Here’s How Old These 100 Iconic Celebrities Would Be If They Were Alive In 2019
A brief glimpse of an alternate universe.
Today, when we look back on the lives of iconic celebrities who tragically passed away all too young, it’s easy to lose sight of exactly how young they actually were at the times of their deaths. Princess Diana, for instance, died at the youthful age of 36. (For comparison, her daughter-in-law Kate Middleton turned 37 in 2019.)
In 2019, actor Heath Ledger and singer Aaliyah would be turning 40, and rock legends Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin wouldn’t even be in their 80s yet. And that’s just a sampling. Read on for a quick trip through an alternate universe in which our most timeless icons are still around to celebrate their birthdays this year.
Princess Diana, 58
After the 36-year-old’s tragic death in a car crash, in 1997, Princess Diana of Wales’s televised funeral was viewed by nearly 2 billion people worldwide.
James Dean, 88
The actor and style icon passed away in a car accident in 1955 at the age of 24.
Elvis Presley tragically died at his home in Memphis in 1977, with only 42 years of life under his belt.
Anna Nicole Smith, 52
The model, actress, and reality-TV star passed away from a drug overdose in 2007 at the age of 39.
Kurt Cobain, 52
The Nirvana frontman committed suicide in his Seattle home in 1994. He was just 27 years old.
Freddie Mercury, 73
The Queen frontman—arguably the greatest rock frontman of all time—died in 1991 at the age of 45, due to AIDS complications.
Martin Luther King, Jr., 90
The 39-year-old civil rights legend was assassinated in 1968.
Heath Ledger, 40
The Australian actor tragically passed away in 2008 at 28 years old, just a few months after wrapping on his iconic role as the Joker in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight.
John Lennon, 79
After his assassination in 1980, John Lennon’s wife and collaborator, Yoko Ono, declared that there would be no funeral for the 40-year-old exalted musician. Instead, his ashes were scattered in Central Park.
Jimi Hendrix, 77
In 2015, 45 years after his death, Jimi Hendrix—another member of the “27 Club” (famous musicians who all died at the age of 27, including Kurt Cobain)—was dubbed the “greatest guitarist of all time” by Rolling Stone.
Amy Winehouse, 36
The beloved British singer died of alcohol poisoning in 2011—and therefore became yet another member of the “27 Club.”
Anton Yelchin, 30
Anton Yelchin, best known for playing Chekov in the Star Trek reboots, tragically died during a freak accident at his home in 2016 at 27 years old.
Sid Vicious, 62
Despite having died at 21, in 1979, Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious remains one of the most indelible punk figures.
Keith Moon, 73
Keith Moon, known for his stellar drumming for The Who, gained fame for smashing his kits on stage during performances. He passed away in 1978 at 32 years old, having overdosed on sedatives.
The “queen of R&B” tragically passed away in 2001 during a plane crash after filming the music video for “Rock the Boat.” She was just 22 years old.
Paul Walker, 46
Fast and Furious star Paul Walker passed away in a car crash in 2013 at the age of 40.
Janis Joplin, 76
Janis Joplin passed away just 16 days after fellow “27 Club” member Jimi Hendrix. She died of a heroin overdose.
Edie Sedgwick, 76
A stalwart of Andy Warhol’s Factory, Edie Sedgwick was one of—if not the—first embodiments of an “It Girl.” She tragically passed away at the age of 28 from a barbiturate overdose.
Tupac Shakur, 48
The 1996 murder of 25-year-old rapper Tupac Shakur is still unsolved (and his alleged survival is one of the 20 Famous Rumors We All Wish Were True).
Biggie Smalls, 47
Like the death of Tupac, the 1997 murder of 24-year-old Biggie Smalls remains unsolved.
Bob Marley, 74
The face of reggae passed away at 36 due to complications from melanoma.
Jim Morrison, 76
No autopsy was ever performed on Jim Morrison (another member of the “27 Club”), in 1971; as such, the cause of his death is unknown to this day.
Chris Farley, 55
The iconic comedian died of a drug overdose in 1997 at just 33 years old.
Marilyn Monroe, 93
Though her 1962 death was ruled a probable suicide, conspiracy theories abounded that 36-year-old Marilyn Monroe was the victim of a murder plot. But these rumors were debunked by the L.A. County District Attorney’s office in the early 1980s.
River Phoenix, 49
River Phoenix, who died in 1993, was regarded as one of the most fiercely talented actors of his generation. He was only 23 when he died due to multiple drug intoxication, including cocaine and morphine.
Buddy Holly, 83
The singer from Texas died in a plane crash in 1959 at the age of 22. It was “the day the music died.”
John Belushi, 70
In 2015, three decades after his drug-related death in 1982 at the age of 33, Rolling Stone ranked John Belushi as the greatest Saturday Night Live cast member of all time.
Robin Williams, 68
After Robin Williams committed suicide in 2014 at the age of 63, a tunnel north of San Francisco was named after him.
Brittany Murphy, 42
The Clueless actress died of pneumonia and anemia in 2009 at just 32 years old. Six months later, her widower, Simon Monjack, passed away from the same illnesses.
Steve Irwin, 57
Zoologist and wildlife documentarian Steve Irwin died at 44 years of age after being pierced in the heart by a stingray barb while filming a documentary off the coast of Queensland, Australia.
Steve McQueen, 88
On screen and off, actor and race enthusiast Steve McQueen defied death at every turn. But in 1980, a bout of mesothelioma cut his life short at the age of 50.
Marvin Gaye, 80
The Motown and R&B legend was shot and killed by his father in 1984. He would’ve turned 45 the next day.
Cory Monteith, 37
The beloved Glee star died of drug overdose in 2013 at the age of 31.
Bruce Lee, 79
Bruce Lee passed away at just 32 years old due to an allergic reaction to a prescribed painkiller. He was Hollywood’s greatest martial artist, so it’s no surprise that he starred in some of the 20 Greatest Fight Scenes of All Time.
Brandon Lee, 54
Bruce Lee’s son, Brandon Lee, died on set while filming The Crow in 1993. A defective blank in a prop gun accidentally discharged with the force of a live bullet. He was 28 at the time.
Ronnie Van Zant, 71; Cassie Gaines, 71; Steve Gaines, 70
Three members of Lynyrd Skynard—29-year-old vocalists Ronnie Van Zant and Cassie Gaines, and 28-year-old guitarist Steve Gaines—died in a plane crash in 1977, prompting a several-year hiatus for the band.
Randy Rhoads, 63
Ozzy Osbourne’s first guitarist, 25-year-old Randy Rhoads, died in a plane crash in 1982.
Stevie Ray Vaughan, 65
Blues-rock legend Stevie Ray Vaughan (center) died in a 1990 helicopter accident. He was only 35 years old.
Sharon Tate, 76
The 1969 murder of 26-year-old Sharon Tate sparked a wave of fear among the Hollywood elite. In fact, at her funeral, Steve McQueen allegedly packed a gun for protection.
Philip Seymour Hoffman, 52
Philip Seymour Hoffman, described by The New York Times as “the most ambitious and widely admired American actor of his generation” in an obituary, died from combined drug use at 46 years old in 2014.
Mitch Hedberg, 51
The widely beloved comedian died of a drug overdose in 2005 at 37 years of age.
Michael Jackson, 61
Web chatter concerning the 2009 death of the then-50-year-old Michael Jackson was so voluminous that Google, Twitter, AOL, and Wikipedia all went down at some point in the 24 hours following the news.
Otis Redding, 78
Otis Redding, the king of soul, passed away at 26 in a plane crash en route to a scheduled performance.
John Bonham, 71
Led Zeppelin decided to disband after the death of 32-year-old drummer John Bonham in 1980. He died of pulmonary aspiration due to heavy alcohol consumption.
Whitney Houston, 56
In 2012, Whitney Houston—the “most awarded female act of all time,” according to the 2009 Guinness Book of World Records—was found unresponsive in her bathtub at 48 years old. She had drowned after using cocaine.
Bernie Mac, 62
The 50-year-old comedy great tragically died of a cardiac arrest caused by a disease called sarcoidosis in 2008.
John F. Kennedy, Jr., 59
John F. Kennedy, Jr., the publisher of George magazine and heir to political royalty, died in a fatal plane crash off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard in 1999 when he was only 38 years old.
Andy Kaufman, 70
Rumors persisted for years that 35-year-old Andy Kaufman faked his own death in 1984. In 2013, the L.A. County Coroner’s office put those rumors to rest by re-releasing Kaufman’s death certificate.
Sylvia Plath, 87
Esteemed wordsmith Sylvia Plath created her impressive body of work before the age of 30. Sadly, in 1963, she took her life.
Anne Frank, 90
After two years hiding from Nazi forces, Anne Frank tragically passed away at age 15 from typhus in a German concentration camp in 1945. The diaries she kept while on the run provide an essential window into what life under Nazi rule was like.
Sam Cooke, 88
Singer, songwriter, and civil rights activist Sam Cooke was shot and killed in 1964 at the Hacienda Motel in Los Angeles. The circumstances behind the 33-year-old’s death still remain a mystery.
Jeff Buckley, 53
During his prime, singer, songwriter, and guitarist Jeff Buckley was considered one of the greatest musicians alive. His life was cut short when he drowned in the Mississippi River in 1997, at just 30 years old.
Ritchie Valens, 78
Along with fellow music legend Buddy Holly, then 17-year-old musician Ritchie Valens died in a plane crash in 1959.
Eddie Cochran, 81
In the mid-1950s, musician Eddie Cochran seemed to personify teenage frustration and desire with hits like “Summertime Blues” and “Twenty Flight Rock.” In 1960, the 21-year-old died in a car crash during the prime of his career.
Brian Jones, 77
The leader and founder of the Rolling Stones tragically succumbed to his alcohol and drug addiction at just 27 years old in 1969. He was one of the first members of the “27 Club.”
Hank Williams, 96
Hank Williams, who’s still regarded as one of the most prolific country musicians of all time, died of heart failure due to rampant drug use in 1953. He was only 29 at the time.
Jim Croce, 76
Folk and rock musician Jim Croce died in a plane crash in 1973 at only 30.
John Coltrane, 93
Jazz composer, influential saxophonist, and Pulitzer Prize winner John Coltrane died of liver cancer at the age of 40 in 1967.
Michael Hutchence, 59
The 37-year-old co-founder and former lead singer of the cult band INXS took his own life in 1997.
Tammi Terrell, 74
In the 1960s, Tammi Terrell was considered one of the greatest Motown acts. Unfortunately, her life was cut short: The 24-year-old singer lost her battle with brain cancer in 1970.
Marc Bolan, 72
Shortly before his 30th birthday, Marc Bolan—founder of glam rock band T. Rex—died in a car accident in 1977.
Yuri Gagarin, 85
In a grim set of circumstances, the first man in outer space died at the age of 34 in a plane crash just outside of Novosyolovo, Russia.
Jam Master Jay, 54
Jam Master Jay, the DJ of iconic rap group Run D.M.C., was shot and killed in a recording studio in 2002. The murder of the 37-year-old rapper is still unresolved.
Nico, a German supermodel, actress, and musician, was a legendary collaborator of artists like Andy Warhol and the Velvet Underground. But her life came to an end when she suffered a stroke while riding her bicycle in 1988. She was just 49 years old.
Jayne Mansfield, 86
During the 1950s and ’60s, Jayne Mansfield—a Playboy model, actress, and singer—was considered an iconic sex symbol. In 1967, she died in a car accident in New Orleans at the age of 34.
Bradley Nowell, 51
Famous for founding an entirely new genre of music with his band, Sublime, Bradley Nowell, who struggled with addiction throughout most of his adult life, died of a heroin overdose in 1996 at just 28 years old.
Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, 48
Just at the height of this TLC member’s career in 2002, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes’ life was cut short when she died in a car crash at just 30 years old.
Ricky Nelson, 79
In truly tragic fashion, iconic musician Ricky Nelson (who allegedly dreaded traveling by plane) died in a plane crash in 1985. He was 45 years old.
Lenny Bruce, 94
Lenny Bruce’s groundbreaking comedy established him as one of the greatest comedians of all time. However, at just 40 years old in 1966, the famed comedian died of a drug overdose.
Sarah Burke, 37
World champion skier Sarah Burke died after a training accident in 2012. She was only 29 years old and was headed to the 2014 Olympics.
John Candy, 69
In the 1980s and early ’90s, comedian and actor John Candy was a household name. Unfortunately for Candy (and his millions of fans), he died of a heart attack in 1994 when he was only 43 years old.
Layne Staley, 52
Before his death in 2002 as a result of a drug overdose, 34-year-old Layne Staley helped bring grunge music swinging into the mainstream with his band, Alice in Chains.
Selena, at just 23 years old, was the queen of Tejano music. Her murder, at the hands of Yolanda Saldívar in 1995, came as a shock to the entire world.
Patsy Cline, 87
At the time of her death in 1963, singer and songwriter Patsy Cline was considered one of the greatest country music artists of all time. She was only 30 when she died in a plane crash.
In 2016, the entire world mourned the loss of Prince, who had one of the most prolific careers in pop music history. The 57-year-old accomplished musician died of an accidental fentanyl overdose.
Gary Coleman, 51
Gary Coleman’s role on Diff’rent Strokes cemented his icon status in the 1970s and ’80s. Sadly, in 2010, Coleman died of a subdural hematoma at 42.
Natalie Wood, 81
To this day, police are still attempting to find out what truly happened to then-43-year-old actress Natalie Wood on the day of her death: November 29, 1981.
Cass Elliot, 78
Also known as Mama Cass of The Mamas & the Papas, Cass Elliot died of heart failure in 1974. She was only 32 years old.
Karen Carpenter, 69
Musician Karen Carpenter possessed one of the most beloved singing voices of all time. In 1983, Carpenter lost her battle with anorexia nervosa and died at 32.
Harry Chapin, 77
The folk singer died in 1981 in a car crash while on his way to perform a free concert in Long Island. He was only 38.
Roberto Clemente, 85
Before the 38-year-old’s untimely death in a plane crash in 1972, Roberto Clemente was a legendary right fielder in the MLB, playing 18 seasons for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Malcolm X, 94
Civil rights leader Malcolm X was assassinated in 1965. He didn’t live to see his 40th birthday.
Florence Ballard, 76
This founding member of The Supremes died in 1976 after suffering a heart attack at 32 years old.
Andy Gibb, 61
After overcoming a drug addiction, musician and teen idol Andy Gibb died as the result of a viral infection in his heart in 1988. The “I Just Want to Be Your Everything” singer was 30.
Ricky Wilson, 66
After keeping his AIDS diagnosis a secret for two years, guitarist and founding member of the B-52s Ricky Wilson succumbed to the disease in 1985 at 32 years old.
Gram Parsons, 73
Best known for his work with the Byrds, musician Gram Parsons died from a morphine overdose at 26 years old in 1973.
Bon Scott, 73
The original lead singer of AC/DC, Bon Scott, died in 1980 shortly after recording the beginnings of the band’s most famous album, Back in Black. Scott died of alcohol poisoning at just 33 years old.
Che Guevara, 91
Che Guevara’s visage still serves as a countercultural symbol of rebellion, even though the 39-year-old Argentine Marxist revolutionary was executed in Bolivia in 1967.
George Michael, 56
As a member of Wham! and as a solo artist, George Michael saw incredible fame during the ’80s and ’90s. In 2016, the singer died of heart and liver disease at just 53 years old.
Peter Tosh, 75
Along with Bob Marley, Peter Tosh is considered to be one of the greatest reggae artists of all time. Unfortunately, 42-year-old Tosh was killed in 1987 by men who broke into his home.
Judy Garland, 97
Silver screen legend Judy Garland died of a barbiturate overdose in 1969 when she was only 47 years old.
Sal Mineo, 80
Mostly known for starring alongside James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause, actor Sal Mineo was stabbed by a burglar behind his apartment in West Hollywood in 1976. He was only 37 years old.
Allen Collins, 67
Allen Collins didn’t fully escape the legendary bad luck that seemed to plague the members of Lynyrd Skynyrd. In 1990, over a decade after his bandmates died in a plane crash, Collins died of complications due to a car accident that left him paralyzed. He was 37 years old.
Pete Ham, 72
The lead vocalist and composer for the cult band Badfinger took his own life in 1975. He was 27 years old.
Freddie Prinze, 65
At just 22 years old, the stand-up comedian, actor, and father of Freddie Prinze, Jr., took his own life in 1977 after a lifelong struggle with depression.
Ayrton Senna, 59
Widely regarded as the most prolific Formula One driver of all time, 34-year-old Ayrton Senna died in an accident during the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.
Russell Tyrone Jones, 51
One of the founding members of the legendary Wu-Tang Clan, rapper and producer Russell Tyrone Jones (who went by the stage name Ol’ Dirty B*stard) died of a drug overdose at the age of 35 in 2004.
Adam Yauch, 55
Adam Yauch, a founding member of the Beastie Boys, died in 2012 after a public battle with cancer at just 47 years old.
David Foster Wallace, 57
At the time of his suicide in 2008, 46-year-old David Foster Wallace had already become one of the greatest literary minds of his generation.
Dorothy Dandridge, 97
One of the first successful African-American actresses in Hollywood, Dorothy Dandridge died of a drug overdose in 1965 at just 42 years of age. And for more iconic stars and the stories that surround them, check out 50 Crazy Celebrity Facts You Won’t Believe Are True.
To discover more amazing secrets about living your best life, click here to follow us on Instagram!