Whitney Houston was found dead in the bathtub of her room at the Beverly Hilton hotel the day she was to open the annual Clive Davis pre-Grammy party. Just 48 years old, the iconic singer suffered from substance abuse problems for years and went to rehab three times. An attempted comeback was only a moderate success, thwarted by a once-golden voice damaged by years of drug use.
Michael Jackson's death was just as controversial as his life. The King of Pop was found dead the day before he was to kick off his worldwide "This Is It" tour. A longtime prescription drug abuser, Jackson's official cause of death was an overdose of the surgical anesthetic Propofol -- a drug he reportedly used as a sleep aid. His personal physician Conrad Murray denied administering the fatal dose, but a jury didn't buy it -- he was convicted of manslaughter, sentenced to four years in jail and had his medical license yanked.
While the death of Amy Winehouse wasn't exactly unexpected in many circles -- her descent into extreme drug and alcohol addiction left many wondering when it would happen, not if -- the loss of such a unique talent at such an early age was a shock to the music world nonetheless. Winehouse had ushered in a new era of soulful female British singers, and without her we'd have no Adele. Her official cause of death at the age of 27 was "alcohol toxicity," with a BAC of over five times the legal limit.
Actor Heath Ledger was at the top of his game when he died in 2008 at just 28 years old. Nominated for an Oscar for his role in the critically acclaimed Brokeback Mountain, his role as The Joker in The Dark Knight was set to cement his status as one of the biggest stars in the world. The actor's sudden death was deemed accidental and caused by the deadly combination of no less than six different prescription drugs, including oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam and doxylamine -- drugs given for insomnia, anxiety, depression, pain and common cold symptoms. He left behind his then-27-month-old daughter Matilda by former fiancee Michelle Williams.
Forever known as the adorable sidekick in the cult flick Clueless, Brittany Murphy's career was on a downslide and not being helped by what many saw as a super creepy marriage to screenwriter Simon Monjack, who some saw as exhibiting a Svengali-like control over the actress. Murphy was found dead in the shower by her mother after several days of feeling under the weather. While many speculated that drugs were to blame, the star's official cause of death was listed as pneumonia, with multiple prescription drug intoxication said to be only partially to blame. Monjack was found dead in the same house less than five months later; Murphy's mother insists toxic mold is the culprit in both deaths.
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