Robin Williams – Age 63
Beloved actor and Oscar winner Robin Williams ended his life in August 2014 by hanging himself with a belt at his home in Paradise Cay, California. It was revealed after William’s death by asphyxiation that the actor had been struggling with Lewy body dementia – which may have been misdiagnosed as Parkinson’s disease – a long history of depression, and a “recent increase in paranoia.” Doctors believe that Williams’ Lewy body dementia “was the critical factor” that resulted in his suicide. The iconic actor’s ashes were scattered in San Francisco Bay.
Marilyn Monroe – Age 36
This iconic bombshell died from a probable suicide by taking an overdose of barbiturates, with those close to her saying she was prone to “severe fears and frequent depressions,” as well as “abrupt and unpredictable mood changes.” Despite the verdict from the coroner, there are many conspiracy theorists who suggest that the powerful sex symbol was actually murdered or overdosed accidentally. Even President John F. Kennedy didn’t believe she committed the unfortunate act on her own terms! She certainly was gone much too soon.
Kurt Cobain – Age 27
The famed frontman of American rock band Nirvana died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in April 1994 at the young age of 27. Cobain had struggled with drug addiction and depression and had fled to a detox center in Los Angles before flying home to Seattle where he took his own life. Before his untimely death, Courtney Love (Cobain’s wife) hired a private investigator to search for her husband after he’d gone missing from the recovery center. Just a few days later, his body was discovered inside his home alongside a note he had written to his imaginary childhood friend “Boddah,” stating he no longer “felt the excitement of listening to as well as creating music, along with really writing… for too many years now.”
Mindy McCready – Age 37
Country star Mindy McCready took her life in February 2013 at her home in Heber Springs, Arkansas by means of a self-inflicted gunshot to the head. The 37-year-old mother of two had been in and out of rehab for years and attempted suicide twice before, once in 2005 and another time in 2008. McCready fired the gun on her porch, the same place where her former boyfriend and youngest son’s father, David Wilson, fatally shot himself a month earlier. Just days before her untimely death, McCready received court papers proposing that her sons live with her mother instead. Perhaps she just couldn’t take any more devastating news.
Jonathan Brandis – Age 27
The NeverEnding Story II and seaQuest DSV star took his life by hanging himself in November 2003. Brandis, who was 27 at the time, was discovered in the hallway of his LA apartment building by friends. The young star was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, but died the following day from the injuries he sustained. Though he didn’t leave a suicide note, his friends stated he was depressed that his career was spiraling downwards. One even admitted that he took up heavy drinking and intended to end his short life.
Sawyer Sweeten – Age 19
Child actor Sawyer Sweeten, known for his role as Geoffrey Barone on the hit show Everybody Loves Raymond, took his life in April 2015. The 19-year-old died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Sources closest to Sweeten say that the young star was tormented by money troubles, his diminishing career, and bullying over rumors regarding his sexuality. His on-screen family members, and obviously his real family and friends, were left with broken hearts.
Jovan Belcher – Age 25
In December 2012, Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher shot his longtime girlfriend Kasandra Perkins nine times in front of his mother before driving to the Chiefs’ practice facility where he shot and killed himself in front of his coach and general manager. Just before Belcher shot himself, he said, “I wasn’t able to get enough help.” An autopsy found that he was suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), caused by repeated head trauma while playing American football that results in memory loss, aggression, confusion, and depression. The killings also orphaned Belcher’s 3-month-old baby daughter, Zoey.
Alexander McQueen – Age 40
Famous British fashion designer and couturier Alexander McQueen took his life in February 2010, just nine days after his mother passed away from cancer at the age of 75. McQueen committed the horrific act by ingesting a cocktail of cocaine, sleeping pills, and tranquilizers before hanging himself with his favorite brown belt. David LaChapelle, a friend of McQueen, said he “was doing a lot of drugs and was very unhappy” during the days leading up to his death. A memorial was held for the famed designer in September 2010, with stars like Kate Moss, Sarah Jessica Parker, Lady Gaga, and Anna Wintour in attendance to show their love, support, and respect.
Lucy Gordon – Age 28
This British actress and model who starred in films including Serendipity, Spider-Man 3, and The Four Feathers was found hanging in her Paris apartment by cinematographer Jérôme Alméras, with whom she shared the flat with, in May 2009. Gordon left behind two suicide notes, one with details regarding her last wishes for her estate and another for her parents. Gordon wrote out her will the day before her untimely death, splitting her estate between her parents, sister, friends, and Alméras.
Johnny Lewis – Age 28
Johnny Lewis, best known for his role as Kip “Half-Sack” Epps on the hit television show Sons of Anarchy, died in September 2012 by either jumping or falling from the roof, garage, or patio of his 81-year-old landlord’s home. It was reported that Lewis had climbed up onto the roof after killing his landlord, Catherine Davis, and her pet cat. Lewis’ family later spoke out about his history of untreated head trauma, saying that his condition could have led to a psychological disorder and was the potential cause of his sudden spurts of violence. Though drugs weren’t found in his system following an autopsy, Lewis did have a history of drug abuse that may have led to drug-induced psychosis.
Gia Allemand – Age 29
American actress, Maxim model, and The Bachelor contestant Gia Allemand attempted to take her life in August 2013 by hanging herself with a vacuum cord. Allemand was found and admitted to University Hospital in New Orleans where she was declared brain dead and removed from life support two days later. The 29-year-old star was dating NBA player Ryan Anderson of the New Orleans Pelicans at the time. Anderson admitted he and Allemand had been arguing through lunch before her death when she voiced her concerns that he had been unfaithful to her. That same night, he told her he no longer loved her.
Dana Plato – Age 34
Dana Plato, notable for playing Kimberly Drummond on the hit sitcom Diff’rent Strokes, took her life in May 1999 with an intentional overdose of Lortab, a painkiller, and Soma, a muscle-relaxant. The day before her death, the 34-year-old actress made an appearance on The Howard Stern Show where she discussed her financial problems and past run-ins with the law. She also admitted to having recovered from drug and alcohol abuse, though she claimed she was sober for over 10 years at the time. Perhaps those painkillers, given to her after she had some teeth extracted, should have been monitored more closely.
Chris Benoit – Age 40
Professional wrestler Chris Benoit, considered one of the greatest wrestlers in the world, committed suicide in June 2007 by hanging himself after a three-day period in which he murdered his wife, Nancy, and his 7-year-old son, Daniel. It was later revealed that the professional wrestler had suffered severe brain damage over the years and had a brain that resembled one of an 85-year-old Alzheimer’s patient. He also had an advanced form of dementia, which can contribute to severe behavioral problems. Benoit’s father suggests his son’s brain damage was the leading cause of the horrific murder-suicide.
L’Wren Scott – Age 49
This fashion designer, stylist, and longtime girlfriend of Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger hanged herself in her Manhattan apartment with a scarf in March 2014. Scott was reportedly suffering from a long period of depression. Mick Jagger was shocked, writing on his Facebook page the following: “I am still struggling to understand how my lover and best friend could end her life in this tragic way.” In the weeks following Scott’s sudden death, both her Banana Republic collection and high-end line at Barneys were in high demand and sold out.
Junior Seau – Age 43
Junior Seau, 10-time All-Pro, 12-time Pro Bowl selection, and one of the NFL’s greatest linebackers, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest at his home in Oceanside, California in May 2012. Though he never left a suicide note, the football star left behind a scribbled note in his kitchen with lyrics from his favorite country song, “Who I Ain’t.” The song, co-written by one of his friends – Jamie Paulin – is about a man who regretted the person he became. Though some speculated that Seau suffered brain damage, there were no apparent signs found in his autopsy report. But in 2013, a report released by his family from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke showed findings of definitive signs of CTE, a condition traced to concussion-related brain damage.
Misty Upham – Age 32
Native American actress Misty Upham, best known for her role in the 2008 film Frozen River, went missing in October 2014 after she left her sister’s apartment on foot. Nearly two weeks later, Upham was found dead at the bottom of a cliff in a wooded area by a small search party her family and others had organized. A medical examiner determined she died from blunt-force injuries to her head and torso. After her initial disappearance, Upham’s family had announced their concern for Misty, citing her past mental health problems.
Ernest Hemingway – Age 61
This great American novelist, short story writer, and journalist took his life by shooting himself in the head with his favorite shotgun. But his wife, Mary, initially claimed he shot himself accidentally while cleaning the dangerous weapon. In an interview five years later, she admitted he had committed suicide. Hemingway had suffered from depression and alcoholism throughout his life and had been hospitalized three months earlier due to a previous attempt to take his own life. Medical records also confirmed that he had been diagnosed with hemochromatosis, a genetic disease that culminates in mental and physical deterioration.
Hunter S. Thompson – Age 67
Hunter S. Thompson, a journalist, author, and founder of the gonzo journalism movement, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head at his home in Woody Creek, Colorado in February 2005. Thompson was on the phone with his wife when he took his life. He also left a suicide note, titled “Football Season is Over,” which read the following: “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 bit***. No Fun — for anybody. 67. You are getting Greedy. Act your (old) age. Relax — This won’t hurt.”
Simone Battle – Age 25
This American actress, singer, member of the pop girl group G.R.L., and The X Factor finalist took her life in September 2014 by hanging herself in her California home. A spokesperson for the 25-year-old star said she had suffered from depression due to financial issues. Her untimely death shook the hearts of her family, friends, fans, and fellow entertainers. Many, including Simon Cowell, Pitbull, Nicole Scherzinger, and the others from G.R.L., paid tribute to Battle via social media. Hashtags regarding her death trended on Twitter across the globe.
Vincent Van Gogh – Age 37
Dutch Post-Impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh ended his life in July 1890 with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest. The famous painter actually walked himself back to the Auberge Ravoux where he spent his last 70 days, though doctors in attendance couldn’t remove the bullet without a surgeon. Left alone in his room to smoke his pipe with his brother soon at his side, Van Gogh passed away not long after his body began to fail him. The painter had been struggling for years with severe depression and was later diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, temporal lobe epilepsy, and acute intermittent porphyria.
Christine Chubbuck – Age 29
American television news reporter Christine Chubbuck shot herself in the head during a live broadcast in July 1974 after struggling with years of depression. Chubbuck covered the news as usual before announcing to the audience, “In keeping with Channel 40’s policy of bringing you the latest in ‘blood and guts,’ and in living color, you are going to see another first – attempted suicide.” The broadcast rapidly switched to black immediately following the tragic incident. She was pronounced dead 14 hours later at Sarasota Memorial Hospital.