Top Ten Saddest Musician Deaths


The ten saddest deaths of any musician. Any death in the music world, besides old age, can be added. Be sure to add the band, if the artists name isn't in the band name. Don't agree with the list? Vote for an existing item you think should be ranked higher or if you are a logged in, add a new item for others to vote on or create your own version of this list.

The Top Ten

Hideto Matsumoto (X-Japan)
An absolutely stunning lyricist, a great guitarist, and such a vibrant appearance and attitude -- a person who could be wild and crazy on stage, but logical and kind off of it. 14 years after his death, he continues to have and to gain fans and inspire many.

It's entirely possible he could have been seen as a worldwide legend like many others on this list if his life hadn't been cut short or if more of the world had been more open-minded about Asian musicians back in the 1980s/1990s.
I think it's enough to say that after almost 15 years that he passed away, (December 13, 1964 - May 2, 1998) people still mourn his death, and people who know him recently, wish that he was still alive. And even after all this time, his legacy and the love of all his fans remains.
Miss you so much.
Fight! Fight!
X japan thailand fans.


[Newest]I cried too many nights for him... He was so young and talented. His death was a terrible shock :(
I believe he's watching us from the heaven.

2Kurt Cobain (Nirvana)
If Cobain had lived another ten years, we wouldn't have to listen to nickelback or lil wayne. Think about that


I was born in 1999 so I wasn't around when he was but I still look up to him and although he is dead now his story and his music will never die there are other great bands out right now that were inspired by nirvana and they are all great bands. Kurt Cobain will always be one of my favorite musicians.
KuRt Cobain was the best singer at that time and would have been a legend if he had the chance to live. I have full evidence that his wife killed him with various technics. But it is not possible for me to case a file that is old. But in after life, there will be judgement.
[Newest]If he lived we would not have to listen to Justin Bieber Miley Cyrus

3John Lennon (The Beatles)
John Lennon's death was by far the most tragic. He was shot out of the clear blur sky when he was going home to see his son. That is beyond sad. John Lennon was a true musician. He touched people with his honest lyrics that inspired everyone to think. Imagine if John Lennon was still alive, the world would be a better place.
It s really horrible to rank who's death was the most tragic but lennon's pointless murder and the fact that he literally changed the world and only wanted peace makes it the saddest. Mickeal jackson's death wasn't as tragic because his whole life was tragic I mourn the pain he went through since he was a kid. Freddy is tragic because he was a legend and he died from aids horribly. Jim morrison is second because he was my idol.
John Lennon didn't die of a drug overdose. He didn't commit suicide. He was ready to go. He was shot. And he had so much more going for him. He was recording Double Fantasy. And he was so excited about it. He went home early instead of going out to eat so he could go tuck Sean into bed and see him before he fell asleep. And instead he was shot in the back and he died. So no musician death is more saddening than John Lennon's. Because he had so much more to share with us. Happy Birthday John I miss you terribly.
I'm fairly certain he had finished Double Fantasy, but I agree with the sentiment of your post.


[Newest]Why did that guy shoot him?! He did not do anything wrong. there are some bad people out there.

4Michael Jackson
His death was truly tragic, but come on. Don't go calling people stupid just because they miss Kurt Cobain or John Lennon more, anonymous commenter.
A legend has gone
This should have been number one this is by far the most saddest death in history I was shocked when I heard theat michael jackson died and I'm only 11 years old
That's a shame for real
[Newest]Michael jackson wasn't that popular when he died. It also isn't something that lots of people still talk about like Freddy mercury.

5Freddie Mercury
4%?! This guy was THE most influential singer of the 80s, and his death was as shocking as anything to the public world. Who knows how many more classics Queen could have created if he never died? This is a tragedy of THE greatest characters and showman in music history.
Whoever did not cry at the announcement of his death has no heart. I was so sad when I first found out. My brother told me since I was born too late.
He is the best there is at what he does. So glad Queen won the lifetime music achievement award at 2010. This is a great musician. He had A.I.D.S.R.I. P Freddy Mercury. My number one. Forever. (weeps uncontrollably)
[Newest]I was born 9 years after his death and I'm still sad. He was the best singer in history if he had not died, he sure would create many more amazing creations

Brains, charisma and super talented. Tupac may be remembered as a gangsta rapper but in reality he was a renaissance man. Not only involved in music but he was an up and coming actor who was also planning on releasing a book of poetry before his untimely passing. A true legend taken from us before his time. May you forever Rest In Peace Mr Tupac Amaru Shakur
He is the best we will ever have. There will never be any greater.R.I.P. tupac Shakur. You will be forever loved and missed.
Whoever did this will eventually pay. R. I. P.


[Newest]A true community man

7Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan
He was an extremely talented drummer! This wasn't his only talent, though - he was an exceptional songwriter, too! He wrote the masterpiece known as "A Little Piece of Heaven, " my favorite song by A7X and basically of all time. Oh Jimmy... Why'd you have to go? Sadly it happens to the best of us... Not garbage like Nicki Minaj and Pitbull! )'=
Jimmy truly was talent. He was so skilled in so many different interments. He was the writer of most of Avenged Sevenfolds songs. He even had his own band before A7X pinkly smooth.
Jimmy "The Reverend" Sullivan was and will always be the best drummer. I don't know why he is ranked 5th, Paul Gray is 10th, and Kurt Cobain is 2nd all three of these guys should be at the top of the list. Also Cliff Burton should be up there as well.

8Bon Scott
he was the greatest singer for acdc he was the one that made them famous in the first place and now he can't see there success now. RIP bon scott


Bon Scott is an absolute legend. He didn't deserve to die so young. Ride On, Bon!
Ride On, Bon and Rock In Peace!
[Newest]Rest in peace mate

9Cliff Burton (Metallica)
In my opinion he had the worst death because he got crushed by his own tour bus! R.I. P
Improved every album. Just imagine how insane he would be at the time of Death Magnetic. Instead of a Kirk solo every song, they would have 4 Cliff solos per song. Also never got to see Metallica earn a Diamond Album. So much in thrash could have changed if it weren't for his death.
burton was taken way too soon man, in the prime of his career and when metallica was just getting really popular.


[Newest]He died because of Kirk giving up his bed to Cliff. If Kirk was there, there would be no great solo from One.

10Layne Staley (Alice in Chains)
As sad as I am and how I wish that he's still here, I'm just thankful a local god descended this earth to touch our hearts and change our lives and the music world forever. For fans, we just see the amazing, funny, intense and great personality he has. At his best, he was very happy so that's a comfort. He lived life the way he wanted and saw it - no pretense and no compromise. He was so blatantly honest and real that his music and lyrics reflected it. No amount of money, fame and success that these "musicians" have nowadays will ever equal to the kind of life Layne has attained in his short but very significant life he lived. R.I.P. layne, we will love you forever...
Layne Staley was and still is the voice of my generation. He had one of the most incredible voices. The world lost a great talent 9 1/2 years ago. Sadly his cause of death has overshadowed his talent, maybe someday they will give him the credit he is due. Hopefully others will find his music and enjoy the gifts he gave us so long ago. RIP Layne - You are missed...
Layne Staley had the most beautiful power voice God ever gave a human. I can only imagine the music he would still be making if was still here with us. Thankfully we have what we do have of him. Will always be my favorite musician. Thank You Layne!

The Contenders

11Paul Gray (Slipknot)
Paul grey was and is an inspiration, he will be deeply missed and remembered for many years to come. He was a good piece of the backbone of slipknot and from what I've heard an amazing friend and band
Mate. He lives on in the music and in the hearts of the fans.R.I.P to the coolest guy in a pig mask to ever play drums.
Seriously? How is paul not on the list? He was one of the best musicians ever. I do not know how he is not on the list.

12Jimi Hendrix
Jimi should be in the top 2, with John Lennon. Only 27 years old, he is without question the greatest guitarist that ever lived. He only lived to produce 3 albums (Are You Experienced? , Axis: Bold as Love, Electric Ladyland) and those albums are considered some of the greatest albums in popular music history, as well as having a tremendous influence on what rock would become. Imagine if he lived.
Guitar genius, The Guitar God, achieved so much success in a short career of just 4-5 years!
Others take it a lifetime to achieve!
He was only 27 when he died. Imagine what other music he could of done and icon he would have been
[Newest]Unique guitarist left handed

It's just so sad! She was young and naive and trusted everyone! It's how she died that made me sad. I also saw a video of how she might be in Hell. I couldn't even watch the whole thing. It said not to listen to her music, because then she'll get tortured more. I'm 12 years old, but I don't want to listen to her music. Not that I don't like it. But I want to respect her. We'll miss you Selena.
She was going to be more famous than Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Eminem, Tupac, Selena Gomez, ane Justin Bieber combined! She was also going to be a great role model, but unfortunately, her death came to be. We miss and love you Selena!
So young, so talented, and at the beginning of her super stardom and career, she is murdered by a family friend?!?! Doesn't get sadder.


14Steve Clark
After his death the leppard's never sound good as it was with him.

15Whitney Houston
Sad. She was an amazing singer, a great role model, an astounding, great person, and one of the greatest musicians of all time. She wasn't just a singer, she was a mother. She raised a child. She is amazing. WHY DID SHE HAVE TO DIE! :(
Whitney's voice can't miss her the best singer she is interesting people in history and her pure voice in the song makes the song beautiful and it she needs to die because she is retiring in music


She had one of the best voices of all times and I was so sad when she died, I just couldn't believe we lost such a big and unique voice.
[Newest]I will always love her music!

16Randy Rhoads
Like Robert Johnson and Buddy Holly who died before him, Randy Died far too young. whilst many musicians on this list died with numerous albums under their belts, Randy died producing very little for the industry. What Randy made during his time with Ozzy was brilliant, but Imagine what he could've done afterwards. He wanted to go to university to play classical guitar, imagine the albums he could make. The guy was brilliant and did not deserve to die. Bon Scott and Freddie Mercury had done a lot for the industry and whilst their deaths were sad, I feel Randy's death is sadder because of not only his age, but how much of an impact he made with his short time with us, when he had so much more in him. Rest in peace to all those mentioned on this list.
Even with such a short career he is still considered one of the greatest guitarists of all time. He was very much ahead of his time with a unique neo-classical guitar style. One can now only imagine what he could've achieved musically with a career that lasted decades instead of mere years.


One of the flashiest metal guitarists ever. Made music entertaining, always will be a legend

17Jim Morrison (The Doors)
Jim Morrison of the Doors
He had amazing lyrical ability and sadly died of a heroin overdose. He was one of the most famous people from the 27 club, including Curt Kobain.R.I.P. all dead musicians.
Well he actually isn't dead... He's alive at a farm in Oregon where he raises horses obviously
Hated his own voice

18Dimebag Darrell
R.I. P brother dime, you didn't deserve it
We all Miss you Dimebag. R.I. P The greatest man of all time.
The saddest death in history, No more pantera and even if there was it wouldn't be the same without you dime R.I. P Dime, you didn't diserve it
[Newest]Dimebag was murdered on stage this is shocking
R.I.P Darrell (1966 - 2004)

19Keith Moon (The Who)
Man! The Who wouldn't have broken up by then!
A real good drummer but no gene krupa

20George Harrison
If The Beatles hadn't become famous, they'd all be alive. George wouldn't have gotten cancer because he wouldn't have smoked pot, and I don't need to explain John. That thought alone is sad.


Come on guys, this was the saddest death ever! His last words were love one another!
I still think he should have been knighted as he had done so much for charity and world music recognition.
[Newest]Not a good guitarist average

21John Bonham (Led Zeppelin)
Come on! his death signaled the end of led zeppelin's career! how is that not sad?


He was amazing just wish he was around a bit longer like amazing guy he will be missed by many


I always wonder what zeppelin would have achieved if he was still alive..
[Newest]Led Zeppelins music was satanic

22Brian Jones (The Rolling Stones)

23Jeff Buckley
1 album, no artist that great should only get the chance for a single album. And yet the quality on that album - that is what makes it the saddest, he could have done so much more with his life. His death was such a throw away moment too, swum into the river and then a few minutes later he was gone - not a death worthy of this brilliant musician, no depression, no struggle, no point to it. Just another sad accident.
The best vocalist ever, cut down in his prime. So so sad!


24The Notorious B.I.G.
God please give us back biggie and we'll give you back JB, lady gaga, lil wayne, and katy perry I mean come on god you can't turn that down you get 4 people for the price of one
Why the hell isn't this higher!

25Big L
Such a talented rapper, to get gunned down in a revenge act just before you sign a major record deal is just the worst case of luck I've ever heard. R.I. P

26Bob Marley
Song of the millenium

27Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley death was the saddest in music the man who became the king of rock and all different kinds of music and did a lot of movies threw the 60s and a U. S veteran Elvis was my hero and I miss him

28Johnny Cash
Just watch the music video for hurt. Tragic...

29Brad Nowell (Sublime)
Incredibly talented, brilliant writer, skilled guitarist and great vocalist. Very versatile musician. Throw on Sublime at any party and hard to beat the mood. Tragic loss, cut too short.
Greatest musician. Life cut short just as he makes it big time. How is he not higher?
Of he wouldn't have died. The music world would be totally different

30Mitchell Adam Lucker (Suicide Silence)
One of the most tragic deaths in metal history. We miss you Mitch. R.I.P.
This guy should be in the top 10 he is an inspiration to everyone who likes the band and should be shown a lot of reapect for what he did for people
Definitely one of the most tragic events in deathcore history - something people won't shut up about..

Aaliyah ' s Death Shocked The World Including me

I Cried Because She's Been A Role Model To Me And Inspired Others

She Was Only 22 When She Died R.I. P To Ms. Aaliyah Haughton
She was truly an amazing artist as well as an individual! Very beautiful and talented. She had the whole package singing, acting, and just being real 24/7.
Rest in peace to Aaliyah and all of the other people that also died in the airplane crash. She was the best and allways will be. WE LOVE YOU BABY GIRL!

32Chuck Schuldiner
He is the one who shows us the right way and what human really is. He is a philosopher, take a look of his songs. What the hell is wrong with you guys? What the hell Tupac is doing on the list?


The only one listed who pioneered a genre and gave birth to two others. In 50 years he may be the most influential to musicians than any other listed.
What in the name of hell I am seeing? Chuck schuldiner was not even there on the list!? Man we have got retards out here. Come on "people who died in the bermuda triangle"? Chuck was the pioneer of death metal. He died of brain cancer and he needed only $70,000 for his treatment which is way less than the amount required for maintaing jennifer lopez's a**. The whole metal community was saddened by his death. I respect many musicians on this list like kurt cobain and cliff burton but chuck's death was something which saddened me a lot. A good musician, a great visionary and of course a good human being. Rest in peace chuck

33Hillel Slovak
Original guitarist from RHCP got beat by heroin


Formed the greatest band of all time!
If he was dead a year later, he would join the group of 27
Why conldn't he survive just 1 year?
He is one of the greatest greatest of that time.

34Ian Curtis
Love, love will tear us apart again, and it did
Such a depressing life, I bet he's looking down down on new order and happy to see how far they got.
He had the saddest eyes ever

35Tose Proeski
Saddest death I've ever heard and right at the start of his stardom can't believe he's gone such a brilliant mind

36Amy Winehouse
Amazing singer and songwriter. Superb vocal and lyrical quality, really one of a kind. She reinvented the Motown and Soul sounds, bringing refreshing, new, innovative music. Her tragic passing in summer of 2011 just marked the beginning of the tremendous legacy Ms. Winehouse would live behind. Until this very day, she has inspired a thousand of musicians, especially female singer and songwriters, to pursue originality and uniqueness in their music. She is best known for her songs: "Rehab, " "Back To Black, " "You Known I'm No Good, " "Tears Dry On Their Own, " "Just Friends, " "Valerie, " "In My Bed, " "Stronger Than Me, " "F*** Me Pumps, " and "Take The Box. "
She's in the 27 club. My favorite song by her is "Stronger Than Me".
I can't believe she died like that on the day I got her album...


37Hank Williams
He was one of the greatest country music stars ever.

38Izumi Sakai
she had a cervical cancer and she fell to the stairs that caused her death. many people will always remember her name


very great woman, leader of japanese band zard and she is too young to go away


39Ronnie Van Zant
Southern Man needed him around at all

40Francis Magalona
He is the filipino's rap king...

41Stevie Ray Vaughan
SRV's death is just so tragic. After fighting for years against and his alcohol and drug abuse, he finally becomes clean. Then a year later, he dies in a helicopter accident :'(
I love blues and stevie ray vaughan I think was the most legendary guitarist of the genre

R.I.P stevie
Very great blues player

42Munetaka Higuchi

43Ritchie Valens
I honestly think Ritchie should be higher on this list. He was only 17 when he died he could have the chance to change the history of music and the sad part is his fifth was determine by the flip of a coin

44Ronnie James Dio
R.I. P Dio he was one of the best vocalists ever and invented the heavy metal devil horns we miss you Dio rock on m/
How is he not in the top ten?!?! One of the greatest vocalists ever!
45? Excuse me? He is the metal god

45Michael Hutchence
He was an amazing musician very sad
Lead singer of INXS
We miss you, man. ;(


46Warren Zevon
One of the most underrated artists ever

47Laura Branigan

48Buddy Holly
His death was so sad it shocked everyone, and, although many of us were not alive at the time of his death, including me, we've ALL heard the songs that were based off his death, like American Pie.


Holly would of been a definite force in the music industry. Should be near the top of untimely music deaths
He did a lot in his 2 years in music industry!... More than the rolling stones in their 50 yr career! Even influenced The Beatles

49Lisa Left Eye Lopes

50Duane Allman
I cry a little inside knowing how he would have gotten even better at guitar had he not crashed his motorcycle into that truck.R.I.P. skydog.

51Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
The most talented musician of all time, who died broke and worthless.

52Clive Burr (Iron Maiden)
The saddest drummer death since jimmy

53Sid Vicious

54Marvin Gaye
So sad that his own father shot him. R.I. P in music heaven
Best Motown act with tammy terrel 2 tragic deaths

55Brad Delp
One of the greatest lead singers in the history of rock music. He could sing anything & everything. His was one only rivaled by Freddie Mercury & Steve Perry. How can you insult music like this?!

56Chi Cheng (Deftones)
Chi suffered for 5 years being in a tragic car accident in 2008 which landed him in a coma. He eventually woke up, and we put all our hope that Chi would make it back home and recover safely, which he did for a little while. Then, completely out of nowhere, he dies. He died a very under appreciated rock/metal bassist. We miss you Chi.

57Karen Carpenter
How to die from not eating

58Laura Nyro

59Judee Sill

60Ingo Schwichtenberg
The best drummer ever... So sad that he died, he had a very hard end of life... I'd really like to see he play live, but that's not possible anymore :'(. So underrated drummer. Ingo Fly Free.
I wish he was still around to see how well helloween is doing, he was a good drummer.



62Janis Joplin
Another member of the 27 club.

63Marc Bolan

64Nick Drake
Well, the reason this is a tragic story is because he was singing his music because he liked to. Then he was a bit shy, so people didn't appreciate his live performance. Failing at what he did pushed him on a second album. That didn't do well either. So he was going broke, he started to think that leaving his English major for music was his biggest mistake. Then he pushed forth to write his last album. No one wanting to work within and his depression left him alone in his album. Pink Moon is a beautiful album. It looks at the world in a point of view as if third person and narrator. He narrates how beautiful the world is with all it's mornings, but he speaks of a man going through his eternal dawn. His voice is soft but chilling. His ghost haunts his music.
Yeah he mixes his pills and sleeps forever. Never getting to see how well his albums established a drakian culture

65Jeff Hanneman
Jeff wrote some of the best riffs in metal history, and is an inspiration and influence to millions. Reign in peace!

66Pete Steele

67Tom Evans

68Jerry Garcia
66 really? Death don't have no mercy!

69Charlie Rich

70Joe Strummer

71Brian Connolly
An awesome voice. Brian Connolly is the best member of The Sweet.

72Joey Ramone

73Syd Barrett

74Tiny Tim

75Cass Elliott
She died of a heart attack, not from choking.

76Tim Buckley

77Tim Hardin


79Sky Saxon

80Allen Woody

81Etta James

82Andrew Wood

83Magik (Piotr Ɓuszcz)

84Dickie Pride
Poor guy, in 1959 he showed promise as a successful musician but this cruel world broke him. He had to get a lobotomy in 1967 just to stop him from hurting himself. He died almost penniless in 1969 from drug overdose. He was only 27. What's more his only son didn't make it off any better and killed himself by jumping of a bridge only a few years ago.

85Stuart Sutcliffe
This forgotten fifth Beatle almost made it big in his music career, art career and his love life but an aneurysm took him away at just 21 in 1962. John Lennon, his best friend was devastated and would bother him for the rest of his life because he believed that he was somewhat responsible for his death.

86Glenn Miller
Great arranger along with nelson riddle

87Russ Columbo

88Louis Chauvin

89Elliott Smith

90Mieszko Talarczyk

91Johnny Ramone

92Dee Dee Ramone

93Patsy Cline

94Lou Reed

95Richie Havens

96Jeff Porcaro

97Levon Helm

98Mariska Veres


100Pete Ham

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This list was created 6 years, 56 days ago and has been voted on over 3,000 times. This top ten list contains 113 items, has been remixed 6 times and has been blogged about 1 times.

Updated Monday, April 27, 2015

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