11 Most Shocking Celebrity Deaths Of 2017Published on December 7, 2017. Updated May 2, 2019
2017 was a tough year in Hollywood and fans, friends and family sadly had to say goodbye to quite a few beloved stars. Fortunately, quite a few of these stars had long and successful lives before their passing, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t have much more to offer. Others passed away suddenly and without warning, adding to the shock and sadness of their death. From fatal surgeries to tragic suicides, 2017 was a devastating year when it came to the reports of these star’s death that deeply saddened many. Here are the 11 most shocking celebrity deaths of 2017:
11. David Cassidy
Beloved The Partridge Family star David Cassidy was one of the biggest losses of 2017 following a rapid deterioration in his health. In early 2017, the singer revealed he was living with dementia after a strange concert performance had fans worrying he had relapsed with drinking. On November 18, 2017 it was revealed that Cassidy had been hospitalized after suffering liver and kidney failure and was in need of a liver transplant. Unfortunately after a few days, Cassidy passed away on November 21, 2017. He was 67 years old.
10. Nelsan Ellis
Actor Nelsan Ellis showed no signs of health issues prior to his shocking death on July 8, 2017. The beloved star who was best known for his role as Lafayette Reynolds on the hit HBO series True Blood passed away at only 38 years old at the Woodhull Medical Center in New York following complications from heart failure. Following his sudden death, his family revealed that he had been battling drug and alcohol addictions for years and revealed that his heart failure came after Ellis had been attempting to withdraw from alcohol on hos own. “During his withdrawal from alcohol he had a blood infection, his kidneys shut down, his liver was swollen, his blood pressure plummeted, and his dear sweet heart raced out of control,” his family shared in hopes that telling the circumstances around his death would help others battling the same issues that Ellis did.
9. Tom Petty
Following the deaths of several iconic rockstars including Prince and David Bowie in 2016, 2017 took another legend with the passing of Tom Petty. The iconic singer-songwriter and musician passed away on October 2, 2017 at the age of 66 after suffering a cardiac arrest. Petty’s death was surrounded by drama however after initial reports of his hospitalization turned quickly to reports of his death without any confirmation. Upon being found unconscious at his home that morning, he officially succumbed to the heart attack at 8:40 that evening.
8. Christopher Boykin
Christopher “Big Black” Boykin was one of MTV’s most beloved stars before his surprising and sudden passing on May 9, 2017. Best known as the best friend and former co-star of Rob Drydek on Rob & Big and spin-offs Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory and Ridiculousness, Boykin was only 45 when he died from a suspected heart attack, although an official cause of death was never confirmed. Only one week prior, he was hospitalized to monitor his heart and had previously suffered from heart issues. Boykin is survived by his daughter, Isis and his ex-wife Shannon Turley.
7. John Heard
John Heard, who best know to many as Peter McCallister in Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost In New York was 71 years old when he unexpectedly passed away. Heard died of a heart attack on July 21, 2017 and was found by staff at the hotel in Palo Alto, California where he was staying. At the time of his death, the actor was recovering from a minor back surgery that he underwent at Stanford University Hospital, but the surgery did not play a part in his death.
6. Chris Cornell
Rockstar Chris Cornell, best known as the lead vocalist for the bands Audioslave and Soundgarden, was one of the most shocking deaths of the year when he passed away from suicide on May 18, 2017. After performing with Soundgarden on May 17, Cornell retreated to his room at the MGM Grand in Detroit where his bodyguard found him in the bathroom at 12:15 a.m. on the 18th with an exercise band around his neck. Following his death, his wife revealed that she spoken with him on the phone and knew he sounded different, which urged her to contact security to check on him. The official cause of death was ruled to be suicide by hanging. Cornell was 52 years old.
5. Hugh Hefner
Playboy icon Hugh Hefner may have been 91 at the time of his death, but it was still shocking for many. Despite his age, there had been little reports of Hefner suffering from any serious health conditions before his death, but it was revealed he had been battling quite a lot. Hefner passed away at his home in Holmby Hills, Los Angeles on September 27, 2017 and the causes included cardiac arrest, respiratory failure, sepsis and an E. coli infection.
4. Erin Moran
The death of iconic Happy Days actress Erin Moran was not only one of the most shocking celebrity deaths of the year, but also one of the most tragic. On April 22, 2017 Moran was found dead by her husband who fell asleep holding her hand only to wake up an hour later to find that she had passed. It was later revealed that Moran had been battling stage 4 squamous cell carcinoma of the throat, and her husband explained that in her year long battle, no one made them aware how bad the cancer had become. Moran was only 56 years old.
3. Troy Gentry
While prior health issues can sometimes alert fans to a star’s ailing health, the most shocking deaths are the ones that no one saw coming. Country star Troy Gentry of the popular duo Montgomery Gentry was only 50 years old when he tragically died in a helicopter crash on September 8, 2017. Gentry was traveling in a helicopter en route to a concert in New Jersey when the helicopter had engine failure which caused the crash in Medford, New Jersey killing both Gentry and the helicopter’s pilot. Gentry is survived by his wife Angie and their two daughters Kaylee and Taylor.
2. Chester Bennington
Following Chris Cornell’s shocking and deeply saddening suicide, the rock music world was shaken again when popular Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington took his own life on July 20, 2017. Bennington was 41 years old when he took his own life by hanging and was discovered by his housekeeper around 9:00 am that morning. Following his death many pointed to his grief over the loss of his good friend Chris Cornell as Bennington committed suicide on what would have been Cornell’s 53rd birthday. His death was even more shocking because in the days leading up to his suicide there was no indication he was suffering, and only six days prior filmed an episode of “Carpool Karaoke” with his Linkin Park bandmates.
1. Bill Paxton
The death of actor Bill Paxton absolutely shook fans and at first many believed the reports were not true. The beloved Titanic, Twister, and Big Love actor was only 61 years old when he suddenly passed away on February 25, 2017 after suffering complications following heart surgery. Paxton had undergone surgery on February 14 after suffering an aortic aneurysm which required valve replacement surgery, but during the procedure problems arose and Paxton suffered a stroke which ended up being fatal. His death was even more shocking because there was no indication that Paxton was suffering from heart issues and in fact earlier in the month had celebrated the premiere of his newest series Training Day which was one of the winter’s most anticipated new series.