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Celebrities Who Died in Front of a Live Audience

We’ve all only got so much time on this earth. That’s the bitter truth that we all must come to terms with eventually. We’re reminded of this fact when our idols and heroes arrive that that grim junction point in their life paths. It’s always tragic when a cherished public figure passes away – but it’s especially unsettling when they kick the bucket front and center for all the world to see.

There’s an old expression that goes something like ‘die doing what you love’ and that’s perfectly sound advice but if you’re a musician, actor, or television personality, that adage might equate to you’re devoted fan-base being exposed to a hefty dose of trauma.

This video is going to take a morbid look at performers that died in front of their audiences. You’re not going to want to miss out on discovering who died on live television. Can you imagine? But first, let’s talk about a legendary headbanger….

‘Dimebag’ Darrell Abbott

Metalheads are probably quite familiar with this one. Dimebag Darrell Abbott, Lead Guitarist for the popular metal band Pantera and later Damageplan, thought that the show he and the band were playing on December 8, 2004, at a small venue called Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio was going to be just like the hundreds of others they had shredded at previously in their electrifying careers.

But a 25-year-old former marine named Nathan Gale had other plans for the evening. He had snuck into the show with a gun and forced his way on stage. Just a minute and a half into Damageplan’s set, he opened fire. 38-year-old Abbott, attendee Nathan Bray, roadie Jeff Thompson, and Alrosa Villa employee Erin Halk all took their last breaths that evening.

Nathan Gale, who according to his mother had been discharged from the armed forces for having a history of mental illness was shot by a police officer and was also killed. For years, theories have tried to come up with some kind of motive for his grizzly actions, but none have made any solid conclusions.

Richard Versalle

Opera singer Richard Versalle was playing the part of Vitek In the stage performance of The Makropulas Case on a chilly evening in January of 1996. There’s a scene where his character climbs to the top of a ladder to put a case file into the bookshelf. Immediately after uttering the foreshadowing line ‘ Too bad, you can only live so long’, he fell from the ladder and was quickly pronounced dead. The 63-year-old performer had apparently had a heart attack which caused him to take the ill-fated plunge. Talking about, really getting into character, right?

Nick Menza

Another death that shook the metal community was that of Megadeth member Nick Menza. He was playing drums with a band called OHM in May of 2016 at a show in Studio City, California when he collapsed on stage during the third song of the set. His heart had given out, and he was pronounced dead upon arrival by the time paramedics had managed to rush him to the closest ER. He was only 51 years old – but in drummer years that’s probably more like 80.

Sib Hashian

You probably remember him as the original drummer for the classic rock band Boston. Throughout his career, the band had sold millions of records and played countless sold-out shows. Hashian, 67, had recently teamed up with various other members of classic rock bands like Foreigner, The Beach Boys, and Kansas to take their aging acts to see in a nostalgic tour called The Legends of Rock Cruise. Hashian was performing a show on the cruise vessel in March of 2017 when he collapsed behind the drum set having suffered an apparent heart attack.

Jerome Rodale

J. I Rodale, as he was often billed on his lecture tours was a prominent personality in the mid 20th century that endorsed the then-radical health ideals of shopping local and avoiding food that was pumped full of antibiotics. He was a pioneer of what would later become business-as-usual dietary advice.

On June 7, 1971, he went onto The Dick Cavett Show, an ABC talk show much like The Tonight Show, to be interviewed and advocate for his ideas. The 72-year-old health guru had made the claim that he ‘never felt better’ in his life and that he had planned on living to a hundred, but just a few minutes later, but while another guest was being interviewed and he suddenly let out a gasping grunt, went totally pale, his eyes rolled back in his head and his mouth hung open in a perturbing manner. Yes, in front of a live studio audience, he had suddenly died. Of course, the episode was never aired.

Hate to get side-tracked, but if you’re enjoying this video so far, make sure you give us a like and subscribe to our channel. Stay tuned to find our who died of a cobra bite live on stage! She was told that it was defanged but boy was she mistaken.

Next up on our list might not be someone you are familiar with, but he certainly has made an impact on the music industry.

Colonel Bruce Hampton

Fans of Jam bands like Umphreys Mcgee, The Grateful Dead, and The Allman Brothers ow a lot to Burce Hampton, who has been called the granddaddy of jam. Throughout his career, he played in numerous bands including the Hampton Grease Band and Quark Alliance, and although these bands might not have achieved the same kind of popularity that Jerry Garcia and company were able to obtain, they were highly influential in the blossoming rock scene back in the day.

In May 2017, at a concert celebrating the life and accomplishments of the trailblazing musician called Hampton 70, his friends, fellow musicians and fans all showed up to pay there respects to his contributions in the music industry. During a performance of Turn On Your Love Light by band members of Blues Traveler, Widespread Panic, and a young teenage guitar-ace Taz Niederauer, Hampton fell to his knees. It took everyone a minute to realize what was happening. At first, it looked like he had just knelt to show his respects to the talented young musician, but in reality, he had collapsed. Paramedics rushed him to a local Atlanta area hospital where he died later that evening.

Dick Shawn

The 63-year-old comedian was performing in front of a sizable audience at UC San Diego in April of 1987. His first bit was a routine about a disembodied head that found its way to a dinner table. He followed that up by dancing around to music totally out of tempo. His final sketch was about the end of the world, so when he laid down on the stage, went silent and remained there completely still, audience members thought it was all a part of the act.

Only after lying there motionless for 5 minutes did they begin to suspect that maybe something had gone awry. A stagehand came out and checked on him and then signaled that a medic was needed. CPR was then performed and the audience was informed that they should vacate the theater. It was confirmed the next day in the local newspaper that Dick had indeed passed away during the performance.

Tommy Cooper

Tommy was a Welsh comedian who specialized in prop comedy. While performing on Live From Her Majesty’s a popular variety show that was aired all throughout the United Kingdom, cooper was finishing up one of his famed magic cloak routines. The skit involved him pulling unusually large objects from his magic garment.

His assistant that even was the show’s host Jimmy Tarbuck and it was his duty to push a stepladder through a curtain to facilitate the illusion as the object was too big for cooper to fit underneath his gown.

It looked as if Cooper was doing a little improv when after his assistant came on stage, he fell with a thud onto his rump. Unfortunately, this was not a part of the show. Cooper was having a heart attack on live television. The program immediately cut to a commercial break so viewers at home wouldn’t have to watch his body being pulled behind the curtain. By the time he made it to hospital, he had already died.

Owen Hart

he was one of the most esteemed wrestlers in the WWE back in his days. He and his brother Bret Hart aka Hitman were a dynamic duo and one of the most popular teams in wrestling history.

In May of 1999, during a special called ‘Over The Edge’, Hart was going to play the role of an obnoxiously annoying superhero-like character. He was going to be lowered down from the rafters way up high into the ring by means of a wired system that was supposed to keep him safe, but unfortunately, the rigging gave out on him and he fell 78 feet to his death – he was only 34 years old.

Irma Bule

Irma was a popular performer in Indonesia. For years she had sung and danced on staged and made use of a live cobra as a prop. During one particular performance in 2016, the cobra she was performing with bit her thigh. She thought nothing of it. Surely, the snake was defanged, right? She was dead wrong – no pun intended. Close to an hour later, she started vomiting and seizing out. By the time she made it to the hospital, her flame had already been extinguished.

Tiny Tim

This eccentric ukulele toting weirdo was known for his outlandish performances featuring his high-pitch falsetto voice and whimsical song choice. He is best known for his rendition of Tip-Toe through the Tulips which went to number 17 on Billboards pop charts back in 1968.

Love him or hate him, he was certainly a memorable performer. Unfortunately on November 30, of 1996 while playing a gala at the Women’s Club of Minneapolis he suffered a major heart attack half-way through his signature song. He walked over to the table that he and his wife were sitting at and collapsed. He was rushed to a nearby hospital and despite repeated attempts to resuscitate him, he was pronounced dead.

Well, that’s about as much death as we can handle for today. Hopefully, everyone we talked about today died feeling satisfied with their lives and accomplishments. Our deepest condolences go out to all of the friends and family that these performers left behind.

Whose death rattled you the most Dimebag Darrell Abbott from Pantera or Tiny Tim? Let us know what you think in the comments section.

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