Fans were shocked by the death of Dolores O’Riorden, former lead singer of the rock band The Cranberries last month, whom, pending toxicology reports, is widely believed to have died of an intentional overdose on January 15th. Celebrity Deaths 2017
There is no question that there has been a rash of celebrity deaths in the last two years, many related to mental illness, overdoses, and substance abuse.
Because most of these deaths were preventable, it makes them even more tragic. When someone who is so successful and loved commits suicide or engages in hardcore drug abuse, it should remind us all how fragile the human psyche can be.
Here’s a list of celebrities, many of which were musicians, who died in 2017 and lost their battle with mental illness or addiction.
Celebrity Deaths 2017: Chris Cornell
Chris Cornell was the frontman for the grunge-era rock band Soundgarden. He hung himself at age 52 on May 18th after battling a long-time addiction to prescription drugs. Indeed, seven different drugs were found in his system at the time of death. His wife believed he was not suicidal so much as influenced by the addiction.
Christopher Wong Won, a.k.a. Fresh Kid Ice
Fresh Kid Ice was an Asian rapper and co-founder of the influential hip-hop group 2 Live Crew. He died on July 13 at the age of 53. It was later revealed that he died from liver cirrhosis, likely as a result of years of heavy alcohol abuse.
On July 20, Link Park singer Chester Bennington, age 41, sadly ended his own life by hanging.
He had been public about his battles with addiction and depression, but his autopsy showed he had only a trace amount of alcohol in his system.
It appears that unlike his good friend Chris Cornell, he was not under the influence of drugs when he died, according to the medical examiner.
Musician Tom Petty who headed up the band Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers died on October 2 from an accidental overdose of multiple drugs, including benzodiazepines and fentanyl, both of which were found in his system. Eerily similar to his musical cohort the artist Prince who died in April 2016, he was reportedly suffering from excruciating hip pain.
Sean Hughes, an Irish comedian, writer, and actor, was only 51 when he died in October. He had liver cirrhosis and a long history of alcoholism and addiction, and was rushed to the hospital after suffering a cardiac arrest on October 19th.
Gustav Elijah “Gus” Åhr, aka Lil Peep
November was a particularly bad month for musicians. Rapper Lil Peep died on November 16 at just age 21 from an overdose. The medical examiner later revealed fentanyl, Xanax, cocaine, marijuana, and a myriad of opioids including oxycodone and hydrocodone were found in his system.
Those close to him did not believe the overdose to be intentional, but rather the result of his addictions. However, in the hours leading up to his death, he posted photos on Instagram claiming that he ingested multiple drugs. The last post stated “When I die, you’ll love me.”
Malcolm Young was a guitarist and co-founder of the rock group AC/DC. He died on November 18 at age 64. Those close to him said he had been battling dementia for the last three years.
While it isn’t clear if Malcolm’s dementia was related to his long battle with alcoholism, it is entirely possible. Research has linked heavy alcohol use to dementia later in life, and age 64 is most definitely young for someone to die of dementia. In fact, dementia most often occurs in people over age 65.
In mid-November teen heartthrob and star of the 1970’s sitcom, The Partridge Family, was hospitalized for liver and kidney failure (his cause of death was the former on November 21) and both complications were related to years of alcoholism.
He also suffered from dementia.
Of note, we also lost two huge stars near the very end of 2016. Carrie Fisher, author and actress most famous for her role as Princess Leia in Star Wars, died on December 23 at age 60 from cardiac arrest.
Later, the coroner later reported that she had a mixture of drugs in her system, including cocaine, methadone, other opioids, and alcohol. She had long been public with her battle with bipolar disorder and substance abuse.
George Michael was a popular British musician who rose to fame in the 1980’s with the pop group Wham! and later a solo artist. He died on Christmas Day, Dec. 25th. The coroner later reported that he suffered from heart disease and a fatty liver.
Although somewhat speculation, these are two conditions that may have were affected by long-term drug use and alcoholism, both of which he was reported to have suffered.
~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology, Author Of Celebrity Deaths 2017