We’ve collected dozens of the last known photos of famous icons, taken sometimes minutes before their tragic demise. We hope you find this collection of photos as hauntingly beautiful as we do.
One Final Look
We honor these celebrities in death as we did in life. We wish them peace in their final resting places. We cannot know for sure, but some of these beautiful souls most likely have nirvana awaiting them. We hope that their final moments were filled with love and joy.
Robin Williams – Died at 63 (August 11, 2014)
This snapshot of the brilliant comedian was taken at a party the day before his death, in his home. The world was stunned that someone who so enjoyed making others happy was himself so miserable.
After his death, Williams’ daughter Zelda wrote this heartfelt tribute: “My family has always been private about our time spent together. It was our way of keeping one thing that was ours, with a man we shared with an entire world. But now that’s gone, and I feel stripped bare. My last day with him was his birthday, and I will be forever grateful that my brothers and I got to spend that time alone with him, sharing gifts and laughter. He was always warm, even in his darkest moments.”
Tupac Shakur – Died at 25 (September 13, 1996)
Here, hip hop artist Tupac Shakur sits with his manager Suge Knight shortly before he was shot to death in a drive-by shooting. There are many conspiracy theories surrounding Tupac’s death, due to the fact that postmortem photos of his body do not correspond with official reports. One of the theories suggests that he faked his own death.
The first police officer to arrive at the scene later gave this retelling of events: “He looked at me, and he took a breath to get the words out, and he opened his mouth. And then the words came out: ‘F**k you.'”
Mark Twain – Died at 75 (April 21, 1910)
The humorist and author of “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” died of a heart attack the same month this photo was taken.
Born Samuel Clemens, he worked a number of odd jobs, including piloting a steamboat, before he began a successful writing career. Humorist Twain was famous for this line, after rumors of his demise began circulating: “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”
Cory Monteith – Died at 31 (July 13, 2013)
This eerie silhouette is the last photo even taken of Glee star Cory Monteith. Here, he was at dinner with friends while on vacation in Vancouver. He was found dead two days later in his hotel room after a heroin and alcohol overdose.
Amelia Earhart – Disappeared at 39 (July 2, 1937)
The first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, Earhart disappeared over the Pacific Ocean. Her plane and remains were never located. This photo was taken just before embarking on her last flight. In her last known transmission to the USCGC Itasca during the doomed flight, Earhart said “We are on the line 157 337. We will repeat this message. We will repeat this on 6210 kilocycles. Wait.” Minutes later she got back on to say “We are running on line north and south.”
The commonly-held theory is that Earhart’s twin-engined Lockheed Electra had run out of fuel and crashed in the Pacific Ocean, somewhere near her final destination of Howland Island. The search is still on for any signs of her or the plane. In March 2018, researchers announced that bones found on an island in 1940 were “99% likely” to be Earhart’s.
Bob Marley – Died at 36 (May 11, 1981)
This photo of Marley was taken in Munich, Germany, a few months prior to his death of melanoma. Marley suffered for four years with a rare type of skin cancer called “acral lentiginous melanoma.” Surprisingly, cancer mostly affects people of color.
“Who are you to judge the life I live? I know I’m not perfect – and I don’t live to be – but before you start pointing fingers… make sure your hands are clean!” ― Bob Marley
James Gandolfini – Died at 51 (June 19, 2013)
Best known for his role as mobster Tony Soprano in HBO series The Sopranos, Gandolfini died from a heart attack while on holiday in Italy. Tragically, his 13-year-old son Michael discovered him unconscious in his hotel room at around 10 pm.
“Standing in public in other people’s clothes, pretending to be someone else. It’s a strange way for a grown man to make a living.” – James Gandolfini
Prince Rogers Nelson – Died at 57 (April 21, 2016)
Rest In Peace, Prince. The singer, artist, and music icon Prince has died at the age of 57. The music world is reeling.
Prince was renowned for being an innovator and praised for his eclectic work and playful stage presence. The photo below shows Prince leaving a Walgreens near his home in Minnesota on the night of Wednesday, April 20th. It is believed to be the last high-quality photo of the artist. But there are more…
A Final Photo Taken By His Neighbor
One of Prince’s neighbors claims to have grabbed this shot of him at his Paisley Park home just 3 days before his untimely death. In the photo, Prince appears to be happy and relaxed, not in pain like some rumors have stated. The superstar was frequently spotted out and about on his bicycle.
Prince’s last performance was at his Paisley Park estate on April 16. A few days before then, he played two sets at The Fox Theater in Atlanta. On his flight home, they made an unscheduled (emergency) landing where Prince was admitted to the hospital for undisclosed reasons. He was released just a couple of hours later and reassured his fans that he felt fine. His death has spurred a national conversation about chronic pain and the treatment of addiction.
Kurt Cobain – Died at 27 (April 5, 1994)
Grunge-rocker and Nirvana front man Cobain died of a supposed suicide about a month after this photo was taken. Death theories abound, however, and a private investigator hired by Cobain’s widow Courtney Love believes that the star was murdered.
“If you die you’re completely happy and your soul somewhere lives on. I’m not afraid of dying. Total peace after death, becoming someone else is the best hope I’ve got.” – Kurt Cobain
Diana, Princess of Wales (Diana Spencer) – Died at 36 (August 31, 1997)
Diana was fatally injured in a car crash in Paris. This photo shows her in the doomed auto, looking back toward the paparazzi who were in hot pursuit. Diana tragically never got to meet her grandchildren, George and Charlotte, who were born in 2013 and 2015, respectively.
On her son Harry’s 21st birthday, he wrote of loss. “Never being able to say the word ‘Mummy’ again in your life sounds like a small thing. However, for many, including me, it’s now really just a word – hollow and evoking only memories.”
James Dean – Died at 24 (September 30, 1955)
This was taken the day he died. Dean was an avid racer and was killed in a crash. On this fateful day, while traveling on Route 46 in California, Dean swerved his fast-driving Porsche (“nicknamed Little Bastard”) to avoid an oncoming car.
Before the tragedy, Dean showed his car off to fellow actor Alec Guinness. Guinness had a bad feeling about the car and said: “If you get in that car, you will be found dead in it by this time next week.” This was seven days before Dean’s eerie death. “If a man can bridge the gap between life and death, if he can live on after he’s dead, then maybe he was a great man.” – James Dean
John Lennon – Died at 40 (December 8, 1980)
Here he is signing an autograph for Mark David Chapman, who murdered him several hours later. The following day, Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono issued this statement: “There is no funeral for John. John loved and prayed for the human race. Please do the same for him. Love, Yoko and Sean.”
There is a 2.5-acre section of New York City’s Central Park that is dedicated to the memory of former Lennon. Named after the Beatles’ song “Strawberry Fields Forever,” the site is a mecca for fans.
John Candy – Died at 43 (March 4, 1994)
Funnyman Candy died of a heart attack while filming Wagons East! in Mexico. Here, he’s pictured on the film’s set. Candy was survived by his wife, Rosemary Hobor, and their children, Jennifer Candy and Christopher Candy.
“It’s not that we’re afraid, far from it, it’s just that we’ve got this thing about death… It’s not us!” – as character “Barf” in Spaceballs
Paul Walker – Died at 40 (November 30, 2013)
This is the last known photo of Fast and Furious star Paul Walker. Here, he’s leaving a charity event in the car in which he later died. Shortly after this image was taken, the car’s driver crashed at high speed, and Walker was killed instantly. Walker’s daughter Meadow received $10.1 million in a settlement over the accident.
On the two-year anniversary of his death, many of Walker’s friends and colleagues paid tribute to the young actor. Frequent co-star Vin Diesel said, “No matter where you are in this universe, you will always be my brother.”
David Bowie – Died at 69 (January 10, 2016)
Legendary musician, actor, and artist David Bowie had his longtime photographer Jimmy King shoot these as promotional material to accompany the release of his final album “Blackstar.” The photos were released just two days prior to Bowie’s death from cancer.
Bowie’s widow, Somali supermodel Iman, lost her mother just three months later. “Confront a corpse at least once. The absolute absence of life is the most disturbing and challenging confrontation you will ever have.” — David Bowie
Freddie Mercury – Died at 45 (November 24, 1991)
The legendary and flamboyant Queen frontman died of bronchial pneumonia due to AIDS. This photo is from the year he died. He’d only acknowledged the day before his death that he’d contracted the disease.
“Oh, I was not made for heaven. No, I don’t want to go to heaven. Hell is much better. Think of all the interesting people you’re going to meet down there!” ― Freddie Mercury
Philip Seymour Hoffman – Died at 46 (February 2, 2014)
This eerie tintype photo of Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was taken at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. Two weeks later, Hoffman was found dead in his apartment after an accidental heroin overdose.
Police officers found him in the bathroom, wearing a T-shirt and shorts with his eyeglasses still on his head. Used syringes, prescription drugs and empty bags littered the floor around him.
Patrick Swayze – Died at 57 (September 14, 2009)
Dirty Dancing star Actor Swayze died of Stage IV pancreatic cancer. This is him taking a walk to the store just two weeks before his death. Swayze’s 20-month battle with pancreatic cancer showed how tough the disease is. He was only given weeks to live when he was initially diagnosed.
After his death, actress Demi Moore, who played Swayze’s fiancee in Ghost, wrote: “Patrick you are loved by so many and your light will forever shine in all of our lives.”
Ryan Dunn – Died at 34 (June 20, 2011)
Dunn, best known for his daring stunts on the Jackass TV series, is pictured partying just hours before his death in a fiery car crash. His friend and co-star Bam Margera received this text from Dunn before the wreck. “Stopping for a beer, be there when I can.”
Co-star and real-life best friend Johnny Knoxville shared this tribute with fans: “Today I lost my brother Ryan Dunn. My heart goes out to his family and his beloved Angie. RIP Ryan, I love you buddy. Please drive safe and wear your seat belt. Ryan Dunn will be missed. God bless.”
Lucille Ball – Died at 77 (April 26, 1989)
This photo was taken at the Academy Awards on March 29, 1989. Ball suffered an aortic rupture and died on April 26, 1989. But some insist that she died of a broken heart, having lost the will to live after her beloved Desi Arnaz died nearly three years prior.
“I’m happy that I have brought laughter because I have been shown by many the value of it in so many lives, in so many ways.” — Lucille Ball
Jimi Hendrix – Died at 27 (September 18, 1970)
This photo was taken the day before guitarist Hendrix died in London from a barbiturate-related asphyxia. In the days leading to his death, Hendrix is said to have been in bad health, due to fatigue, insomnia, and influenza.
Hendrix was later described by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as “arguably the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music.”
Marilyn Monroe – Died at 36 (August 5, 1962)
This photo, with jazz pianist Buddy Greco, was the last weekend the legendary actress was alive. Monroe was found dead in her Brentwood, Los Angeles home days later. Toward the end of her life, Marilyn’s insecurities and personal demons had turned her life into a living hell.
The woman best known for her curvy figure and “dumb blonde” characters once said “I knew I belonged to the public and to the world, not because I was talented or even beautiful, but because I had never belonged to anything or anyone else.”
George Harrison – Died at 58 (November 29, 2001)
The Beatles’ Harrison died of lung cancer at bandmate Paul McCartney’s home. This is the last known photo of him. Harrison left almost £100 million in his will.
“There’s high, and there’s high, and to get really high – I mean so high that you can walk on the water, that high-that’s where I’m going.” — George Harrison
Heath Ledger – Died at 28 (January 22, 2008)
Here, actor Heath Ledger smiles on the set of The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, before he overdosed on pain killers. Just prior to his death, his sister Kate had warned him about combining sleeping pills and prescription medication.
“If you make decisions based upon people’s reactions or judgments then you make really boring choices.” –Heath Ledger
Elvis Presley – Died at 42 (August 16, 1977)
“The King” Elvis Presley had a suspected heart attack just hours after this paparazzi photo was taken. The cause of death was officially listed as “hypertensive cardiovascular disease with atherosclerotic heart disease.”
However, the true cause of death was covered up by Presley’s family. Many suspected that The King actually died from an overdose of prescription drugs that caused his heart to stop.
Joan Rivers – Died at 81 (September 4, 2014)
The comedienne died of complications after a surgical procedure. This picture with a fan is from a show she did the night before her surgery. In an eerie twist, Rivers joked about her death at that show. “I could go at any moment. I could lay here and go over… and it would be in the papers and you all could look at each other and say I was there the night Joan Rivers passed,” she teased.
In May 2016, Rivers’ daughter Melissa settled a medical-malpractice lawsuit against the medical facility where her mother died. The suit claimed that “doctors performed unauthorized medical procedures, snapped a selfie with the comedian, and failed to act as her vital signs deteriorated.”
Whitney Houston – Died at 48 (February 11, 2012)
Houston’s beautiful voice was silenced when she drowned in her bathtub at a Beverly Hills hotel. Here she is out on the town the night before her death. It’s almost unthinkable that her daughter Bobbi Kristina also died after being discovered unconscious in a bathtub, just three years later.
“I decided long ago never to walk in anyone’s shadow; if I fail, or if I succeed at least I did as I believe.” –Whitney Houston
Steve Jobs – Died at 56 (October 5, 2011)
The Apple founder and CEO looks very frail here, just two months before his death from pancreatic cancer. The visionary icon died with his wife, children, and sisters at his side. According to one of his sisters, Jobs’ last words on his deathbed were “Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow.”
“Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful, that’s what matters to me.” – Steve Jobs
Amy Winehouse – Died at 27 (July 23, 2011)
Just a week before Amy Winehouse’s death, the troubled Rehab singer was photographed walking near her home in North London.
She sadly spent her final hours drinking vodka alone in her bedroom and watching YouTube videos of herself. Winehouse’s album “Back to Black” posthumously became one of the UK’s best-selling albums of the 21st century.
“Life happens. There is no point in being upset or down about things we can’t control or change.” – Amy Winehouse
Dale Earnhardt – Died at 49 (February 18, 2001)
Here is racing legend Dale Earnhardt, directly before the race where he fatally crashed in to a wall.
After Earnhardt’s death, NASCAR began to overhaul its safety regulations. And since that time, there has not been a Cup series driver death during any competition.
Steve Irwin – Died at 44 (September 4, 2006)
Fans were stunned when the popular host of The Crocodile Hunter was killed by a stingray jab. According to the only witness to the attack, photographer Justin Lyons, “All of a sudden it propped on its front and started stabbing wildly with its tail. Hundreds of strikes in a few seconds.”
“He just sort of calmly looked up at me and said, ‘I’m dying.’ And that was the last thing he said,” Lyons related. Daughter Bindi Irwin won the television contest Dancing with the Stars (with partner Derek Hough) in 2015, and dedicated her performance to beloved dad Steve. “I wish he could fully understand how much he’s done for me,” she said on the show. “And that I miss him,” she added.
Babe Ruth – Died at 53 (August 16, 1948)
This photo, taken on July 29, is believed to be the last picture of the baseball idol known as “The Sultan of Swat.” He died just a couple of weeks later. The beloved athlete’s body lay in state at Yankee Stadium for two days, and tens of thousands of people came to pay their last respects.
“You just can’t beat the person who never gives up. Every strike brings me closer to the next home run. Never let the fear of striking out get in your way.” – Babe Ruth
Jim Morrison – Died at 27 (July 3, 1971)
Legendary Doors singer was in Paris with his girlfriend Pamela when he tragically died. Found dead in the bathtub of their apartment, the official cause of death was listed as “heart failure,” but no autopsy was ever performed. Morrison was known for his excessive partying, and some believe his death was the result of a heroin overdose.
“People fear death even more than pain. It’s strange that they fear death. Life hurts a lot more than death. At the point of death, the pain is over. Yeah, I guess it is a friend.” – Jim Morrison
Brittany Murphy – Died at 32 (December 20, 2009)
The Clueless actress is seen here promoting the last film she ever made, in the same month she died. She passed away from a combination of pneumonia, anemia and multiple-drug intoxication. Murphy’s husband died just weeks later, of the exact same cause, and in the same home.
“Everybody has difficult years, but a lot of times the difficult years end up being the greatest years of your whole entire life, if you survive them.” – Brittany Murphy
Richard Pryor – Died at 65 (December 10, 2005)
Funnyman Pryor had a long and prolific acting career, including roles in See No Evil, Hear No Evil; Lost Highway; Silver Streak; The Toy; Mad Dog Time; Harlem Nights; Brewster’s Millions; Another You; Carwash; The Wiz; The Three Muscatels; The Mack; and Lady Sings The Blues.
Pryor is pictured posing with Eddie Griffin, shortly before his death from a heart attack that resulted from multiple sclerosis he’d battled for years. Pryor’s widow Jennifer was quoted as saying, “At the end, there was a smile on his face.” He was cremated.
Ronald Reagan – Died at 93 (June 5, 2004)
This photo, from President Reagan’s 89th birthday, is one of his last public photos. He had Alzheimer’s disease, which slowly destroyed his mental capacity. Upon hearing the news, standing President George W. Bush said “This is a sad hour in the life of America. A great American life has come to an end. I have just spoken to Nancy Reagan. On behalf of our whole nation, Laura and I offered her and the Reagan family our prayers and our condolences.”
“You and I are told increasingly that we have to choose between a left or right, but I would like to suggest that there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down.” — Ronald Reagan
Chyna – Died at 46 (April 21, 2016)
World Wrestling Entertainment legend Chyna died unexpectedly in her Los Angeles home. She had shared some unusual photos to her social media accounts in the days leading up to her death, including this one with a black eye.
Her death is being investigated as a possible overdose. Chyna’s manager worried she had a problem with Ambien and Valium, but it appears she was taking more than just that as there were several other types of drugs found in the home. Chyna is remembered as one of the most famous and iconic female wrestlers of all time.
The Notorious B.I.G – Died at 24 (March 9, 1997)
Rapper Christopher George Latore Wallace, also known as The Notorious B.I.G, Biggie, or Biggie Smalls, was gunned down after the 1997 Soul Train Music Awards.
Just sixteen days after his death, Wallace’s double-disc second album was released as was previously planned. This photo is of Biggie and producer Sean “Puffy” Combs shortly before the shooting. “I don’t wanna live no mo’…sometimes I hear death knocking at my front do’.” — Biggie
Jimmy Savile – Died at 84 (October 29, 2011)
Jimmy Savile, the English DJ, television and radio personality, was rumored to have molested scores of children during his career. Savile was found dead at his home in Roundhay on 29 October 2011, just two days before his 85th birthday. He’d had pneumonia, so his death was not suspicious. An investigation was opened into the child molesting allegations after his death.
This photo was taken just days before he died. In the aftermath of the scandal, Savile’s family requested that his gravestone be taken from the cemetery where his body was buried. Town officials removed the tombstone in the middle of the night and sent it to a landfill.
Keith Moon – Died at 32 (September 7, 1978)
Who drummer Keith Moon was known for his odd, frequently self-destructive behavior. He’d even been known to pass out during performances. On September 6, 1978, he dined with Paul and Linda McCartney. This is the last known photo of him, taken at the dinner. Keith died of an overdose of clomethiazole tablets overnight.
Moon was a notorious trickster. From Rolling Stone: “One of Moon’s favorite recurring pranks was to disrupt small British villages by blaring bogus public service announcements from a passing car. Though he occasionally used a police bullhorn for these occasions, he also had his own cars rigged up with hidden amplifiers and speakers, which allowed him to keep his windows rolled up while scaring the locals with bulletins about such nonexistent dangers as impending tidal waves or advancing throngs of poisonous snakes.”
Garry Shandling – Died at 66 (March 24, 2016)
Comedian and actor Garry Shandling suddenly collapsed at home at age 66, and resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful. Just before his death, he reflected upon his friend Robin Williams’ death: “What I want at my funeral is an actual boxing referee to do a count, and at ‘Five’, just wave it off and say, ‘He’s not getting up.'”
Afterward, his close friend and fellow comedian Kathy Griffin posted this photo of the last time she had seen Shandling.
John F. Kennedy – Died at 46 (November 22, 1963)
The 35th President of the United States was riding in a 1961 Lincoln Continental four-door convertible on a parade through Dallas, Texas, when a gunman shot him once in the throat, once in the upper back and once in the head. This photo was taken moments before the first shot rang out. He was beyond saving. Infamous footage of the assassination shows a shell-shocked Mrs. Kennedy scrambling to collect pieces of the President’s skull from the back of the car.
“My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future. Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.” — John F. Kennedy
Michael Jackson – Died at 50 (June 25, 2009)
Called the King of Pop, Michael Jackson was one of the most influential figures in the worlds of music, dance and fashion. His eccentric and widely publicized personal life made a worldwide pop culture icon for over four decades.
2009, Michael Jackson died of “acute propofol and benzodiazepine intoxication” at his home. This picture was taken just two days prior to his death, as he rehearsed for a series of sold-out comeback shows.
Christopher McCandless – Died at 24 (August, 1992)
McCandless, an American hiker and adventurer, headed for the Alaskan wilds after graduating from college in 1990. About four months later, his decomposing body (weighing only 66 pounds) was found in the back of a bus he’d been using as shelter. The official cause of death was listed as starvation. This photo of McCandless was found undeveloped among his possessions. His life was later memorialized in the book and subsequent film Into the Wild.
“The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.” — Christopher McCandless
Thomas Edison – Died at 84 (October 18, 1931)
Called “The Wizard of Menlo Park”, Edison was one of the most prolific inventors in history. Credited with creating lightbulbs, motion picture cameras, and improvements to telegraphs, Edison died of complications of diabetes at his home in West Orange, New Jersey.
Edison’s favorite holiday was the 4th of July, and he made his own fireworks to celebrate the day. Just prior to his death, Edison had emerged from a coma and said: “It is very beautiful over there.”
Dean Martin – Died at 78 (December 25, 1995)
Legendary Hollywood actor and singer Dean Martin, a heavy smoker, died of complications from lung cancer at age 78. The epitaph on his crypt says “Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime,” which is the name of his signature song.
This photo, of Martin leaving a restaurant on December 12, 1995, is from his last public appearance. “I feel sorry for people who don’t drink. When they wake up in the morning, that’s as good as they’re going to feel all day.” — Dean Martin
Kim Jong Il – Died at 70 (December 17, 2011)
Kim Jong Il was the supreme leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Immensely secretive and reclusive, this photo is from the last time he made a public appearance before he died of a suspected heart attack.
His third son, and the country’s current leader, Kim Jong Un is pictured behind him on the escalator. After Kim Jong Il’s death, he was named “Eternal General Secretary” and “Eternal Chairman of the National Defense Commission.” Both positions require a huge time commitment — eternity.
Frank Zappa – Died at (December 4, 1993)
Frank Zappa, the eccentric musician, songwriter, and filmmaker, died of prostrate cancer at home with his wife and children by his side. This photo is a still from one of his last interviews, and he’s clearly not feeling well.
Zappa was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 and received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997.
Martin Luther King, Jr – Died at 39 (April 4, 1968)
The iconic American civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. was gunned down at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. He was just 39. This photo depicts King making his last public appearance at the Mason Temple in Memphis, the night before his assassination.
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others? Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” — Martin Luther King, Jr
The Challenger Crew – January 28, 1986
Americans watched, horrified, as the NASA Space Shuttle orbiter Challenger exploded and broke apart just 73 seconds into its flight. Its seven crew members were killed. Here’s the crew, all smiles, as they prepare to board the doomed shuttle.
The crew consisted of: Payload Specialist Gregory Jarvis; Astronaut Judith A. Resnik, Mission Specialist; Francis R. (Dick) Scobee, Mission Commander; Ronald E. McNair, Mission Specialist; Mike J. Smith, Pilot; Ellison S. Onizuka, Mission Specialist, and Teacher-in-Space Payload Specialist Sharon Christa McAuliffe.
Mahatma Gandhi – Died at 78 (January 30, 1948)
Ironically, non-violent anti-war activist Mahatma Gandhi was gunned down by an assassin while on his way to a prayer meeting. His killer was a Hindu extremist who was angered at Gandhi’s acceptance of Muslims. His birthday, October 2nd, is now a national holiday called Gandhi Jayanti. Observers worldwide celebrate the day as the International Day of Nonviolence. This photo was taken directly before the murder.
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow; learn as if you were to live forever. The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” — Mahatma Gandhi
Muhammad Ali – Died at 74 (June 3, 2016)
Muhammad Ali, the boxer known worldwide as “The Greatest,” died in June 2016 from septic shock after a long fight against Parkinson’s disease. A few days after his death, Ali’s daughter Hana posted this Facetime photo to Twitter, saying it was the last ever taken of the legend.
Hana wrote, “My last photo of my beautiful father…telling him I love him on May 22, 2016.”
Gene Wilder – Died at 83 (August 29, 2016)
Willy Wonka actor and comedian Gene Wilder died at home on August 29, 2016. He had been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Wilder also starred in Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, and See No Evil, Hear No Evil.
He was pictured looking frail while out and about with wife Karen Boyer in New York in September 2015.
River Phoenix – Died at 23 (October 31, 1993)
Such a tragedy. Academy-award winning actor River Phoenix rose to fame at a very young age and was known for films such as My Own Private Idaho and Stand By Me. He was the older brother of actor Joaquin Phoenix.
Phoenix spent the final years of his life in a nightclub in Hollywood. He was scheduled to perform with Flea (of the Red Hot Chili Peppers) that night, but instead tragically died of a drug overdose in front of The Viper Room in the early hours of Halloween, 1993.
Robert F. Kennedy – Died at 42 (June 6, 1968)
The United States Senator and brother of President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Los Angeles in 1968. This photo shows him after he had been shot while exiting a hotel where he had just given a speech. A shocked hotel busboy is cradling Kennedy’s head. Shortly after the picture was taken, Kennedy lost consciousness. He died early the following morning.
Kennedy’s assassin was Sirhan Sirhan, a 24-year-old Palestinian immigrant who is now serving a life sentence at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego.
Janis Joplin – Died at 27 (October 4, 1970)
Janis Joplin, the American rock singer, was only 27 years old when she died of a heroin overdose. She recorded four award-winning albums during her lifetime and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame posthumously, in 1995.
This photo shows Joplin at her last concert ever, at Harvard Stadium on August 12, 1970. 40,000 fans were in attendance. She was dead less than two months later. The photo was buried in photographer Peter Warrack’s archives until 2015.
Hugh Hefner – Died at 91 (September 27, 2017)
Playboy magazine founder and mogul Hugh Hefner was known as much for his “playboy” lifestyle as much as for his successful business ventures. He started the magazine in 1953, using borrowed money. The first cover of Playboy features a nude Marilyn Monroe.
He died at his famed Playboy Mansion in 2017. The last known photo of Hefner shows a frail elderly version of his younger self. Son Cooper released a statement to the public: “My father lived an exceptional and impactful life as a media and cultural pioneer and a leading voice behind some of the most significant social and cultural movements of our time.“
Tiny Tim – Died at 64 (November 30, 1996)
This the last known photo of eccentric musician Tiny Tim. It was taken minutes before he collapsed and died just after his last performance. He felt sick before the show, but didn’t want to disappoint his fans.
“Death is never polite, even when we expect it.” – Tiny Tim