Musician David Bowie’s last public appearance was at the Theatre Workshop in New York on December 7, 2015. He showed up for the premiere of his musical, ‘Lazarus.’ It was later revealed that Bowie had been suffering from liver cancer for over a year. He was aware that the disease was terminal. The theme of death runs through his final album ‘Blackstar.’ This suggests that he had come to terms with his own mortality with grace and humor. The album is considered an inspiration to many of his fans. David Bowie’s family chose to keep his funeral private. The funeral took place on January 12, 2016, at the Woodlawn Cemetery in New York. A tribute concert for him was held at Carnegie Hall in New York on March 31, 2016.
In this last photo, Vladimir Lenin is seen in a wheelchair. He suffered from three strokes in the two years prior. The stress of leading a revolution and fighting in a civil war had worsened his physical health. Lenin’s health deteriorated in March 1922. He suffered his first stroke in May of that year, leaving him unable to speak for weeks and partially paralyzed on his right side. Lenin subsequently suffered two more strokes. The third one left him unable to speak and officially ending his political work. Lenin died on January 21, 1924, at the age of 53, at his estate at Gorki Leninskiye. Over 900,000 mourners viewed his body in the Hall of Columns during the four days that he lay in state. Although the official cause of death was consequences of the strokes, there are persistent stories that he died of syphilis.
Taken on September 17th, 1970, this photo features Jimi Hendrix with his cherished guitar ‘Black Betty’. It was captured by his girlfriend Monika Danneman while they spent time in her backyard. Tragically, Hendrix passed away the following day from barbiturate-related asphyxia in London. He was just 27 years old. Reports indicate that he had choked on his own vomit after consuming a cocktail of drugs, including a significant amount of sleeping pills. Despite speculation in the media, there is no evidence to suggest that Hendrix’s death was a suicide. Jimi Hendrix is one of the musicians who is part of the “27 Club”. This is a group of artists who all coincidentally died at the age of 27.
Mark Chapman, John Lennon’s assassin, had the gun in his pocket when the last known photo of Lennon was taken. On December 6, 1980, he checked into the Sheraton Hotel. He staged his hotel room with personal items for the police to find. On the night of December 8, 1980, Chapman waited outside Lennon’s apartment and shook hands with him. He asked him to sign his album, Double Fantasy. Later that night, as Lennon and Yoko walked into their building, Chapman fired five shots from a revolver. He hit him four times. Lennon was rushed to the hospital, but he was pronounced dead on arrival. Chapman later stated that he wanted to kill Lennon as he saw him as a hypocrite and a phony. He sang about peace and love but was unwilling to make changes in the world. Chapman was sentenced to life in prison.
Approximately two days before his death, this last known picture of Hitler was taken as he stands outside his Berlin bunker entrance. He is surveying the devastating bomb damage. With Germany in ruins after six years of war, Hitler decided to end his life. Before doing so, he married Eva Braun and penned his last will and testament. The next day, on April 30, 1945, Hitler and Braun entered his living room to commit suicide.His doctor suggested combining a dose of cyanide with a gunshot to the head. Hitler committed suicide two days before the surrender of Berlin to the Soviets on May 2 and just over a week before the end of World War II in Europe on May 8.
Actor Alan Rickman was an English director, best known for his roles in films such as “Die Hard”, “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves”, “Sense and Sensibility”, and the “Harry Potter” series. Most of you will remember him as Professor Snape. But he was a famous actor in Great Britain who had a long and fruitful career. He was born on February 21, 1946, and passed away on January 14, 2016, at the age of 69 due to pancreatic cancer. His death was a shock to many in the entertainment industry and to his fans. After his death, there was a moving tribute to him by Harry Potter fans.
Heath Ledger was an Australian actor and director known for his roles in films such as “Brokeback Mountain,” “The Dark Knight,” and “10 Things I Hate About You.” He was born on April 4, 1979, in Perth, Western Australia. Heath began his acting career in Australian television and film before making his way to Hollywood. Tragically, Ledger died on January 22, 2008, in his New York City apartment at the age of 28. The cause of death was determined to be an accidental overdose of prescription drugs. He took painkillers, sleeping pills, and anti-anxiety medication. His death shocked the world and was widely mourned by fans and fellow actors alike.
In 1977, President Sadat made a bold move by traveling to Israel, an enemy of Egypt, to seek peace. His efforts resulted in a peace treaty in 1979. He and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Despite this achievement, Sadat faced criticism from other Arab states for breaking ranks with their united stance against Israel. On October 6, 1981, a military parade was held in Cairo to mark the anniversary of Egypt’s crossing of the Suez Canal. Despite being heavily guarded by four layers of security and eight bodyguards, Sadat was assassinated by a squad of attackers led by Lieutenant Khalid Islambouli. Disguised as part of the parade, they threw hand grenades and indiscriminately fired AK-47 assault rifles into the stands. Sadat and eleven others were killed and twenty-eight more were injured. The attack lasted only two minutes.
Captured on May 22, 2016, by his daughter Hana, this image portrays Muhammad Ali, the world-renowned boxer. Following hospitalization for a respiratory illness on June 2, 2016, his condition was deemed “fair” initially. But he eventually deteriorated. The boxing legend passed away the next day at 74 years old, due to septic shock. Despite suffering from Parkinson’s disease since 1984, Ali continued to engage in social and political movements throughout his life, up to his death. Even after he was gone, he hasn’t been forgotten. There have been multiple movies made about his life. His memory will live on forever.
The Diary of A Young Girl by Anne Frank has become a classic book that is read by school children around the world. Her life story is remembered by everyone as the girl who live in an attic with her family. She spent a very long time hiding during the Holocaust. Anne Frank’s last known photograph was taken in 1942, which captured her with her sister, Margot. Unfortunately, Anne passed away in March 1945 at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp after being discovered and arrested with her family on August 4th, 1944. If you want to check out more facts about Anne Frank, check out this list.
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.