Musicians Who've Tragically Lost Children

No parent should have to bury their child, as the saying goes. It's a parent's worst fear, and it seems to defy the natural way of things. But not everyone has been so fortunate, and an alarming number of musicians have experienced this kind of tragedy. One of the more recent cases on this list is rapper and record label head Master P. He's devoted his life to overcoming stereotypes while carving a path in the music industry, and he's made it a family business. He's seen his son, Romeo Miller, follow in his footsteps, per CBS Mornings, while his daughter, Cymphonique, made a name for herself as a singer and actress, according to  IMDb. But one name notably absent from the family powerhouse is Tytyana Miller, who died from an overdose on May 27, 2022. Afterward, Master P began advocating for mental health awareness.

Other musicians on this list have experienced the unfathomable tragedy of losing two children, while others have lost babies, allowing them only a few days or even moments to keep with them forever. Read on to learn about these musicians who've tragically lost children.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Master P

You might know Master P as the leader of No Limit Records, but he is also a self-made man from New Orleans' Calliope projects who went from opening a record store to dominating his corner of the rap industry, details Encyclopedia. You might know his daughter Tytyana Miller from her appearances on "Growing Up Hip Hop" where her struggles with drug addiction became public. One clip from the reality TV show reveals her trying to hide her problems with substance abuse from her brother and father, and another clip shows her reluctance to find professional help. Her battle with substance abuse tragically came to end when she died on May 27, 2022, reports E! Online. According to the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner, she died from accidental intoxication of fentanyl.

Master P mourned her death on Instagram and urged people to destigmatize conversations about mental health and substance abuse. He expanded on that message in an interview with CBS Mornings, where he disclosed his new partnership with the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Master P, who had been informed of Tytyana's death from a phone call from his other daughter, said her funeral felt as if it was his own. The tragedy was doubly shocking since Tytyana had just gotten out of rehab and expressed ambitions for her future, including being President of the United States. She was also in the middle of authoring a book.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Bobby Brown

Although Bobby Brown's relationship with Whitney Houston was marred by substance abuse, forcing it to end in 2007, Brown believed he still had his daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown as his guiding light (via People). But Bobbi Kristina Brown had her own struggles and died from drug intoxication and water immersion in July 2016, reports BBC News. She had been using sedatives and alcohol and was later found dead in a bath at just 22 years old. During a Red Table Talk appearance, Bobby Brown placed blame on the abusive behavior of her fiancé, Nick Gordon, and CNN later reported that Gordon was indeed found liable for Bobbi Kristina Brown's death during a civil case.

In 2021, his son Bobby Brown Jr. also died at 28 years old from drug and alcohol use, halting a career in music, according to USA Today. He was the son of Kim Ward, who Bobby Brown dated prior to Houston. Bobby Brown revealed during the Red Table Talk that he was in a music studio with his son just two days before his death and that, to his knowledge, his son had no substance abuse problems. Bobby Brown Jr.'s autopsy report found that he had used fentanyl, but his father believed it was consumed unknowingly since many street drugs today are laced with the highly addictive opioid. 

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Granger Smith

It's clear from country music star Granger Smith's music videos that his family means a lot to him. They're regularly featured in cameos, notes People, but his son River Kelly, was clearly the star of the 2017 video "Happens Like That." River, who was a toddler at the time, plays the role of a happy by-product of his parents' on-video romance. But in real life, Granger and his wife Amber would only have a few years left with River Kelly before he tragically drowned in 2019, reports People. Without anyone knowing, he managed to get through the family's pool gate and wade into the water, and although he wasn't unsupervised for long, it was enough to take his life, according to Good Morning America.

Amber shared the sad news on Instagram and inferred that doctors tried to save River Kelly's life. Despite the evident trauma, the family remained charitable and asked followers to donate to the Dell Children's Medical Center in his memory. Amber also announced they would donate his organs to children in need. Years later, she took harsh lessons learned about drowning prevention and shared them on Instagram. She also informed the Meaning Full Living Podcast that they made sure their youngest son, Maverick, who was born in the years since had received swimming lessons (via GMA).

Marie Osmond

Family has always been a huge factor in Marie Osmond's life. She was one of nine children and began her entertainment singing with her older brother in the "Donny & Marie" variety show, details Biography. By the time she was 18, she was determined to get married and establish a family of her own. Through two marriages, Osmond had eight children, including five adopted children. The loss of a child would be deeply impactful for someone like Osmond, and it occurred with the tragic death of her 18-year-old son, Michael. 

The night Michael died was remarkably heart-wrenching. He had been trying to reach his mother by phone, but she was performing a Las Vegas concert, per Oprah. Osmond even saw her phone ringing but needed to get back onstage. After the show, no one needed to tell her something was wrong — she could feel it. She had already gone to sleep when she received the phone call that would alert her to her son's suicide.

Michael had been struggling with drug abuse and depression during his short life. He began using drugs when he was only 12 years old. He sought professional help and attended rehab centers and even attempted suicide once before. Things seemed to turn a month before he died, with Osmond thinking it was the happiest she had ever seen him. But a day before his death, Michael informed Osmond of his battle with depression and desperately needed her by his side.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.


Prince had a child with Mayte Garcia, his first wife and backup singer and dancer, notes Biography. It was October 16, 1996, when Garcia gave birth to Amiir, and as described in her memoir, "The Most Beautiful: My Life With Prince," (via People) it was pure joy at first. No other emotional highs Prince experienced throughout his successful career measured up to the moment when doctors announced that the baby was a boy. But Prince began panicking when he noticed that Amiir wasn't breathing. The doctors took him away in order to revive him, but Garcia intuitively knew things wouldn't end well. The newborn was diagnosed with type 2 Pfeiffer's syndrome, which caused physical deformities in his head and hands.

Unlike Garcia, Prince remained hopeful that things would get better, that Amiir would reach a stabilized condition, and that he and Garcia would be able to take him home. The baby needed multiple surgeries, but his condition deteriorated, and he died six days after birth when they took him off life support. Garcia, whose memoir was released a year after Prince's death in 2016, told People she believes her ex-husband never recovered from Amiir's passing. Initially, the singer held the news from the public, per ABC News. Garcia believed it was his way of coping. 

Lisa Marie Presley

Benjamin Keough was the spitting image of his grandfather, Elvis Presley. He was also the son of musicians Lisa Marie Presley and Danny Keough, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Lisa Marie lovingly wrote about Benjamin in her 2012 song "Storm & Grace" and encouraged him to forge his own path in life, per the Huffington Post, despite the family name. But it wasn't enough and the pressure of the Presley family eventually got the best of him. Keough died by suicide in July 2020 when he was just 27 years old. His friend said (via People) that Keough suffered from depression, stemming from the pressure of having to live up to his last name a significant contributing factor. Keough also had a reputation as a loyal friend and was talented as a cook.

Keough's mother took the loss hard. She sold the home where he died, as she reportedly couldn't bring herself to live in it again, per The New York Post. She could only bring herself to address the tragedy three months afterward on Instagram, where she addressed her son and expressed her devastation. Presley found some comfort with the release of Baz Luhrmann's "Elvis" which she saw twice. She took to Instagram in May 2022 to sing its praises, and although she was heartbroken that Benjamin could not see it, she believed her son would've enjoyed it, too.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Loretta Lynn

Country music legend Loretta Lynn had to experience the deaths of two of her six children: Jack Benny Lynn in 1984 and Betty Sue Lynn in 2013. Jack Benny was trying to cross a river on horseback and drowned at age 34, reports The New York Times. Jack worked with horses and was constantly around them, his mother recalled in an annual blog post released on the anniversary of his death. In 2022, on the 38th anniversary, Lynn wondered how she was able to cope with Jack's death since the pain was immense. She took comfort in Willie Nelson's "You Were Always on My Mind," and covered the song as a tribute to her son.

Sadly, her next blog post was a tribute to her other child, Betty Sue. Betty led a fuller life and died at age 64 in 2013, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The cause was complications from emphysema, and Lynn, who lived to the ripe old age of 90 before her own death in October 2022, was there to mourn her. In her blog, Lynn recalled how talented Betty was at songwriting and her age at death didn't diminish the heartbreak Lynn felt in having to bury her as a mother. A year after Betty's death, Lynn paid tribute to her during a concert.

Vince Neil

It was after Vince Neil left Mötley Crüe and went solo that he and his wife, Sharise Ruddell, had a child, reports People. Skylar was born in 1991 but died only a few years later when she was four years old after doctors found a tumor in her liver. According to the Los Angeles Times, Vince Neil believed that her death was caused by radioactive material that was dumped near their home by Boeing, the aerospace manufacturer. The company operated a field lab a few miles from Neil's home, and regularly discarded plutonium and uranium in the area. Neil sued Boeing, and its subsidiary company Rockwell International, alleging that it had knowingly contaminated the area's soil and groundwater, directly leading to Skylar's death. Neil wasn't the only one who had sued the company, since the site had a long history with nuclear research.

But the lawsuit didn't go anywhere and was ultimately dismissed after Neil's team failed to produce the required documents, reports the Los Angeles Times. Neil afterward struggled with alcohol and drugs and was trying to incur his own death with unhealthy habits, he told People. He believes he never completely recovered from Skylar's death. It didn't help that he felt no one came forward to support him, not even his former Mötley Crüe bandmates.

Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton's 1991 hit, "Tears of Heaven," which won him multiple Grammys, has a tragic origin story: it was written after the death of his four-year-old son Conor, details Biography. Clapton was about to pick up his son from his ex-girlfriend's apartment when he received a phone call that would change his life. His former girlfriend, Lory del Santo, informed him that Conor had been playing near an open window in her 53rd-floor apartment and fell to his death. In a 1992 interview with Sue Lawley, Clapton said he didn't want to believe the news. Once he saw the paramedics and policeman, he never felt like himself again.

Clapton said he was as close to Conor as he was to anyone. Although Conor was a wild toddler, as many toddlers are, Clapton felt in hindsight that he should have had a larger presence in his life. Clapton struggled with reserved anger at the nature of Conor's preventable death and found himself exploding in anger at random times, like in traffic. But he wasn't angry with God, since Clapton knew that those few years he had with Conor changed him. While Clapton had suffered from substance abuse problems, he was inspired by Conor's birth to get sober.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Robert Plant

Put Robert Plant under the list of rockers who've tragically lost small children — and who've dedicated songs to them. "All My Love" is considered Plant's most heart-wrenching ballad since he wrote it for his son Karac, according to The Big Interview. Five-year-old Karac died in 1977 of a stomach illness. Plant was away on tour with Led Zeppelin when he received the sad news and rushed home, halting the tour altogether. Plant recalled that period of time as one that was hard to get through, but he finds that the memory of Karac still brings him and his wife joy. And although those early memories of Karac have now been fused with the early years of his next-born son, Logan, Plant admits Karac has repeatedly inspired him throughout the years. "I Believe" is another song that was written for him.

Plant found the experience particularly hard since his life was public and so was his tragedy. But he credited his friend and Zeppelin drummer John Bonham and his wife for providing support. Two people who were notably absent from that support system and didn't attend the funeral were bassist John Paul Jones and guitarist Jimmy Page, notes Rolling Stone. Plant was reasonably hurt about this and concluded they were not as close as he once thought they were. He had a hard time readjusting to the band afterward, and the wild rock lifestyle of the band members — especially drug use — felt wrong to him.

Willie Nelson

In 1991, Willie Nelson's oldest son, Billy Nelson, died by suicide at age 33 on Christmas morning, reports AP News. It had been a tough few years for Billy. His mother died in 1989, and he received professional help for alcohol abuse a year later. He had been arrested four times for drunk driving and had also separated from his wife and lost custody of their daughter, per People. But those around him wouldn't have suspected anything. His father visited him two weeks before his death, and days before the incident, a friend, Buddy Frank, noticed that Billy had gotten a new haircut and had bought himself a new wardrobe. In fact, Frank and Billy hung out that same night.

Billy had been following in his father's footsteps and was on the verge of releasing an album of gospel music. Billy depended on his father financially, but they weren't as close as Willie thought they could be. He admitted that he wasn't around much when Billy was growing up since he was focused on work. However, a spokesperson for Willie's management company said the singer might have found comfort with his beliefs in reincarnation, per AP.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Randy Rogers

Country music star Randy Rogers and his wife, Chelsea, had less than a week to spend with their newborn Rumer Rain when she died on June 9, 2015. The cause of death was a rare genetic disorder, reports People. Although their time spent with Rumer was special, it was also undoubtedly one of the darkest weeks of their lives. 

The baby was sent to the NICU eight hours after her birth, and they spent the next few days in anxious desperation for news. The doctors had trouble diagnosing the cause of Rumer's lethargy and lack of appetite, which they at first thought was normal. But things got horrifically worse. Rumer needed a feeding tube and then needed a vent since she stopped breathing. Doctors then gave a name to the ailment: nonketotic hyperglycinemia, or NKH, which is an inherited disorder. The news that came next had to feel like a gut punch: Randy and Chelsea both had the recessive gene that gave their daughter the disease. 

Going forward, the couple has decided that in vitro fertilization would be their only option. Rogers also partnered with Seton Medical Center Austin to provide funding for other NICU babies. And the revelation of their recessive genes has given hope to other family members so that they can prevent this tragedy from reoccurring.