Celebrities Who Died By Suicide
Table of Contents
Understand the Link Between Depression and Suicide
How shocked the nation, and the world, is when we hear of celebrity suicides. As a country, we have come to look up to the people who make a name for themselves. They may have excelled as an actor, musician, artist, athlete, or public figure.
Yet who knows the pain that may lie just beneath the surface of these famous people? Often, it is not known until after their death that the person who took their own life was deeply troubled.
How shocking it was in 2022 to hear that Naomi Judd had taken her life, or in 2018 when the famous suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain occurred within a month of each other. All of these acclaimed people seemed to have it all. It taught us that how we perceive each other is sometimes completely wrong.
This is the lasting message that is so important to understand. As suicide rates continue to rise, we all need to become better informed about depression.
Depression and Suicide
In the U.S., rates of suicide have risen to the highest levels since the 80s, according to a study by the NCHS. In 2021 47,646 Americans took their own lives, compared with 29,199 in 1999.
Suicide is now the 10th leading cause of death. An average of 132 Americans die by suicide daily. Also, increases among teens and young adults have tripled in some groups within this age bracket. In fact, the CDC reports a 30% increase in suicide among young people aged 10-34. This makes suicide the 2nd leading cause of death in this group.
In some cases, there may be suicide-warning signs. A loved one may be in need of mental health help, such as admission to a mental health facility. In fact, 4 out of 5 teens that attempt suicide had given clear warning signs.
If someone you know becomes very depressed and withdraws from work and family, it could be a warning sign. Also, if a loved one has been dealing with a severe health or financial setbacks, this too could be cause for concern. If someone comments that his or her family would be better off without them, it is time to step in.
Know the Signs of MDD
Depression does not usually appear without warning. In many cases, the symptoms may start off as vague. As time goes on, the person’s low mood begins to cause impairment. In essence, major depressive disorder (MDD) does not resolve like a bout of the blues.
Symptoms of MDD include:
- Feelings of sadness or despair. Feels hopeless.
- Loss of interest in daily life.
- Fatigue, lack of energy.
- Slowed motor movements and thinking.
- Has trouble making decisions.
- Sudden weight gain or weight loss due to change in eating habits.
- Sleep problems.
- Feelings of guilt or shame.
- Thoughts of suicide.
When a cluster of these symptoms persists for more than two weeks it is time to seek help.
Treatment for Depression
For decades now, the treatment for depression has relied on a blend of therapy and antidepressants. Within those two treatment methods exist many options. There is a wide choice of therapies from which a therapist can select. Also, there are about 30 different kinds of antidepressants on the market. Depression treatment takes some time and patience. Treatment can take months to feel the full effect.
Holistic actions can also improve the symptoms of depression. These methods add to the other treatments by helping to manage mental illness and stress levels. Some holistic activities that can assist in the treatment of depression include:
- Working out, walking, running, swimming.
- Healthy diet.
- Essential oils
- Art therapy
What Are the Warning Signs of Suicide?
Based on statistics reported by the AFSP, approximately 45,000 Americans die by suicide each year. For every completed suicide there are 25 suicide attempts.
Here are some common warning signs that a loved one is thinking about taking their life:
- They believe they are a burden to others
- They feel hopeless, or say they have no reason to live
- They gain the means to commit suicide, such as buying a gun or storing up drugs
- They mention they want to die
- Changes in sleep habits, like sleeping more than normal or insomnia.
- Withdraws from family and friends
- Having a recent trauma or loss
- Increased use of alcohol or drugs
- Engages in high-risk behaviors
- Seems highly agitated or anxious
- Saying they feel trapped in their mental pain
- Frequent mood swings
- Giving away things that have special meaning to them
What is a 5150 Psych Hold?
When someone you know is exhibiting signs of self-harm or suicide ideation, and especially if they are making statements about killing themselves, you can initiate a 5150 hold. This is an involuntary 72-hour hold during which the person will be stabilized and observed in a mental health treatment setting or hospital.
The purpose of a 5150 hold is to remove the person from causing any harm to themselves or others, and providing acute stabilization. During the 3-day hold they will be given a psych evaluation, as well as be seen by a therapist. At the end of the 72-hours, The person is released with orders to continue treatment, or be admitted for a longer stay in an inpatient setting.
Become Familiar With Suicide Prevention in Your Community
Suicide rates continue to rise, especially among younger people. When suicide touches your family or community, you may wonder what you can do to help reverse this disturbing trend.
There are some actions to take that can have a real impact on the suicide problem. It all starts with greater awareness and less stigma. Here are some excellent ideas to deploy in your own community:
- Inform each other. Thanks to organizations like the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), there are materials available to help educate the public about suicide. Order some of their free educational materials and start distributing them in your community. For example, ask your local doctors and mental health providers if you can leave some of the pamphlets in their waiting rooms.
- Organize a local event. If your community has experienced recent suicides, consider planning an event at a local church or community center to honor their memory, as well as have small group sessions where people feel comfortable sharing how suicide has touched their lives. This is how to reduce the stigma of mental health, by being willing to talk about it and share stories.
- Work the suicide hotline. To be able to have a real impact on someone’s life, if you have a mental health background, why not volunteer to answer calls on the suicide hotline or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Your interactions with individuals in crisis may just save lives.
Why Would a Celebrity Take Their Life?
It can be very hard to wrap our brains around why a famous person would choose to die by suicide, especially a celebrity who has acquired fame and fortune. It seems shocking that someone with so much going for them would choose to end their life.
But celebrities are human beings, too. The celebs that choose suicide were likely suffering from undiagnosed or poorly treated mental illness, especially depression. Famous people are not immune to the terrible effects of depression. If anything, being famous might even intensify their pain and sense of hopelessness.
Another reason a celebrity might commit suicide is a co-occurring substance use disorder. The combination of depression with addiction can lead to many adverse consequences, such as losing out on acting roles or having concerts cancelled. Again, co-occurring disorders can happen to anyone, not just celebrities, and with devastating effects.
Whether it is a wealthy celebrity or a humble, ordinary person, depression has the ability to cause deep despair. The answer is treatment. Too few do not reach out for help, and the illness simply takes over.
List of the Top 10 to 20 Celebrities who Committed Suicide
Here are some of the most famous people who committed suicide:
- Stephen Boss, age 40. Dancer and actor (Step Up), died by suicide on December 13, 2022.
- Jason David Frank, age 49. Actor (Power Rangers), died by suicide on November 19, 2022.
- Julee Cruise, age 65. Actress, died by suicide June 9, 2022.
- Lindsey Pearlman, age 43. Actress (Chicago Justic, Empire), died by suicide February 13, 2022.
- Naomi Judd, age 75. Five-time Grammy winner, American signer-songwriter and actress, died by suicide on April 30, 2022.
- Matthew Mindler, age 19. Actor, died by suicide August 28, 2021.
- Mike Howe, age 55. Lead singer for Metal Church, died by suicide on July 30, 2021.
- John MacAfee, age 75. Software mogul, died by suicide June 23, 2021.
- Lil Loaded, rapper, age 20, died by suicide May, 31, 2021.
- Houston Tumlin, actor, Talladega Nights, age 28, died from suicide March 28, 2021
- Kent Taylor, Founder, Texas Roadhouse restaurant chain, age 65, died from suicide March 21, 2021
- Michael Wolf, sound mixer for Nomadland, age 35, died by suicide on March 7, 2021.
- Nate Burrell, star of “60 Days In,” age 33, died by suicide November 1, 2020.
- Daisy Coleman, of Netflix documentary “Audrie and Daisy,” age 23, died by suicide August 7, 2020.
- Benjamin Keough, grandson of Elvis Presley, age 27, died from suicide July 20, 2020.
- Pavle Jovanovic, Olympic bobsledder, age 43, died by suicide May 3, 2020.
- Ashley Mattingly, former Playboy playmate, age 33, died from suicide April 15, 2020.
- Steve Bing, age 55. Producer and writer, died by suicide June 22, 2020.
- Stan Kirsch, age 51. Actor best known for his TV series, “Highlander,” died from suicide on January 11, 2020.
- Silvio Horta, age 45. Producer and writer (Ugly Betty), died by suicide January 7, 2020.
- Brody Stevens, age 48. Comedian best known for his work on “The Hangover” franchise, died by suicide on February 22, 2019.
- Stephanie Sherk, age 37. Film actress best known for the movie “Valentine’s Day,” died by suicide on April 20, 2019.
- Margot Kidder, age 69. Actress best known for “Superman” movie, died from suicide on May 13, 2018.
- Mark Salling, age 35. Best known for his role on the TV show “Glee” died by suicide on January 18, 2018.
- Avicii, age 28. Avicii was a famous DJ from Sweden who died by suicide on April 20, 2018.
- Anthony Bourdain, age 61. Anthony, chef and best known for his show “No Reservations“, died from suicide on June 8th, 2018.
- Kate Spade, age 55. Kate Spade was an iconic fashion designer and mother that died by hanging in her Manhattan, NY apartment on June 5th, 2018.
- Chester Bennington, age 41. Chester Bennington American musician was the lead singer of Linkin Park and hanged himself July 20th, 2017.
- Chris Cornell, age 52. Chris Cornell was the lead singer of Soundgarden who died by hanging in 2017.
- Aaron Hernandez, age 27. Former NFL star who died by hanging in his jail cell in 2017.
- Anne Sexton, age 46. American poet who died by asphyxiation in 1974.
- Jonathan Brandis, age 27. Actor who died by hanging in 2003.
- Leslie Cheung, age 46. Hong Kong-Canadian singer and actor who died by suicide in 2003.
- Kurt Cobain, age 27. Guitarist and frontman for the rock band Nirvana, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in 1984.
- Don Cornelius, age 75. Died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in 2012.
- James “Buster” Coley, age 72. Co-founder of Dave & Buster’s, died of suicide in 2023.
- Richard Farnsworth, age 80. Star of David Lynch’s “The Straight Story” and Academy Award nominee, died of suicide in 2000.
- Lucy Gordon, age 28. Actress and model who appeared in “Spiderman 3”, died of hanging in 2009.
- Ernest Hemingway, age 61. Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize winning novelist who died of suicide in 1961.
- Joyce Jameson, age 54. Died of of intentional drug overdose in 1987.
- Richard Jeni, age 49. Actor and comedian who appeared in “The Mask”, died of suicide in 2007.
- Brian Lawler, age 48. WWE performer died of suicide in his jail cell in 2018.
- Mindy McCready, age 37. Country western singer died of suicide in 2013 after 3 previous attempts.
- Marilyn Monroe, age 36. Died of an overdose of barbiturates in 1962.
- Sylvia Plath, age 30. Suicide by placing her head in a gas oven in 1963.
- Freddie Prinze, age 22. Actor, comedian, and father of Freddie Prinze Jr., died of suicide in 1977.
- George Reeves, age 45. Star of “Adventures of Superman” died of suicide in 1959.
- Tony Scott, age 69. Brother of Ridley Scott, director of Top Gun, died by jumping off a bridge in 2012.
- Hunter S. Thompson, age 69. Author of “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” died of suicide in 2005.
- Verne Troyer, age 49. Best known as “Mini Me” in the Austin Powers sequels, died of intentional alcohol poisoning in 2018.
- Robin Williams, age 63. Died by hanging himself in 2014.
- Virginia Woolf, age 59. Famed writer who drowned herself in 1941.
- Lee Thompson Young, age 29. Actor who appeared in “Friday Night Lights” died by suicide in 2013.
Suicide Prevention and Treatment
When you or a loved one is struggling with serious depression, it is vital to get help right away. Like any other health conditions, the longer depression is left untreated the worse it can become. Not treating the depression can result in suicide.
Urgent Help: If you or someone you know has expressed thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Helpline at 800-273-8255.
Treatment Options and Guidance: Call The Treatment Specialist to learn about resources for depression rehab centers that take insurance, addiction and mental health inpatient and outpatient rehab programs, call The Treatment Specialist for free treatment and rehab options at 866-644-7911.
May All of These Special People Rest In Peace
Lets Look Out for Those Struggling with Depression and Encourage Help and Healing
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