Celebrity Death Experiences

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Celebrity Death Experiences

Some die of natural causes, some in a tragic way,
But for every single one of us a final night and day,
Without respect for the power of wealth and without respect for fame,
Death the great equalizer treats everyone as the same.

For many of the celebrities on included in this report, the words of Frances Duggan´s poem, Death the Great Equalizer, have a certain ring of truth to them. Reading through the list one cannot help but develop a certain respect for Kelsey Grammer who had his father and sister murdered in separate instances, or Yoko Ono who witnessed husband, John Lennon being shot in front of their apartment. Other celebrities such as Celine Dion, and Duane "dog" Chapman have had to live with the death of their soul mate. John Travolta and Sir Bob Geldof have had to endure something no parent should ever see, their child proceeding them to the grave. While celebrities including Sharon Stone, Demi Moore and Ozzy Osborne have caught glimpses of what life after death may hold when they had near death experiences, and in the words of Ozzy Osborne there were "no "f*cking angels"


Demi Moore — Drug-Induced Seizure

  • In her autobiography, Demi Moore disclosed a near-death experience following a seizure after using synthetic pot and nitrous oxide. The incident occurred in 2012 while she was having a "bash" with daughter Rumer.
  • Moore describes her near death experience as follows, "Everyone was witnessing my body flaying. My daughter [Rumer] was terrified she was gonna see me die right in front of her. Within me I was in a place thinking wow how did I get in here? This is interesting. My very next thought was "Oh I wonder if I could get out. All of a sudden I was back in my body, it was a moment that I was somehow being given a choice. I think emotionally it was [that close]. Something had to give. You either go in or out."

Sharon Stone — Brain Hemorrhage

  • In 2001, Sharon Stone "died and came back to life" following a brain hemorrhage.
  • Stone said of the experience, 'I feel that I did die. This kind of giant vortex of white light was upon me and — poof! I sort of took off into this glorious, bright-white light. I started to see and be met by some of my friends... people who were very, very dear to me [who had died]. I had a real journey with this that took me to places both here and beyond. 'But it was very fast — whoosh! Suddenly, I was back. I was in my body."
  • The Basic Instinct star also had a near-death experience when she was struck by lightning while ironing her work uniform at age 17. Stone explains, "I was about 17. And I had a job at Bob's Big Boy ... I was filling the iron with water to iron my uniform and we had our well and the well got hit with lightning and the lightning came up through the water. And I got thrown across the kitchen ... And hit the refrigerator and I was knocked out. And my mother just belted me — just, like, boom! — belted me and brought me around."
  • Stone has said subsequently, "I get not to be afraid of dying and I get to tell other people that it's a fabulous thing and death is a gift. When death becomes you, as it will, it's a glorious beautiful thing. I had an incredible sense of well-being and a sense that it's just so near. Death — it's very near and very safe."

Ozzy Osborne — ATV Accident

  • Ozzy Osbourne was involved in an ATV accident on his English estate in 2003. The accident resulted in a "fractured collarbone, multiple cracked ribs, and a several day coma."
  • Osborne described his near-death experience in his autobiography, saying, "I didn't know where I was or how long I'd been there. I would drift in and out of consciousness. Other times there would be a white light shining through the darkness, but no f*cking angels, no one blowing trumpets, and no man in a white beard."

Harrison Ford — Plane Crash

  • In March 2015, Harrison Ford reported engine failure and was forced to land his small plane on a Los Angeles golf course as a result. When medics arrived, he was breathing and alert but did require a brief period of hospitalization, having suffered a broken leg and head injury.
  • The near death experience did not put Ford off flying. He returned to the cockpit almost immediately. In his own words, "I started flying as soon as I could get back in my cockpit. I had a cast on my right leg, but my toes were hanging out so I could put my toes over the pedals and fly. I've been flying ever since."


John Travolta — Death of Son Jett Following Seizure

  • John Travolta lost his son, Jett, in 2009 in the Bahamas on a family holiday. Jett suffered from Kawasaki disease and had been struggling with seizures since he was two. While on holiday, he suffered a seizure and was found unconscious on the bathroom floor. Attempts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful.
  • Travolta described Jett's death as "the worst thing that has ever happened to me." He credits the Church of Scientology with getting him through it, saying, "I will forever be grateful to Scientology for supporting me for two years solid, I mean Monday through Sunday. They didn't take a day off, working through different angles of the techniques to get through grief and loss, and to make me feel that finally I could get through a day."

Duane "Dog" Chapman — Death of Wife Beth Chapman of Lung Cancer

  • Bounty hunter Duane"Dog" Chapman lost his wife Beth to stage four lung cancer on 26 June 2019. Both Chapman and his wife starred on the reality show "Dog the Bounty Hunter. Chapman said at the time, "Prepared? No, you're never, ever prepared. You can't prepare. There is no way. I did not know that this was going to happen that day... There is not another Beth. There'll never be another Beth. There ain't a girl built like another Beth."
  • In another interview he said, "You kind of try to remember that you're celebrating life, but right now we're mourning the death, so it's not good. We knew that someday this day would come. But it came very unexpected, really fast. We didn't prepare."
  • Chapman later found love again, but his daughter Katy was tragically killed in a car accident on the eve of his wedding. Chapman decided to go ahead with the wedding, breaking the news of Katy´s death to guests at the reception.

Courtney Love — Death of Husband Kurt Cobain From Suicide

  • Courtney Love lost partner Kurt Cobain to suicide due to associated mental health and addiction issues. A year later, in an interview with Rolling Stone, Love said, "It feels normal to me. You just put one foot in front of the other. I don't think about all the stuff that's happened all the time. I don't even know if I'm supposed to think about it–or if I'm not–or what I'm supposed to do. There's no rule book or guide to what I'm supposed to do. "
  • For all intent and purpose, Courtney and Kurt were the 90s equivalents of Sid and Nancy. Their drug-fueled relationship was destructive, and several had forecast it would end badly. In her first interview after Cobain's death, Love said, when discussing her grief, "I used to be able to talk to Kurt more, wherever he is. But now he's really gone."

Celine Dion — Death of Husband Rene Angelil From Throat Cancer

  • Singing Superstar, Celine Dion lost husband Rene Angelil to throat cancer in 2016. Angelil had battled the disease for several years.
  • Dion said, in an interview with ABC after his death, "You cannot stop living. Go forward. And today’s the first day of the beginning of my life because I know that, I don’t have to worry."
  • Three years after Angelil´s death she said. "René is still within me. I see him through the eyes of my children every day. I'm so passionate about life, and I'm so lucky to have my three beautiful sons. But I keep everything open."


Bob Geldof — Death of Daughter Peaches From Drug Overdose

  • In March 2014, Peaches, the daughter of Sir Bob Geldof, was found dead in her house due to a heroin overdose. Peaches was just 25 at the time of her death.
  • Sir Bob has said of her death, "Time doesn't heal, it accommodates. It is boundless and it is bottomless, the grief, the abyss, is timeless."
  • He has also said of his grief, "It surges forward, this involuntary subconscious flood of emotion inhabits you, utterly. I'll be at the traffic lights and I start to weep and I think, 'You're weeping'. And I say, 'Let it go. Let it happen.' Then I begin to sob, racked sobs. I weep then I sob. Then I wise up and look around to check that nobody's taking pictures or filming."

Michelle Williams — Death of Partner Heath Ledger From Accidental Overdose

  • Michelle William´s daughter with Heath Ledger was just three when former partner Heath Ledger died in 2007 as a result of an accidental prescription drug overdose. Since Ledger´s death, Williams has remained committed to ensuring Matilda knows who her father was. Williams has also suffered having being hounded by the press following Ledger´s death.
  • Williams has said, "To have that kind of attention in such an aggressive way, around you and your child, when so much of it is coming from what truly is tragedy for a family … it’s a kind of violence. It was unmanageable to be stalked like that, every moment of the day. So I left, in a desire to create a sane home environment."

Yoko Ono — Husband John Lennon Shot Dead

  • Yoko Ono watched as her husband John Lennon was shot dead by Mark Chapman outside their New York apartment in 1980.
  • Ono has spoken of living in fear following Lennon´s death and has strongly advocated against Chapman being released from prison. She has said, "One thing I think is that he did it once, he could do it again, to somebody else — you know. It could be me, it could be Sean [her son], it could be anybody, so there is that concern."
  • There is an unusual background to Ono´s reaction to Lennon´s death which she explained in an interview, "When I was in elementary school in Japan they had a textbook with a picture of a Japanese warrior who asked to be given seven sufferings and eight disasters, because he wanted to take over everybody’s suffering and disasters. It’s a courageous thing to do, and I was only a little girl and I thought that sounds good and I wanted to be like him. Do good for the world in the sense of taking everyone’s pain away. I asked for the seven sufferings and my life became terribly difficult. All sorts of misery. And when it got to around 1979 I thought, ‘What did I do wrong?’ So I said I’m going to change it. Give me seven lots of luck and eight treasures. My disaster became my treasure. I reversed it."
  • But when asked if this meant she was responsible for Lennon´s death, Ono said, "No. My karma didn’t affect him. John’s death was the worst of everything. I had to work hard to uncurse myself."

Kelsey Grammer — Multiple Tragic Deaths

  • Kelsey Grammer was just 13 when his father, Frank, was shot and killed outside his apartment in New York. When he was 20, his sister Karen was abducted, sexually assaulted, and murdered. Then when he was 25, his twin half brothers Billy and Stephen were killed in a scuba diving accident while holidaying In St Thomas.
  • Grammer has spoken of the guilt he felt when his sister was murdered, recalling how he was the one who identified the body and had the responsibility of telling his mother. He has subsequently said, "I have learnt to forgive. I have even told the guy I forgive him, although I don't advocate his freedom. I don't think that is reasonable. The punishment shouldn't be worse for the family than it is for the guy that killed the person."

Additional Sources

  • Mark Walhberg´s near death experience has been discussed in multiple sources.
  • Additional sources relating to Seth MacFarlane´s brush with death are available here and here.
  • Sarah Ferguson has spoken openly about how she dodged death during 911.
  • The loss of wife; Natasha Richardson, has been discussed by Liam Neeson in a number of interviews and reported by multiple sources.
  • Prince Harry´s tragic loss of his mother has impacted him considerably throughout his life. He has spoken of it on several occasions.
  • Louis Tomlison´s loss of sister and mother has been widely reported.
  • Keanu Reeves has very rarely spoken publicly about the death of his child or girlfriend. He discusses the impact of River Phoenix´s death here.

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