Famous People Who Died By Drowning

The death of a famous person is a tragedy for not just their own families, but also their entire community of fans. While it is a known fact that everyone has to die one day or the other, untimely deaths of celebrities always shake us to the core. It is relatively easier to accept the natural death of an aged celebrity but the news of the tragic and unnatural death of a famous personality breaks the hearts of the fans in a way words can’t describe. To die of drowning is indeed one of the most painful ways to die. When we hear of a celebrity drowning to their death, we can’t but wonder if this could have been somehow prevented? When singer Whitney Elizabeth Houston was found dead drowned in her bathtub in 2012, her fans were devastated. Similar had been the world’s reaction when the much loved founder of the Rolling Stones, Brian Jones, had died by drowning in the swimming pool in 1969. Le Corbusier, Hart Crane, and Dennis Wilson are also among the celebrities who drowned to their deaths. Check out this section to know more about famous people who died by drowning.
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 1 
Whitney Houston
(Best-Selling Female R&B Artist of the 20th Century)
Whitney Houston
91
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: August 9, 1963
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Newark, New Jersey, United States
Died: February 11, 2012

Amongst the best-selling recording artists of all time and an inspiration to millions of budding artists, Whitney Houston achieved stardom with her eponymous debut album. The success of her later albums consolidated her position and earned her a spot in the Guinness World Records as the most awarded female artist of all time. She struggled with drug abuse and troubled marriage and died of drowning in her hotel's bathtub. 

 2 
Matthew Perry
(Best Known for His Role of 'Chandler Bing' on the TV Sitcom 'Friends')
Matthew Perry
84
Birthdate: August 19, 1969
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Williamstown, Massachusetts, United States
Died: October 28, 2023

Matthew Perry gained worldwide popularity for playing the character of Chandler Bing on the television sitcom Friends. The sitcom ran from 1994 to 2004 and remains one of the most popular ones till date. He also starred in other television series and a number of films. He had issued with vicodin, methadone, amphetamines and alcohol addiction.

 3 
Naya Rivera
(Actress and Singer Best Known for Playing 'Santana Lopez' on 'Glee (2009-2015)')
Naya Rivera
95
Listed In: Fashion
Birthdate: January 12, 1987
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Valencia, Santa Clarita, California, United States
Died: July 8, 2020

A talented actress who felt deeply about social issues, Naya Rivera was known for playing roles that reflected her standing on issues like racism and queer representation. She openly championed for LGBT+ rights, immigrants' rights, and women's rights. The brilliant young woman met a tragic end when she drowned in a lake in 2020.

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 4 
P B Shelley
(One of the Epic Poets of the 19th Century)
P B Shelley
22
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: August 4, 1792
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Warnham, United Kingdom
Died: July 8, 1822
Legendary English Romantic poetry P.B. Shelley is remembered for his masterpieces such as Ode to the West Wind, To a Skylark, and Prometheus Unbound. He was known for his poetic imagery, and his popularity soared after his premature death due to drowning while boating at age 29. 
 5 
Dennis Wilson
(musician)
Dennis Wilson
9
Listed In: Musicians
Birthdate: December 4, 1944
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Inglewood, California, United States
Died: December 28, 1983
Height: 5'9" (175 cm)
 6 
Harold Holt
(Former Prime Minister of Australia)
Harold Holt
21
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: August 5, 1908
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Stanmore
Died: December 17, 1967

Harold Holt was an Australian politician and the 17th prime minister of Australia. On 17 December 1967, Holt disappeared while swimming in rough conditions at Cheviot Beach. Following his disappearance, which gave rise to several conspiracy theories, Harold Holt was presumed dead. The Harold Holt Memorial Swimming Centre in Melbourne is named in his honor.

 7 
Brian Jones
(English Multi-Instrumentalist, Singer and Founder of the Rock Band 'The Rolling Stones')
Brian Jones
33
Listed In: Musicians
Birthdate: February 28, 1942
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England
Died: July 3, 1969

Brian Jones was an English musician credited with founding the world-renowned rock band, The Rolling Stones. He was also considered the original leader of the band before his fellow band members, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, took over the musical direction of the band. Jones became the first member of the infamous 27 Club, when he died at age 27.

 8 
Jeff Buckley
(Singer, Songwriter and Guitarist)
Jeff Buckley
17
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: November 17, 1966
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Anaheim, California, United States
Died: May 29, 1997

Jeff Buckley was an American guitarist and singer-songwriter. His only studio album, Grace, was included in Rolling Stone magazine's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list. Since his untimely death at the age of 30, Jeff Buckley has been the subject of several documentaries. His death also inspired several artists to record songs in tribute to his life and career.

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 9 
Sridevi
(Indian Actress Cited as the 'First Female Superstar' of Indian Cinema)
Sridevi
27
Birthdate: August 13, 1963
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Sivakasi, Madras State, India
Died: February 24, 2018

Sridevi was an Indian film actress who appeared in Tamil, Hindi, Telugu, Kannada, and Malayalam language films. Considered one of the most popular actresses of all time, Sridevi was dubbed the First Female Superstar in India. With several prestigious awards under her belt, she was also regarded as one of the finest actresses of her generation.

 10 
John Jacob Astor IV
(Businessman, Investor, and Founder of the ‘Waldorf-Astoria Hotel’)
John Jacob Astor IV
15
Listed In: Business People
Birthdate: July 13, 1864
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Rhinebeck Village, Rhinebeck, New York, United States
Died: April 15, 1912
Business tycoon, real-estate developer, and writer John Jacob "Jack" Astor IV had also served in the Spanish–American War. He belonged to the famed Astor family of New York. Astor died in the tragic sinking of the RMS Titanic in 1912 and was the richest passenger aboard the liner.
 11 
Bartolomeu Dias
(Portuguese explorer)
Bartolomeu Dias
21
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: 1450 AD
Birthplace: Algarve
Died: May 29, 1500

Bartolomeu Dias was a nobleman of the Portuguese royal household in the 15th century. Famous as an explorer, he sailed around the southernmost tip of Africa and set up a route from Europe to Asia. He became the first European to anchor in Cape Good Hope, South Africa, during the Age of Discovery. He perished in 1500. 

 12 
Franco Columbu
(Italian Bodybuilder and Actor)
Franco Columbu
1
Birthdate: August 7, 1941
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Ollolai, Italy
Died: August 30, 2019
Height: 5'5" (165 cm)
 13 
Rudolf Diesel
(Inventor of Diesel Engine)
Rudolf Diesel
5
Birthdate: March 18, 1858
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: September 29, 1913

Rudolf Diesel was a German mechanical engineer and inventor best remembered for inventing the Diesel engine. After Diesel's demise, his engine became an important substitution for the steam piston engine. The engine became widespread in applications, such as agricultural machines, submarines, ships, and trucks. His life inspired the 1942 biographical film Diesel, in which he was played by Willy Birgel.

 14 
Shad Gaspard
(American Professional Wrestler and Actor)
Shad Gaspard
8
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: January 13, 1981
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: May 17, 2020
Height: 6'7" (201 cm)
 15 
Thomas Andrews
(Businessperson, Naval Architect)
Thomas Andrews
10
Listed In: Architects
Birthdate: February 7, 1873
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Comber, County Down, Ireland
Died: April 15, 1912
 16 
Althea Flynt
(Larry Flynt's Wife)
Althea Flynt
31
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: November 6, 1953
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Marietta, Ohio, United States
Died: June 27, 1987
 17 
Isidor Straus
(U.S. House Representative from New York (1894-1895))
Isidor Straus
16
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: February 6, 1845
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Otterberg, Germany
Died: April 15, 1912
 18 
Eric Fleming
13
Birthdate: July 4, 1925
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Santa Paula, California, United States
Died: September 28, 1966
Height: 6'3" (190 cm)
 19 
Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor
(Holy Roman Emperor (1155 - 1190))
Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor
1
Birthdate: 1122 AD
Birthplace: Haguenau, France
Died: June 17, 1190
Frederick Barbarossa, or Frederick I, reigned as the Holy Roman Emperor from 1155 to 1190. He had been the king of Germany and the king of Burgundy, too, and had earned the name Barbarossa for his red beard. He died while fighting in the Third Crusade in 1190.
 20 
Jay Moriarity
(American Surfer)
Jay Moriarity
2
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: June 16, 1978
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Georgia, United States
Died: June 15, 2001
 21 
William McMaster Murdoch
(British Sailor Who Was the First Officer on the ‘RMS Titanic’)
William McMaster Murdoch
4
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: February 28, 1873
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Dalbeattie, Scotland
Died: April 15, 1912

Scottish sailor William McMaster Murdoch was the First Officer on the RMS Titanic. The officer in charge on the bridge when the ship collided with an iceberg, he was one of the more than 1,500 casualties when the ship sank. He died under mysterious circumstances, and it is rumored that he died by suicide shortly after the collision. 

 22 
Eddie Aikau
(Hawaiian Surfer Who Was the First Lifeguard at Waimea Bay on the Island of Oahu)
Eddie Aikau
1
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: May 4, 1946
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kahului, Hawaii, United States
Died: March 17, 1978
Height: 5'10" (178 cm)
 23 
Li Bai
(Poet)
Li Bai
14
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: May 19, 0701
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Suiye, Tang Empire (now Chuy Region, Kyrgyzstan)
Died: November 30, 0762

Li Bai was a Chinese poet whose works helped Chinese poetry flourish in the Tang dynasty. Acclaimed as a genius, Li is credited with popularizing traditional poetic forms. His poetry has been influential from his own time to the present day. Along with Zhang Xu's calligraphy and Pei Min's swordplay, Li's poetry is counted among the Three Wonders in china.

 24 
Piero the Unfortunate
(Ruler of Florence Known for His Bad Decisions that Led to His Downfall)
Piero the Unfortunate
5
Birthdate: February 15, 1472
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Florence, Italy
Died: December 28, 1503

A 15th-century lord of Florence, Piero the Unfortunate was the eldest son of Italian statesman Lorenzo de' Medici. Throughout his 2-year rule, he made foolish errors such as making an agreement accepting all the demands of French king Charles VIII, leading to a revolt in his kingdom.

 25 
Josef Mengele
(German Physician Known for His Atrocities at the Auschwitz II Concentration Camp)
Josef Mengele
106
Listed In: Criminals
Birthdate: March 16, 1911
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Bavaria, Germany
Died: February 7, 1979

Known as Angel of Death, Dr. Josef Mengele was the chief doctor of Auschwitz concentration camp and was responsible for killing thousands of Jews as well as torturing the prisoners mercilessly and conducting inhuman experiments on them. These included injecting them with chemicals and stitching twin children together. Despite his horrible crimes, the infamous Nazi doctor could never be captured.

 26 
Tom Thomson
(Artist)
Tom Thomson
5
Birthdate: August 5, 1877
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Claremont, Pickering, Canada
Died: July 8, 1917

Tom Thomson was a Canadian artist best remembered for producing some of Canada's most iconic works, namely The West Wind and The Jack Pine. Thomson's work has had a profound influence on Canadian art and he is often regarded as an unofficial member of the famous Group of Seven as he died shortly before the establishment of the iconic group.

 27 
Audrey Mestre
(Freediver)
Audrey Mestre
0
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: August 11, 1974
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Île-de-France, France
Died: October 12, 2002
 28 
Dolores O’Riordan
(Best Known as the Lead Singer of Alternative-Rock Band 'The Cranberries')
Dolores O’Riordan
3
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: September 6, 1971
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: County Limerick, Ireland

One of the best-known faces of Irish alternative rock, Dolores O’Riordan headed the band The Cranberries. Known for her international chartbusters such as Zombie, she later slipped into depression and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She died of accidental drowning due to intoxication at age 46 and was posthumously nominated for a Grammy.

 29 
Ray Emery
(Canadian Professional Ice Hockey Goaltender)
Ray Emery
3
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: September 28, 1982
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Died: July 15, 2018
Height: 6'2" (188 cm)
 30 
Natalie Wood
(Actress)
Natalie Wood
194
Birthdate: July 20, 1938
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: San Francisco, California, United States
Died: November 29, 1981

Amongst the top child artists of her generation, Natalie Wood garnered fame at the age of eight with the movie Miracle on 34th Street. Later, as an adult, she successfully established herself as a talented and sought after actress with movies like Splendor in the Grass and West Side Story. Her vibrant life came to an end after she died of drowning.

 31 
Ptolemy XIII Theos Philopator
(Pharaoh of Egypt (51–47 BC))
Ptolemy XIII Theos Philopator
1
Birthdate: 0062 BC
Birthplace: Egypt
Died: January 13, 0047

The son of pharaoh Ptolemy XII, Ptolemy XIII Theos Philopator co-ruled with his sister, Cleopatra VII. Faced with a civil war after he forced his sister to flee to Syria, he later ruled with Arsinoe IV, another sister. He was killed while battling Julius Caesar’s forces in the Alexandrian War.

 32 
Ida Straus
(Businessperson)
Ida Straus
1
Listed In: Business People
Birthdate: February 6, 1849
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Worms, Germany Worms, Germany
Died: April 15, 1912
 33 
Mungo Park
(Explorer)
Mungo Park
5
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: September 11, 1771
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Selkirkshire, Scotland
Died: July 19, 1806
 34 
Elisa Lam
(Chinese-Canadian Tourist Who Was Found Dead in Los Angeles Cecil Hotel)
Elisa Lam
6
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: April 30, 1991
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Vancouver, Canada
Died: February 1, 2013
 35 
Pete Farndon
(Former English bassist and founding member of the rock band the Pretenders.)
Pete Farndon
1
Listed In: Musicians
Birthdate: June 12, 1952
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Hereford, England
Died: April 14, 1983
 36 
George Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Clarence
(Duke)
George Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Clarence
3
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: October 21, 1449
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: February 18, 1478
 37 
Rodney King
(Victim of Police Brutality)
Rodney King
34
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: April 2, 1965
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Sacramento, California, United States
Died: June 17, 2012

A black man, Rodney King became a victim of police brutality by the Los Angeles Police Department in 1991. He was brutally beaten up by a group of police officers when he was trying to evade getting arrested for drunk driving. His case made international news and caused a public furor. King died of accidental drowning in 2012.

 38 
Randy California
(Guitarist, Singer)
Randy California
2
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: February 20, 1951
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
Died: February 2, 1997
 39 
Dolores O'Riordan
(Lead Vocalist and Lyricist for the Alternative Rock Band ‘The Cranberries')
Dolores O'Riordan
151
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: September 6, 1971
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Ballybricken, County Limerick, Ireland
Died: January 15, 2018

Dolores O'Riordan went from being a church singer to becoming the lead vocalist of the Irish alternative rock band The Cranberries and a rock icon of the 1990s. She stunned her fans with her death as a result of accidental drowning due to intoxication at age 46.

 40 
William Jefferson Blythe Jr.
(Soldier)
William Jefferson Blythe Jr.
1
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: February 27, 1918
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Sherman, Texas, United States
Died: May 17, 1946
 41 
Maeve Kennedy McKean
(Lawyer)
Maeve Kennedy McKean
3
Listed In: Lawyers & Judges
Birthdate: November 1, 1979
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: New Haven, Connecticut, United States
Died: April 2, 2020
 42 
Robert Maxwell
(British Politician and Member of Parliament for Buckingham from 1964 to 1970)
Robert Maxwell
13
Birthdate: June 10, 1923
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Solotvyno, Ukraine
Died: November 5, 1991
Media magnate Robert Maxwell set up Pergamon Press, served as a Labour MP, and acquired media houses such as the Mirror Group and Macmillan. Apart from his lavish lifestyle, he is remembered for embezzling the Mirror Group pension funds. He died after falling off his yacht in the Atlantic Ocean.
 43 
Tor Eckhoff
(Norwegian YouTube Vlogger)
Tor Eckhoff
1
Listed In: YouTubers
Birthdate: November 22, 1964
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Kristiansund, Norway
Died: November 27, 2021
 44 
Jack Phillips
(Wireless telegraphist)
Jack Phillips
3
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: April 11, 1887
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Farncombe, Surrey, England
Died: April 15, 1912
 45 
Jean Tatlock
(Psychiatrist)
Jean Tatlock
0
Listed In: Physicians
Birthdate: February 21, 1914
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
Died: January 4, 1944
 46 
Johnny Burnette
(Singer, Musician)
Johnny Burnette
0
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: March 25, 1934
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Memphis, Tennessee, United States
Died: August 14, 1964
 47 
Deon Dreyer
(Diver)
Deon Dreyer
3
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: August 7, 1974
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: South Africa
Died: December 17, 1994
 48 
Peter Minuit
(Colonial Governor)
Peter Minuit
0
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: 1580 AD
Birthplace: Wesel, Germany
Died: August 5, 1638
 49 
Carol Wayne
(Actress)
Carol Wayne
121
Birthdate: September 6, 1942
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: January 13, 1985
Height: 5'7" (170 cm)
 50 
Elbert Hubbard
(Writer)
Elbert Hubbard
1
Birthdate: June 19, 1856
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bloomington, Illinois, United States
Died: May 7, 1915
Height: 5'10" (178 cm)