10 Drug Related Celebrity Deaths

Celebrities and drug use seem to go hand-in-hand. For some celebrities, drugs are something you dabble in at parties. Other celebrities, however, are anything but casual with their drug use – it seems to consume them. Even with rehab, these stars can’t shake the habit and the consequences for this can be dire. In memory of all of the great celebrities that we have lost to drugs, here is a list of 10 drug related celebrity deaths!

10. Philip Seymour Hoffman

Academy Award-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman – who was found dead in his apartment this past February with a needle in his arm – died of an accidental overdose of drugs. According to the Chief Medical Examiner, the cause of death was acute drug intoxication, including heroin, cocaine, benzodiazepines and amphetamines. The 46-year-old actor had been open about his past struggles with addiction. He had entered rehab in May 2013 when he relapsed with heroin after staying clean for 23 years.

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9. Cory Monteith

Cory Monteith – who is best known for his role as Finn Hudson on the hit show “Glee” – died from a fatal cocktail of heroin and alcohol. He was found dead in a Vancouver hotel in July 2013 with drug paraphernalia, including a spoon with drug residue, a used hypodermic needle, as well as two empty champagne bottles and multiple glasses. The coroner concluded that his death was accidental and reported that his erratic drug use contributed to his death, adding that “after a period of cessation from opiod drug use, a previously tolerated drug concentration level may become toxic and fatal.” He was only 31-years-old.

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8. River Phoenix

On Halloween in 1993, Joaquin Phoenix’s older brother, River, died of acute multiple drug intoxication involving lethal levels of cocaine and morphine, outside Johnny Depp’s Los Angeles Club, The Viper Room. On the night of his death, the promising young actor, who starred in “Stand by Me,” was seen drinking and then in convulsions. After being ushered out of the club by a bouncer, the 23-year-old actor collapsed in seizures. Joaquin called an ambulance; however, once River arrived at the hospital, he was in full cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead an hour later.


7. Heath Ledger

Heath Ledger died of an accidental overdose of painkillers, sleeping pills, anti-anxiety medication and other prescription drugs in 2008. According to the examiner, the cause of death was “acute intoxication by the combined effects of oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam and doxylamine.” The examiner’s office also indicated that the Oscar-winning actor’s death was caused by a gradual build-up over time as opposed to a sudden binge. He was 28-years-old.

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6. Michael Jackson

The King of Pop died of acute propofol and benzodiazepine intoxication after suffering cardiac arrest at his home in 2009. He was only 50-years-old and had been preparing for his comeback concert series at the time of his death. According to the coronor’s report, Jackson had been administered propofol and three anti-anxiety benzodiazepines, lorazepam, and midazolam, by his personal physician Conrad Murray. In 2011, Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2011 and served a two-year prison sentence.

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5. Brad Renfro

In 2008, Brad Renfro – who first reached stardom when he starred in “The Client” alongside Susan Sarandon and Tommy Lee Jones – died of acute heroin/morphine intoxication at the age of 25. Although the death was ruled an accident, prior to his death, Renfro’s struggles with drugs and alcohol were well known. He had already been arrested for possession and sent to rehab, but nothing seemed to keep this former child star clean for long.

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4. Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston passed away a day before the Grammy Awards in 2012. She was found in her hotel bathtub submerged in water. According to the coroner’s report, her official cause of death was accidental drowning due to the effects of heart disease and cocaine use. The Grammy winner also had marijuana, the anti-anxiety drug Xanax, the muscle relaxant Flexeril and the over-the-counter antihistamine Benadryl in her bloodstream.

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3. Brittany Murphy

Back in 2009, Brittany Murphy died from a combination of pneumonia and prescription drugs. While pneumonia was listed as the primary cause, anemia and multiple drug intoxication were listed as secondary factors. While the death was ruled accidental, the coroner said that her death could have been avoided if she had seen a doctor. Less than a year later, her husband Simon Monjack was also found dead at the couple’s home. His cause of death was the same as Murphy’s, pneumonia and severe anemia.

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2. Anna Nicole Smith

In 2007, Anna Nicole Smith died of an accidental drug overdose. The coroner found methadone, anti-anxiety and weight-reducing drugs and, possibly, vitamins, we well as other substances, in her system. The report also said that a bacterial infection from injecting medication in her buttocks and the flu also contributed to her death. Also contributing to her death was the sleeping medication chloral hydrate, which is known to be fatal if combined with certain other drugs – including the sedative Lorazepam, which the autopsy showed she was taking.

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1. Peaches Geldof

Peaches Geldof – who died suddenly this past April at the age of 25 – reportedly died from a heroin overdose. Even though police found no drugs or drug paraphernalia when they discovered her body at her home, an inquest found heroin in her system. The former wild child – who had a history of drug use – is said to have overdosed in 2008, but Geldof insisted that motherhood had changed her ways. “Before, I was not at peace with myself about it because I was just traumatized. That’s why I was living a chaotic lifestyle. But now I have the kids I can heal the situation. It’s so good in every single way, really.”

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Cate has a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature and has been the Managing Editor of Fame10 for more than 6 years. Despite having a love for the works of Thomas Hardy, Leo Tolstoy and Lord Byron, she also has an intense fascination with pop culture. When she isn’t writing for Fame10, she’s planning her next big adventure in Southeast Asia.