Death Statistics of Rock Stars

Death Statistics of Rock Stars


An Australian study found that pop and rock stars die 25 years younger than the average person and have higher rates of death by accident and homicide.


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Pop and rock stars die up to 25 years younger than the average person and have far higher rates of death by accident, suicide, and homicide, an Australian study has found.

The study by a Sydney University academic says the "disturbing" findings suggest the music industry needs to stop "valorizing" bad behavior and destructive lifestyles.

The chances of accidental death for well-known musicians and rock stars were found to be between five and 10 times greater than for the general population. The average musician today lives into their late 50s or early 60s and has a life expectancy that is about 20 years lower than members of the general population.

The study, by Dianna Kenny, a professor of psychology, is believed to be the first population study of performing pop musicians. It examined the lives and deaths of 12,665 musicians and stars from all popular genres who died between 1950 and June 2014. Almost 91 percent of those studied were male.

"The results of this study are disturbing," Professor Kenny wrote on The Conversation website. "Across the seven decades studied, popular musicians' lifespans were up to 25 years shorter than the comparable US population. This is clear evidence that all is not well in pop music land."

The study found suicide rates among musicians were between two and seven times greater than in the general population. Homicide rates were up to eight times greater.

On one positive note, however, the study suggested that most musicians live well beyond the age of 27, the age at which numerous stars have died, including Jimi Hendrix, Amy Winehouse, Janis Joplin, and Kurt Cobain.

Professor Kenny said the findings showed the music industry was "a very dangerous place for young people" and should support musicians, particularly those showing signs of stress or suffering from depression.

"The music scene celebrates drugs and promiscuity and valorization of early death, so young musicians who are depressed and suicidal are attracted to these types of environments," she told ABC Radio.

"They are meeting fellow travelers where they amplify each other's suicide, depression, or substance abuse and that gets into an an-out-of-control spiral leading to an early death."


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