There are hundreds of tragic musician deaths, but there are a small few that shook the world—here are 10 tragic musician deaths that surprised and shocked us all.
- :John Lennon. Mark David Chapman was a huge fan of John Lennon, and had asked the former Beatle for an autograph as he left his apartment on December 8, 1980. Lennon went to a photo shoot and an interview before returning home. When he did, Chapman called out to Lennon and then shot him. Lennon's death shocked the world to the extent that some fans even committed suicide. Chapman is in Attica Prison, where he preaches, and has been denied parole more than five times. Many believe he is safer behind those bars. One of the most famous photos from Lennon's death is of him signing an autograph for Chapman, who looks on, smiling.
- Elvis Presley. Although Elvis' health was failing, this tragic musician's death still brought the world to a standstill. Elvis was beloved and only ever beaten by The Beatles, and that is why the world cried when Elvis was found dead in his bathroom. To this day he remains one of the top selling artists of all time. Many fans still refuse to believe that he is dead, and claim he is still alive somewhere away from the screaming fans and hectic life.
- Michael Jackson. Although Michael Jackson was surrounded by controversy, it is impossible to say that he wasn't a huge influence on music. That is why, despite controversy, the world wept when he died too young. Jackson's doctor, Conrad Murray, was charged with manslaughter because of the prescription drugs he gave Jackson before he died, and for failing to call paramedics in a timely manner.
- Kurt Cobain. Lead singer and guitarist of Nirvana, Kurt Cobain influenced the Grunge genre and was a social and political activist. His lyrics spoke to the generation of youth who felt lost and ignored. Cobain was found dead in his apartment, having shot himself while overdosing on drugs. His suicide caused many teens to shut themselves in their bedrooms and cry.
- Selena. Jennifer Lopez made Selena's story famous in the movie "Selena." If not for this movie, Selena might not have been on this list. She was young and had her entire life ahead of her, but it was cut short. Selena's fan club president shot her when Selena confronted her about stealing fan club money.
- Ritchie Valens & Buddy Holly. Ritchie Valens was a young man who made the Spanish song "La Bamba" famous and fun to dance to. Buddy Holly, with his trademark glasses, influenced music with songs like "Peggy Sue." One stormy night, Buddy Holly and Ritche Valens, who had won a coin toss for his seat, climbed into a small plan to fly home. The plane crashed, killing everyone on board. The day of their deaths was later named "the day the music died" by Don McLean in "American Pie."
- John Denver. John Denver was a beloved folk singer, well-known for his songs of country life and being a country boy. Denver was flying his plane when it crashed into the Pacific Ocean near the California coast.
- Patsy Cline. Patsy Cline was a major influence on women singers during her time. Because of her, women felt they could be just as famous and manage their own affairs as well as men. Women had a place on stage. Cline would survive a car crash, but would later die in a plane crash.
- Marvin Gaye. Marvin Gaye's death is a tragic musician death because his father shot him during a petty argument. Like all the others, Gaye was an influential and beloved performer.
- Aaliyah. Aaliyah was an actress and a popular R&B performer. Her death is a tragic musician death because of how it happened. Aaliyah's plane was overloaded with their equipment and the pilot had lied about his hours spent in the sky. On top of that, cocaine was found in the pilot's blood. The plane took off, and then nose-dived. Aaliyah was only 22.