Celebrities that have died from drug overdose
According to the CDC, in 2013 roughly 9,000 deaths were reported due to heroin overdose. Although it remains low in comparison to prescription drug fatalities (25,000) it is a steep climb from less than 2,000 in 2001. At nearly 5-fold, heroin is responsible for the greatest increase in deaths over the last decade – more than prescription drugs, synthetic opiates, benzodiazepines, or cocaine.
Heroin has been known as the drug-of-choice for the entertainment industry for decades – including musicians, actors, artists, comedians, and authors. We’ve all heard the stories about some of the most famous deaths, such as Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, River Phoenix, and John Belushi. Rather that rehash these tragic stories once again, let’s review some other great artists, lost to heroin, that time may have forgotten.
Frankie Lymon (1947-1968)
Frankie Lymon was a rock/r&b/doo-wop vocalist famous for his band The Teenagers, as well as later, less successful solo work. “Why Do Fools Fall in Love” was a popular and highly-accessible single in 1956, and the group thought to have influenced many notable artists who came after, such as Michael Jackson, Ronnie Spektor, Diana Ross, and The Beach Boys. Lymon’s heroin overdose came at at age 25 in 1968, as he died on the floor of his grandmother’s bathroom.
Tim Buckley (1947-1975)
Tim Buckley was a singer-songwriter whose career got a boost in 1966 with the recording of his first album. He was mainly a folk artist, but dabbled in other genres such as jazz and funk. He quite the prolific artist, recording 9 albums in the subsequent years before his death in June, 1975. At just 28, his death came as a surprise to his friends and family. His son Jeff became a renowned musician as well, and tragically drown in the Mississippi river in 1997 at the age of 30.
Jean-Michel Basquiat (1969-1988)
Basquiat was a graffiti artist, painter and musician, who became known in the 1970’s for writing epigrams, or interesting and satirical statements. In the 1980’s he became a neo-expressionist and primitive-style painter, and focused much of his work on social commentary. He even collaborated with good friend with Andy Warhol, whose death of a heart attack in 1987 impacted him greatly. He struggled with depression and heroin addiction for years, and made a brief stab at sobriety shortly before his death. He ultimately fell victim in August, 1988 to a heroin overdose in his art studio.
Dee Dee Ramone (1951-2002)
Dee Dee was the bassist for the New York punk band, The Ramones, popular in the 1970’s and 1980’s. He was a prolific lyricist, writing many of their best-loved songs. He also had a brief career as a hip-hip artist under the name Dee Dee King. The Ramones as a band recorded 12 studio albums between 1976-1989, and are considered to be pioneers of punk rock music. Dee Dee struggled with drug addiction for most of his life, and was found dead of a heroin overdose in his apartment in June, 2002, at age 50.
If you suspect you or someone you know is a heroin addict, please seek help immediately.