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 "Leavin' on a Jet Plane," according to CNN, which first became a hit when it was sung by folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary. The lyrics to "Leavin' 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 some friends 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 a Saudi Arabia hotel room. 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 three 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 nearly a decade in a coma 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.