They say only the good die young: the good, the talented, the beautiful. It's a scenario we see play out all too often in the entertainment business. Our most beloved stars were dimmed by tragic, dramatic, shocking, and sometimes unforeseen events that ended their lives. They may be gone but their presence will be missed, and the impact they made on us will remain.
Check out our list of 15 stars who are sorely missed.
Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImageMichael Jackson was the biggest and most influential musician to grace the world. From his iconic style to his innovative dance moves and his inspiring music, Michael was known even in the most remote places of the world. But the King of Pop reportedly battled with a prescription drug addiction that would eventually lead to his death. Michael had his doctor administer the anesthetic propofol to put him to sleep the morning of June 25, 2009 but he would not awake. An overdose of the drug claimed his life at age 50. MJ's social and musical legacy will live on forever.
Whitney HoustonWhitney Houston had a voice so impactful it could move people to tears, but her gentle spirit and kind nature impacted them as well. When her career and public image began to fade due to her drug addiction and marriage to R&B singer Bobby Brown, fans hoped she would clean her life up and return to music in full force the way she once had. Sadly, that would not happen. The world lost one of its brightest stars on Feb. 11, 2012 when Houston, 48, died from an accidental drowning in a bathtub just one day before the Grammy's she was planning to attend. Her death was caused by heart disease and c o ca i n e usage.
Bruce LeeWhen Bruce Lee passed away in 1973 at age 32 the world lost the biggest legend in martial arts history. His speed and skill were unmatched and incomprehensible to the lay man. His movies Fists of Fury, The Chinese Connection, The Way of the Dragon, Enter the Dragon, and The Game of Death inspired awe in viewers, and forever immortalized his brilliance as an actor and a fighter. Bruce was also a philosopher whose teachings transcended martial arts.
SelenaSelena emerged in the early '90 as the hero in Latin music. Her beauty and talent made her a star worldwide. In a shocking turn of events, the singer was fatally shot by her fan club president at age 23. When the film Selena starring Jennifer Lopez was released in 1997, her legacy was opened up to an even bigger audience.
River PhoenixRiver Phoenix is another case of the good dying young. Both beautiful and extraordinarily talented, River was a promising actor whose future was cut short at 23 when his heart failed suddenly due to a heroin and coke overdose. Phoenix died outside the famous Viper Room club in 1993. His onscreen visage conveyed a deep sense of anguish and knowing that made him captivating to watch. Off-screen, he was described by friends as having both a child-like innocence and an age old wisdom. River was an activist and humanitarian.
Lisa "Left Eye" LopesTLC was a modern day symbol for girl power in the '90s. They were tough and cool, yet beautiful. Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes especially contributed to the group's hip-hop image, being the sole rapper in the group. She was an explosive woman in a tiny package, the kind you either loved or hated. Her fatal car accident in Honduras left the public stunned and saddened in 2002.
Photo: Vinnie Zuffante/Getty ImagesThe former child actor gained popularity in the 1992 films Sidekicks and Ladybugs. He later earned heartthrob status when he played on the Steven Spielberg sci-fi TV show Seaquest DSV from 1993-1996. The blue-eyed cutie began a long term relationship with actress Tatyana Ali in 1995 after they filmed the television movie Fall into Darkness together. Three years later, the couple split and Brandis' career waned. Depressed and heavily drinking, Jonathan committed suicide by hanging in November 2003 but his legacy as a teenaged heartthrob is forever tied to many a 80's and 90's kid's memories. Even his industry peers recognized his good looks, like the next star on our list who got Brandis to take her to her senior prom...
Photo: Dimitri Halkidis/WENNBrittany Murphy's charm was in her off-beat, fun, care-free spirit. Her role as Ty in Clueless made her forever a part of many a 90's kid's childhood memories but she would go on to have a very successful acting career, starring in Girl Interrupted, Don't Say a Word, Riding in Cars with Boys, and Just Married. Tragically, Murphy would meet her untimely end on December 20, 2009 due to pneumonia. She was just 32 years old.