Musicians who predicted their own deaths

Don't fear the reaper. Like it or not, he's coming. Whether Death's scythe cuts you down in old age or gets you earlier with a disease or catastrophic accident, everyone has to face that hooded old skeleton at some point, and nobody wins. We're all doomed in the end, wacky cryogenic freezing theories notwithstanding.

Musicians often live the craziest lives, and far too many have died before hitting 30. Death is a scary subject, and many artists have written songs about it, pondering that eternal question of what's waiting on the "other side." However, some musicians have predicted their own deaths in a way that's weirdly accurate. Many of these cases probably have more to do with coincidence than actual psychic abilities — you be the judge — but perhaps other musicians had some sort of foresight or simply possessed a deep understanding of the social and societal conditions surrounding them.

Tupac called it a few times

Tupac Shakur will go down in history as one of the greatest rappers of all time, and part of what made him such an iconic figure was his intelligent understanding of society and culture, as he always had his finger on the pulse of everything going on around him. For example, the man who made "Thug Life" into a household phrase had a strong feeling early on in his life that he'd never make it to old age. According to BET, back in 1994 Tupac told an interviewer that the best-case scenario he saw for himself in 15 years was either in a cemetery or cremated. Sure, he quickly corrected this to say he'd rather be a multimillionaire than dead. Still, that says something about a person's life. 

This wasn't the only time Tupac expressed such certainty about an early death. According to Oxygen, in 1995 Tupac told Vibe magazine that he was giving them his final interview, expressing a desire to have his story told accurately before he died. Then, in 1996, he filmed the music video "I Ain't Mad at Cha," which depicted him in the afterlife, communicating with his loved ones. Just a few weeks later, Tupac was murdered in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas. He was only 25 years old.

John Denver died in a plane crash

Before John Denver became a folk music star, he was just a boy named Henry John Deutschendorf. Today, Denver will always be remembered for bonfire melodies like "Take Me Home, Country Roads" and "Annie's Song," but his first stepping stone toward musical stardom was his song "Babe I Hate To Go," according to CNN, which first became a hit when it was rerecorded by folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary under a new title: "Leaving on a Jet Plane." The lyrics to "Leaving on a Jet Plane" involve the singer saying goodbye to a loved one shortly before getting on plane, repeatedly stating that he doesn't know when he'll be back and that he hates to go.

These lines proved tragically prescient, though certainly not by design. In 1997, Denver was piloting his own private plane down the coast of California when the engine failed, sending him crashing into the ocean. He was the only person onboard. John Denver was 53.

Left Eye survived one car crash, then died in another

Lisa Lopes, known best as "Left Eye," the rapper of TLC, was only 30 years old in 2002, but her life had already become an explosive cocktail of controversial headlines, domestic abuse, and public fallouts. Fighting to carve out a new career for herself as a solo artist, according to Dazed, Lopes knew she needed a minute to get away from it all, so she flew out to Honduras for a recovery sabbatical. At this point, sadly, things took a dark turn. A van she was riding in collided with a young boy, and the boy, whose last name was also Lopes, died from his injuries. Though Lisa had merely been a passenger in the van, she still paid for all of the boy's hospital and funeral costs. Lisa, according to the New York Times, was a firm believer in astrology and numerology, and was noticeably chilled by the fact that she and the boy's surname was Lopez. She became convinced that some sort of malevolent spirit was following her, meaning to kill her instead of the boy. 

While still in Honduras on another road trip to get more footage, the car Lisa Lopes was riding in swerved off the side of the road, and she died in the crash.

John Lennon assumed he'd be shot by 'some loony'

The world recoiled in shock when John Lennon was murdered in 1980, but Lennon himself might've been less surprised than everyone else, according to The Guardian. As described by Freda Kelly, who worked as a secretary for the Beatles when she was a teenager, Lennon was always telling her that he'd never make it to age 40. He actually did make it to 40, but not to 41.

However, Kelly's story isn't the first time that someone has talked about Lennon's cynical expectations for his future. Newsweek writes that all the way back in 1965, Lennon told a reporter that he expected he and his fellow musicians would either die in a plane crash or be shot by "some loony." Admittedly, none of this is quite on the level of a Nostradamus prediction, as plenty of people have said similar things, but it's still pretty darn creepy.

Jeff Buckley drowns in a way that matches his lyrics

Jeff Buckley was yet another talented artist taken from the world far, far too soon. One song in particular that sticks out, though, is "Dream Brother," a haunting melody about drowning. It's hard not to be struck by the lyrics regarding a dark angel of death with black, feathery wings, but perhaps the most eerie line of all is "Asleep in the sand, with the ocean washing over," a sentence that strangely foretold exactly what was coming in Buckley's future.

Rolling Stone reported in 1997 that Buckley and a friend had decided to go take a dip in the Wolf River channel of the Mississippi River, with disastrous consequences. The river, known for being a risky place to swim, carried Buckley away and he disappeared. After six days of searching, his body was found washed up on the shore. At the time of his death, he was only 30 years old.

In his final days, Michael Jackson was fearful of being murdered

The public generally accepts the idea that Michael Jackson died from overdosing on a drug called Propofol, according to the BBC. But who was responsible? According to the courts, the answer was Jackson's doctor, Conrad Murray, who was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter. However, not everyone buys the notion that Jackson's death was an accident. The singer's daughter, Paris Jackson, told Rolling Stone she believes the truth is a lot more sinister. She hasn't yet publicly revealed who she deems responsible, but she says everyone in her family agrees with her on this.

One major piece of evidence? Michael Jackson himself, according to The Guardian. In his last weeks alive, Jackson wrote letters to one of his closest friends claiming he was going to be murdered and was terrified for his life. Rolling Stone also points out that Jackson's ex-wife Lisa Marie Presley once told a similar anecdote to Oprah regarding the singer's belief that someone wanted him dead, allegedly in order to seize the money from his music publishing catalog. What really happened? Was Jackson scared of a real threat, or was it just paranoia?

Warren Zevon sang about asbestos inhalation, then got cancer from asbestos

Warren Zevon, the artist most famous for "Werewolves of London," also wrote a song called "The Factory" in 1987. Despite its seemingly upbeat sound, the lyrics of "The Factory" tell the story of a man following in his father's footsteps, slaving away in a factory to support his family and eventually inhaling cancerous substances like polyvinyl chloride, plastic, and asbestos.

Decades later, tragedy struck ... or at least, a prior tragedy made itself publicly known. What Warren Zevon didn't realize when he wrote the song was that his own exposure to asbestos — which probably happened during his childhood, when asbestos was all over the place — had caused irreversible damage to his lungs. According to, Zevon was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma in 2002 and given a terminal prognosis. Zevon declined treatment and spent the last months of his life finishing up his final album, The Wind, which he released just before he died in 2003.

Avicii predicted he would die if he kept performing

Avicii saw it coming. As pointed out by Cosmopolitan, the Swedish musician and DJ behind "Wake Me Up," whose real name was Tim Bergling, said in a 2017 documentary that if he didn't retire from performing, he was going to die. This certainty of impending death seems to be what motivated his 2016 retirement, as he felt that his health problems and alcoholic tendencies would overwhelm him if he didn't step back from the spotlight. But he said he still felt a constant pressure to do more gigs, despite the anxiety it gave him.

Sadly, in 2018, Avicii was found dead in Oman's Muscat Hills Resort. Bergling's family later released a public statement that implied he had killed himself. At the time of his death, Bergling was only 28 years old.

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

Patsy Cline wrote her will on plane stationery, died on a different plane

Despite the fact that Patsy Cline's career only lasted about five years, she has come to be recognized as one of the most iconic country music singers of all time, and she could've easily continued singing for decades. Everyone thought Patsy had a long career ahead of her, except Patsy herself. According to her friends, Cline herself always had a strange sense she was going to die soon, as described in Country Living, and in 1963 she reportedly told fellow singer Ray Walker that after surviving two car accidents, she expected a third one to kill her. A week after telling him that, she died in a plane crash.

It gets stranger. Some time before that, Cline was riding on a commercial flight to Kansas City, according to Douglas Gomery's Patsy Cline: The Making of an Icon, when she was suddenly so overcome with a desire to write out her will that she scrawled it onto a piece of stationery. Patsy Cline was 30 years old.

Jackie Wilson's heart gave out during a key line

Back in his day, Jackie Wilson — also called "Mr. Excitement" — was known for being an unforgettable performer who put out over 50 hit singles in his lifetime. According to the Winston-Salem Journal, though, his personal life was more troubled, often plagued by relationship problems, personal drama, and alcoholism. 

In 1975, Wilson was on stage in New Jersey belting out his famous song "Lonely Teardrops," when he was struck by a heart attack. In a tragic twist, the words Wilson was singing as his chest seized up were, reportedly, "My heart is crying." Wilson collapsed before the audience and was rushed to the hospital. He didn't die that day, but his bumpy path continued. He spent a few months in a coma before regaining consciousness, but not mobility or the ability to speak. He was transferred between various care facilities in a vegetative state for almost nine years before finally passing away in 1984.

XXXTentacion wanted kids to get his message

XXXTentacion, or Jahseh Dwayne Onfroy, was a character, to put it mildly. The rapper rose to prominence after dropping his first track on SoundCloud in 2014, and he released his first studio album in August 2017. But his musical success wasn't the only thing that came to define him. In 2016 it emerged that XXX had a penchant for assaulting and abusing his girlfriend, Geneva Ayala, which she said was a frequent occurrence. Among other things, she said he beat her and threatened to cut out her tongue because she was singing another musician's song. He would also reportedly threaten to kill himself to keep Ayala from breaking up with him. In October that year, he allegedly strangled her, severely beat her, and locked her up for two days because she was pregnant. She went to the police, and XXX was arrested. 

The trial over the harrowing incident kept getting pushed back, through 2017 all the way into 2018. At some point in early 2018, XXX posted a video to Instagram of him apparently driving a car and speaking straight to the camera: "Worst thing comes to worst, I f*cking die a tragic death or some sh*t, and I'm not able to see out my dreams, I at least want to know that the kids perceived my message and were able to make something of themselves and able to take my message and use it and turn it into something positive. To have a good life. ... If I'm gonna die, or ever be a sacrifice, I want to make sure that my life made at least ... 5 million kids happy — or they found some sort of answers or resolve in my life. Regardless of the negative around my name."

The court case never happened. On June 18, 2018, XXX was shot to death in Florida in what police believe was a drive-by shooting. Jahseh Dwayne Onfroy was 20 years old.

Mac Miller's final music video showed him lying in a casket

It's a little less astonishing when a drug addict predicts his own demise because drug addicts are sort of dancing with death on a daily basis. But there was some eerie stuff preceding the death of rapper Mac Miller — his last music video for the single "Self Care" featured an image of himself lying in a casket. The theme of the video was the downward spiral of addiction, and it even included a scene where Miller carves the Latin phrase "Memento mori" into the casket. (If you avoided Latin in school, that means "Remember that you have to die.")

Miller wasn't exactly secretive about his drug problem — in 2013, he told Complex that he'd had a hard time dealing with criticism after his first album, especially when it seemed deliberately cruel. "A lot of the reviews were more on me as a person," he said. To be fair, he was really just a kid when his first album came out, but he handled the weight of all that negativity badly, by taking promethazine, a drug that is used to treat allergies and motion sickness. Promethazine is a strong sedative that can become addictive, and it can be deadly when taken in excess.

Promethazine didn't kill him, though. In fact he kicked that particular habit and moved on to some more serious stuff — the coroner reported that the rapper died from a lethal cocktail of fentanyl, cocaine, and alcohol.

The cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Street Survivor" showed the band engulfed in flames

Lynyrd Skynyrd's 1977 album was full of creepy stuff, which not only seemed to foretell doom but also seemed to predict how it was all going to go down.

The album Street Survivors was released just three days before the horrible plane crash that killed front man Ronnie Van Zant. And what's especially awful about the story is that the band wasn't exactly blindsided by the accident because just two days before the crash Rolling Stone says they'd all seen 10-foot flames shooting out of the right engine of their Convair.

The good news is that they were going to trade their flaming death trap of a plane for a Learjet after using it for just one final trip. The bad news is during that one final trip the Convair fell out of the sky into a Mississippi swamp, killing six people.

How did the album connect to the tragedy? Well for a start, the cover featured a photo of the band engulfed in flames. And if that doesn't give you chills, the track entitled "That Smell" contained the words, "Say you'll be all right come tomorrow, but tomorrow might not be here for you," "Angel of darkness upon you," and "The smell of death surrounds you."

Now, it's not that weird for rock stars to sing about death, but the timing of this particular album and its prophetic lyrics does seem pretty creepy.

Mikey Welsh told Twitter that he'd die in a Chicago hotel room two weeks before he actually did

Weezer's former bassist Mikey Welsh posted some weird and scarily specific words to his Twitter account in September 2011, just two weeks before he died.

"Dreamt I died in Chicago next weekend (heart attack in my sleep). Need to write my will today." He then went back and added, "Correction — the weekend after next."

According to Billboard, the 40-year-old was found unresponsive in his Chicago hotel room two weeks later, exactly as he'd predicted. An official cause of death was never released (or was maybe just kept quiet), but authorities at the time believed it was a combination of prescription narcotics and heroin — prescription drugs and a plastic bag full of white powder were found in the room. If it's true that Welsh's death was drug-related, though, the Twitter prediction seems less strange because his death could have been intentional. Predicting your own suicide is all kinds of tragic, but not necessarily prophetic.

Not everyone believes that Welsh's death was intentional, though. In a statement, Weezer said this: "We know damn well he would never have wanted to stop the rock at today's RIOTfest, the show he was planning on attending. On the contrary, the rock was what he loved, both in music and art."

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

D12's Proof rapped about his murder two years before it happened

The D12 rapper Proof was in a nightclub in his hometown when he was shot and killed during an argument. Two years before that, on the 2004 album D12 World, he rapped: "I'm in the club to beef, you gotta murder me there," which is really creepily specific considering that he was very much murdered in a club.

The circumstances of Proof's death were made a little weirder by his participation in Eminem's 2005 music video for "Like Toy Soldiers," which is about the murder of D12 member Bugz. Proof plays the deceased rapper, even re-enacting his murder for the music video. Seeing Proof acting out a situation similar to his own death years later is a bit eerie.

Now we don't want to make something creepy seem less creepy, but it's worth noting that Proof spent a lot of time in clubs, so statistically speaking it maybe wasn't that weird that he was murdered in a club because of how much time he spent there. On the other hand, murder is not a super-common cause of death (in the U.S., it's around 6 for every 100,000 people), and Proof's friend H. Mack told the Guardian that Proof wasn't the sort of guy who would initiate a gun fight over something stupid, so there's not much reason to feel like that was an especially likely way for Proof to go. So was that line from the song prophetic or merely a weird coincidence? That probably depends on how much you believe in prophecies and weird coincidences.

Merle Haggard predicted the exact day of his death

Country music star Merle Haggard probably knew he was going to die just based on everything his body had been through in the last few months of his life — according to Heavy, Haggard's health had forced him to cancel a number of shows, and his diagnosis of double pneumonia was pretty dire for an almost-79-year-old. But the weird thing about Haggard's death is that the singer seemed to know exactly the day of his death, a week before it actually happened.

"A week ago dad told us he was gonna pass on his birthday, and he wasn't wrong," Haggard's son Ben said on Instagram on the day of his father's death. "An hour ago he took his last breath surrounded by family and friends."

It could have been a lucky guess, or perhaps Haggard was so in tune with his body that he instinctively knew how many days were left in him. Or maybe the zen of dying exactly 79 years to the day after your own birth was just too good for "the working man's poet" to pass up.

Peter Steele sang about death by heart attack seven years before dying from a heart condition

Type O Negative front man Peter Steele was preoccupied by death — he not only wrote a lot of songs about death and dying, he also regularly predicted his own death, attempted suicide, and at one point even faked his own death. According to Loudwire, in 2005 the band posted an announcement on their website that Steele had died when he had, in fact, been involuntarily committed to a psychiatric hospital.

So really, it's not that weird that Peter Steele predicted his own death because he'd been doing it for years. What is maybe weirder is that he seemed to predict the exact manner of his death. It was the lyrics from the 2003 song "I Don't Wanna Be Me" that were especially creepy: "Two steps forward, two steps back. Without warning, heart attack."

Seven years later the 48-year-old singer was sick in bed with the flu, when he unexpectedly died from an aortic aneurysm. That's not technically the same thing as a heart attack — an aortic aneurysm is actually a bulge in the aorta that can burst, or lead to other problems including heart attack and stroke. It's not clear which of these secondary problems led to Steele's death, but let's just say that those lyrics from 2003 came close enough.

Phil Lynott sang about heart attack brought on by drug abuse three years before he died from heart failure brought on by drug abuse

Heart disease is responsible for one in every four deaths in the United States. If you had to guess how you were going to die and you said "heart problems," you'd have a 25 percent chance of being correct. Those are actually pretty good odds. Or terrible odds, depending on your perspective.

Like Peter Steele, Phil Lynott also predicted that he would die from a heart attack, or at least that's what he sang about in "Heart Attack," which appeared on the 1983 Thin Lizzy album Thunder and Lightning. He was not very old when he died, though — just 36 — and that's not an age where you would typically expect someone to die from heart failure. Unless of course there were other factors at play.

The lyrics included lines like, "Mama I'm dying of a heart attack," "My heart can't handle the strain that's shaking it," and "Papa I'm dying of an overdose." And according to the Irish Times, Lynott died three years after he sang those words, from heart failure and pneumonia — all believed to be complications from a lifetime of substance abuse.

As a young man, Bob Marley predicted that he would live to be 36

Lots of people believed that Bob Marley was a kind of prophet, sort of like Nostradamus only with musical talent and cool hair. According to the book Bob Marley: Musician, Marley's mother often claimed that he was able predict the future even as a small child, and some people believe he also predicted the modern wars in Ukraine, Iraq, and Syria. But perhaps the weirdest of all his predictions was the one about his own death. At the age of 24, he told friends exactly what age he'd be when he died. "I know I'm going to die at 36," he said.

In 1977, Marley was diagnosed with melanoma under the nail of his big toe. Doctors recommended amputation, which is unfortunate because as a Rastafarian, Marley believed that amputation was sinful. So he refused treatment, and by the summer of 1980 the cancer had metastasized throughout his body. He flew to Germany in the hope that a doctor who peddled "controversial" cancer treatments might offer a cure, but (shockingly) holistic medicine didn't seem to help. Marley decided to return to Jamaica to die, but he didn't make it that far — he died en route during a stopover in Miami, on May 11, 1981. He was 36.

Mitch Lucker dressed up like a skeleton just hours before he died

Just in case you didn't know that motorcycles are death traps, motorcycles are totally death traps. Yeah, they're fun, but they could also kill you. Especially when you mix motorcycles with alcohol, which makes them extra death-trappy.

Mitch Lucker, who was the front man for Suicide Silence, died from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident on November 1, 2012. According to Blabber Mouth, Lucker's wife said he'd been drinking before he left the house. "He was an alcoholic, and it's been a big battle," she said during the candlelight vigil that followed the singer's death. "I tried to stop him. I was in front of him begging him not to leave the house. Begging him."

After Lucker's death, fans pointed to the eerie photo he posted to Instagram (above) just hours before the accident as evidence that he'd somehow predicted his own death. In the photo, Lucker is wearing Day of the Dead-style skeleton makeup, and the caption reads, "The dead are living ..." Of course this creepy coincidence does seem somewhat less creepy when you consider that Lucker posted the photo on Halloween, which is traditionally a day that people put on scary makeup. Why a skeleton, though, and not like Batman or Darth Vader or something? Maybe he subconsciously knew something that everyone else did not. Or maybe that just wasn't his style.

Prince sang some stuff about dangerous elevators several decades before he was found unresponsive in an elevator

In April 2016, the whole "Prince predicted his own death" thing was all over the Internet, which certainly made for some sensational headlines and probably also contributed to a gigantic spike in Prince album sales. But did he really predict his own death? Yes, if you think that acknowledging one's own mortality is somehow prophetic. "Sometimes I wish life was never-ending," he sang in "Sometimes it Snows in April," from the 1986 album Parade. "And all good things, they say, never last." Umm ... okay. So the fact that he sang about how life doesn't go on forever was somehow predictive of his death several decades later?

That's not the only set of song lyrics that some fans seemed to think was prophetic, though. In "Let's go Crazy," he sings about an elevator. And he was found unresponsive in an elevator. So is that spine-tingling or is the sensation more of an eye-roll? We'll let you decide.

According to E! News, though, there's just one final piece of evidence that points to a prophecy — three years before he died from an overdose of fentanyl, Prince's sister says he called her and said, "I think I've done everything I've come to do." Which would have been eerie if it had happened three days before his death, but it seems that Prince had at least three years' worth of things to do, after all.

Amy Winehouse told her friends she was going to join the 27 Club

And because tabloids are such awesome sources of information (that was sarcasm), here's a final death prediction for you to ponder.

According to Music News, singer Amy Winehouse's friend Alex Foden said she knew she wasn't destined for a long life. "Amy always told me she thought she would die young and that she knew she'd become a part of the '27 Club,'" which by the way is that long list of artists who died at the age of 27, including such notables as Janis Joplin and Kurt Cobain. And Winehouse did, in fact, die in 2011 at the age of 27.

The coroner's report revealed that Winehouse died from alcohol poisoning. That may not be too surprising, really, because the singer was given to doing everything in excess. She was not only prone to overindulging in drugs and alcohol, she also had bulimia, which had likely left her body too weak to handle all those other excesses.

Let's just ignore the fact that you could reach into history and also find lots of famous people who died at the age of 26 and plenty of famous people who died at the age of 28. But for some reason we only think it's spooky that some famous people have died at age 27. Anyway, it is a little odd and it's also very tragic that Winehouse supposedly predicted that she would die so young, but it's not so unusual that she did.