Celebrities Who Were Killed by Their Fans

Celebrities Who Were Killed by Their Fans

Unfortunately, fame can come with a lot of negatives. Being recognizable means the loss of the personal freedom and anonymity that the average person enjoys in public. Sometimes admiration for celebrities and their talent can turn to obsession. Obsession mixed with violent tendencies and untreated mental illness can lead to tragic results. 

All of the stories on this list are different. Some of the celebrities knew their killers personally, others were killed by people who they’d never met. Some are tales of jealousy and personal disputes, while others are acts of violence carried out for reasons only clear to the killers.

Celebrities have to move more cautiously and carefully to avoid unwanted attention and potential threats. Paparazzi and attention from fans can already be tiring. But when a fan is unhinged and armed, the consequences can be fatal. 

The largest group on this list is musicians. Throughout the years, many musicians — rock and otherwise — have died too early. Many more were killed in car or plane crashes, or were taken down by cancer, heart attack, or other health-related issues. And some have been shot to death — these are 30 famous musicians who were murdered

Source: Harry Benson / Getty Images

John Lennon
> Killer: Mark David Chapman
> Year: 1980

The Beatles broke up years earlier but John Lennon remained one of the most famous figures in the music industry. In 1980, he was leaving his apartment in New York City when a man named Mark David Chapman shot him four times in the back.

Chapman had been a fan of the Beatles but grew angry at some of Lennon’s remarks and songs around religion. At the same time Chapman grew obsessed with the book “Catcher in the Rye,” and its protagonist Holden Caulfield who is obsessed with all the “phonies” in the world. Chapman was arrested with a copy of the book right after the murder. He is still in prison.

Source: Leonardo Cendamo / Contributor / Getty Images

Gianni Versace
> Killer: Andrew Cunanan
> Year: 1997

Gianni Versace was a fashion mogul and businessman whose brand became one of the most well-known fashion houses on the planet. He was one of the first designers to link the fashion and music worlds and was well-known for mixing with other famous celebrities.

Andrew Cunanan was on a killing spree and had already killed four other men when he shot Versace in front of his mansion in Miami Beach. Cunanan was obsessed with Versace and claimed to be close friends with him though this was attributed to delusions of grandeur. The FBI claims that Cunanan and Versace had likely met before but does not know the nature of their potential relationship. Cunanan took his own life days after the killing.

Source: Paul Natkin / Contributor / Getty Images

Dimebag Darrell
> Killer: Nathan Gale
> Year: 2004

Dimebag Darrell was a guitarist in the heavy metal bands Pantera and Damageplan. Damageplan had just begun a show in 2004 when Nathan Gale rushed on stage and shot and killed Darrell. Three others were killed trying to stop Gale who was himself eventually shot and killed by a policeman.

According to Gale’s friends interviewed after the fact, he had been a big fan of Darrell’s previous band, Pantera, but also had accused them of stealing music from him. His writings found by investigators suggested that he may have suffered from schizophrenia and was mentally unstable.

Source: L. Busacca / Contributor / Getty Images

Selena Quintanilla-Pérez
> Killer: Yolanda Saldivar
> Year: 1995

Selena was born in Texas in 1971 and began her music career young. In the 1980s, she became famous in the Tejano music scene. Her career flourished and she released several successful albums and picked up a Grammy in 1994. She had become a music sensation and was credited for making Tejano music mainstream. Yolanda Saldivar was in charge of Selena’s boutiques and fan club.

However, employees and others began to complain about Saldivar’s management and behavior with employees and clients. Selena’s father discovered that Saldivar had embezzled over $30,000 from Selena’s boutiques and fan club. When Selena confronted Saldivar about finances, Saldivar pulled a gun and shot her once. The star bled out shortly after, dying at the age of 23.

Source: Courtesy of Cinecom Pictures

Rebecca Schaeffer
> Killer: Robert John Bardo
> Year: 1989

Rebecca Schaeffer was a model and actress. She had already worked on several TV shows and movies at the time of her death in 1989. A man named Robert John Bardo had become obsessed with her and began stalking her for three years leading up to the shooting. He had written numerous letters to the actress and tried to get onto the set of her TV show without success.

After she appeared in a sex scene in the movie “Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills,” he became enraged and used a private a detective agency to find her home. He arrived at her house and confronted her. After a brief exchange he left only to return an hour later and shoot her dead.

Source: jus10h / Flickr

Christina Grimmie
> Killer: Kevin James Loibl
> Year: 2016

Christina Grimmie first found success posting covers of popular songs on YouTube and released an EP in 2011. She eventually became a contestant on the show The Voice where she finished third and received offers from multiple record labels.

Grimmie was signing autographs after performing at a live show in Orlando in 2016 when Kevin James Loibl walked up and shot her. After a brief scuffle he shot himself. Investigators found that Loibl had been obsessed with the singer and even undergone surgery to make himself more attractive to her.

Source: Shaun Botterill / Getty Images Sport via Getty Images

Andres Escobar
> Killer: Humberto Munoz Castro
> Year: 1994

Andres Escobar was a star defender on Colombia’s 1994 World Cup squad. Soccer is massively popular in Colombia and the team was optimistic about its chances going into the tournament. However, during the team’s second group match against the United States, Escobar inadvertently deflected the ball into his own goal while trying to make a defensive play.

He returned home shortly after Colombia was eliminated from the tournament and was shot and killed a few days later in a parking lot outside of a nightclub. Humberto Munoz Castro, the man who killed Escobar, worked for a powerful drug cartel. Questions remain over whether he was acting on his own accord or on orders from above. He was released from prison in 2005 after serving 11 years.

Source: bryce_edwards / Flickr

Jesse James
> Killer: Robert “Bob” Ford
> Year: 1882

Jesse James was an outlaw who robbed banks, trains and more in the 1800s. He was also accused of committing atrocities against Union troops and civilians as a guerrilla fighter for the South during the American Civil War.

After the war, James and his gang robbed and rampaged throughout the Midwest, gaining notoriety as some of the most feared criminals of the time. However, it would all come to an end when a new member of Jame’s crew, Robert Ford, killed James to collect the reward on his head and amnesty for his previous crimes.

Source: alexxx-malev / Flickr

Mikhail Lermontov
> Killer: Nikolai Martynov
> Year: 1841

Lermontov was a Russian Romantic-era poet, writer and painter. He was one of the most famous authors of the late 19th century. He was friends with a man named Nikolai Martynov and would pass time with him and others at local watering holes.

However, Lermontov would bully Martynov incessantly for how he dressed and behaved. One day Martynov decided he’d had enough and challenged Lermontov to a duel. Lermontov accepted but allegedly made it known he planned to shoot into the air instead of at Martynov. However, Martynov fired the first shot and killed Lermontov on the spot.

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