Top 10 Musicians Whose Deaths Spawned Conspiracy Theories

I find these fun and interesting, but for the exception of two maybe three of these listed, I don't really believe them.
The Top Ten
1 Kurt Cobain Kurt Cobain was born February 20, 1967, in Aberdeen, Washington. In 1987, he started the grunge band Nirvana, which became one of the most successful bands ever. He was a talented yet troubled grunge performer. Kurt Cobain became a rock legend in the 1990s with his band. He committed suicide at his... read more

Died April 5, 1994.

Official cause of death: Suicide by gunshot.

Many believe his wife, Courtney Love, orchestrated his murder to look like a suicide. The documentary "Soaked in Bleach" does raise some interesting questions. The letter under the pillow, the suicide note, and Kurt telling friends he was going to divorce Courtney all raise questions. Courtney's inconsistencies also make me raise an eyebrow. However, I'm still not 100% convinced. What I am pretty sure about, though, is that Courtney Love is, at times, lying about what really happened.

2 Michael Jackson Michael Jackson (Michael Joseph Jackson; August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009) was an American singer, dancer, and songwriter. He passed away from cardiac arrest caused by a propofol and benzodiazepine overdose on June 25, 2009. He donated (at least) a remarkable 500,000,000 dollars to charity. Michael... read more

Died June 25, 2009.

Official cause of death: Cardiac arrest induced by acute propofol and benzodiazepine intoxication.

Some believe (including some of his family members) that "they" murdered him. Who are "they"? Well, according to conspiracy theories, "they" are either AEG Entertainment, the "Illuminati," the Freemasons (Dr. Murray is a Freemason), or the CIA. Why? According to the conspiracy believers, he was going to expose some evil plot or plan that the "powers that be" are planning against humanity.

Note: I personally don't believe the Freemasons are "evil" or behind every conspiracy, as many believe.

3 Elvis Presley Elvis Aaron Presley (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977) was an American singer and actor. Dubbed the "King of Rock and Roll", he is regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century. His energized interpretations of songs and sexually provocative performance style, combined... read more

Died August 16, 1977.

Official cause of death: Cardiac arrhythmia.

There are people who believe Elvis faked his death and is still alive today. Multiple alleged sightings are reported every year. Now, this one I believe. I see Elvis every time I go to Vegas. He drives a big, pink, convertible Cadillac, likes to skydive, and sometimes disguises himself as an Asian or African man.

4 Jimi Hendrix Jimi Hendrix (born November 27, 1942 - September 18, 1970) was an American rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter.

Although his mainstream career spanned only four years, he is widely regarded as one of the most influential electric guitarists in the history of popular music, and one of the most... read more

Died: September 18, 1970

Official Cause of Death: Barbiturate overdose

The conspiracy surrounding his death is quite complex, with a lot of different stories and theories. Some say he was alive when he arrived at the hospital, while others claim he was dead when the paramedics arrived. There are also reports that he died at another location and was moved to where he was found. Various theories suggest that he overdosed on heroin, was murdered, or committed suicide.

The basis for some of the conspiracy theories is that he was murdered by forced drowning in red wine. According to the doctors who first examined Jimi, he choked to death on red wine, not on his own vomit as is commonly believed. When his body arrived at the hospital, it is said that they turned him on his side and red wine poured out of his mouth. The doctors also noted that his throat was filled with red wine. An autopsy report indicated that his stomach and lungs were also filled with red wine. Strangely, he had very little alcohol in his bloodstream.

The main suspects in these conspiracy theories range from the CIA to his manager, Michael Jeffrey, who at one time worked for MI6. Various theories exist as to why he might have been murdered.

Additional notes on the story include that the last person to be with Jimi, Monika Dannemann, has changed her account multiple times. She was scheduled to give an interview to "tell the true story of what really happened to Jimi," but she committed suicide before the interview could take place. Some people theorize that she was silenced.

The FBI and CIA did have extensive files on Jimi, and it's safe to say they were not fond of him.

Jimi discovered that his manager, Michael Jeffrey, had been stealing money from him and filed a lawsuit against him. Jimi died just a few days before Michael Jeffrey was due in court to respond to the lawsuit. Jeffrey also had a $2 million life insurance policy on Hendrix.

5 Bob Marley Robert Nesta "Bob" Marley was a Jamaican reggae singer, songwriter, musician, and guitarist who achieved international fame and acclaim.

Died May 11, 1981

Official cause of death: Metastatic skin cancer

Some believe the CIA killed Bob Marley. They think the CIA gave Bob Marley his cancer, though I'm not sure if that's even possible. There are a few theories about how they might have given it to him. The most popular one seems to involve a CIA agent gifting Bob a pair of soccer shoes, or sometimes boots, that had a "laced" copper wire inside. This wire reportedly pricked his big toe, leading to his aggressive cancer.

It is well-documented that the CIA saw Bob Marley as a threat.

What's particularly unusual is that a 36-year-old black man developing melanoma is very, very rare.

Another odd factor is that one of the doctors treating him for his cancer was an ex-Nazi physician using experimental and controversial treatments.

Bob Marley survived an assassination attempt in 1976.

6 Janis Joplin Janis Joplin (1943-1970) was an American singer who rose to fame as the main singer of acid band Big Brother and the Holding Company. She was known for her eccentric hippie style and psychedelic rock music.

Died October 4, 1970

Official cause of death: Heroin overdose

Some believe Janis Joplin was murdered. The first person to find Janis, who died in a hotel room, claimed that she had blood on her lips and in her mouth. Her face appeared purple and bruised, and her nose was broken. He also claimed that he found no drugs or drug paraphernalia in the room. The police on the scene also stated that no drugs or paraphernalia were found. However, they did note that she had 10 to 14 fresh needle marks on her left arm. Her friends claim she hadn't used drugs in months. There are also claims that on the night she died, she left a bar across the street from the hotel with an unknown person.

The presence of 10 to 14 fresh needle marks is indeed puzzling. It doesn't make sense to me. If all these claims are true, it sounds like someone might have beaten her and given her a "hot shot," which refers to someone administering a lethal dose, or doses, of heroin with the intent of murder.

7 Biggie Smalls Christopher George Latore Wallace, born May 21, 1972, better known by his stage name The Notorious B.I.G (sometimes Biggie Smalls or just simply Biggie), is an American rapper from Brooklyn, New York. On March 9, 1997, he was murdered in a drive by shooting in Los Angeles, California at the age of only... read more

Died March 9, 1997

Official cause of death: Homicide by gunshots

Many believe there is a blatant cover-up in his murder investigation. Some evidence points to an L.A.P.D. officer as the shooter. Unlike the Elvis text, I'm being serious here. I believe an L.A.P.D. officer (hired hitman) shot and killed Biggie. If you disagree, please look at the evidence before forming a firm belief.

8 Tupac Shakur Tupac Amaru Shakur, also known as 2Pac, was an American rapper and actor born on June 16, 1971 in East Harlem, New York. Tupac sold over 75 million records worldwide and has been referred to in multiple major publications such as Rolling Stone as one of the greatest music artists of all time. 2Pac was... read more

Died September 13, 1996

Official cause of death: Homicide by gunshots

Tupac is the modern generation's Elvis. Some believe he faked his death and will return. As with Elvis, multiple sightings have been reported. Another conspiracy theory associated with his death is that Suge Knight had Tupac killed because Tupac discovered that Suge (Death Row Records) owed him millions of dollars. Tupac was planning to leave Death Row Records and sue the company.

9 Chester Bennington Chester Charles Bennington (March 20th, 1976 - July 20th, 2017) was an American musician, singer, songwriter and actor, best known for being the lead singer of Linkin Park. Before he was known for Linkin Park, Bennington was the lead singer of post-grunge act Grey Daze who was heavily inspired by Stone... read more

Died July 20, 2017

Official cause of death: Suicide

Whoa. So yeah, I just found this out. Apparently, there's a theory that Chester was murdered because he and Chris Cornell had information on, and were planning to expose, an elitist pedophile ring.

I don't know much about this or about Chester, but I know there are many fans of his on this site. What do you guys think? Have you heard about this before? Is there anything to this theory? Because I can't really find any substance to support it.

10 XXXTentacion Jahseh Dwayne Onfroy (January 23, 1998 - June 18, 2018), known professionally as XXXTentacion, and often referred to as X, was an American rapper, singer, songwriter, and criminal.
The Contenders
11 Robert Johnson Robert Leroy Johnson was an American blues singer-songwriter and musician. His landmark recordings in 1936 and 1937 display a combination of singing, guitar skills, and songwriting talent that has influenced later generations of musicians... read more
12 John Lennon John Winston Ono Lennon, MBE (9 October 1940 - 8 December 1980) was an English singer and songwriter who rose to worldwide fame as a co-founder of the Beatles, the most commercially successful band in the history of popular music. He was assassinated by Mark David Chapman on December 8, 1980 at age... read more

Died December 8, 1980

Official cause of death: Homicide by gunshot

This one is, well, okay, here we go. Some people believe his assassin was a victim of the MK Ultra mind control program, orchestrated by the C.I.A., to kill Lennon for his anti-war views and his role in the peace movement.

I know it's a fact that MK Ultra was (or is?) real, but this theory has no substance. It's all speculation. And anyway, if the government wanted to kill him for his influence on the anti-war and peace movements, why would they wait until 1980? Wouldn't they have done it in the 1960s, at the height of the peace movement?

13 Paul McCartney Sir James Paul McCartney (born 18 June 1942) is an English singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and composer. With John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, he gained worldwide fame with the rock band the Beatles, one of the most popular and influential groups in the history of pop and rock... read more
14 Jim Morrison James Douglas "Jim" Morrison was an American singer, songwriter, and poet best remembered as the lead singer of the Doors.
15 Coolio Artis Leon Ivey Jr. (August 1, 1963 - September 28, 2022), known professionally as Coolio, was an American musician, rapper, chef, actor, and record producer. Coolio achieved mainstream success in the mid to late 1990s with his albums It Takes a Thief, Gangsta's Paradise, and My Soul.
16 Chris Cornell Christopher John "Chris" Cornell was an American rock musician and singer-songwriter, best known as the lead vocalist, primary songwriter and rhythm guitarist for Seattle rock band Soundgarden and as former lead vocalist and songwriter for the supergroup Audioslave. His vocal range was C2 to A5, while... read more
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