Musicians Lost Too Soon to Drug & Alcohol Abuse

Drug and alcohol abuse are usually private matters. However, alcohol abuse and other substance abuse problems frequently afflict public figures, like musicians.

Many theories have been advanced as to why drug and alcohol abuse seem to be so prevalent among recording artists, though nothing conclusive has been determined. Regardless, all of these musicians were taken too soon as a result of substance abuse.

Musicians Lost to Drug & Alcohol Abuse

1. Elvis Presley

Arguably the most famous musician ever, Elvis’ appeal spanned generations. Through music and movies he inspired the following of countless fans. Despite his success, the King’s struggles with drug and alcohol abuse are well documented. Ultimately, it was an overdose of prescription medications that killed Elvis in 1977.

2. Jimi Hendrix

Hendrix was an influential guitarist in the 1960s. He pioneered many of the techniques that are used by musicians today. He was revered by fans, but he was heavily involved in drug experimentation. That habit killed him in 1970. His death was blamed on asphyxiation, brought on by combining drugs and alcohol.

3. Hank Williams

He was 29 when he died, but Williams had already made an indelible mark on the world by writing and performing country hits Your Cheatin’ Heart. Born with spina bifida, Williams tried to manage physical pain with alcohol abuse and drug use. Alcohol abuse is blamed for his death in 1953.

4. Billie Holliday

An influential jazz vocalist whose pioneering style is still emulated by musicians today, Holliday led a remarkably difficult life. At just 14 years-old, Billie was arrested for prostitution. It wasn’t her last brush with the law as she would be charged with drug possession much later in life. In between, she enjoyed a thriving career. Drug and alcohol abuse are credited with her death in 1959.

5. Janis Joplin

Joplin was an electrifying performer with a bright future ahead of her when she died from a drug overdose and alcohol abuse at 27. She’d struggled with addiction issues for years, practically since becoming a musician.
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