Seven Celebrities We Lost Too Soon to Substance Abuse

The sudden and tragic passing of Phillip Seymour Hoffman from a heroin overdose, provides a sobering view that no one is immune from the wrath of substance abuse. While everyday we all go through life pressures, celebrities are no different, except that their lives are under the glaring limelight for the whole world to see. Unfortunately sometimes that light is so intense that it burns the very thing it was intended to shine upon.

The Hollywood Machine

It is common knowledge that celebrities work hard and often times play harder. From the view outside, their world showcases the glitz and glamour that we all love to see; however, we are oblivious to the work and dedication it takes to maintain that appearance. For many actors and musicians the pressure of delivering a great performance can become so overbearing that the only means to cope is through substance abuse. Here are seven celebrities who we lost too soon to unfortunate substance abuse.

1. Michael Jackson

Seven Celebrities We Lost Too Soon to Substance Abuse

Died June 25, 2009 from an overdose of propofol with a combination of sedatives. By all accounts, Jackson was music royalty whose career spanned over 40 years. He influenced generations of celebrities, constantly raising the bar with his showmanship, creativity and musical talent. His innovative dance styles, musical compositions and song writing skills are the standards that many young performers try to duplicate. As a childhood star, he made the transition to solo performer that catapulted him into superstardom. Unfortunately, with fame came intense media scrutiny as well as legal troubles that at times overshadowed his talent.

2. Whitney Houston

Seven Celebrities We Lost Too Soon to Substance Abuse

Died February 11, 2012 from an accidental drowning, cocaine use and heart disease. Houston was a loving mother and devoted friend known for her generous spirit and often referred to as “The Voice”. She established the musical standard that most female artists strive for today. Her golden voice has sold countless albums and has been featured in various feature films. Houston had battled drugs and was involved in a volatile relationship. Prior to her death, she was poised to make a musical comeback.

3. Phillip Seymour Hoffman

Seven Celebrities We Lost Too Soon to Substance Abuse

Died February 2. 2014 from a heroin overdose. Hoffman was known in his community as regular guy that generally kept to himself. He was a talented actor that made his way up the acting ladder from notable supporting actor roles to becoming a well-respected lead actor. He had admitted in former interviews of having drug addictions, but from the outside it had appeared that he had conquered them for almost two decades. One may even wish his signs of abuse were more obvious, so that perhaps people could have talked him into rehab or even into trying natural withdrawal supplements.

4. Heath Ledger

Seven Celebrities We Lost Too Soon to Substance Abuse

Died January 22, 2008 of an accidental overdose of prescription medication that included oxycodone, hydrocodone, anti-anxiety medication and sedatives. Ledger, a talented actor, was known to completely submerge himself into his movie roles. Most that knew him regarded him as a kind-hearted man that loved life.

5. Jimi Hendrix

Seven Celebrities We Lost Too Soon to Substance Abuse

Died September 18, 1970 of a drug overdose shortly before his 27th birthday. Notably, Hendrix was one of the most famous musicians of his time. His body of work have influenced many guitarists such as Prince, Slash and countless more. One could wonder how much more of an impact on music history Hendrix could have had if not for his tragic passing.

6. Amy Winehouse

Seven Celebrities We Lost Too Soon to Substance Abuse

Died July 23, 2011 of accidental alcohol poisoning. In some circles the music of Winehouse was considered a blue-eyed soul. Her raspy, yet sultry voice ushered in an almost-forgotten style of music. She was an amazing talent whose hard living and substance abuse often mimicked her songs. Tragically, the same subject matter as her songs would eventually claim her life.

7. River Phoenix

Seven Celebrities We Lost Too Soon to Substance Abuse

Died October 31, 1993 from a heroin drug overdose. Phoenix could be viewed as a cautionary tale to the negative effects of fame at an early age. The promising actor passed away at the young age of 23, leaving many of us to wonder to what heights his talent could have taken him.

Although there are many celebrities that have left us, it always seems to hurt more when they are taken before their time. Perhaps from the outside looking in, we do not want to let go, or maybe we want more from them. In either case, these talented stars will live on through their works, as well as through the tragic means of their passing.

About the author: A recent college graduate from University of San Francisco, Anica loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.

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