Tuesday, January 29, 2013


A lot of celebrities have died at age 27:

  • Pope John XII; Patrician of Rome and Pope; 964; cause unknown
  • William Lane “Master Juba”; American dancer and entertainer; 1852; cause unknown
  • Joseph Merrick “The Elephant Man”; English sideshow performer and celebrity; 1890; dislocation of the spine
  • Alexandre Levy; composer, pianist and conductor; 1892; cause unknown
  • Louis Chauvin; ragtime musician; 1908; neurosyphilitic sclerosis
  • Rupert Brooke; English poet, known for his idealistic war sonnets written during the First World War; 1915; sepsis from mosquito bite
  • Henry Moseley; English physicist; 1915; killed in action
  • Robert Johnson; blues singer and musician who recorded a very famous and influential set of 29 songs; 1938; cause unknown but probably strychnine poisoning
  • Ghazi of Iraq; king of Iraq; 1939; suspicious car accident
  • Nat Jaffe; swing jazz pianist; 1945; complications from high blood pressure
  • Jesse Belvin; R&B singer, pianist and songwriter; 1960; car accident
  • Rudy Lewis; vocalist of The Drifters; 1964; drug overdose
  • Malcolm Hale; original member and lead guitarist of Spanky and Our Gang; 1968; carbon monoxide poisoning 
  • Dickie Pride; rock and roll singer; 1969; overdose of sleeping pills
  • Brian Jones; Rolling Stones founder, guitarist and multi-instrumentalist; 1969; drowned
  • Alan "Blind Owl" Wilson; leader, singer and primary composer of Canned Heat; 1970; barbiturate overdose, possible suicide
  • Jimi Hendrix: pioneering electric guitarist, singer and songwriter for The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Band of Gypsys: 1970: drug overdose, although there are allegations of murder
  • Janis Joplin; lead vocalist and songwriter for Big Brother and the Holding Company, The Kozmic Blues Band and Full Tilt Boogie Band; 1970; probable heroin overdose
  • Arlester "Dyke" Christian; frontman, vocalist and bassist of Dyke & the Blazers; 1971; murdered
  • Jim Morrison; lead singer, lyricist and video director for The Doors, and poet; 1971; reported as heart failure
  • Linda Jones; soul singer; 1972; complications from diabetes
  • Leslie Harvey;  guitarist for Stone the Crows; 1972, electrocution
  • Ron "Pigpen" McKernan; Founding member, keyboardist and singer of the Grateful Dead; 1973, gastrointestinal hemorrhage associated with alcoholism
  • Roger Lee Durham; singer and percussionist of Bloodstone; 1973; fell off a horse and died from the injuries
  • Wallace Yohn; organ player of Chase; 1974; plane crash
  • Dave Alexander; bassist for the Stooges; 1975; pulmonary edema
  • Pete Ham;  keyboardist and guitarist, leader of Badfinger; 1975; suicide by hanging
  • Gary Thain; former bassist of Uriah Heep and The Keef Hartley Band; 1975; heroin overdose
  • Cecilia; singer; 1976; car accident
  • Helmut Köllen; bassist for 1970s prog rock band Triumvirat; 1977; carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Chris Bell; Singer-songwriter and guitarist of power pop band Big Star and solo; 1978; car accident
  • Jacob Miller; reggae artist and lead singer for Inner Circle; 1980; car accident
  • Bobby Sands;  Irish Republican Army volunteer, prison hunger striker and member of the UK parliament; 1981; starvation
  •  D. Boon; guitarist, lead singer of punk band the Minutemen; 1985; van accident
  • Alexander Bashlachev; poet, rock musician and songwriter; 1988; Fall from a height, probable suicide
  • Jean-Michel Basquiat; painter and graffiti artist; formed the band Gray; 1988; Speedball overdose
  • Pete de Freitas; drummer for Echo & the Bunnymen; 1989; motorcycle accident
  • Steve Olin; American baseball player; 1993; boating accident
  • Mia Zapata;  Lead singer of The Gits; 1993; murdered
  • Kurt Cobain; founding member, lead singer, guitarist and songwriter for Nirvana, 1994,  suicide by gunshot
  • Kristen Pfaff; Bass guitarist for Hole and Janitor Joe; 1994; heroin overdose
  • Andrés Escobar Saldarriaga; Colombian soccer player; 1994; murder
  • Richey Edwards; lyricist and guitarist for Manic Street Preachers; 1995; disappeared; officially presumed dead
  • Richey James Edwards; American spree killer; 1997; suicide
  • Fat Pat; rapper and member of Screwed Up Click; 1998; murdered
  • Freaky Tah;  rapper and member of the hip hop group Lost Boyz; 1999; murdered
  • Rodrigo Bueno;  cuarteto singer; 2000; car accident
  • Sean Patrick McCabe; lead singer of Ink & Dagger; 2000; Asphyxiation
  • Maria Serrano Serrano; background singer for Passion Fruit; 2001, plane crash
  • Jeremy Michael Ward; The Mars Volta and De Facto sound manipulator; 2003; heroin overdose
  • Jonathan Brandis; American actor, director, and screenwriter; 2003; from injuries he suffered after he hanged himself
  • Pat Tillman; American football player and soldier; 2004; gunshot from friendly fire
  • Lea De Mae; Czech athlete, model and pornographic actress; 2004; brain cancer
  • Bryan Ottoson; Guitarist for American Head Charge; 2005; prescription drug overdose
  • Valentín Elizalde; Mexican banda singer; 2006; murdered
  • Dash Snow; New York artist; 2009; drug overdose
  • Amy Winehouse, singer-songwriter; first British woman to win five Grammy Awards in single ceremony, 2011, alcohol poisoning
  • Richard Turner; Trumpet player, collaborator with Friendly Fires; 2011; cardiac arrest


  1. Are you saying that an unexpectedly large number of celebrities have died at age 27? I mean, with the number of celebrities through history (and a sufficiently loose definition of "celebrity," I would be surpruised if there weren't a lot who died at 27. I'll bet there have also been a lot who died at 28. And at 29. Of course, I'm not willing to put in the time to research it...

  2. I'm also not willing to put in the time. There is a general feeling that a disproportional number die at 27.



    (there are a bunch more, but these are probably enough)

  3. From your first link:

    "However, a study published in the British Medical Journal in December 2011 concluded that there was no increase in the risk of death for musicians at the age of 27. Although the sampled musicians faced an increased risk of death in their 20s and 30s, this was not limited to the age of 27."