Even when the cancer was in its final stages, David Bowie remained vibrant and energetic. His final album, Blackstar, served as a beautiful farewell from the talented entertainer. The album is full of references to death, and it seems like he came to terms with his mortality and accepted his fate with grace and even some humor. You would never know he was terminally ill when the album came out. This does not look like a man who's mere days away from death.
Phillip Seymour Hoffman was a beloved actor who, tragically, overdosed on heroin. This picture was taken during one of his last public appearances at the Sundance Film Festival. Some of our most talented artists are also the most tortured. Hoffman battled addiction for much of his life. You can see the struggle on his face, at an event that was supposed to be so much fun. It's tragic, as so many feel that without the struggle, their art may suffer.
This is the last known photo of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury. He denied having AIDS for a long time, but 24 hours before his death released this statement:
"Following the enormous conjecture in the press over the last two weeks, I wish to confirm that I have been tested HIV positive and have AIDS. I felt it correct to keep this information private to date to protect the privacy of those around me. However, the time has come now for my friends and fans around the world to know the truth and I hope that everyone will join with me, my doctors and all those worldwide in the fight against this terrible disease. My privacy has always been very special to me and I am famous for my lack of interviews. Please understand this policy will continue."
The foot in this picture belongs to Nirvana's lead singer, Kurt Cobain. His death was ruled a suicide, although some conspiracy theorists suspect foul play. The truth is, the man was another in a depressingly long line of tortured souls. Cobain battled severe depression his entire life. Mental illness ran in his family, and several of his relatives also took their own lives. He was also an addict, and in his final weeks pushed all those that loved him away before ending it all.
Mere hours after this picture of U.S. president Abraham Lincoln was taken on April 14, 1865, John Wilkes Booth assassinated him at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C. It's fascinating to see his change in appearance in his final photo versus pictures taken of him early in his presidency. You can see how deeply the stress of the Civil War and trying to reunite the country affected him. He ultimately won the war, but very shortly after was murdered and never got to see the country reunited.
Elvis Presley's death has been shrouded in secrecy for nearly 40 years. Some people believe the King is still out there somewhere, shaking his hips. Like many on this list, it's hard to believe he's even gone. After all, these icons were larger than life. Surely, they couldn't die on a toilet, like Presley did. How could the King go out in such an undignified manner? How could some celebrities take their own lives? The truth is, no matter how successful someone is, you truly don't know what they're going through.
The legendary and famously reclusive musician Prince died on April 21, 2016, leaving fans around the world heartbroken. This picture was taken only a few days before he died. This is yet another reminder that while these figures are legends and will live on years after they're gone in our cultural consciousness, they're still human. Life is so frail and can be gone in an instant, so it's important to remember to be careful and enjoy your lives while you have them.
It was hard enough watching Professor Snape go, but it was even more heartbreaking when the man behind him and other legendary roles passed away in real life. Here is the last picture of Alan Rickman. While he smiles for the camera, you can almost sense a tiredness from him. It's because he was fighting a battle he knew he was about to lose. Rickman had been diagnosed with terminal cancer of the pancreas in August 2015, something he kept in private until his death on 14th January 2016.
There may have never been and may never be again a guitarist as talented and famous as Jimi Hendrix. This final photo of him was taken by his girlfriend in her backyard the day before he passed away. His death was due to a barbiturate-related asphyxia in London. He is said to have choked on his own vomit after taking a mixture of drugs, including a large dose of sleeping pills. There is no indication to suggest that Hendrix's death was a suicide, despite media speculation that it was.
2016 was an awful year for celebrity deaths, and it was capped off by Carrie Fisher days before New Year's Eve. This photo was taken by a fan of hers in London. The next day she would board a flight to Los Angeles, where she suffered a heart attack. She was rushed to a hospital, but died four days later. She'll always be remembers and beloved for her iconic performance as Princess Leia in the Star Wars franchise.
It's hard to believe one of the most well known and beloved musicians of all time from possibly the biggest band of all time has been gone for nearly 40 years now. This is the last known image captured of John Lennon, hauntingly featuring him signing an autograph for Mark David Chapman, the man who four hours later would follow him from a recording studio to his apartment and shoot him five times in the back, killing him.
Heath Ledger gave us the greatest depiction of The Joker the world has ever known, then died shortly after at only 28 years of age. This was taken on the set of his final film, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. A few days later he was found dead in his New York apartment after suffering an accidental overdose from prescription medication in January of 2008. Yet another tragic case of an insanely talented artist being consumed too young.
This is the last photo ever taken of Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington. He seems so happy and vibrant here, yet he took his own life days later. Even more heartbreaking is the fact this photo was taken by his wife, who had no idea that he was feeling so low. While his struggles with addiction and depression were well known and long lasting, in his final days those closest to him said he seemed happy and upbeat.
Robin Williams brought joy to countless millions throughout his career. Whether it was his hilarious jokes as a stand up comedian, his unforgettable funny characters or even his dramatic turns in film, the man was an absolute icon. This is the last known photo of him, taken with his pet monkey Crystal and posted to his Instagram 20 days before his death in 2014. At the time, he was suffering from a form of dementia that led to severe paranoia.
Modern science and technology owes an enormous debt to the genius of Nikola Tesla. The inventor, physicist, and futurist was best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current (AC) electricity supply system, which gave birth to so much wireless tech we use today. Tesla died alone and penniless in the New Yorker Hotel, where he was still working over mathematical equations and scientific problems. A true scientist until the very end.