The 27 Club is often discussed, especially in musical and celebrity circles, or among those who enjoying following pop culture iconography, rumors, and legends. It’s a sad fact that far too many great artists died too soon through untimely tragedies or the consequences of bad habits. The question is, was there any way these stars could have turned things around?
Jimi Hendrix: Asphyxiation
Many members of the 27 Club died of complications due to drug or alcohol use. Legendary rocker Jimi Hendrix, the man who set his guitar on fire and sent his audience into frenzies, officially died due to asphyxiation. Put bluntly, Hendrix drank too much wine, took too many sleepy pills, passed out, and vomited. Because he was unconscious, he asphyxiated on the expulsion. That’s a horrible way to die, not in the least because it’s a preventable death. Unfortunately, in the middle of September in 1970, the world lost an innovative, soulful, and much-loved musician.
Kurt Cobain: Suicide
Still widely considered one of the leading pioneers of grunge, a troubadour of teenage angst, and a poetic prankster, Kurt Cobain didn’t stick around nearly long enough. The frontman of Nirvana had a history of drug use and depression. When added to the intensity of unexpected fame and a very turbulent relationship with wife Courtney Love, disaster was practically in the cards. Fans around the world mourned when, in 1994, Cobain took his own life.
Jonathan Brandis: Suicide
Not all the members of the 27 Club are musicians. Jonathan Brandis, a young actor with tremendous skill, was best known for roles in Stephen King’s IT, Ladybugs, and SeaQuest DSV. Falling prey to the curse that seems to follow many child stars, Brandis fell into a deep depression as his career fizzled during his adult years. He was so far off the radar that his 2003 suicide came as a surprise even to longtime fans.
Janis Joplin: Overdose
Well-known and well-loved for her soulful, rasping voice, tomboy attitude, and plaintive lyrics, Janis Joplin was the world’s unexpected darling in the 1960s. At the time of her death, she was doing well professionally, with a new album in the works. However, the singer had battled with alcohol and drugs for years, leading to a heroin overdose in October of 1970. Had those closest to her been better equipped to pinpoint and handle the signs of addiction, it’s possible that her last album would not have been a posthumous release.
Jim Morrison: Heart Failure
Jim Morrison’s death is controversial, mostly owing to the belief that he faked his own 1971 death. Alleged sightings pop up all the time, but the truth is simple and sad. The Lizard King, Mr. Mojo Rising, and Jim Morrison, all three passed away of heart failure in a bathtub in Paris. There was no autopsy, but many people wonder if the musician’s heroin addiction played a part in his demise.
Amy Winehouse: Alcohol Poisoning
Because Amy Winehouse only passed away in 2011, hers is a cautionary tale still in the forefront of pop culture. The amazing songstress had a tragically short but monumentally inspiring career. The rigors of instantaneous worldwide fame, coupled with limitless access to money led her on a downward spiral made worse by its over-saturated media coverage. It led to people placing bets on Winehouse’s sobriety and downfall instead of offering help. As a result, few felt surprised when art imitated life for the “Rehab” singer, who ultimately died from alcohol poisoning.
Brian Jones: Drowning
Despite getting kicked out of the Rolling Stones shortly before his death, Brian Jones is still missed among lovers of classic rock. His death is also surrounded by controversy. Drugs factored into the band’s decision to replace Jones, and many believe that his addictions had a part to play in his death. However, there are also controversies suggesting murder or suicide, and not accidental drowning.
However they died, it’s clear that these stars passed too soon—and drugs played a part in too many of their deaths. Do you know how to spot the signs of an addition in your loved ones?