Deaths that rocked the decade


Amy Winehouse, 27

British singer Amy Winehouse poses for a photograph at a studio in north London. Picture: APSource:AP

The death of the Back To Black singer sent shockwaves around the world, despite her history of drug and drink addiction.

The troubled star, who had been off drugs for months, was found dead in her Camden house on July 23, 2011 after a drinking binge.

She was five times over the legal drink-drive limit when she died, an inquest later heard.

Winehouse’s 2003 debut album Frank was nominated for the Mercury Prize and her second, Back to Black made her the first British female to win five Grammys.


Whitney Houston, 48

Whitney Houston remains one of the best-selling music artists of all time with 200 million records sold worldwide. Picture: Supplied

Whitney Houston remains one of the best-selling music artists of all time with 200 million records sold worldwide. Picture: SuppliedSource:News Regional Media

Pop diva Whitney was found dead in a bathtub in the Beverly Hills Hilton on February 11, 2012, hours before she was due to sing at a pre-Grammys party.

Star Tony Bennett, who called her the “greatest singer I’ve ever heard in my life”, led tributes to her at the party.

An inquest found the American star, who was suffering from heart problems caused by years of drug abuse, had drowned in the bath after taking cocaine.

Houston, who sold more than 55 million records and starred in the films The Bodyguard and Waiting to Exhale, spiralled into drug addiction during her volatile marriage to fellow musician Bobby Brown.


Paul Walker, 40

Paul Walker in a scene from Fast and Furious 7. Picture: Universal Pictures

Paul Walker in a scene from Fast and Furious 7. Picture: Universal PicturesSource:Supplied

The Fast and the Furious star was in the passenger seat of a Porsche when his friend, driver Roger Rodas, lost control and ploughed into a telegraph pole, causing the car to burst into flames.

Walker died from the combined effects of trauma and burns, leaving his loved ones bereft.

A screen heart-throb, he had starred in all but one of The Fast and the Furious films and his latest movie, Hours, was released just before his death on November 30, 2013.

He left behind a daughter, Meadow Rain, who was 15 at the time.


Philip Seymour Hoffman, 46

The Oscar-winning actor was found dead in the bathroom of his New York apartment on February 2, 2014, after a friend went to check on him.

He had died from a drug overdose.

One of the most respected actors in Hollywood, he had won a Best Actor Oscar for Capote and numerous nominations for The Master, Doubt and Charlie Wilson’s War.

Robin Williams, 63

The Dead Poets Society star took his own life at his home in Los Angeles in August 2014, after a long battle with depression and anxiety.

His wife Susan Schneider later said he had been suffering from a form or dementia, which she called the “terrorist inside my husband’s brain.”

His daughter Zelda said: “The world is forever a little darker, less colourful and less full of laughter in his absence”


David Bowie, 69

The year 2016 saw more than its fair share of celebrity deaths, kicking off in January with one of the UK’s biggest legends.

Starman singer Bowie died after an 18-month battle with cancer, just two days after he released his 25th and final album, Blackstar.

Although he kept his illness a secret in the track, Lazarus, he hinted at his own death, singing: “Look up here, I’m in heaven.”

His death spurred thousands to take to the streets in impromptu street party tributes.

Prince, 57

The body of the pop legend was found in a lift at his Paisley Park recording studio in Minnesota on April 21, 2016.

An inquest found he had died of an accidental overdose.

The talented musician – full name Prince Rogers Nelson – was born in Minneapolis and began playing the piano at the age of seven.

He released his debut album, For You, in 1978 and followed it with a string of hit including 1999, Little Red Corvette and Purple Rain.

George Michael, 53

The year ended with the tragic news that Last Christmas singer George Michael had died at his Goring-on-Thames home on Christmas Day.

The singer-songwriter, real name Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou, had battled drug addictions for years but died from liver and heart problems.

He was found by his on-off partner, Fadi Fawaz.

Michael rose to fame as a member of Wham! and went solo in 1987, scoring huge hits including Careless Whisper and Faith.

He sold more than 100 million albums throughout a career which spanned almost four decades.


Anthony Bourdain, 61

Beloved celebrity chef, author and travel docmentarian Anthony Bourdain took his own life in France in June 2018, sending fans around the globe into mourning. Bourdain had battled addiction and mental illness throughout his life, and through his work he championed social justice, immigrant chefs, and in his later years he spoke out against sexual harassment in Hollywood after his then-girlfriend Asia Argento accused Harvey Weinstein of rape.

Barack Obama, who was a guest on one of Bourdain’s travel shows, paid tribute to the late chef, saying, “He taught us about food — but more importantly, about its ability to bring us together. To make us a little less afraid of the unknown.”


Keith Flint, 49

The Prodigy’s dancer-turned-frontman was found hanged at his home in Essex on March 4, 2019.

The rave giants achieved massive mainstream success with single Firestarter, which featured Flint on lead vocals, and the 1997 album The Fat Of The Land.

Keith kicked a drug habit before The Prodigy’s comeback in 2009.

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