Goo Hara gained fame as a member of Kara and later with a solo career. Sadly, the end of her life was full of pain and lawsuits. In 2018, Hara filed a lawsuit against her ex-boyfriend Choi Jong-Bum for sexual assault and for secretly filming her in a sexual act.
Once news of the video went public, Hara endured online bullying and harassment. On November 24, 2019, Hara committed suicide by hanging herself in her apartment. Her tragic death at 28 resulted in changes to South Korean laws involving secretly recording a sexual act and inheritance laws.
12. Stephen “Twitch” Boss
Hip-hop dancer and TV personality Stephen “Twitch” Boss gained widespread fame for appearing on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Disney’s Fairytale Wedding, and So You Think You Can Dance. It’s common for someone struggling with mental health to hide it from everyone.
For instance, Boss appeared to have high-functioning depression and dealt with his issues behind closed doors. Tragically, Boss committed suicide at the age of 40 by hanging on December 13, 2022.
13. Silk Smitha
Known for her sex appeal and mesmerizing eyes, Silk Smitha wowed Indian audiences with her incredible dance numbers in the 1980s. The 34-year-old actress stunned fans when she supposedly committed suicide by hanging in her hotel room on September 22, 1996.
Early that night, Silk called a friend to discuss an important matter. She had high levels of alcohol in her body, leading some to assume it was a suicide. She also left behind a note that authorities failed to decipher. While officers assume it was a suicide, her case remains a mystery.
In 2011, Swedish DJ Avicii rose to fame and began touring around the globe. Better known as Tim Bergling, he struggled with depression since childhood and started seeing a therapist at 14. He developed health issues related to excessive drinking. Bergling then became addicted to painkillers after surgery. Eventually, he decided to retire from touring in 2016.
The pressure to return to touring from fans and his management, along with hate mail, added to his fragile state. At 28, Bergling committed suicide in Muscat on April 20, 2018, by cutting himself with a broken piece of glass.
15. Guru Dutt
In Indian cinema, few directors compare with the legendary Guru Dutt. While he only completed eight Hindi films, each achieved widespread success or cult status. At the time of his death at age 39, Dutt and his wife had recently separated due to problems in the marriage. Additionally, he often drank and smoked heavily.
Dutt was found dead on October 10, 1964, in his bed in Mumbai. He appeared to mix sleeping pills with alcohol, but his children claim that was common. The coroner ruled his death as probable suicide, although it could have been an accidental overdose.
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