27 Musicians Who Overdosed

musicians who overdosed whitney houston's first TV appearance
LOS ANGELES - MARCH 25: Whitney Houston arrives at the {Title} at MORTON'S on March 25, 2001 in West Hollywood, CA. Image from Shutterstock.

Drug overdoses are a massive issue, and they are even prominent in the professional music world. Many musicians have overdosed at some point in their careers, from rock and roll professionals to powerhouse belters.

Unfortunately, many musicians have fallen victim to drug overdoses. Let’s talk about 27 professional artists who have undergone an unfortunate over-ingestion of drugs at some point in their lives.

If you or someone you know is showing overdose symptoms, know that this is a life-threatening event and that you need to call 911 or seek medical help right away. 

1. Ike Turner

celebrities who died in 2023 tina and ike turner
Tina and Ike Turner in Schipol Airport Amsterdam in 1971. Image from the Dutch Archives.

First on our list of musicians who overdosed is Ike Turner, a pioneer of rock and roll in the 1950s and well-known ex-husband of singer Tina Turner. Ike Turner was addicted to cocaine for nearly 15 years, eventually overdosing on the substance and passing away in 2007 after a relapse. 

Related: 11 Best 50s songs

2. DMX

dmx on stage rapping in a brown shirt
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DMX was a professional rapper and actor known for his incredible impact as a musician in the hip-hop landscape of the 2000s. Like many on this list, DMX was one of the many addicts in the music industry who used drugs to get through the difficulties associated with fame. 

He experienced an overdose of fentanyl, cocaine, and alcohol in 2021, which triggered a heart attack and eventually led to his death.

Related: How Did DMX Die?

3. Frankie Lymon

frankie lymons star on the hollywood walk of fame
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Frankie Lymon was the boy soprano lead singer of The Teenagers, an American rock and roll and blues band. Unfortunately, Frankie Lymon passed away tragically at the age of 25 thanks to a drug overdose of heroin on the side the day he was meant to be in the studio recording his music.

Little is known about the extent of Frankie’s heroin use, but it is assumed he was struggling with substance abuse issues for a while, even though he died relatively young. He never sought addiction treatment during his short time on this earth. 

Related: 30 Best Blues Songs

4. Gram Parsons

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Gram Parsons, born Ingram Cecil Connor III, was a songwriter, singer, and guitarist who popularized a unique style of music that was a combination of country, blues, rock, and folk. It is often referred to as Cosmic American Music.

Parsons tragically passed away at the age of 26 thanks to heart failure of natural causes, though many suspect he overdosed after being given an injection of liquid morphine from an unknown woman in a hotel room.

Related: 50 Best Country Songs

5. Aaron Carter 

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Next on our list of musicians who overdosed is Aaron Carter, an American singer and rapper who came to prominence in the 1990s. Unfortunately, Carter accidentally drowned in his bathtub after inhaling a potent spray cleaner and taking sedatives during one evening in his Los Angeles home.

While fans were shocked at his death, Carter had experienced many rehab stints over the years, though this did little to curb his addiction, and it ultimately claimed his life. When he first died, his cause of death was unknown, and it wasn’t until toxicology reports came back that it was known that there were stimulants in his system. 

Related: 15 Best 90s Songs

6. Janis Joplin

janis joplins figure in the madam tussands wax museum
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Janis Joplin is one of the best rock performers of all time, creating a massive impact as a professional American singer and songwriter. In 1970, she was found unconscious in a hotel in Hollywood and later pronounced dead from an accidental overdose of heroin.

Janis’ heroin abuse was no secret, and many of her romantic relationships had ended because of it. While she was normally a more careful user, law enforcement deduced that this final overdose had been fatal due to the combination of both the drug and alcohol in her system. 

Related: What is the 27 Club?

7. Mac Miller

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Mac Miller was a rapper and record producer famously known for his incredible music and his time dating the pop singer Ariana Grande. Mac Miller passed away on September 7th, 2018, succumbing to fentanyl, cocaine, and alcohol after being found unresponsive in his home in Los Angeles. 

8. Juice WRLD 

Juice Wrld in Las Vegas holding up his hands
LAS VEGAS – MAY 1: Juice Wrld at the 2019 Billboard Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 1, 2019 in Las Vegas, NV. Image from Shutterstock.

Juice WRLD was a prominent American rapper, songwriter, and singer, bursting onto the music scene and making clear he was a name to be reckoned with in emo and SoundCloud rap. He died in December 2019 after he ingested both codeine and oxycodone. 

9. Lil Peep

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Lil Peep was yet another member of the emo rap scene, emerging as a Swedish-American rapper with hit after hit throughout his membership in the emo collective GothBoiClique. He accidentally overdosed in 2017 after ingesting a combination of fentanyl and Xanax.

10. Whitney Houston 

how did whitney houston die clive davis and whitney houston
LOS ANGELES – FEB 10: Clive Davis, Whitney Houston arrives at the Clive Davis Annual Pre-Grammy Party at Beverly Hilton Hotel on February 10, 2007 in Beverly Hills, CA. Image from Shutterstock.

Whitney Houston was a singer and actress known for her powerful voice and incredible presence no matter where she was performing. Houston passed away in 2012 after undergoing an accidental drowning related to the drugs that were found in her system.

She was found not breathing in her bathtub, and first responders tried to perform CPR. Sadly, it was too late, and it was later discovered that the singer had cocaine, Benadryl, Xanax, cannabis, and Flexeril in her system, the combination of which is what caused her to drown. 

Related: How Did Whitney Houston Die?

11. John Belushi 

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Next on our list of musicians who overdosed is John Belushi, a comedian, actor, and musician who is known for being one of the original core cast members on Saturday Night Live. He passed away in 1982 when a drug dealer injected him with a combination of heroin and cocaine.

12. Bradley Nowell

a male singer silhouette on stage singing
(No licensable photos available) Image from Shutterstock.

Bradley Nowell was a prominent musician known for his time as the guitarist and lead singer for Sublime, a ska punk band. Unfortunately, he relapsed from his drug addiction in 1996 and ultimately passed away from a heroin overdose during a San Francisco leg of the band’s tour, making him one of the many heroin deaths on this list. 

Related: 23 Worst 90s Songs

13. Taylor Hawkins

taylor hawkins on the drums before his death
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Taylor Hawkins was best known for his position as the drummer of the Foo Fighters. His impressive career with the band spanned eight albums. In 2022, Hawkins passed away from sudden cardiac arrest, which was likely due to the 10 illicit substances that were found in his system.

14. Scott Weiland 

scott weiland performing on stage
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Scott Weiland was a singer and songwriter who found fame as the lead singer of the Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver. He overdosed in 2015 after ingesting a combination of lethal drugs. The cause of death was later found to be a result of a combination of MDA, alcohol, and cocaine.

15. Sid Vicious

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Sid Vicious was a powerful presence in his time, leaving an impressive legacy as the bassist for the Sex Pistols. At a party in 1979, he overdosed after taking heroin at a party celebrating his release from prison.

16. Judy Garland

how did judy garland die
A promotional shot of Judy Garland from the 1940s. Image is in Public Domain.

Judy Garland is one of the most tragic musicians who overdosed, passing away after an astounding career on stage and screen. She died after an accidental overdose of sleeping drugs she often used as a child actress.

17. Dee Dee Ramone

dee dee ramone with shaggy hair performing on stage
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Dee Dee Ramone was one of the founding members of The Ramones and a bassist for the band. In 2002, he was found dead in his home in Hollywood after a reported heroin overdose.

18. Keith Moon

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Keith Moon was a member of the acclaimed band The Who, serving as their drummer. He was prescribed Heminevrin to fight against alcoholism and eventually overdosed on it in 1978.

19. West Arkeen

axl rose and slash from the band guns n roses on stage performing
(No licensable Image Available) Image of Guns n Roses from Shutterstock.

West Arkeen was a talented musician known for co-writing songs for groups like Guns N’ Roses. He passed away from an opiate overdose after recovering from burns on his body after an indoor barbeque explosion. 

20. Amy Winehouse

amy winehouse on the red carpet in a black dress
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Amy Winehouse is also one of the musicians who overdosed. She was a powerhouse singer throughout her life. She died at only 27 after serious alcohol poisoning. 

While many of her fans don’t think it was an intentional overdose, it was well-known that Winehouse suffered from serious depression and chronic pain, which left her wildly unhappy despite her widespread fame. 

21. Jay Bennett

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Jay Bennett was a prominent member of the band Wilco, serving as a singer, songwriter, producer, engineer, and multi-instrumentalist. Unfortunately, he also struggled with his relationship with narcotics, frequently taking more than his prescribed amount or medications that did not belong to him. In 2009, Bennett passed away from a lethal overdose of fentanyl. 

22. Prince

prince height prince on stage singing in a blue suit
MIAMI – FEB 4: Prince performs during half-time for Super Bowl XLI between the Chicago Bears and the Indianapolis Colts at Dolphin Stadium on February 4, 2007 in Miami. Image from Shutterstock.

Prince was a musician who wore many hats, from singer to songwriter to producer and everything in between. The icon died in 2016 after overdosing on fentanyl, but this certainly wasn’t his first time dabbling in drugs. 

During his 57 years on this earth, Price was known to misuse benzodiazepines, opioids, and other prescription drugs.

Related: 23 Facts About Prince

23. John Bonham 

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Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham is widely regarded as the greatest rock drummer of all time. He unfortunately passed away from a drug overdose in 1980 after ingesting too much alcohol and choking on it. 

Related: 29 Best Drummers of All Time, Ranked

24. Tom Petty

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Not only did singer and songwriter Tom Petty experience success as a solo artist, but he also had quite a career as the lead singer of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Mudcrutch. He passed away in 2017 after ingesting a deadly cocktail of medications that included oxycodone and fentanyl.

Tom Petty had fessed up to his heroin addiction and other substance abuse issues in 1999, but he later claimed he had overcome it thanks to detox and rehab. He was found unresponsive at his home in 2017, having overdosed on opiates he was given for pain medication. Though he was resuscitated and taken to the hospital by ambulance, he ultimately died.

Related: 42 Best Tom Petty Songs

25. Michael Jackson

michael jackson's net worth Michael Jackson getting out of a car in a red outfit.
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – Exact date unknown – circa 1990 – Michael Jackson arriving at a celebrity event. Image from Shutterstock.

Michael Jackson was well-known in the industry for his prescription drug abuse. It’s too bad, because he was such an iconic superstar and had such a charmed life.

He ended up dying from an overdose of propofol, an addictive painkiller that he had been taking regularly, in 2009. 

Related: Michael Jackson’s Net Worth

26. Billie Holiday

billie holidays figure in madam tussands wax museum
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Known for her amazing jazz tunes, Billie Holiday suffered from an opioid addiction for many years before switching to heroin. She’s one of several musicians who overdosed at least once during her long career. 

Because her opiate addiction was well known, she was targeted by drug-enforcement officials who forced her to stop using drugs. While she may have been free from drugs in the last few years of her life, she was far from sober and ended up drinking so much that her liver was damaged, which ultimately killed her. 

Related: 21 Best Jazz Songs

27. Coolio

coolio performing in an angels jersey
Coolio in 2006. Photo taken by the US Military and is in the Public Domain.

Last on our list of musicians who overdosed is Coolio, an American rapper who elevated hip-hop to new heights. The powerhouse of a creator passed away in 2022 after an accidental overdose of fentanyl after being found unresponsive at a friend’s house.

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Written by Hope Davis

Long-time music lover Hope became a full-time writer in 2020 after being laid off from her regular job due to COVID-19. She now spends her time traveling the world to see her favorite bands while writing about them!


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