9 Musicians Who Died While Performing

These performers literally gave their life for their music.

Ralph Duke/AP

"Well, at least they died doing what they loved." That's an oft-used line that's supposed to bring comfort to the idea of someone's untimely death. For musicians, it's really the second best finish they can hope for. (The first is gently slipping away during a mid-afternoon nap in a sunbeam, as is the case with literally everyone on the planet.) To die during a performance is not just a way to cement their legacy--or create one, if they weren't that famous beforehand--it's the most appropriate way to say goodbye.

In that regard, a rare handful of musicians can count themselves lucky--however inappropriate that may sound--for having gasped their last breath in the spotlight, in front of an adoring audience. Some of them died at a tragically young age, as happens all too often with musicians. And although Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison have secured much larger legacies than the performers on this list, Jimi died in a hotel and Jim died in his bathtub. Neither had particular "showy" fatalities, the type that would have fit their boisterous personalities. 

And although it is much more important to remember how someone lived, there is certain deranged curiosity in exploring how they died. Especially if how they died involved being electrocuted by a microphone. 

With that in mind, let's examine some of the most fascinating on-stage deaths to occur in the world of music.


Jacob is a part-time contributor for WhatCulture, specializing in music, movies, and really, really dumb humor. You can follow him on Twitter @JakeTrowbridge.