Musicians' Heartbreaking Final Instagram Posts Before Their Deaths

Many people follow their favorite actors, bands, musicians, authors, and reality stars on various social media platforms, but one day, they're going to be gone — and their last social media post will turn into a final farewell.

Sometimes, there's a bit of advance warning. Maybe there are health problems — public or private — or struggles that mean only a select few might attach any sort of finality to any given post. When the news breaks, it can mean looking back at those last words, the last photos, and seeing the meaning that was there all along ... and for fans and loved ones alike, it can be heartbreaking.

Other times, a final post might be an eerie, awful reminder that death doesn't care. Rich and famous? Have millions of followers? Bestselling albums? The end can still be right around the corner. It doesn't matter if someone might be looking forward to their next show, their next album, their next hit single. Sometimes, they're just gone, and the last thing they posted might be heartbreaking in an optimism that went unfulfilled. Sometimes, it might be a final farewell that goes unrecognized ... until it's too late. Let's take a look at some of the most heartbreaking final Instagram posts made by some of the world's favorite musicians, and take a moment to remember these final farewells.

The following article includes discussions of suicide and addiction. 

Jimmy Buffett

Seriously, who doesn't love "Margaritaville" — it's the song that's more than a time and a place, and is, after all, a state of mind. Singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett wrote most of the song in minutes after being inspired by morning margaritas and burritos, and by the time of his death in 2023, Buffett had turned Margaritaville into a multi-million-dollar empire of hotels, restaurants, and even retirement homes. 

Buffett passed away on September 1, just a few days after posting a video to his Instagram. Although he had performed in more recent shows, the video harkened back to a much earlier show in 2016, showing Buffett performing a live version of The Beatles' "Hey Jude." It was captioned, "#withalittlehelpfrommyfriends #flashbackfun #summer2016," and it was everything that anyone had come to expect from Buffett.

His death came about four years after he was diagnosed with Merkel cell skin cancer, and true to his lifelong dedication to fun, high-energy, less-than-serious performances, he had continued to perform until a few months before his passing. In a 2020 interview with Rolling Stone, he spoke about the importance of living each day to the fullest, and when he was asked how he would like to be remembered, he said, "I'd say 'He had a good time and made a lot of people happy' would be good. Yeah, that'd be good."


Tim Bergling was better known as global EDM superstar Avicii. He seemed to have it all, and when he died by suicide on April 20, 2018, it opened up a very important conversation about mental health, addiction, and the price of fame paid by musicians like Avicii. Bergling had been candid about the pressures, stresses, and anxieties that he felt piling up on his shoulders, and since his death, his father has not only founded a mental health charity called the Tim Bergling Foundation, but he has spoken openly about it in the hopes of raising awareness and helping others find their way through the darkness.

Klas Bergling told CBS Mornings, "Suicide came as a shock to all of us. We thought that he was really on a better way." As for Avicii's family, Klas said, "It's a life before, and now, it's a life after."

Avicii's last Instagram post is dated April 4, 2018, and it was a photo of himself in an ultra-stylish house, piano in the background, clear sky above. Smiling sun emojis are included in the caption, which reads, "It's always sunny in California." Years later, there are still regularly posted comments on the photo, expressing grief, regret, and promises to live life to the fullest in his memory.

Olivia Newton-John

There are some stars who can be described as the voice of a generation, and Olivia Newton-John was definitely one of those. Songs like "Physical" and "You're the One That I Want" fall into the category of songs that everyone knows the words to, even if they don't actively seek them out, and with more than 100 million albums sold, Newton-John's contributions to the musical landscape of the 1970s and '80s was invaluable. When she posted to her Instagram on August 5, 2022, it was a beautiful and poignant farewell.

Newton-John died just three days after posting a photo — simply captioned "#flashbackfriday" with an emoji heart — of her smiling self in the arms of her longtime husband, John Easterling. She may have been an icon in "Grease" and a chart-topping artist, but when it came time to say farewell, her last post was a moment that was clearly the most treasured. Announcing her death on August 8, Easterling posted a statement to her Facebook page not only requesting privacy to mourn, but lauding her strength and courage during her decades-long journey through breast cancer.

First diagnosed in 1992, Newton-John was again diagnosed in 2017 after years in remission. During that time, she had also been active in working with her own Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund, which focused on cancer research.

Toby Keith

Toby Keith's final Instagram post was a tribute to his continuing popularity: In a short video clip, the camera looks out over a cheering crowd as the country music star takes off his guitar and holds it up. It's simply captioned, "And that's a wrap on the weekend, y'all. Back to it." While it's not exactly clear which concert the clip shows, it's thought that it was from one of his last shows: Keith had played several in Las Vegas in the beginning of December, a testament to his love of performing and his dedication to his fans.

Keith had revealed his official medical diagnosis in 2022, saying that he was going through treatment for stomach cancer. Around the time of his final concerts, he spoke about his ongoing treatment in an interview with KWTV, saying, "Cancer is a roller coaster. So it's like, you just sit here and wait on it to go away — it may not ever go away. And even if it goes into remission, it's still in the back of your mind..."

Keith went on to say that he had been grateful that he had his faith to lean on through his diagnosis and treatment, but he ultimately passed away the day after that final post — February 5, 2024. A wrap, indeed.

Pop Smoke

While many social media posts made by artists in the days and hours before their deaths take on an eerie sense of finality after their obituaries are posted and fans express their grief, the final Instagram post of rapper Pop Smoke is perhaps the eeriest of all. Pop Smoke was shot and killed in his home on February 19, 2020, the day after he posted several photos to Instagram. In the series of snaps still online, he's pictured getting into a car, then sitting with a friend and a stack of cash. According to later reports, it was a photo that he posted the day before that had ultimately led to his death.

That earlier photo included a view of a label that had his address on it, and although it was spotted and the photo was removed, a group of four teenagers had already seen it — and formed a plan to rob him. It was during the robbery that the 20-year-old rapper was shot several times, killed in a heist that resulted in the theft of a single watch. According to Pop Smoke's death certificate, he passed away about 45 minutes after the shooting.

Among those arrested was a 15-year-old who had been in jail on another charge when he confessed to killing Pop Smoke. At the trial, prosecutors argued that they had knowingly chosen to stage a robbery when the home was occupied. In 2023, one of those charged in his death pleaded guilty and was given four years in a juvenile detention center.

Loretta Lynn

Loretta Lynn wasn't just the singer-songwriter who helped shape country music for an entire generation, she was a force of nature: Her life story was immortalized in "Coal Miner's Daughter," and when John Carter Cash worked with her to record some of her last songs, he said (via The New York Times), "With Loretta, you just turn on the mic, stand back, and hold on." Lynn passed away on October 4, 2022, and although no cause of death was given, it was noted that the 90-year-old had died peacefully in her sleep. In the years prior, she had suffered several falls and a stroke in 2017, which brought an end to her touring performances after nearly six decades on stage. 

A final message was posted to her official Instagram two days before her death, and it took the form of a Bible verse. The verse — John 3:21 — was expanded on in the caption, which read, "Everyone who does evil hates the light and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God."


When the genre-bending musician who was once again popularly known as Prince — the first name he was given at birth — died on April 21, 2016, it's safe to say that it was a death no one saw coming ... publicly, at least. The ridiculously talented superstar was just 57 years old, and he had been taking steps to deal with the addiction that would ultimately lead to his untimely death. In 2018, law enforcement released the findings of an investigation into the cause of his death, which had been determined to be an accidental overdose of fentanyl. In the course of the investigation, it was found that years of playing and performing had taken a toll on him, and he had been suffering from such chronic pain — particularly in his hands — that he had been regularly prescribed painkillers.

Prince suffered a near-death episode days before he died, and was reportedly seeking treatment for addiction. A look at his Instagram reveals a heartbreaking pattern, though, and his final post — dated April 14, 2016 — was a blank white page with no caption. Strange? Yes.

Scroll back through his Instagram, and there are multiple similar posts. Were they placeholders? Spaces to align previous photos? Or something else entirely? It's unclear, but one thing that is known is that those who were closest to him — including his sister, Sharon L. Nelson — were outraged at what they perceived as carelessness in the investigation into his death.

Chester Bennington

When Linkin Park's Chester Bennington died by suicide on July 20, 2017, it was less than two months after he had played at a tribute for Soundgarden's Chris Cornell. Those who knew him best have spoken out about the devious nature of depression, addiction, and the mental health struggles that colored his final days, with Grey Daze drummer Sean Dowdell telling Rolling Stone, "He was on top of the world." The last time Dowdell spoke to him was two days before he died, and a few weeks before his death, he had posted to Instagram for the last time.

The snap was a photo of Bennington on stage, taken from behind, showing his view of the concert crowd gathered in front of him. The caption simply read, "Birmingham, U.K. #OneMoreLight," and it was a poignant photo of a rock star at the top of his game. And it's an invaluable lesson, too: Appearances can be deceiving, and even the most successful people have their struggles.

More details about Bennington's final 12 months have since been released, and his wife, Talinda, has spoken about the importance of awareness. She told CNN that his depression "was all a part of our daily life." She added, "If we can find good coping mechanisms, if we have people we trust that we can talk to, that helps us to make better choices for ourselves. And my husband didn't have that in a lot of situations."


Death is tragic no matter when or how it comes, and it's an interesting point to argue if it's worse when it's unexpected, or comes as the inevitable ending of a long illness. For Coolio, it was the former, and his final Instagram post went from a teasing promise of new material — maybe! — to a heartbreaking farewell. In it, he's pictured facing away from the camera, sitting at what looks like a dressing room vanity or perhaps hotel table. There's a bag on the table, and he's hard at work on something. The caption read, "What am I doing? #guess #thoughts #sayanything" and the comments have since become thoughts of grief and sorrow instead of optimism.

The post was dated September 21, 2022, and Coolio died on September 28. When contributing factors were published, it was found that a shocking number of things likely caused his sudden death at the age of 59, starting with the fact that he had previously been diagnosed with asthma and a heart condition called cardiomyopathy. Although no initial cause was first given, it was widely reported that he had been at a friend's Los Angeles home when he died. 

Ultimately, the largest factors in his death were a combination of fentanyl, heroin, and methamphetamine, coupled with previous use of phencyclidine (PCP). Among the many people who posted a tribute to the artist was Weird Al Yankovic, who posted a simple "RIP Coolio" on his own Instagram. And yes, before his untimely death, Coolio and Weird Al did cool off their long-running feud.

Goo Hara

It's no secret that K-pop has taken the world by storm, but it all too often happens that tragedy and success go hand-in-hand. Goo Hara was one of the members of the K-pop band Kara, and in late 2019, she paid tribute to her dear friend and fellow K-pop sensation Sulli after she died by suicide. Then, on November 22, 2019, Goo posted what would be her final photo on Instagram. In it, she lay in bed and looked into the camera, adding the simple caption, "Good night." On November 24, it was announced that she too had died by suicide. 

The announcement turned her final Instagram post into something deeply profound. The mainstream media took the opportunity to shine a light on a number of issues that she had been dealing with, including online bullying, harassment, and intense scrutiny over her appearance and an assault case that involved her ex-boyfriend. 

Before her death, she repeatedly posted about mental health concerns and the damaging impact that online bullying could have. In an interview with The New York Times, a South Korean journalist named Lee Hark-joon shared some heartbreaking insight into the life of a K-pop star, saying, "From an early age, they live a mechanical life, going through a spartan training regimen. ... Their fall can be as sudden and as dramatic as their rise to the height of fame." The 28-year-old Goo was not alone: Many K-pop stars have died before the age of 30.

Lil Peep

Lil Peep was a rocker and rapper who was poised on the brink of something unique, and Rolling Stone tapped him to be the next Kurt Cobain-level star. He died not long after making his final few Instagram posts, and in his very last, he shared pictures of three fans posing for him. He wrote, "Look at my beautiful fans awwwww" in the last of a group of pictures posted on November 15, 2017.

Tragically, that was also the same day he posted photos of himself with tabs of an unidentified substance, a photo of himself in front of a brick wall, and a partial shot of himself with the caption, "When I die You'll love me." In a video posted the day before, he wrote (in part), "I don't let people help me but I need help but not when I have my pills but that's temporary one day maybe I won't die young and I'll be happy?" 

He died on November 15, after spending some time talking with a few fans he'd invited back to his tour bus. One recalled him saying, "Today is a good day. Not every day is a good day, but today is. I feel good." Around half an hour later, he was gone. The official cause of his death was an accidental overdose of Xanax and fentanyl, in combination with the other drugs found in his system — cocaine, marijuana, and opiates.

Lisa Marie Presley

Lisa Marie Presley died on January 12, 2023, but it wasn't until July that the cause of death was revealed as a bowel obstruction — an unusual but not unheard-of complication from a previous surgery. When fans looked back at her final Instagram post, it was a heartbreaking reminder of the grief that had filled her final years.

Her last post was made on August 31, 2022, and in it, she noted that it was National Grief Awareness Day. Presley linked to an article she had written for People, in which she talked about her son's death by suicide. The essay is hard to read, but it's also one that hits home in a very important way.

Presley wrote about the endlessness of grief: "Grief is something you will have to carry with you for the rest of your life, in spite of what certain people or our culture wants us to believe. You do not 'get over it,' you do not 'move on,' period." She wrote of the loneliness, of seeing others forget while your suffering continued, of the exhaustion, the pain, of friends and family who avoid reaching out. She concluded with a plea to reach out to those who are grieving, because they do want to talk: "Maybe today or as soon as possible, you can reach out to someone who is grieving someone they loved and lost. ... We DO want to talk about them. That's how we keep them alive in our hearts... that is what keeps us alive as well."

If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, or needs help with addiction issues or mental health, contact the relevant resources below: