Albert Einstein revolutionized our understanding of the universe with his groundbreaking theories. He passed away on April 18, 1955, due to heart failure at the age of 76. His funeral and cremation were private events. But a Life Magazine photographer named Ralph Morse captured the moments of the great scientist’s passing. Upon receiving the news of Einstein’s death, Morse drove to Princeton and stopped at a store to buy a case of scotch. He used this as payment to gain access to Einstein’s office. Morse was the only photographer on the scene. He captured several photographs of the day and headed to the magazine’s offices in Manhattan, expecting to be celebrated for his scoop. But this backfired. Morse’s photographs of the day remained forgotten in the magazine’s archives for over five decades after the editors chose not to run the full story.
Christopher McCandless captured this photo with his camera during his ill-fated solo journey into the Alaskan wilderness. He died of starvation in August 1992, after embarking on the Stampede Trail, an old mining road. He had minimal supplies, and hoped to survive by living off the land. His tragic story was later documented in the book and film adaptation, Into the Wild. After graduating from Emory University in 1990, McCandless donated his savings to Oxfam and abandoned his car, burned his remaining cash, and set out on foot to Alaska. He had little more than a backpack. After spending months in the wilderness, McCandless discovers that living off the land is much harder than he anticipated, and his health deteriorates, until he died.
Taken shortly before his death on October 5th, 2011, this photo shows Steve Jobs at his home in California. He passed away due to complications arising from a relapse of pancreatic cancer which he had previously been treated for. His family was present by his side as he passed, and his last words were reported to be “oh wow, oh wow, oh wow.” Jobs was laid to rest in an unmarked grave at Alta Mesa Memorial Park. When they were filming the biopic of his life, actor Ashton Kutcher tried to follow the all-fruit diet, just like Steve Jobs. He ended up going to the hospital, because his pancreas was beginning to shut down.
In August 1962, this photograph was taken of Marilyn Monroe alongside jazz pianist Buddy Greco. This was taken just a few days before her untimely death. Marilyn was found dead in her Los Angeles home by her psychiatrist, after struggling with various mental health issues for years. She had depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and chronic insomnia. The official cause of death was suicide due to her ingestion of a large amount of barbiturates. This was compounded by her history of overdosing and suicidal thoughts. The tragic story of her life was recently brought to the big screen in a movie called Blonde, starring Ana de Armas.
James Dean was an American actor who became a cultural icon of teenage disillusionment and social estrangement. This was expressed in his most famous film, Rebel Without a Cause in 1955. Dean’s short career included only three films. But he is considered one of the most talented actors of his generation. He died at the age of 24 in a car crash in California in 1955. On the day he died, this photo of James Dean at a gas station was taken. Dean was an enthusiastic race car driver but tragically died in a car crash while driving the Porsche in this photo on September 30, 1955. Interestingly, one week prior to his death, British actor Alec Guinness had warned Dean that the car looked ominous. He warned that if he got in it, he would be found dead within a week. This was exactly what happened.
Reverend and Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. is best remembered for his “I Have a Dream” speech. The photo on the left depicts the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. alongside other civil rights leaders on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 3rd, 1968. Tragically, the next day, he was assassinated in a similar location by James Earl Ray. There are numerous conspiracy theories surrounding his death. A photo was taken the next day of the immediate aftermath of the assassination in approximately the same location. King was rushed to St. Joseph’s Hospital, where doctors performed an emergency surgery. However, he never regained consciousness and was declared dead at 7:05 p.m on April 4th, 1968.
Singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse is remembered for her famous single “Rehab”. On July 12th, 2011, this photo was taken of Amy Winehouse in London. Just eleven days later, on July 23rd, Winehouse tragically died at her home. The coroner’s inquest later determined that the cause of her death was accidental alcohol poisoning. Her blood alcohol content was found to be more than five times the legal drink-drive limit. Winehouse’s brother, Alex, revealed that she had also battled with bulimia. This left her physically weak and more susceptible to harm. He stated that had she not struggled with an eating disorder, she would have been stronger and possibly could have avoided her untimely death.
Taken just moments before his assassination in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963, this photo captures John F. Kennedy’s last public appearance. Kennedy was the 35th President of the United States. He was an incredibly popular politician, but not without his enemies. A man named Lee Harvey Oswald was charged with Kennedy’s assassination, which he denied before being killed himself. The case remains a subject of speculation and controversy, giving rise to numerous conspiracy theories that persist to this day. Since there were so many witnesses to the event, there were several photos taken the day he died. If you’re curious to know more, we have another list of 32 Photographs of the Events Surrounding JFK’s Assassination.
On June 23, 2009, Michael Jackson was captured in this photo while rehearsing for his upcoming sold-out concerts. Tragically, two days later, he suffered from a heart attack at his Los Angeles home. Despite multiple attempts to resuscitate him, Jackson was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. An investigation led to the conviction of his personal physician for involuntary manslaughter, who had administered a cocktail of anti-anxiety drugs to Jackson that caused his death. Jackson had been preparing for a series of comeback concerts to over one million people at London’s O2 Arena from July 2009 to March 2010. Since his death, there have been a lot of accusations coming out about Michael Jackson, like the documentary Leaving Neverlandin 2019.
Bob Marley was a Jamaican musician who was famous for his songs like “No Woman No Cry”, “One Love” and “Buffalo Soldier”. This photo of Bob Marley was taken in Munich, Germany, a few months before he died of cancer May 11th, 1981. At this point his weight was just 77 pounds. Marley had a rare form of skin cancer under his toe. That spread throughout his body and led to his eventual passing. Marley was diagnosed with melanoma in 1977, but he continued to tour and record music despite his declining health. On May 11, 1981, he collapsed while jogging in Central Park in New York City. The cancer had spread to his brain, liver, and lungs, and he was unable to recover. Marley died on May 11, 1981, in Miami, Florida, at the age of 36.
Kurt Cobain was an American musician and the lead singer of the rock band Nirvana. He is widely regarded as one of the most influential musicians of his generation. Nirvana was at the forefront of the grunge music movement of the early 1990s. Cobain struggled with depression and drug addiction throughout his life. On April 5, 1994, he was found dead in his home in Seattle, Washington, from a gunshot wound to the head. Cobain was found with a high concentration of heroin and traces of diazepam in his body. His death was ruled a suicide. Cobain was only 27 years old at the time of his death. His passing had a profound impact on the music industry and fans around the world. This photo is taken from a Nirvana photo shoot about five months before Cobain died. It was the last formal photo shoot Nirvana ever did.
Amelia Earhart was the first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She was born on July 24, 1897, in Kansas, and began her flying career in the 1920s. Earhart set many aviation records and became an important symbol of women’s empowerment. In 1937, while attempting to fly around the world, Earhart disappeared over the central Pacific Ocean. Her plane, a Lockheed Model 10 Electra, was never found. Earhart was declared legally dead on January 5, 1939. Despite extensive investigations, the exact circumstances of her disappearance remain a mystery to this day. This photo of Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, was taken shortly before departure on an attempt to make a circumnavigational flight of the globe. The mystery surrounding her disappearance, along with her celebrity status at the time, has led to a great many claims and conspiracy theories around her doomed final flight.
Princess Diana, also known as Diana, Princess of Wales, died in a car crash in Paris, France, on August 31, 1997. She was traveling in a car with her partner, Dodi Fayed, and their driver, Henri Paul. The car crashed into a pillar in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel. Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed were pronounced dead at the scene, while the driver, Henri Paul, died shortly after. The incident was widely covered by the media and led to a great outpouring of grief from the public. An investigation into the cause of the crash concluded that Henri Paul was found to have been driving under the influence of alcohol. This photo shows her car speeding away from the Ritz in Paris At around 12:20 a.m. Princess Diana is looking back at the pursuing paparazzi.
Elvis Presley died on August 16, 1977, in Memphis, Tennessee. The official cause of his death was a heart attack, but the exact cause has been the subject of much speculation and debate. Some have attributed it to prescription drug abuse. Others have suggested that his poor health, including his weight, may have been factors. This photo of Elvis Presley was taken at Graceland in the early hours having just visited the dentist. Later that day Presley had a heart attack and died in his bathroom. There are rumors that he never actually died. In 2012, they came out with a Mockumentary called Elvis Found Alive, which is a combination of a biography on Elvis mixed with fictional alternate history based around all of the conspiracy theories.
The artist formerly known as Prince, whose real name was Prince Rogers Nelson, was an American singer. He was known for his eclectic style and his innovative music. Prince died on April 21, 2016, at his Paisley Park recording studio and home in Chanhassen, Minnesota, at the age of 57. The cause of death was an accidental overdose of the opioid painkiller fentanyl. The death was ruled as an accidental overdose by the medical examiner’s office. Prince had a history of chronic pain and had been taking prescription pain medication at the time of his death. This is the last known photograph of Prince, taken outside a Walgreens pharmacy near his home in Minnesota. He spent his final hours at home alone, and was discovered unconscious in an elevator more than 13 hours after he was last seen alive. There were no signs of suicide or foul play.
Tupac Shakur, also known by his stage name 2Pac, was an American rapper. He was born on June 16, 1971 in New York City and rose to fame in the early 1990s. On September 7, 1996, Shakur was in Las Vegas to attend a boxing match when he was shot four times while riding in a car driven by Death Row Records CEO Suge Knight. He was taken to a nearby hospital, but died six days later on September 13, 1996, at the age of 25. The murder remains unsolved, and numerous conspiracy theories have emerged surrounding his death. This photo of Tupac Shakur was taken moments before he was shot. While allegations involving Shakur’s rival at the time The Notorious B.I.G surfaced soon after the shooting, these were never proven. Buzzfeed Unsolved did a great documentary outlining all of the different conspiracy theories surrounding his death.
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He is best known for his leadership during the Civil War, and his advocacy for the abolition of slavery. Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth, a Confederate sympathizer. He was attending a play at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C., when Booth entered the presidential box and shot him. Lincoln died the following day, April 15, 1865, at the age of 56. This photo of Abraham Lincoln was taken sometime in March, 1865. He was the first of four American Presidents to be assassinated while in office.