• For 24/7 Treatment Help Call

    (800) 526-5053

  • Substance abuse is especially common among celebrities as they have the wealth and connections to obtain illicit substances. They may also rely on drugs to cope with a high-stress lifestyle and lack of an authentic support system.

    As a result, the list of celebrities who died from drugs and the other effects of drug abuse continues to grow year by year. And heroin, a powerful and illicit opioid drug, is an especially dangerous candidate for abuse.

    Celebrities Who Perished From Heroin Use

    Famous singers and actors who died from a heroin overdose or complications related to heroin abuse include:

    Philip Seymour Hoffman, 46

    Cause of death: acute intoxication from heroin, cocaine, amphetamines, and benzodiazepines

    An Oscar-nominated actor, director, and producer remembered for his character roles, Hoffman struggled with drug addiction from a young age, abstained for many years, but finally relapsed two years before his death in 2014.

    John Belushi, 33

    Cause of death: speedball overdose, a combination of cocaine and heroin

    A well-known and well-loved comedy actor, Belushi was one of the seven original cast members of Saturday Night Live and one of the Blues Brothers, along with Dan Aykroyd. He struggled with heavy drug use throughout his adult life.

    Carrie Fisher, 60

    Cause of death: unclear, with sleep apnea and polydrug abuse (including heroin, opiates, and MDMA) as contributing factors

    Known for playing Princess Leia in Star Wars, Fisher was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and used a variety of drugs for self-medication. Fisher was found unresponsive on an airplane in 2016 and could not be resuscitated. 

    Kurt Cobain, 27

    Cause of death: self-inflicted gunshot wound

    The legendary frontman for the grunge band Nirvana experienced a long period of heroin abuse and clinical depression before his eventual suicide/overdose in 1994. 

    Cory Monteith, 31

    Cause of death: alcohol and heroin overdose

    Best known for playing Finn Hudson on Glee, Monteith struggled with substance abuse as a young adult, entering a rehabilitation treatment program at 19 and again several months before his death.

    River Phoenix,  23

    Cause of death: speedball overdose, a combination of cocaine and heroin

    An actor and musician known for his standout performance in the film Stand By Me, the brother of Joker actor Joaquin Phoenix was reportedly only an occasional drug user who mainly suffered from alcohol addiction. 

    He died after using cocaine and heroin at the Viper Room in the company of Bob Forrest, Flea and John Frusciante of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Johnny Depp, Gibby Haynes, and Al Jourgensen.

    Amy Winehouse, 27

    Cause of death: alcohol intoxication following long-term polydrug abuse

    The remarkable English singer-songwriter suffered from long-term cocaine addiction which led to serious weight loss and compromised her lung function. 

    In 2007, she was hospitalized for drug overdose involving heroin, ecstasy, cocaine, ketamine, and alcohol. In 2011, she was found unresponsive in her home.

    Janis Joplin, 27

    Cause of death: heroin overdose compounded by alcohol consumption

    The popular American singer-songwriter was found dead in a hotel room in 1970. Investigators surmised that Joplin had been given heroin of a far greater potency than she was accustomed to, as several of her dealer’s other customers also overdosed during the same weekend. 

    Jim Morrison, 27

    Cause of death: probable heroin overdose

    The psychedelic rocker and lead singer of the Doors long struggled with alcohol dependency before dying in Paris. While his official cause of death is heart failure, eyewitnesses identify heroin use as the actual cause.

    Celebrities Who Have Overcome Heroin Addiction

    Despite heroin’s death toll and high potential for long-lasting addiction, there are many celebrities who have achieved lasting sobriety, including:

    • Russell Brand, comedian
    • Robert Downey Jr., known for playing Marvel’s Iron Man
    • Steven Tyler, frontman for Aerosmith
    • Eric Clapton, singer-songwriter
    • Keith Richards, frontman for the Rolling Stones
    • Nicole Richie, television personality
    • Matthew Perry, the actor known for playing Chandler Bing on Friends

    If you or a loved one struggles with heroin use disorder, please contact us today to learn about our heroin addiction treatment programs.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2024 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.

    Baylor University Medical Center Proceedings - Celebrities and substance abuse
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - Heroin Overdose Data
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - Overdose Deaths Accelerating During COVID-19

    Medically Reviewed by
    Davis Sugar, M.D.
    on July 4, 2022
    Questions About Treatment?

    Ark Behavioral Health offers 100% confidential substance abuse assessment and treatment placement tailored to your individual needs. Achieve long-term recovery.

    100% confidential. We respect your privacy.
    Prefer Texting?

    Our friendly support team is here to chat 24/7. Opt out any time.


    Our Facilities

    Premier Drug Rehab & Mental Health Care Facilities In Massachusetts & Ohio

    Bedrock Recovery

    Canton, MA

    • Medical detox
    • Inpatient & Residential Treatment
    • Primary Mental Health Care
    • Movie Theater & Fitness Center

    Learn More

    Northeast Addictions

    Quincy, MA

    • Day treatment program
    • Intensive Outpatient Program
    • Full-Day Group Therapy
    • Easy Access to Public Transit

    Learn More

    Spring Hill Recovery Center

    Ashby, MA

    • Residential Treatment
    • Gender-Specific Residencies
    • Outdoor Recreation
    • Expansive 70-Acre Campus

    Learn More

    Ohio Recovery Center

    Van Wert, OH

    • Medical Detox
    • Residential Treatment
    • Primary Mental Health Care
    • 55-Acre Campus

    Learn More

    For Immediate Treatment Help Call 800-526-5053