R.I.P.: 15 Celebs Who’ve Died In Plane Crashes

January 24, 2014  |  
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Plane crashes have claimed the lives of many celebrities over the years. Sadly, due to engine failure, technical malfunctions or pilot error, innocent lives have been lost and talent has been wasted. Here are 15 cherished celebs who’ve died in plane crashes.

Jenni Rivera

Credit: WENN

Jenni Rivera

In Mexican American music Jenni Rivera was the woman and she had several Grammy nominations to back it up. She began her singing career in 1992, but it was her tenth studio album that was a number one hit on the Billboard Top Latin Albums chart in the United States. From there, she moved into reality television with  Jenni Rivera Presents: Chiquis & Raq-C and began an acting career. In 2012 her life was tragically cut short in a plane crash carrying six other people after she put on a performance in Mexico.


Credit: WENN


Aaliyah was one of a kind in R&B music with a soft voice and unique style that kept everyone watching. She gave us hits like “Back & Forth”, “One In A Million”, “If Your Girl Only Knew” and so many other great songs. She did so much in her 22 years of life as not just a singer, but as an actress. She starred in “Romeo Must Die” and “Queen of the Damned” before her untimely death in 2001. She died in a plane crash in the Bahamas after shooting a video for the song “Rock The Boat.”

Melanie Thornton

Credit: WENN

Melanie Thornton

Popular singer Melanie Thornton of the group La Bouche found great success musically in Germany. She is known for the songs “Be My Lover” and “Sweet Dreams” in the mid-1990s. She later went solo and had mild success in Germany before her untimely death. As a solo artist she is known for  “Love How You Love Me”, “Wonderful Dream”, “Memories” and “Heartbeat.” After a performance in Leipzig, Germany she took a plane to from Berlin to Zurich, but the plane crashed near Bassersdorf, Switzerland due to poor visibility.

John Denver

Credit: WENN

John Denver

John Denver was a very popular acoustic artist known for songs like “Take Me Home, Country Roads”, “Annie’s Song,” and “Rocky Mountain High.” He had great commercial success on Billboard Hot 100, Country and Western charts and Adult Contemporary charts. He went on to star in several films and televisionshows during the 70s and 80s. He was also pilot of his own small plane, which sadly crashed into the Pacific Ocean in 1999. He was only 53 years old.

Otis Redding

The “Try a Little Tenderness” singer Otis Redding was a very successful singer and songwriter in the 1960s. As one of the greatest R&B singers of all time he traveled the world and gained mainstream success. His life was claimed in 1967 when his plane went down due to fog and rain near Madison, Wisconsin.

John F. Kennedy Jr.

John F. Kennedy Jr. was in the spotlight his entire life because he was the son of the late President JFK and Jaclyn Kennedy. He went on to become a lawyer and publisher of George magazine. In 1999, while piloting a small plane with his wife Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy and sister-in-law Lauren Bessette, the plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean.


Source: Wikipedia

Stevie Ray Vaughan

Stevie Ray Vaughan is a popular blues guitarist of the Grammy award winning group Double Trouble, known for their albums Couldn’t Stand the Weather and Soul to Soul. The group brought the blues back for the 80s and Vaughan made #7 on Rolling Stone’s list of “100 Greatest Guitarists.” He died in 1990 after a helicopter crash following a performance in East Troy, Wisconsin.

Patsy Cline

Patsy Cline died at the young age of 30, but her music lives on. As a country singer with a beautiful voice she opened doors for other women in country music. She is known for hits like “Walkin’ After Midnight”,  “I Fall to Pieces”, and “She’s Got You.” In 1963 she died in a plane crash outside of Camden, Tennessee.

Ricky Nelson

Ricky Nelson was an actor and musician who had great commercial success. He had 53 songs on the Billboard Hot 100, with hits like “Poor Little Fool.” He starred in the television show The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet and the movie Rio Bravo. He  was nominated for a Golden Globe for his role in Rio Bravo as well. On December 31, 1985 he died in a plane crash in Dekalb, Texas.

 Roberto Clemente

Baseball legend Roberto Clemente had a successful career as a right fielder. from 1955 to 1972 he played 18 seasons for the Pittsburgh Prates and was MVP once and All-Star twelve times.He was also a four-time batting champion and Gold Glove winner twelve times. By 1973 he got his 3,000th major league hit. Roberto Clemente also did a great deal of charity work for his home country of Puerto Rico and other Latin American countries. He was killed tragically in a plane crash on December 31, 1972 while traveling to Nicaragua to provide aid to earthquake victims.

Randy Rhoads

Randy Rhoads was a popular heavy metal guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne and Quiet Riot. Although his career was short he made a deep impact and made the list of Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Guitarists.” He died in a plane crash while on tour with Osbourne in 1982.

Vic Morrow

Vic Morrow was an actor well known for his role on the 1960s television show Combat! He was tragically killed along with two children during a helicopter stunt that crashed into them while filming  Twilight Zone: The Movie.

Jim Croce

Jim Croce’s life was cut short after his plane crashed while taking off from Natchitoches Regional Airport in Louisiana in 1973. Despite his tragic death he is still remembered for his music. He released five albums with 11 singles, which include number one hits “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” and “Time in a Bottle.”


Ritchie Valens

The “La Bamba” singer Ritchie Valens was a talented rock and roll artist who contributed to the Chicano rock movement. Even though his music career only lasted eight months he created several hits including “La Bamba.” The song was originally  a Mexican folk song that he changed with a rock and rhythm beat, which made the song a mainstream success. On February 3, 1959 he died in a plane crash in Iowa with Buddy Holly and J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson and the pilot Roger Peterson due to a snowstorm. In 2001 Ritchie Valens was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Buddy Holly

Buddy Holly was a popular singer and rock and roll contributor who was a member of The Crickets. The group is known for hits like “That’ll Be The Day” and “Peggy Sue.” He was invited to go on a three-week tour called Winter Dance Party with other musicians Dion and the Belmonts, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson. Sadly, Buddy Holly was killed in a plane crash with fellow musicians mentioned above due to a snowstorm. 

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