The Death Club 27: Popular Stars who Died at Age 27

death club 27
The Death Club 27 is perhaps one of the most interesting coincidences in the entire entertainment world.  No one took notice of this phenomenon until more and more famous singers and celebrities joined the club, incidentally.

Let’s take a look at some of the most notable members of this club in a chronological list.

Alexandre Levy

He was recognized as the first celebrity who died at the age of 27 in January 1892.  He was a composer, conductor, and pianist. The cause of death is still unknown.

Alexander Levy

Brian Jones

One of the most celebrated in the death club 27 list is perhaps Brian Jones as he was one of the founding members of legendary rock band The Rolling Stones.

According to the coroner’s report, Jones died from drowning due to misadventure.

brian jones


Jimi Hendrix

Hendrix died of asphyxiation on September 18, 1970.

His immediate physician; however, believes that the official cause of death was drowning. Hendrix regurgitated in red wine which he probably drank before taking sleeping pills.

He was considered as a rock god as he was a pioneering electric guitarist. He was able to record Band of Gypsys, without his original the Jimi Hendrix Experience band prior to his death.

Jimi Hendrix

Janis Joplin

We will never know if the Lord did buy her a Mercedes Benz.  God did not probably plan to, but she died early on October 4, 1970 due to drug overdose; heroin based on some reports.

Janis Joplin

Jim Morrison

Morrison died of heart failure on July 3, 1971. He was considered as one of the rock gods of the seventies.  He’s the lead singer and guitarist of The Doors.

Jim Morrison / The Doors

Jim Morrison on the far right with the rest of his band mates, The Doors

Ron “Pigpen” McKernan

One of the founding members of The Grateful Dead. He played the organ, percussion, and harmonica.

He was advised by his doctors to stop touring due to congenital biliary cirrhosis in August 1971. Two years after, he was found dead in his home due to gastrointestinal hemorrhage.

Ron “Pigpen” McKernan / The Grateful Dead

Ron McKernan was posing right in the middle with the rest of The Grateful Dead

Pete Ham

He hanged himself on April 24, 1975.

He was the lead guitarist and keyboardist of Badfinger.

Pete Ham (Badfinger)

Pete Ham (far left) with the rest of Badfinger

Jean-Michel Basquiat

Jean-Michael dated Madonna when she was still an unknown artist during the early 1980’s.

He died of drug overdose, apparently from Speedball.  This is what druggies used to describe intravenous use of cocaine and morphine; sometimes with one syringe for each drug.

He was a famous painter and graffiti artist in New York and even formed his own band, Gray, before his untimely death.

Jean-Michel Basquiat and Madonna

Kurt Cobain

Cobain died of suicide from a gunshot.

He was the founding member and lead singer of alternative and grunge band Nirvana.  He was survived by his wife Courtney Love of the band Hole.

Kurt Cobain / Nirvana

Kurt Cobain with Dave Grohl (who went to form his own band, Foo Fighters) and Krist Novoselic

Conspiracy Theories about Cobain’s Death

Cobain’s case is probably the most controversial in this list as there are numerous conspiracy theories involving his death. The theories was well summarized by the International Business Times. For one, some people doubt the authenticity of his suicide, specially the latter part and conclude that Kurt wanted to end his life in the music world and not life itself. The note was addressed to Boddah, his childhood imaginary friend.

Cobain’s Suicide Note

Kurt Cobain suicide note

This is the context of the suicide note:

To Boddah

Speaking from the tongue of an experienced simpleton who obviously would rather be an emasculated, infantile complain-ee. This note should be pretty easy to understand. All the warnings from the punk rock 101 courses over the years, since my first introduction to the, shall we say, ethics involved with independence and the embracement of your community has proven to be very true. I haven’t felt the excitement of listening to as well as creating music along with reading and writing for too many years now. I feel guilty beyond words about these things. For example when we’re back stage and the lights go out and the manic roar of the crowds begins., it doesn’t affect me the way in which it did for Freddie Mercury, who seemed to love, relish in the the love and adoration from the crowd which is something I totally admire and envy. The fact is, I can’t fool you, any one of you. It simply isn’t fair to you or me. The worst crime I can think of would be to rip people off by faking it and pretending as if I’m having 100% fun. Sometimes I feel as if I should have a punch-in time clock before I walk out on stage. I’ve tried everything within my power to appreciate it (and I do,God, believe me I do, but it’s not enough). I appreciate the fact that I and we have affected and entertained a lot of people. It must be one of those narcissists who only appreciate things when they’re gone. I’m too sensitive. I need to be slightly numb in order to regain the enthusiasms I once had as a child. On our last 3 tours, I’ve had a much better appreciation for all the people I’ve known personally, and as fans of our music, but I still can’t get over the frustration, the guilt and empathy I have for everyone. There’s good in all of us and I think I simply love people too much, so much that it makes me feel too fucking sad. The sad little, sensitive, unappreciative, Pisces, Jesus man. Why don’t you just enjoy it? I don’t know! I have a goddess of a wife who sweats ambition and empathy and a daughter who reminds me too much of what I used to be, full of love and joy, kissing every person she meets because everyone is good and will do her no harm. And that terrifies me to the point to where I can barely function. I can’t stand the thought of Frances becoming the miserable, self-destructive, death rocker that I’ve become. I have it good, very good, and I’m grateful, but since the age of seven, I’ve become hateful towards all humans in general. Only because it seems so easy for people to get along that have empathy. Only because I love and feel sorry for people too much I guess. Thank you all from the pit of my burning, nauseous stomach for your letters and concern during the past years. I’m too much of an erratic, moody baby! I don’t have the passion anymore, and so remember, it’s better to burn out than to fade away. Peace, love, empathy. Kurt Cobain

Frances and Courtney, I’ll be at your alter.

Please keep going Courtney

for Frances

for her life, which will be so much happier without me.


Kristen Pfaff

In connection with Cobain, Hole bassist Kristen Pfaff, who was close with him left her band and died two months after from heroin overdose. Janet, Kristen’s mom had never accepted the official statement about her daughter’s death.

Kristen Pfaff / Courtney Love / Hole

Kristen Pfaff (far right) with Hole; Courtney Love on the middle

Amy Winehouse

The Back to Black and Grammy Award winning singer had a tumultuous childhood and personal life, including husband Blake Fielder-Civil. She suffered from substance abuse and depression, got involved in assault and related legal repercussions, and even health concerns which include bulimia.

She died on August 2013 due to accidental alcohol poisoning when she drank five times the legal limit for drink-drive. Her ill health had made the alcohol more deadlier than it would have been.

Amy Winehouse

Anton Yelchin

Other notable members of the death club 27 include Dave Alexander (bassist for the Stooges) and Anton Yelchin, who died before Star Trek Beyond was released (the third movie in the Star Trek reboot series). The latter is the latest tragic addition to this list. Anton’s demise was from a freak accident when he was accidentally pinned between his Jeep Grand Cherokee and his home’s brick wall.

Anton Yelchin

Speaking of celebrity deaths, you should definitely read this related post, Shocking Celebrity Deaths which Shocked the World.

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