Top 10 Saddest Musician Deaths

Here are the ten saddest deaths in the music world. Any death in the music industry can be considered.
The Top Ten
1 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

John Lennon didn't die of a drug overdose or commit suicide. He wasn't ready to go. He was shot. He had so much more going for him. He was recording Double Fantasy and was excited about it. He went home early instead of going out to eat so he could tuck Sean into bed and see him before he fell asleep. Instead, he was shot in the back and died.

So, no musician's death is more saddening than John Lennon's. He had so much more to share with us. Happy Birthday, John. I miss you terribly.

It's really horrible to rank whose 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.

Michael 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. Freddie's death is tragic because he was a legend and he died from AIDS horribly. Jim Morrison is second because he was my idol.

2 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

In Utero is one of the saddest, most disturbing, and powerful albums ever produced. Nirvana was one of the greatest and most influential bands of all time, but losing Kurt, a man who dealt with depression and sadness nearly his whole life, was devastating. With the exception of a few stars like Jeff Buckley and Ian Curtis, the majority went out peacefully and with less pain. Kurt Cobain died at his lowest point, and it's a death that will be felt for years to come.

I learned many things about him recently, and I think his suicide is very sad. Nirvana is a very good group. He killed himself because he hated being popular with Nirvana, but I think they would eventually have quit, and Dave would have started the Foo Fighters (a group I like very much) anyway. He said he was ugly, but I think he's quite cute.

3 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

Everyone remembers where they were when they heard this horrible, tragic news. Michael Jackson's music touched the entire world. I had never heard of the Beatles (or John Lennon for that matter) until I stepped foot here in the U.S. I didn't even know he was dead. White America and Europe mourned John Lennon's death while the entire world mourned Michael Jackson's.

May he rest in peace. I'll always miss him and his ever-unique style and music.

The only artist that I shed tears for. I sometimes think about him and his life. Even though the way he died was not as horrible as that of other singers like John Lennon, his death hurts more because of the things some people said about him when he was still alive. It was all just so wrong. MJ was the sweetest person ever and he worked for peace. Michael will forever be in my heart. He lived a life that is just different in a good way.

4 Freddie Mercury Freddie Mercury (born Farrokh Bulsara, 5th September 1946 - 24th November 1991) was a Zanzibari-born British singer of Indian descent, songwriter and record producer, known as the lead vocalist and songwriter of the British rock band Queen. He also became known for his flamboyant stage persona and four-octave... read more

Freddie really, truly was one of a kind. Kurt Cobain's death was tragic too. Kurt actually mentioned Freddie in his suicide note. Think how much different music would be right now if Freddie were still alive. All this bullcrap that goes on all the time. Freddie would have changed everything.

P.S. Freddie was not gay. He was bisexual. His main female love was Mary Austin. He wrote a song about her called Love of My Life.

He was the most creative, unique, and influential singer to ever sing. I cry many times when I hear Love of My Life because it saddens me to see the talent we lost. If I had a time machine, I would go back in time and pray for him to be healed. He has inspired so much of my singing, stage persona, and songwriting. I hope he is in heaven.

5 Hideto Matsumoto Hideto Matsumoto, better known by his stage name Hide, was a Japanese musician, singer, songwriter and record producer. He is primarily known for his work as lead guitarist of the heavy metal band 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. Fourteen years after his death, he continues to have and 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 and 1990s.

Hide was one of the greatest and most influential musicians that I know. He was such a good person. Just remember the story about Hide and Mayuko, a little girl with an incurable illness who was a huge fan of Hide. Her last wish was to meet him. He even kept in contact with her and visited her in the hospital. They became best friends and spent so much great time together. When he passed away, she had to live without her best friend for 11 years until she left this world in 2009.

Just imagine you are a little ill kid with a very low chance to survive. You get noticed by your biggest idol, and you get invited to a concert from his band. You meet him backstage, get lots of presents, and he made a promise to answer your next letter. Then you have to go to the hospital to have surgery, and no one expects you to survive. He even calls you so that you can hear his voice for the last time. Then, on the day of your surgery, he comes to the hospital to be there for you.

After the surgery, your illness is going to get better. He invites you to the next concerts, and you have a lot of fun together. He even wrote a song for you called "Misery" to encourage you. Then, 2-3 years after you first met him, you hear that he died. You go to his funeral and cry non-stop. One of his bandmates comes over and sits down next to you to comfort you in some way. You stop crying, and he says, "Hide-ji isn't here anymore. Yoshiki-ni will stay with you." You both start to cry again, and you have to somehow accept it.

Your best friend, who did so much for you, is forever gone. He will never come back. You can never see him again. Everything you have as a memory is a signed guitar, a lot of photos of you both, the VIP pass which he gave you at your first meeting (he wrote a message on the backside), a few letters, and the single which he wrote for you.

I really hope they found each other in heaven and continue their friendship. They deserved all the love from the whole... more

6 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

Jimi should be in the top 2, alongside John Lennon. At only 27 years old, he is, without question, the greatest guitarist that ever lived. He only lived to produce three albums (Are You Experienced?, Axis: Bold as Love, Electric Ladyland), and those albums are considered some of the greatest in popular music history. They also had a tremendous influence on what rock would become. Imagine if he had lived.

The very first song I heard from Jimi Hendrix was Wild Thing. I first saw this performance in some Woodstock documentary. I can't remember the name. Around the end of the song, I was stunned by his guitar skills. My mouth couldn't close when I heard him play. When he died, it left a sad note in the music industry. There will never be another Jimi Hendrix.

7 David Bowie David Robert Jones, known professionally as David Bowie (January 8, 1947 - January 10, 2016) was an English singer born in London, the son of a fundraiser and a waitress. He is credited for his experimental and creative musical discography which has won praise and accolades for many critics and fans... read more

Not only was Bowie loved by millions and continued to amaze us as he got older, but his death was also unexpected. He wanted to keep his battle against cancer a secret so that we, the fans, wouldn't be so saddened in his final days. His sudden death was agonizing, and the way he said goodbye touched us all inside.

His music video for "Lazarus," released only days before he passed, was his final farewell to the world. Even in death, he maintained a sense of class and art. In a way, he is like Lazarus. Though Bowie isn't coming back from the dead, his legacy will live on forever.

8 Amy Winehouse Amy Jade Winehouse was an English singer and songwriter known for her deep expressive contralto vocals and her eclectic mix of musical genres, including soul, rhythm and blues, and jazz. She is also a well-known member of the 27 Club, as she overdosed on alcohol at age 27.

She is the most tragic death in music history because she was a rare breed of singer who had a brilliant voice and wrote her own powerful and well-written songs. Well, except for Monkey Man, lol. She managed to create songs that were not modern pop, like Britney Spears, and made hits using instruments like saxophones and trumpets at a time when people were not that interested in them. She also had a voice that perfectly suited the beat and lyrics of her songs.

I believe no one could ever match her songs more than she did.

9 Layne Staley Layne Thomas Staley was an American musician who served as the lead singer and co-songwriter of the rock band Alice in Chains, which he founded with guitarist Jerry Cantrell in Seattle, Washington in 1987. Alice in Chains rose to international fame as part of the grunge movement of the early 1990s... read more

As sad as I am and how I wish he were still here, I'm just thankful a local god descended to this earth to touch our hearts, change our lives, and forever alter the music world. For fans, we just see the amazing, funny, intense, and great personality he had. 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 the kind of life Layne attained in his short but very significant life.

R.I.P. Layne, we will love you forever.

10 Whitney Houston Whitney Elizabeth Houston (August 9, 1963 – February 11, 2012) was an American singer, actress, producer, and model. In 2009, Guinness World Records cited her as the most awarded female act of all time. Houston is one of pop music's best-selling music artists of all-time, with an estimated 170–200... read more

It was really sad to hear that she died. She definitely killed herself because a documentary talks about how she was molested at seven years old by her female cousin Dee Dee Warwick. I can understand the pain she went through because I too was molested at six years old by my female cousin. She couldn't take the constant thoughts bombarding her mind, so she most likely killed herself. It's sad to know another legend has left us, but at least we know she is in a better place.

R.I.P. Queen of the Night.

A truly wonderful female singer and leader. The mastermind of great hits such as Greatest Love of All, How Will I Know, and the Dolly Parton original, I Will Always Love You. The death of Whitney Houston left a tragic note in the music industry.

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The Contenders
11 Cliff Burton Clifford Lee "Cliff" Burton (February 10th 1962 - September 27th 1986) was an American musician, best known as the second bass guitarist for the American thrash metal band Metallica, recording three studio albums... read more

The best bassist known. He changed thrash metal so much, and you could actually hear his bass in songs. His influence was so significant that Metallica wouldn't be the same without him. Considering Metallica's greatest rival, Megadeth, had a song dedicated to him, In My Darkest Hour, it's not hard to tell his death shook buildings and hearts.

He improved with every album. Just imagine how incredible he would have been at the time of Death Magnetic. Instead of a Kirk solo in every song, they would have had four Cliff solos per song. He also never got to see Metallica earn a Diamond Album. So much in thrash could have changed if it weren't for his death.

12 Aaliyah Aaliyah Dana Haughton was born on January 16th 1979 and died August 25th 2001. She was a dancer, an actress and an R&B singer. She was born in Brooklyn, New York, raised in Detroit, Michigan and died at Marsh Harbour, Bahamas... read more

She died in one of the most horrible ways possible. Whenever I watch the music video for Rock the Boat, I remember her and the eight other people who were with her in the plane crash that took their lives. She was going to be much bigger than she already was. Aaliyah was such an amazing singer, young and beautiful, and it's hard to believe she is gone. 1979-2001. We love you, baby girl!

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.

13 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

Chester was an inspiration beyond just his songs. The way he lived, the way he spoke, the way he took care of his fans, seeing it all from afar was so awe-inspiring. I remember saving myself from a potential suicide by one of their songs. In the end, it did matter, Chester. It mattered to a whole lot of us.

Someone explain to me how the second greatest person in the entire universe is ranked at 32. Chester should be at least in the top three.

RIP to my idol and the person who saved my life through his music. Legends never truly die.

14 Dimebag Darrell Darrell Lance Abbott, also known as Diamond Darrell and Dimebag Darrell, was an American guitarist and songwriter best known as a founding member of two bands, Pantera and Damageplan, alongside his brother, Vinnie Paul. Abbott died in 2004 after he was shot by a mentally unstable fan.

Being shot by a deranged man while performing. Right in front of his brother. Right after his band's breakup.

As tragic as it gets.

So sad this amazing legend's life was taken away by such a psychopathic bastard.

Murdered on stage in front of his brother. It doesn't get much worse than that!

15 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

It is no doubt that Elvis Presley had the most tragic death in the music industry. Michael Jackson is at number 3. Freddie Mercury is at number 4. Yet, Elvis Presley is only at number 17. Putting the King of Rock and Roll and the most well-known singer in the world at this number is an insult. If two of the top three singers on this website are in the top 5, why isn't Elvis there as well?

Colonel Parker treated Elvis like a mule throughout his music career. Elvis worked hard to make a good name for himself. He was a singer of over 600 songs and starred in many great films. He served two years in the U.S. military. He was the one who contributed to the rock and roll theme back in the 50s and early 60s. Later in his career, he started singing in other genres of music such as country and adult contemporary.

If you're still not convinced, please listen to Unchained Melody, his last performance held in 1977. Words cannot describe how emotional his last performance was.

16 George Harrison George Harrison (1943 - 2001) was an English guitarist, singer, songwriter, and music and film producer who achieved international fame as the lead guitarist of the Beatles.

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.

I read a newspaper article the other day about when he survived the stabbing. It commented on how he had recently fought cancer.

This made me so sad.

I still think he should have been knighted as he had done so much for charity and world music recognition.

17 Marvin Gaye Marvin Gaye (born Marvin Pentz Gay Jr.; April 2, 1939 – April 1, 1984) was an American singer and songwriter. He helped to shape the sound of Motown in the 1960s, first as an in-house session player and later as a solo artist with a string of hits, earning him the nicknames "Prince of Motown" and... read more
18 John Bonham John Henry Bonham was born on May 31, 1948 in Redditch, United Kingdom. Bonham (nicknamed Bonzo) was a professional hard rock drummer who was best known for being the drummer in the band Led Zeppelin. Bonham was also one of the background singers in the band. His drumming is mainly displayed on the... read more

We all wonder what Led Zeppelin would have become if he was still alive, but we'll sadly never know.

I always wonder what Zeppelin would have achieved if he were still alive.

Come on! His death signaled the end of Led Zeppelin's career! How is that not sad?

19 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

A generational talent that had a huge effect on my life. His singing and songwriting talents were top-tier. With Soundgarden, supergroup Audioslave, and his solo efforts, his body of work will reverberate through music for generations.

Rest in peace.

He was a true legend, one of the original grunge artists, and he paved the way for so much change in the music world. His voice was one of the most powerful in rock, and his words were dark and soothing.

Rock on in the afterlife!

I would always hear Soundgarden on the radio growing up and later got into Audioslave, a band that inspired me so much musically. Chris definitely had a voice like no other.

20 Prince Prince Rogers Nelson (June 7, 1958 - April 21st, 2016) was an American musician, best known for being one of the most popular and influential artists from the 80s, with songs such as "Purple Rain", "Little Red Corvette", "1999", and "When Doves Cry" .

It's ridiculous to have Prince at #16, below a bunch of no-names! How many others were such pure geniuses? He should be at least 2 or 3!

I remember all of these, and with Prince, the world mourned!

Him, David Bowie, Maurice White, Glenn Frey, Christina Grimmie, and Phife Dawg in one year is too much.

There is no excuse to have Prince at number 48. Put him in the top 5.

21 Keith Moon Keith John Moon was an English drummer for the rock band the Who. He was noted for his unique style and his eccentric, often self-destructive behaviour. His drumming continues to be praised by critics and musicians.

Man! The Who wouldn't have broken up by then!

22 Brian Jones Lewis Brian Hopkin Jones was an English musician, the founder and the original leader of the Rolling Stones.

The Rolling Stones are a really great band.

23 Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes Lisa Nicole Lopes better known by her stage name Left Eye, was an American rapper, singer, dancer, musician, and songwriter. She was apart of the hit girl group, TLC. She was born May 27th 1971 in Philadelphia and died April 25th 2002 in a car accident during her stay in Honduras.

Lisa was one of the most influential female rappers ever. She should at least be in the top 20. It's notable that her death came just eight months after Aaliyah's, on the same day. More than 30,000 people attended her funeral. An amazing female rapper with a great singing voice, she was great friends with 2Pac, and they both died horribly. R.I.P. Lisa.

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

It's sad knowing that the only thing people can remember him by is smoking weed.

25 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.

Drug overdose within a month of Jimi Hendrix. Both at 27 in 1970. Amazing talents gone so young.

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