This article was originally published on 24/7Mirror
The thing about celebrities is that we see them as more than just people. It's not even about their riches - they're larger than life, which makes them appear less like ordinary human beings with extraordinary talents and more like icons. And as icons, everything they do is marked forever in history - even their last words. Especially their last words, in fact. From the prophetic to the bitterly ironic, join us as we explore the most memorable and heartbreaking things celebs uttered before they passed.
Amy Winehouse spent far too few years on this planet - a member of the notorious rock star "27 club" - but she crammed a lot of living into them. The Back to Black singer-songwriter was known for mixing different musical genres as much as she was known for her unique sense of style. Supremely talented though she was, her life was no fairytale - she struggled for years with both drinking and substance abuse.
In 2011, the former habit did her in. Her last words were spoken in a voicemail to her doctor, two hours prior - "I don't want to die."
Paul Walker's story is almost too heartbreaking to be real. He had literally been languishing in Hollywood for 15 years before finally getting his big break, portraying undercover cop Brian O'Conner in 2001's The Fast and the Furious. Then, in 2013 and while still in his prime as a leading man, he tragically passed away aged 40 when a Porsche driven by his best friend crashed into a concrete lamppost, claiming both their lives.
His last words were overheard by an engineer at the typhoon charity event they were attending - "Hey, let's go for a drive." Walker perished doing what he loved.
We dare you to listen to I Will Always Love You, or any of Whitney Houston's other hits, without getting goosebumps. While it was virtually impossible to overshadow such a career, she nearly did - with substance abuse issues and her abusive relationship with husband Bobby Brown. Her end was just as tragic - she drowned in the bathtub of her Beverly Hilton hotel room, aged 48, due to a combination of heart disease and illegal substances.
After performing the song Jesus Loves Me at a Hollywood nightspot the night prior, she told a friend, "I'm gonna go see Jesus. I want to see Jesus." Hours later, she would.
It's bitterly ironic that Robin Williams, who brought laughter and joy to millions, ended up depressed and anxious. In fact, his presence was the only thing that stopped Superman actor Christopher Reeve from taking his own life in the wake of the accident that left him paralyzed. In 2014, tragically, Williams did just that, ending his own life at the far-too-young age of 63, a result of misdiagnosed dementia that caused him to suffer paranoia and depression.
His last words were spoken that very evening to his wife, Susan - after offering a foot massage, he told her, "Good night, my love."
A far cry from his early pretty boy image, Heath Ledger proved to be more than a capable actor. For his final completed role, the Joker in The Dark Knight, Ledger won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar - the second to ever win a posthumous acting Academy Award and the first to win for a comic-book movie. The actor, who struggled with insomnia for years, was reportedly suffering from a respiratory illness in his final days.
Abusing medication prescribed to him for both problems led to his accidental passing, aged 28. His last words were to his sister, Katie - "It'll be fine, I just need to get some sleep."
David Bowie was, without a doubt, one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. His ability to constantly reinvent himself, and adopt new and trailblazing musical styles, helped him stay relevant throughout a decades' long career. It's only fitting, then, that his last words had to do with the impact of music on his life. Bowie passed in 2016, aged 69, after a long battle with liver cancer.
His longtime friend Gary Oldman recalled that in their final conversation, Bowie told him that music "has been my doorway of perception and the house that I live in."
First off, no, Walt Disney was never cryogenically frozen, certainly not seprately from the rest of his body. After his 1966 passing, as a result of lung cancer, he was cremated. However, that isn't to say that the creator of Mickey, Donald, and the rest of those immortal characters didn't leave a mystery behind at all. The animation pioneer's last words, you see, were written down rather than spoken - and they were seriously cryptic.
Scrawled on a slip of paper, his last words said only "Kurt Russell." To this day, it's unknown why the then-child star's name was on Disney's mind - not even Russel himself knows.
Freddie Mercury's rise to international superstardom was an unlikely story as you're ever likely to encounter in showbiz. A shy boy from Zanzibar archipelago in the Indian Ocean, he became the frontman of Queen - one of the world's most successful and influential rock bands. His personal life was far less glamorous, sadly. Mercury had shown symptoms of the human immunodeficiency virus as early as 1982, despite his repeated public denials.
He succumbed to the disease in 1991, just one day after finally publicly admitting he'd contracted it. His last words were spoken to his partner Jim Hutton - "Pee pee," as Mercury was too frail and needed help going to the bathroom.
We're assuming that there's no need to introduce John Lennon, co-lead vocalist, co-songwriter, and rhythm guitarist for a little band called the Beatles. Lennon was gunned down by deranged fan Mark David Chapman in the archway of the Dakota, the building where he lived with wife Yoko Ono. Famously, Lennon autographed a copy of one of his albums for Chapman mere hours earlier. The legendary singer's last words are disputed.
After staggering into the Dakota, he reportedly told his doorman, "I'm shot." He may have also later responded with a weak "Yeah" when a cop asked him whether he was really John Lennon.
Chris Farley crushed it on Saturday Night Live for 100 episodes, before leaving to try and emulate his idol John Belushi and pursue a film career in Hollywood. This is where their paths diverged, unfortunately - while Belushi succeeded in becoming a star, if only for a short time, Farley's career fizzled out. Tragically, they'd match on something else - both passed away aged 33 as a result of substance abuse.
Farley, who struggled with his weight and substance abuse issues for years, spent his last night with a call girl. "Please don't leave me," he pleaded. She stole his watch, took photos of him after he collapsed, and left.
Diana Frances Spencer was only really famous for 16 years - from the beginning of her courtship with Prince Charles in 1980 until her untimely and tragic passing in 1997. That's nothing by the Royal Family's standards - her former mother-in-law's been in the spotlight for nearly a century - but the "People's Princess" had a knack for converting everyone she met into a fan. Ultimately, it was the world's obsession with her that led to her end.
It was an end she met in a Paris tunnel, following a car crash, after being chased by paparazzi. According to the fireman who pulled her from the wreckage, the Princess of Wales's final words were, "My God, what happened?"
Despite having passed away more than 40 years ago at this point, Alfred Hitchcock is still a household name and one of history's most influential filmmakers. Through both his films, like Psycho and The Birds, and his television show Alfred Hitchcock Presents, he chilled the blood of generations of fans. Fittingly, the Master of Suspense's last words dealt with life's final twist - what happens to us when it's all over.
On his deathbed, Hitchcock reportedly waxed poetic, saying, "One never knows the ending. One has to die to know exactly what happens after death" - before finishing with a joke: "although Catholics have their hopes."
For all the grief the role caused her, Carrie Fisher will always be Princess Leia. She even returned to portray the iconic character in the latest Star Wars trilogy, appearing in the final film through the use of old, repurposed footage from the first two productions. Fisher, who struggled her entire life with bipolar disorder and substance abuse, passed away, aged 60, onboard a flight from London to Los Angeles.
Her final words were revealed in a note read by her brother Todd. It said, "I'm dead. How are you? I would call and tell you what it's like, but there's no reception up here."
Arguably the greatest entertainer ever, Michael Jackson has more than earned his moniker of the King of Pop. Beyond all of his truly unimaginable success, though, seemed to hide a broken, hurt soul. It's almost logical that such a larger-than-life figure would come to such an untimely, infuriating end. In 2009, aged only 50, Jackson suffered cardiac arrest as a result of medications administered by his personal physician, Conrad Murray.
A lethal combination of a powerful anesthetic and anti-anxiety medications were found in his system - administered, supposedly at Jackson's own request. His final words, Murray claimed, were "More milk," referring to the anesthetic, propofol, that took his life.
Sometimes, the concept of what a giant a person was in life acrimoniously clashes with their all-too-human, pained final moments. That was exactly the case with Steve Jobs, co-founder and CEO of Apple, whose genius in both technology and marketing saw him shepherd the creation of products like the iPhone and iPad. Suffering from pancreatic cancer for which he refused conventional treatment, Jobs passed away aged 56, surrounded by loved ones.
His last words, according to his sister Mona, were "Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow." It's unknown what prompted them, but she said he looked at the faces of all those assembled there before speaking.
It's rare for someone to take their own life at the age of 27, and for everyone to agree that while tragic, it was far from shocking. This was the case for Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, who did just that in 1994. Having suffered from debilitating stomach pains, depression, and substance abuse issues, Cobain finally found himself overwhelmed. His final words, in the form of a note he left, became infamous.
Addressed to his imaginary childhood friend Boddah, it described his mental state and thoughts about family and music. The note concluded with, "I don't have the passion anymore, and so remember, it's better to burn out than to fade away."
It's a terrible injustice that the passing of a bright, shining light such as Farrah Fawcett was almost glossed over. It's understandable - Michael Jackson passed four hours later, completely dominating media attention - but it's unfair. The star of Charlie's Angels on TV and The Cannonball Run on the big screen, she served as an early template for strong, beautiful female characters. To the sorrow of her many fans, Fawcett ended up losing her valiant battle against cancer, aged 62.
Her final word, according to friend Mela Murphy, was "Redmond" - the name of her only son, who was in jail at the time for illicit substances offenses.
A deeply polarizing figure in life, Kobe Bryant left a complex legacy. On the court, few were better - his 20-year Hall of Fame career saw him winning five NBA championships. Off the court, an assault case tarnished his image, costing him both fans and sponsorship deals. Nevertheless, in retirement he was said to be entirely devoted to his family, especially his second daughter Gianna, whose basketball games he frequently attended.
Heartbreakingly, they both lost their lives in a 2020 helicopter crash. Texting his agent from inside the helicopter moments prior, Bryant asked if the agent could help get a friend's young daughter an internship - a selfless final act.
Considering he only ever did three movies as a leading man, it's incredible that James Dean still has a hold over popular imagination, even 65 years after his passing. Nevertheless, Dean is still a cultural icon, despite - or perhaps partly because of - losing his life at age 24, after a fatal car wreck. Dean, an amateur auto racer, was driving the 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder he bought only days prior near Cholame, California.
When a car making a left turn crossed their path, Dean reportedly told mechanic and passenger Rolf Wetherich, "That guy's gotta stop. He'll see us." The cars collided, and Dean perished instantaneously.
The King of Rock-n-roll, for all his fame and fortune, ended up passing away while on the toilet. It's sad, but true. Despite only being 42, Elvis suffered from a host of aliments, including diabetes, glaucoma, and constipation - likely worsened by prescription medication abuse. Then, in the very early hours of August 16, 1977, Elvis had trouble sleeping. Not wishing to disturb his beauty queen fiancee Ginger Alden, he said, "I'm going to the bathroom to read."
That's what he did. In the bathroom was where Alden found him when she woke up hours later, cold and unresponsive, the victim of a fatal heart attack.
Here's a crazy little trivia tidbit - when Frank Sinatra suffered two ultimately-fatal heart attacks and was rushed to the hospital on May 14, 1998, his ambulance made it there in record time because Seinfeld's series finale was showing on TV at the time and the streets of Los Angeles were empty. One of the most successful entertainers of all-time, Sinatra enjoyed a long and fruitful career - and life.
Towards the end, though, he was battling various ailments. His wife, Barbara Marx, was at his bedside, urging him to fight despite it all. "I'm losing it," was the 82-year-old's reply - and final words.
A box office draw for three straight decades, John Wayne made the transition from silent films to "talkies" and became one of the most bankable stars in Hollywood history. The Duke, as he was nicknamed, starred in countless Westerns and war movies, and passed away on June 11, 1979, succumbing to cancer. He was surrounded by his loved ones, and spent his last days drifting in and out of consciousness.
When his daughter Aissa held his hand and asked him if he knew who she was, he replied, "Of course I know who you are. You're my girl. I love you." Those would be his last words.
Sometimes, celebrities' last words can be a little disappointing, if we're being completely honest. When their time is almost up, many of them utter things no different than what we might have said. Not Bob Marley, though. No, the grandfather of reggae passed as he lived - as an icon. Marley was diagnosed with malignant melanoma, a skin cancer that began in a toenail and spread to his lungs and brain.
He passed in 1981, having refused any conventional treatments, citing his Rastafarian religious beliefs. His last words were said to his son, Ziggy, and summed up his entire belief system - "Money can't buy life."
From the concept of the Little Black Dress to the iconic Chanel No. 5 perfume, Coco Chanel was behind some of the biggest lifestyle and fashion innovations of the 20th century. Spearheading the company that still bears her name, the French fashion icon singlehandedly transformed the concept of what a well-dressed woman looks like. It was only fitting, then, that such a woman would depart with last words befitting of her - direct, sophisticated, and witty.
At 87 years old, Chanel had just finished putting together her spring catalog. "See, this is how you die," she reportedly told her maid, before passing away in bed.
Whether you knew him as the Yankee Clipper, Joltin' Joe, or simply the guy name-dropped in Simon and Garfunkel's Mrs. Robinson, Joe DiMaggio was a legend. Considered one of the greatest baseball players ever, his record-breaking 56-game hitting streak is considered untouchable. For all his accolades, though, one facet of DiMaggio's life seemed to haunt him - Marilyn Monroe. The two were only married for nine months, but it was a bond DiMaggio held onto decades later.
Passing away in 1999, his last words - as reported by his lawyer and confidant Morris Engelberg - were, "At least I'll be with Marilyn again."
Dubbed the "Prince of Motown," Marvin Gaye shaped soul music in the '60s. Then, very much still in his prime and a day shy of his 45th birthday, he was gunned down - by his own father. Having suffered from paranoia and depression, worsened by substance abuse, he moved back in with his parents. On April 1, 1984, he inserted himself into an argument his parents had, eventually "brutally kicking" his father.
"I'm going to get my things and get out of this house," he then told his mother. "Father hates me and I'm never coming back." Moments later, his father returned to the room and fatally shot him.
John F. Kennedy
We won't go into the million conspiracy theories surrounding his assassination, because then we'll be here all day, so let's stick to facts. On November 22, 1963, President John Kennedy was visiting Texas to smooth over tensions between warring factions of his party there. That particular day, he was traveling through Dallas in a motorcade with his wife Jacqueline, the governor of Texas John Connally, and his own wife Nellie.
Reportedly, after taking in the crowd Nellie turned to Kennedy, and said, "You certainly can't say the people of Dallas haven't given you a nice welcome." Kennedy replied, "No, I certainly can't," moments before the first shot.
It's been so long now - both since her 1989 passing and her television heyday - but Lucille Ball's impact will never be forgotten. She not only starred in the groundbreaking I Love Lucy, which achieved many firsts in American TV, but was also the first female head of a television production company, Desilu Productions, which created shows like Star Trek and Mission: Impossible. In 1989, a 77-year-old Ball underwent surgery to repair her aorta, damaged after an aortic aneurysm.
The surgery was a success, and when she was recovering she was asked if she wanted something. Her reply, and last words, was, "My Florida water," referring to a perfume.
Whatever anyone might think of him, magazine publisher Hugh Hefner lived a long and successful life. Founding and acting as editor-in-chief for a certain adult publication with an unmistakable bunny logo, Hefner built an empire that's still going strong today. Hef lived to the ripe old age of 91, before passing away in 2017 due to sepsis caused by a viral infection that left him bedridden for the final weeks of his life.
In his final interview, he said, "It's nice to look back on very sweet moments. I just think I'm very, very blessed." He was interred, incidentally, in a crypt beside Marilyn Monroe - the cover girl for his magazine's first issue.
Much like his legendary cinematic alter ego "The Tramp," Charlie Chaplin also came from abject poverty. Unlike his big screen counterpart, however, Chaplin escaped it - and became one of the world's most successful and influential movie stars. The film legend passed away in 1977, aged 88, after suffering a stroke in his sleep at his home in Switzerland. Shortly before that, a priest visited him to administer last rites.
As the priest recited, "May the Lord have mercy on your soul," Chaplin interrupted him by saying, "Why not? After all, it belongs to Him." A true performer to the very end.
The author of such timeless literary classics as A Farewell to Arms, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway was a haunted man, who was apparently both depressed and paranoid. Towards the end of his life, he was committed to a mental health facility and even received electroshock therapy, but it was all ultimately in vain. The Nobel Prize winner decided it was time to end it all.
Aged 61 and a rugged individualist to the very end, Hemingway reportedly told his wife Mary, "Good night, my kitten," before using one of the weapons he used to hunt with to take his own life.
Humphrey Bogart was one of the biggest stars of Hollywood's Golden Age, starring in such classics as The Maltese Falcon and Casablanca. Even today, more than half a century after his passing, his rugged, angular features are recognizable to film buffs everywhere. Bogart was married four times, but it seems his fourth and final wife, Lauren Bacall, was the true love of his life - despite being 25 years his junior.
In 1957, before Bogart succumbed to esophageal cancer, Bacall reportedly left his side to pick up their children from school. His final words to her were, "Goodbye, kid. Hurry back."
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr. was perhaps the single most important figure in the civil rights struggles of the 1960s. The 1963 March on Washington, which he helped organize, was the setting for his legendary "I Have a Dream" speech, which still reverberates with meaning today. Unsurprisingly, many people were unhappy with the message of equality King was preaching. One of them, James Earl Ray, assassinated King in 1967 when he was staying at a Memphis motel.
His final words were spoken to musician Ben Branch, set to play at an event later that night. They were, "Make sure you play 'Take My Hand, Precious Lord'" - King's favorite gospel song.
With a long and illustrious career in entertainment spanning a mind-boggling seven decades, Julius Henry "Groucho" Marx was nothing if not quotable. In fact, the father of such aphorisms as "I don't care to belong to any club that will have me as a member," he often found himself credited for things he never said! It seems strangely appropriate, then, that there's some controversy regarding what exactly were his last words.
Before passing away in 1977, aged 86, Marx reportedly told his wife, "Die, my dear? Why, that's the last thing I'll do!" Alternatively, he may have said, "This is no way to live!" instead.
James Brown, the Godfather of Soul, was not only the innovator behind funk music but also influenced the development of several other music genres. On top of that, he was one of the members of the inaugural class enshrined in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame when it was founded in 1986. On top of that, he had an unforgettable role in The Blues Brothers, portraying Reverend Cleophus James.
In the early hours of Christmas Day, 2006, Brown succumbed to congestive heart failure, aged 73. According to longtime manager Charles Bobbit, he said, "I'm going away tonight," took three long breaths, and fell asleep, never to awake again.