10 Tragic Facts About Legendary Musicians

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Gaye and Terrell had been extremely close friends, like brother and sister. Although he went on to release countless classics, Gaye was troubled with drugs, bankruptcy, and attempted suicides. In 1984, he died at age 44 at the hand of his father.

2 Sam Cooke


Photo credit: BBC

Sam Cooke sang classic hits such as “Chain Gang” and was known as the “King of Soul.” However, his life was marred by haunting tragedy. In 1958, his first wife was killed in a car accident that left him injured and his friend Lou Rawls in a coma for several days.

In 1963, Cooke’s infant son, Vincent, drowned in the family pool. Blaming his wife for not watching their child, Cooke separated from her and slipped into depression.

Cooke’s life ended one year later at the Hacienda Motel, a sleazy hangout known for prostitution. He had been shot through the heart, wearing nothing but a sports jacket and one shoe. All his credit cards and cash were missing.

Authorities don’t know exactly what happened, but a known prostitute claimed that Cooke was assaulting her. In 1979, she was found guilty of second-degree murder for another boyfriend’s death.

 1 Roy Orbison


Photo credit: Parade

With classic hits such as “Pretty Woman,” iconic singer Roy Orbison seemed destined to live an enchanting, successful life. Instead, it was plagued by heartache and tragedy.

On June 6, 1966, he and his 24-year-old wife, Claudette, hit the road on their motorcycles in Tennessee. When a truck pulled out in front of Claudette, she crashed head-on into the vehicle. Orbison rushed to his wife’s aid, but she died in his arms.

Two years later, a fire broke out in his Hendersonville, Tennessee, home while he was on the road. The fire completely destroyed his house, and two of his threeyoung sons were killed. Orbison also lived a short life, dying of a heart attack at age 52 on December 6, 1988.



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