Rockstars who died tragically young – Kurt Cobain, John Lennon and Elvis Presley

Nirvana frontman and Hollywood rock 'n' roll legend Kurt Cobain was found dead at his home at the age of 27 years old on April 5, 1994.

The news left fans and stars from the world of rock music in shock, with a flood of tributes following the announcement of Kurt Cobain's death.

He is one of many rock stars to have died young at the height of their careers throughout the decades – with their influence continuing to be felt around the world through their music.

On the anniversary of Kurt Cobain's death, Daily Star looks back on the rock stars who died young.

Kurt Cobain

Musician Kurt Cobain was the frontman for pioneering grunge rock group Nirvana, whose albums including Nevermind sold millions of copies across the world.

Along with musicians including Foo Fighters singer Dave Grohl, who was Nirvana's drummer, the band rocketed to global rock stardom with songs including Smells Like Teen Spirit and Come As You Are.

However on April 5, 1994, the music world was shocked when Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain took his own life.

Dave Grohl has since spoken about Kurt's death and how it affected him, telling People Magazine: "It used to be that years ago that I would hear a Nirvana song on the radio and turn the channel.

"I don't do that anymore. I'll go driving with my kids in the car and they'll put on Nirvana….We don't really sit around the house, talking about Nirvana all day long, but every once in a while, they'll ask me questions and I'll explain that life to them."

The musician also revealed that he thinks about Kurt Cobain everyday, adding: "I just had a dream about him two nights ago.

"I only knew Kurt for about three and a half years, but in that time we went through multiple lifetimes. Kurt's songs touched the world."

John Lennon

John Lennon was one of music's greatest songwriters, both as part of legendary group The Beatles and during his own solo career, releasing hits including Woman, Just Like Starting Over and Power To The People.

He later moved to New York with wife Yoko Ono, where he was recording new music at the time of his death.

John was living at the Dakota in New York city when a man called Mark Chapman asked the singer to sign a copy of the Double Fantasy album in December 1980.

However when the musician returned home that evening, Mark Chapman shot John Lennon five times.

Mark Chapman was soon arrested by the police, while John Lennon was rushed to Roosevelt Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival at 11.15pm on December 8, 1980 aged 40 years old.

Mark Chapman later pleaded guilty in 1981 to murdering Lennon and was sentenced to 20-years-to-life.

The day after John Lennon's death, Yoko Ono also released a statement on behalf of the family, including John's two sons Julian and Sean, saying: "There is no funeral for John. John loved and prayed for the human race.

"Please do the same for him. Love, Yoko and Sean."

To pay tribute to John Lennon on December 14, 1980, fans paused for ten minutes of silence to remember the singer, and still continue to remember and commemorate the singer each year on his birthday at events across the world.

Freddie Mercury

Freddie Mercury was the frontman in legendary rock group Queen, delighting fans across the world with hits including Bohemian Rhapsody, I want to Break Free and Radio Gaga.

Following their Magic tour in 1986, Freddie was diagnosed with HIV one year later in 1987, and talking to his fellow band mates while they were in Montreux, Brian May recalled that Freddie said: "I don’t want to take any action apart from carrying on the way we are.

Speaking in the documentary, Freddie: The Final Act, Brian also added that Freddie said, "I want to carry on making music for as long as f**king can."

After releasing albums including Innuendo and The Miracle, Freddie made his final public appearance in February 1990, when he joined Queen while collecting a Brit Award for 'Outstanding Contribution to British Music'.

His close friend and long-time PA Peter Freestone explained that in the last weeks of his life, Freddie had decided to stop taking his HIV medication, saying on the Ask Phoebe podcast: "I believe he was at peace with himself. Freddie decided to stop his medication on his own terms.

"He knew the consequences of his actions and had the time then to talk with friends and family and say his goodbyes."

Freddie Mercury later died on November 24 1991 from bronchial pneumonia due to AIDS-related complications aged 45 at his home, surrounded by his loved ones.

One year after his death, stars including Elton John, David Bowie, Annie Lennox, George Michael and Queen paid tribute to Freddie at a star-studded concert at Wembley Stadium in 1992, raising awareness of Aids and money for the Terrance Higgins Trust.

Jim Morrison

Poet, songwriter and frontman Jim Morrison became a music icon with sixties band The Doors, famous for their songs including People Are Strange, Light My Fire and Hello, I love You.

However on July 3, 1971, his girlfriend Pamela Courson found Jim dead in the bath in their Paris apartment at the age of 27 years old.

It has been reported that his official cause of death was listed as congestive heart failure thought to be brought on by an overdose, though no autopsy was ever performed.

Jim was later buried in Père Lachaise cemetery in the city the week after he died, with his death announced after the funeral had taken place.

Although the singer died over 50 years ago, fans from across the world continue to visit Paris to remember the late musician, with one fan telling The Guardian: "I come here as often as I can, either for the anniversary or on 8 December for his birthday.

"The music brings so much happiness – and it also brings everyone together."

Another fan reflected on the legacy of The Door's music and how it continues to inspire people today, adding: "There’s a really special atmosphere here – and it attracts a certain kind of person – with a flow of weird and wonderful people.

"I think this reflects the interest in the music, which even now, 50 years on, still sells millions of copies."

Taylor Hawkins

Taylor Hawkins became one of the world's greatest rock drummers when he joined The Foo Fighters in 1998 alongside Dave Grohl, achieving global success with songs including The Pretender, Break Out and Learn to Fly.

However Taylor previously admitted that he was nervous to take over the drumming reigns alongside Dave Grohl, who had been the drummer for Nirvana, telling OC Weekly: "I was a little nervous at first, but I got over that.

"Any instance where you're auditioning for something, you're going to be nervous. But no one can play better than Dave Grohl. He just has this vision in his head."

Along with The Foo Fighters, Taylor also formed his own band called Taylor Hawkins and The Coattail Riders, where he both sang and played the drums.

However, The Foo Fighters announced recently that Taylor Hawkins had died at the age of 50 on March 25, 2022.

Taylor was reported to have been found dead in his hotel room, but no cause of death has been confirmed.

The band were on tour in South America, with Taylor dying several hours before they were due to go onstage.

Announcing his death on social media, the band said in their post: "The Foo Fighters is devastated by the tragic and untimely loss of our beloved Taylor Hawkins.

"His musical spirit and infectious laughter will live on with all of us forever. Our hearts go out to his wife, children and family, and we ask that their privacy be treated with the utmost respect in this unimaginably difficult time."

Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix is considered one of the greatest guitarists in music history, releasing songs including All Along The Watch Tower, Purple Haze and Hey Joe during the sixties.

However only four years after rising to fame, he was found unresponsive at home by his girlfriend Monika Dannemann.

He was taken by ambulance to St Mary Abbot’s Hospital but was pronounced dead at 12.45pm on September 18, 1970 at the age of 27 years old.

There are many rumours surrounding the musician's death, with various books and documentaries continuing to explore the cause of singer's death throughout the decades.

However, it has been reported that his death certificate listed cause of death as "inhalation of vomit [due to] barbiturate intoxication."

Jimi's musical influence continues to be felt today and along with being inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame, he has been cited as inspiring a generation of musicians including rock bands Black Sabbath and guitarist Joe Satriani.

Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley was one of the original Kings of Rock 'n' Roll, after rising to fame in the fifties with huge hits including Jailhouse Rock, followed by a string of hit films, a sixties comeback concert and Las Vegas residency.

However during his career his health began to decline, with the singer developing a number of conditions including high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes, in addition to other conditions such as glaucoma.

He was also reported to weigh over 25 stone at the time of his death on August 16, 1977, after he was found dead by his fiancé Ginger Alden at their Graceland home.

Ginger found Elvis dead in the bathroom at his home in Graceland, after waking up and realising that Elvis was not in the bed next to her.

In her memoir, Ginger wrote about the moment she found him, saying: "his arms lay on the ground, close to his sides, palms facing upward. It was clear that, from the moment he landed on the floor, Elvis hadn’t moved."

Ginger called an ambulance, with a statement released at the time saying: "A Memphis Fire Department ambulance from Engine House 29 at 2147 Elvis Presley Boulevard responded to the call at 2:33pm and by 2:56pm had taken Presley to the emergency room at Baptist Hospital, seven miles away from his Whitehaven home."

However, the King of Rock 'n' Roll was later announced dead at the hospital at the age of 42 years old.

Considered one of the greatest music icons of all time, fans across the world continue to pay tribute to the singer, with many paying homage to Elvis at his Graceland home.

Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin was one of the biggest songwriters of the sixties, with her iconic voice and songs including Piece of My Heart, Maybe and Me and Bobby McGee captivating audiences across the world.

However on October 4, 1970, Janis was found dead by her bed at the Landmark Motor Hotel in Hollywood, where she had been staying, at the age of 37 years old.

The cause of death was later ruled as an accidental overdose, with Janis Joplin biographer Holly George-Warren telling BBC: "Intermittently she had been a heavy drinker since she was a teenager. She was actually trying to cut back when she was recording the final album Pearl, partly because she worried about what it did to her vocally.

"She'd also been clean of heroin for four or five months – then she got hold of a purer form of the drug which had just arrived in the US and it killed her."

Janis' third album, Pearl, was later released posthumously to critical acclaim, and in 2020, fans gathered around the world to commemorate the singer on the 50th anniversary of her death.

Holly George-Warren also reflected on her legacy saying: "She's been gone 50 years but I think she had a big influence on male and female performers."

Phil Lynott

Phil Lynott fronted rock band Thin Lizzy, whose songs including The Boys Are Back In Town, Whiskey In the Jar and Jailbreak have become some of the genre's most famous – and have been covered by countless bands including Metallica.

The band later split in 1984 and Phil continued to work on new music, but it is reported that he began drinking heavily and taking drugs.

On Christmas Day 1985, he later collapsed at home in Kew and he was later discovered by his mother Philomena.

He was soon diagnosed with septicemia, as well as kidney and liver damage, but regained consciousness and began talking to his mother.

However his health deteriorated and he died of pneumonia and heart failure at the age of 36 years old on January 4, 1986.

Fans around the world continue to pay tribute to Phil Lynott, with a new documentary charting his life called Songs For While I'm Away released in 2020.

Speaking about the documentary, director Emer Reynolds told Irish Times: "Obviously, when he died, it was immediately connected to his drug use.

"It was very sad that that was the narrative, as opposed to the narrative of his amazing rise, of his talent. I like to think that in the years between then and now, we’ve become more mature in society that we have a lot more compassion towards somebody with those kind of issues in their life. We’re not so quick to judge."

She added that in the documentary: "I was interested in something a bit more nuanced, that would focus on the poet, the songwriter, the man behind the image."

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