Famous suicides

Top 12 Famous Suicides in History

These great people decided to took their own life. But why?

by Nora Yulieva

The most famous suicides in history – do you know them all?

At first sight, it may seem that celebrities live a perfect life, surrounded by fans, wealth, and fame. However, sometimes they are affected by mental health problems such as anxiety and depression, which are not apparent to everybody.

Sadly, they may sometimes lead to their death.

Today we will share with you the Top 12 of the most famous suicides in history, which affected not only the loved ones of the people but also the whole world.


Famous suicides

Photo: Jastrow / Wikipedia

It is hard to say who was the first person in history to commit suicide. However, we will start our list with Periander, one of the Seven Sages of Ancient Greece back in the 6th century B.C.

He was a Corinthian tyrant who took his life so his enemies could not dismember his body. He commissioned two younger soldiers to bury him in the forest. He had to cover his tracks, so he instructed two other men to kill the soldiers who buried him and two other men to kill these.

In the end, more than six people were killed and buried in the forest, all because Periander killed himself. Honestly, this is a famous suicide in history, which looks more like a massacre.

Robin Williams

Robin Williams

Photo: Eva Rinaldi / Wikipedia

One of the saddest and most famous suicides in history is the one of Robin Williams. Williams was known to be funny and nice, loved by many in Hollywood and worldwide. In 2014, his death shocked the whole world and millions of his fans.

Even though he had an astonishing career, Robin suffered from drug addiction, depression, and alcohol addiction. Furthermore, he was also suffering from Parkinson’s disease. In 2014 he went through a rough period with his health and career, and later, he was found dead in his home.

About his death – it was revealed that he had a pocket knife and several cuts on his wrist, but he was considered to have died from asphyxia due to hanging.

R. Budd Dwyer

One of the most famous suicides in history is the one of R. Budd Dwyer. His death was caught on a video recording and rebroadcasted on all local channels. Furthermore, the video can still be seen on the internet, but it is not pleasant to see.

He was elected to a State Senate twice and then, in 1980, won the election of Pennsylvania Treasurer spot.

Later he was accused of benefiting from a deal he made and had to stay in prison for at least five years; in a case, he pleaded guilty and resigned his position. He refused to plead guilty and was sentenced to a $300,000 fine and, worst of all – 55 years in prison.

The day after, Budd Dwyer had a press conference, saying he would die in his office. He also expressed innocence and pulled out an envelope containing a Mangun revolver. The people started screaming, they begged him to stop, but his final words were: ‘Please, leave this room if this will affect you.’ Just a few seconds later, he pulled the trigger. This led to his instant death. Years later, in 2010, his name was cleared. Now it’s one of the most famous suicides caught on film

Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe

Photo: Bert Parry / Wikipedia

Marilyn Monroe was one of the most glamorous women in history. She had fame, money, and beauty. And even the president himself – John F. Kennedy! However, she had also problems that eventually led to her suicide. Monroe had a problematic childhood. She was even raised in a foster home, where she was frequently abused. Even though she went through a lot, Marilyn became a sex icon and a star in Hollywood.

The Blonde Beauty suffered from depression and other mental health issues, and she was erratic during the last months of her life. The actress lived under constant care provided by a psychiatrist.

On the 5th of August 1962, her housekeeper tried to reach her because the light in her bedroom was on after midnight. The housekeeper called her psychiatrist, who found her naked, lying on her bed surrounded by empty pill bottles for depression, and with her telephone in her hand. The police said that Monroe overdosed, which made her death one of the most famous suicides.

Sylvia Plath

famous suicides

Photo: Giovanni Giovannetti / Grazia Neri

Sylvia Plath was one of the best and most famous poets of the 20th century. She was an American writer who started writing at a very young age. Maybe this was the reason for her suffering – Plath had anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Years after her suicide, it was found that she most likely used to have bipolar disorder.

Once, Sylvia wrote in her journal: “I want to commit suicide, escape responsibility, slowly return to the womb.” Sometime after, she was found dead on the 11th of February 1963. Her suicide was quite shocking. She put her head in the oven, left the gas on, and died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Her children were in the same apartment, bus she carefully sealed the rooms where they were sleeping by using cloths and tape. A nurse came to the house, where she asked for help from a workman, and they broke into the apartment together and discovered Sylvia Path.



Photo: Altes Museum Berlin (Berliner Museumsinsel)

We have all heard of the famous Queen of Egypt – Cleopatra. She was one of the most beautiful women alive. Now she is connected to one of the most famous suicidal deaths in history. The lover of Mark Antony and Julius Cesar committed suicide after her soldiers were defeated by Octavian’s army.

Cleopatra was going to be taken to Rome and exhibited as a war trophy, so the queen preferred to kill herself and become the last queen of Ancient Egypt. She died because she drank a lot of poison at once.


famous suicides

Photo: Bernardo Strozzi / musée des beaux-arts de Montréal

Eratosthenes was a famous Greek philosopher and astronomer who was known for making a measurement of the radius of the Earth. He took his own life in 194 B.C. when he was aged 79.

Why did he do that?

He was slowly losing his sight, so he became almost blind. His worst fear became true, and he couldn’t read or see the world around him anymore. That’s why he decided to commit suicide.


Socrates’s suicide is considered one of the most popular in history. However, his case is different and looks more like a forced suicide. He was expressing his ideas, which were not supporting the belief in ancestral gods.

He was forced to drink hemlock – a poisonous plant that took his life to not spread his ideas. Socrates was convicted for disseminating information about strange, unfamiliar Gods to the youth of Athens, and he used his death as a lesson for his students.

Elliot Smith

Elliot Smith

Photo: llaurens / Wikipedia

Elliot Smith was a famous singer in America who took his own life back in 2003. He was famous because of his melancholy songs. Or in other words – Smith was clearly expressing his thoughts about committing suicide.

He died at 34 after having a brutal fight with his girlfriend.

She decided to lock herself in a room in their apartment, and when she came out, she found her boyfriend lying on the floor, dead. He used a knife, which he stuck in his heart. Of course, the girl called an ambulance immediately, but sadly – he died 20 minutes after that in the hospital. Thousands of people loved Smith, and his death was one of the saddest in history.


Avicii’s death stroke the whole world on the 20th of April 2018. He was a producer and DJ famous for his fantastic music. It was known to everybody that he was suffering from depression and other health issues, because of which he stopped making tours in 2016.

He continued creating music, but in 2018 he took his own life. His family did not allow details to be shared, so we still do not know why and how he committed this famous celebrity suicide. However, it is known that he did it because he could not find peace in his own world.

Chris Cornell

Chris Cornell

Photo: gdcgraphics / Wikipedia

Regarded as one of the biggest names in grunge, Chris Cornell shockingly took his own life on the 18th of May, 2017. It happened after Soundgarden’s concert at Detroit’s MGM Grand. Cornell was found on his hotel room’s floor with an exercise neck around his neck. Just 52 years old, Chris Cornell left a massive hole in the hearts of the millions who loved his music.

Soon after Cornell’s suicide, it became apparent that he suffered from various mental health problems. The toxicology report found a cocktail of prescripted drugs in his system, including Butalbital, lorazepam, naloxone, pseudoephedrine, and norpseudoephedrine.

Chester Bennington

famous suicides

Photo: Stefan Brending / Wikipedia

Just two months after Chris Cornell’s tragic suicide, rock fans had to take another hit. On the 20th of July 2017, Linkin Park‘s frontman Chester Bennington followed his good friend’s steps and committed suicide by hanging, too.

It’s a creepy coincidence that Chester took his life on Chris Cornell’s birthday – the 20th of July. It’s not a secret that Cornell and Bennington were close friends, so it’s not impossible their deaths were somehow connected. Later it was known that Bennington suffered from heavy depression as well. At the same time, he also had problems with drugs and alcohol. It’s one of the most shocking recent famous suicides we had to witness.

We shared with you the Top 12 famous suicides in history, some of which are shocking and others – still making our hearts hurt. We have lost a lot of great souls, so may they all rest in peace. Which death shocked you the most?

Main photo: Roger Woolman

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