Famous people don’t have the easiest of lives, despite the trappings that their success may bring. Many have the paid the price for their reckless lifestyles, whilst others had to battle terminal illnesses. They’re only human after all and, as with us all, one day or another death will come knocking on our door.
Here are 20 photos of celebrities taken shortly before their deaths, some of which show just how frail these legendary talents had become…
1. Freddie Mercury who passed away at 45
In order to guard his privacy, Freddie Mercury wisely didn’t admit to having AIDS until the end of his life. It was in 1991 that he announced that he’d contracted bronchopneumonia as a result of his illness.
2. Steve Jobs who passed away at 56
Steve Jobs died at home from pancreatic cancer, surrounded by friends and family. According to his sister, his final words were “Oh wow! Oh wow! Oh wow!”
3. Heath Ledger who passed away at 28
Shortly before his death, Heath Ledger was photographed smiling on the set of The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. He passed away a few days later due to accidental intoxication from prescription drugs. Autopsy results revealed he had taken sleeping pills and anti-depressants amongst other substances.
4. Mohammed Ali who passed away at 74
Mohammed Ali’s most challenging fight was his 30-year battle against Parkinson’s Disease. In June 2016 he was admitted to hospital due to pulmonary problems. The next day, doctors announced that he’d died from septic shock unrelated to his Parkinson’s Disease.
5. Chester Bennington who passed away at 41
It was no secret that the Linkin Park front man was collaborating with the rapper Watsky on a project that appeared to inspire them both. 4 days after this photo was taken, Bennington committed suicide in his apartment, after years of battling depression.
6. Kurt Cobain who passed away at 27
Photographer Jesse Frohman took this shot in 1994, a few days before the Nirvana front man committed suicide. Kurt Cobain took a large dose of heroin before shooting himself in the head, although fans still debate the actual cause of his death.
7. Bob Marley who passed away at 36 This is the last published photo of the legendary Bob Marley – a waif-like figure who weighed under 80lbs. Marley had been diagnosed with malignant melanoma (skin cancer) a few years’ earlier and on May 11th 1981 he finally succumbed to the disease.
8. Mark Twain who passed away at 74
Mark Twain (real name Samuel Clemens) was famous for his classic work ‘The Adventures of Tom Sawyer’ as well as for his depressive episodes. This photo was taken 10 days before his death. Twain was also known for his wicked sense of humor and would amuse himself by sending anonymous letters to his entourage. A year before he died, he declared that he’d come to Earth on Halley’s Comet in 1835 and was hoping to leave with the comet upon its return in 1910. He added that he would be extremely disappointed if he couldn’t hitch a ride back with this cosmic visitor: a spine-tingling premonition as Twain did indeed pass away in 1910, after suffering a heart attack.
9. John Lennon who passed away at 40
This photo is particularly disturbing, as John Lennon’s signing an autograph for Mark Chapman, the man who 4 hours later assassinated the legendary musician.
10. Mahatma Gandhi who passed away at 78
Mahatma Gandhi fought for peace throughout his life, inspiring both rich and poor in the process. John Lennon, for example, was a huge admirer of Gandhi. It was when he went to pray one day that Nathuram Vinayak shot him in the chest.
11. Jim Morrison who passed away at 27
Here’s Jim Morrison on vacation with friends in Saint-Leu-d’Esserent. This photo was taken during the day, but a few hours’ later the singer was found dead in his bathroom after suffering a heroin-induced heart attack.
12. Amy Winehouse who passed away at 27
This photo shows Amy Winehouse walking down a London street, a week before her death. On July 23rd 2011, she was found dead at her home. Toxicology reports said that she had died from alcohol poisoning and had more than 5 times the drink limit in her system.
13. Jimi Hendrix who also passed away 27
This photo was taken by Hendrix’s girlfriend the day before he died. On September 18th 1970, he was found dead in a London hotel room. Hendrix had swallowed 9 sleeping pills and died from choking on his own vomit.
14. Albert Einstein who passed away at 76
Here’s a photo of the legendary scientist taken shortly before his death. He passed away in April 1955 at Princeton, the cause of death being an aneurismal rupture.
15. David Bowie who passed away at 69
Here’s Bowie 3 days before his death. The British musician passed away on January 10th 2016, after a long battle against liver cancer.
16. Tupac Shakur who passed away at 25
Here’s the last known photo of Tupac Shakur, sitting next to his manager, Suge Knight. On September 13th 1996, he was killed in a drive-by shooting.
17. Vladimir Lenin who passed away at 53
This 1923 photo shows Lenin with his sister and doctor. By the time this final photo was taken, Lenin could no longer talk.
18. Elvis Presley who passed away at 42
Here’s the King returning home on August 16th 1977, after a routine visit to his dentist. That night, Presley suffered a heart attack and died.
19. James Dean who passed away at 24
This is the last known photo of James Dean – at a gas station 9 days before he passed away. The iconic actor died in a car accident.
20. Robin Williams who passed away at 63
Williams shared this photo on his birthday, 20 days before he died. A few days later, he posted a second photo to wish his daughter ‘Happy Birthday’ – two weeks before he passed away..
Robin Williams suffered from Lewy body dementia, a condition that prevented him from living a ‘normal’ life. His subsequent depression and increasing paranoia meant he no longer wanted to be a burden on his family and our favorite funny man finally decided to take his own life.