Celebrities Who’ve Tragically Lost Loved Ones
Celebrities seemingly live the good life with millions of adoring fans and millions more in the bank. When tragedy strikes their lives and they unexpectedly lose a loved one, we are reminded that stars are human after all and mourn just like us.
Rapper/singer/actress Queen Latifah suffered a personal loss during the early stages in her rap career. Back in 1992, the Newark native’s world was rocked when her older brother Lancelot was killed while riding the very same motorcycle his famous baby sister recently purchased for him. 20 years after his death, Queen Latifah, still struggles with her grief and said losing her brother “was like suffering an amputation.”
19 year ago Niecy Nash’s brother was murdered at the hands of a 16-year-old. The comedian and actress recently had to relive this pain when it was reported that his convicted killer had struck again, this time stabbing his wife to death. “No family should have to endure the loss of a loved one at the hands of a previously convicted violent criminal,” said “The Soul Man” actress. ”I am deeply saddened to hear that the man who murdered my brother, Michael Ensley, has been charged with murder again.”
R&B singer Monica was enjoying a very successful career one sunny day in July of 2000 when tragedy struck right before her eyes. “The Boy Is Mine” singer was called to the cemetery by her boyfriend Jarvis Weems. He was sitting in his locked car when she arrived and refused to open the door. Monica helplessly watched Weems shoot himself. “You replay that situation over and over and you switch it around: Maybe if I had said this, or if I would have done that,’ ” she says of that heartbreaking day. “It’s just something that it’s never possible for me to go back and change.”
Before she was a well’known actress on the Emmy-winning show “Modern Family” here in the U.S., Sofia Vergara enjoyed a lot of success as the host of two television shows in her home country of Columbia. The actress, who grew up in a well-to-do family, experienced heartache when her 27-year-old brother Rafael was kidnapped and murdered on the streets of Bogota in 1998. “In Colombia any person who has money is a target for kidnapping,” Vergara says of her wealthy family. “It’s a reality.”
In 2012, NBA superstar Amar’e Stoudemire was on a quest to bring a championship to New York but the Florida native had to run back to his home state when he learned the news of the untimely passing of his older brother. 35-year-old Hazell Stoudemire was killed instantly when his SUV crashed into the back of an oil tanker. As the one year anniversary of his death approaches, Stoudemire opens up about his feelings. “It’s still very emotional for me,” Stoudemire said of his brother. “I’ve been thinking about him all day and all night.”
Before winding up on one of the most popular reality shows on television, Kandi Burruss began her career as a member of 90’s group Xscape. The R&B singer was forced to grieve in public at the end of her first season on “Real Housewives of Atlanta” after her ex-fiance passed away. On October 3, 2009 Ashley “AJ” Jewell died from injuries sustained during a brawl outside of a strip club.
Rapper Nelly jumped on the scene with “Country Grammar” in 2000 and quickly rose to stardom. The St. Louis rapper became known for his misogynistic lyrics but his softer side was on display when it was revealed that his sister Jackie Donahue was battling leukemia. Nelly used his celebrity status to educate African Americans on the importance of bone marrow transplants by starting the non-profit organization 4Sho4Kids Foundation. Jackie lost her fight on March 24, 2005.
New Orleans rapper Juvenile used music to escape the drugs and violence that he grew up around. Unfortunately his four-year-old daughter Jelani became a victim of violence when her 17-year-old half brother went on a killing spree. Anthony Tyrone Terrell also murdered his mother and 11-year-old sister. Juvenile has been reluctant to open up about his daughter’s death but he did reveal how he has coped with the tragedy. “Time, man,” he said. “You don’t get over things like that. That’s something that goes with you for the rest of your life. I don’t know, man, just time to yourself.”
Funny woman Chelsea Handler lived through a traumatic experience when she was younger. The E! talk show host recently opened up about losing her older brother when she was just ten years old. After her 27-year-old brother Chet died during a hiking trip, Handler admitted she withdrew emotionally. “My family wanted to talk to me about it but I was just, like, cut off ‘cause I didn’t want to cry in front of anyone,” said Handler. “That’s very unhealthy. It took a long time to, you know, kind of get over.”
Venus and Serena Williams have dominated the tennis courts for well over a decade and have combined for a total of 22 single Grand Slam titles and eight Olympic gold medals but the sisters experienced a terrible loss when their older sister was murdered in 2003. 31-year-old Yetunde Price, a registered nurse and personal assistant to her famous racquet-wielding sisters, was sitting in an SUV in Compton with a male friend when the two became involved in a verbal altercation when things turned deadly. The eldest sister was shot multiple times and was pronounced dead at a hospital a short time later.
Dr. Dre has had a stellar career wearing numerous hats as a rapper, producer, music executive and owner of Beats by Dre but personal tragedy struck when his 20-year-old son passed away. Andre Young, Jr. was unresponsive when his mother found him the next morning after a night of partying back in August of 2008. A coroner’s report confirmed Young died from a lethal combination of heroin and morphine.
The day September 3, 2003 will always have a special meaning for actor Mark Wahlberg. His first child was born on this day but the joyous event was marred with the sudden passing of his sister. 43-year-old Deborah Donnelly-Wahlberg was admitted into the hospital with kidney stones when she suffered a fatal heart attack. “It was the best day of his life – and the worst,” says a friend of the actor says. “Every year on the kid’s birthday, he’ll be reminded of it.”
In the height of his prime, Mike Tyson’s opponents shook with fear and terror when standing opposite of “Iron” Mike in the ring. The former heavyweight champ overcame a prison stint and bankruptcy when he was faced with heartache at home.His four-year-old daughter Exodus died one day after her neck got caught in a treadmill power cord in a freak accident in 2009. 12 days after her death, Tyson married Lakiha “Kiki” Spicer. “After Exodus’s death I knew I needed to do something positive and not sit there full of anger,” Tyson said.”I married the woman of my dreams. She’s not dark like me. I want to die with her.”
Rapper Xzibit has been in the music industry since the mid-nineties before making the transition to actor. The “Pimp My Ride” host took a long hiatus in between albums not because of acting gigs but for a very personal reason. In 2008, his son was born months prematurely and unfortunately died a couple weeks later. “Xavier Kingston was my second born son and he passed away prematurely,” said Xzibit. “He lived for 13 days then he passed. Not only was it devastating to me but to my girl. It [is]something that you just can’t just up and [say], ‘Oh well, guess I better go tour.’ It ain’t like that. You know? So sometimes you have to disconnect yourself from that.”