Some performers can switch it off. On stage, they’re this superstar, but off stage, they’re a regular person. Some celebrities, however, are always on. They’d never consider taking a rest, let alone retiring. Instead, they’re so dedicated to their craft to the bitter end that they… drop dead on stage! You could say they’re the literal interpretation of that cliche phrase: “They died doing what they loved.”
Some rockers just rock out a bit too hard, suffering heart attacks in the middle of a performance. Other celebs have passed away in front of fans and onlookers in even more shocking ways. Others are stunt people or actors who meet their demise because their jobs require an element of risk. However it happens, we’re here to provide you with some of the most jaw-dropping moments of stars taking their final bow in front of their audiences. Watch on if you dare! Join Facts Verse to know about those Celebrities Who Died in Front of Their Fans.
Scottish guitarist Les Harvey, a member of a band called Stone the Crows that was all set to follow Led Zeppelin’s footsteps. After all, they managed by Peter Grant, the man behind Led Zeppelin’s meteoric rise to fame, and Harvey had even toured with them. It was 1972, the band had just released their (what we now know as final) album, Teenage Licks, and they were on stage for a concert in Wales. Sadly, not long into the performance, Harvey electrocuted by an ungrounded microphone right before thousands of fans. The other members of Stone the Crows didn’t see a way to recover from the tragedy, and the band broke up soon after.
Eric Morecambe is a British comedy legend. The BBC even named him as one of the 100 Greatest Britons of all time in the early 2000s. He probably most well known for his hit variety show, The Morecambe and Wise Show, where he joked around alongside co-host Ernie Wise. Though the show left the air in 1977, Morecambe was a regular guest host on everything from game shows to galas. In 1984, he was performing on stage at a charity show when, after his sixth encore, he stepped off the stage and collapsed from a heart attack. He died in hospital almost six hours later. Sadly, it wasn’t a surprise. It was, in fact, his third heart attack. He had suffered two such incidents in the decade preceding.
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Edith Webster, a popular local artist, might take the title for the most bizarre death on this list. One night in 1986, the popular local actor was performing in the play, The Drunkard, at Towson Moose Lodge in Baltimore. She was playing the role of the grandmother, a role she’d played for eight years. Just like the almost decade of performances before, she sang her final song and slumped over dead. Her death was so realistic that she received a heartwarming round of applause from the audience. Sadly, however, it wasn’t enough to get her heart beating again. Webster had actually passed away right there on stage at the age of 60.
The year was 1954, and blues singer Johnny Ace was singing at a Christmas Day show at the City Auditorium in Houston. During the breaks between sets, he’d sit backstage drinking and playing with his gun. It was something he did often, so no one thought anything of it. However, this night was different… It’s unclear whether Ace was playing the often ill-fated game of Russian roulette or just being silly when he pointed the gun at his head and pulled the trigger. It went off, and he never made it back on stage again. One of his songs, Pledging My Love, topped the charts for ten weeks after he died. Join Facts Verse to know about those Celebrities Who Died in Front of Their Fans.
Unbelievably, Johnny Ace isn’t the only star to shoot himself to death. Jon-Erik Hexum was taking a break while filming the first (and only) season of the 1980s CBS show Cover Up. To keep himself entertained, shooting a .44 magnum handgun, which loaded with blanks. Thinking the gun was harmless, Hexum pointed it to his temple and pulled the trigger. Unfortunately, he collapsed when the impact forced a piece of his skull into his brain. 26-year-old Hexum rushed to hospital and underwent hours of surgery but pronounced brain dead around a week after the incident occurred. His family agreed to take him off life support not long after.
Redd Foxx is a legend in American stand-up comedy circles, having influenced superstar comedians like Chris Rock and Eddie Murphy. His career spanned film, television, and recording, though he perhaps best known for his role of Fred G. Sanford and the sitcom Sanford and Son. In 1991, Foxx was on set for his TV show Royal Family when he performed what everyone thought was a gag death scene. However, a gag it was not; it was a very real heart attack. Foxx was rushed to the hospital, but it was too late. He died later that evening. One year later, the comedic genius was posthumously given a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame. Join Facts Verse to know about those Celebrities Who Died in Front of Their Fans.
Few people have had the honor of having their death parodied by South Park. Australian wildlife expert Steve Irwin is one of the lucky few. Known by most as the Crocodile Hunter, he carved out a reputation for himself as someone who wasn’t afraid of any animal through his globally popular television series of the same name. While many people probably thought it likely he would meet a grisly end at some point, few would have guessed death by a stingray barb. In 2006, Irwin was filming new material for his show on the Great Barrier Reef when he was stabbed by a frightened stingray trying to defend itself. The barb on its tail lodged in his heart and killed him almost instantly. Join Facts Verse to know about those Celebrities Who Died in Front of Their Fans.
Country Dick Montana
It probably wasn’t a surprise to fans when Country Dick Montana, frontman for the cowpunk band Beat Farmers, collapsed on stage. He was notorious for his hard-living, alcohol-fueled lifestyle, which eventually caught up to him. While singing in Whistler, BC, with his band members, Montana was struck down by a massive heart attack. After his death, the Beat Farmers disbanded, and his close friend and fellow country singer Mojo Nixon wrote a tribute song to him called The Ballad of Country Dick. His already completed solo album The Devil Lied to Me was released not long after.
You could say Brandon Lee followed in the footsteps of his father, but not in the way you’d want. Just like his dad, he died too young and tragically. Lee was shooting the now-infamous shooting scene in the cult film The Crow when he was accidentally shot for real. The .44 magnum revolver was meant to shoot blank rounds but had a bullet from a dummy round lodged in the barrel. The bullet got stuck in Lee’s stomach, and even though he was rushed to hospital and underwent hours of surgery, he died not long after. Though there were rumors that the actual shooting was included in the film, they’re unfounded. Join Facts Verse to know about those Celebrities Who Died in Front of Their Fans.
Darrell Lance Abbott, better known by his stage name, Dimebag Darrell, was a legendary heavy metal guitarist, performing in bands like Pantera and Damageplan. One night in 2004, when Abbott was performing on stage with Damageplan in Columbus, Ohio, an audience member shot 38-year-old Abbott in the head three times. He died on stage before paramedics could arrive. Three more people were killed in the horrific scene, including the band’s head of security, a passionate fan trying to resuscitate the fallen musician, and an employee of the venue. The shooter, Nathan Gale, was also shot and killed at the scene by police, so his motive for the murder was never revealed.
While TV wrestling is undeniably choreographed and staged, there’s also an element of real danger. Wrestlers get injured regularly, and some, like Owen Hart, even die prematurely. Hart performed under the stage name Blue Blazer and was one of the most famous wrestlers of his day. In 1999, he was performing at the Over the Edge pay-per-view event at Kemper Arena in Kansas City when he fell 78 feet into the ring. The fall was supposed to be part of the act, but it was poorly managed, and Hart fell from too high. Though he was rushed to hospital, he died not long after from internal injuries. Join Facts Verse to know about those Celebrities Who Died in Front of Their Fans.
John Ritter is one of America’s sitcom legends, best known for his 1970s role as Jack Tripper on Three’s Company. In 2003, he was filming his new TV show, 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter, when he started complaining of chest pain. He was rushed to the hospital and lost precious seconds when he was misdiagnosed as having a heart attack. Medical staff later worked out he suffered from an undiagnosed aortic dissection and rushed him into surgery, but he died on the operation table. The show producers dealt with the death of the 8 Simple Rules star by having his on-screen family get a phone call saying he had a heart attack while buying groceries.
Do you think Brandon Lee’s death was the most shocking of these celebrity deaths? Or did Steve Irwin’s stingray barb to the heart shake you up the most? Share your thoughts with fellow fans in the comment section below. But before you do, be sure to like this video, share it, and, if you haven’t already, head over to the Facts Verse channel to subscribe. Hit that notification bell while you’re there, so you don’t miss out on an upload.