Celebrity is a powerful force in the world. Whatever it is about an actor, a writer, or a singer that makes them appeal to us can really alter someone’s perception in a strange way. Some fans will be willing to forgive their favorite celebrity of anything, or just believe that they could never do anything wrong. And when a celebrity dies, there are always those who refuse to take it at face value. Thus is born the strange world of celebrity death conspiracies…
10. Bob Marley Shoe Cancer
World famous musician Bob Marley brought reggae music to many who had never experienced it before. Aside from being an icon of Jamaican music, a man known for mixing music and spirituality, and an outspoken advocate of marijuana, he was unfortunately diagnosed with melanoma in 1977. In 1981, Marley passed away from cancer in Miami.
Despite what seems like a pretty open and shut explanation for how the man passed away, there have been some conspiracies relating to what exactly went down. And they’re not entirely fringe ideas, as other popular musicians like Busta Rhymes and T.I. have been prominent advocates of a conspiracy that it wasn’t just cancer that took out Bob Marley, but the CIA.
According to the conspiracy theory an ex-CIA agent named Bill Oxley claimed that he once infected Marley with cancer through his foot. The idea is that the US government wanted to quell the potential revolution that Marley was starting.
As the story goes, Oxley was undercover as a photographer and managed to stab Marley in the toe with cancer, somehow. It was hidden in a pair of Converse shoes that were given to Marley as a gift.
The main problem with the story, aside from the logistics of infecting someone with cancer through his shoe, is that it’s entirely made up. There’s never been a CIA agent named Bill Oxley, and there’s no source for any of this other than the website that originally published the story, which has a long a colorful history of posting completely fake articles disguised as news.
9. The Murder of Kurt Cobain
If you were to talk about the death of Kurt Cobain today there’s a good chance that a fair number of people would just take it for granted that the man was murdered. But if you recall the details of the case, Cobain died by suicide, having taken his own life with a shotgun.
Almost immediately after his death, conspiracy theories began to spread however, many of them pointing the finger at his wife Courtney Love. There were allegations that his suicide note was written in different kinds of handwriting, that there were no fingerprints on the shotgun when police found it, and that a private eye had come forward and confessed to that Love had hired him to murder Cobain in the past.
The theory gained so much traction that more than one movie has actually been made on the topic. Of all the celebrity death conspiracies out there, only a handful get to be so widespread as the Cobain murder theory.
Within a week of Cobain’s death, a Seattle Public Access television host named Richard Lee began airing episodes of a series called Kurt Cobain was Murdered.
Private investigator Tom Grant said that he didn’t believe Cobain had the ability to kill himself given how much heroin was in his system at the time. Another musician known as Eldon ‘El Duce’ Hoke claimed that Courtney Love had offered him $50,000 to kill Cobain. After sharing that story, he died several days later when he was hit by a train, which further fueled everyone else’s conspiracy theories.
Despite many people making claims, no evidence has really come to light that definitively proves anything more happened to Kurt Cobain than suicide, especially since that was the official finding.
Still, to this day many people – even from Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain’s inner circle – believe something suspicious went on. The odds are, however, that we’ll never learn the truth – if there’s anything to learn.
8. Avril Lavigne is a Double
Avril Lavigne rose to fame in Canada when she was in her teens and quickly became world famous after the release of her first album in the year 2002. Her fame grew from there and along with it came a very curious conspiracy theory that the Avril Lavigne you know is not the Avril Lavigne you think you know. According to this conspiracy theory, Lavigne actually died in the year 2003.
The storyline for this conspiracy theory is that Lavigne was distraught after the divorce of her parents in 2003 and took her own life. She was replaced by a doppelgänger, at the behest of her record label, who took over duties singing and recording albums, as well as doing live performances.
To make things weirder, there is an extra layer to the conspiracy that says the original Avril might actually still be alive, and she just faked her own death.
7. Katy Perry is JonBenet Ramsey
Katy Perry became the focus of a celebrity death conspiracy in a completely different way than most of them. As you no doubt know, Katy Perry is alive and well. According to this particular conspiracy she never died, she never faked her own death, and no one planned to murder her. Instead, this theory runs with the premise that Katy Perry is actually JonBenet Ramsey, the six-year-old girl whose death has never been solved.
This very ramshackle theory purports that JonBenet was never actually murdered, and her identity was changed to become pop superstar Katy Perry. Of course, Perry is actually six years older than JonBenet would have been, and there is literally no connection between the two of them. They don’t even really look very much alike.
If anything, this theory should have died on the vine, but somehow it managed to gain some traction and has even had a few popular YouTube videos made about it. The evidence is slim at best, with most of it relating to how one person thinks that JonBenet Ramsey and Katy Perry do, in fact, look sort of alike, and that their families do sort of look alike as well.
6. Morgan Freeman is Jimi Hendrix
Jimi Hendrix has taken his rightful place in music history as one of the greatest guitar players to ever live. Many people have wondered what would happen if Hendrix had survived his tragic death at the age of 27. And for some people, at least those who believe in this conspiracy theory, Hendrix did survive.
As the conspiracy goes, Hendrix faked his own death back in 1970. After faking his own death, he reinvented himself as world famous actor Morgan Freeman. Most people who fake their death probably want to hide from the limelight, not somehow become arguably even more famous, but let’s just run with this one.
The evidence for the theory has several facets. First and foremost, Jimi Hendrix is obviously a fan of music, and so is Morgan Freeman (who owns his own blues club in Mississippi). Morgan Freeman didn’t become famous until after Jimi Hendrix died. And finally, Morgan Freeman kind of looks like Jimi Hendrix.
As you can guess, this evidence is flimsy at best. Morgan Freeman kind of looks like Jimi Hendrix in the same way that Jimi Hendrix kind of looks like Redd Foxx and Dave Chappelle, too. Which is to say that they’re all African-American men.
Even less convincing is the idea that Morgan Freeman rose to prominence after Jimi died. In fact, Morgan Freeman’s career started about six years before Jimi Hendrix died; he just didn’t become very famous until many years later, the way it works with nearly every actor who has to start with small, background roles and work their way up.
5. Bill Hicks Became Alex Jones
In terms of the conspiracies about a celebrity faking their own death and then coming back as somebody else, few of them stretch credulity like the conspiracy that infamous comedian Bill Hicks, who died in 1994, resurrected himself as right-wing radio host and school shooting denier Alex Jones.
According to this theory, the CIA actually recruited Hicks to become some kind of oppositional force to the mainstream media. The evidence presented for this theory is as wacky as the theory itself seems to be.
First and foremost, Bill Hicks’ final comedy set before he died of pancreatic cancer featured him making jokes about how he just sold an idea for a new TV show called Let’s Hunt and Kill Billy Ray Cyrus. This is evidence, according to the conspiracy theory, that Hicks wasn’t dying because clearly he was still planning for his future.
Other evidence is how Hicks and Jones kind of look the same, and they kind of have the same teeth. Of course, Bill Hicks was nearly 15 years older than Alex Jones, and there is plenty of evidence to suggest he actually did die of pancreatic cancer back in 1994.
The big point against this theory is that Hicks and Jones do not share philosophy. Hicks was arguably fairly liberal, or at least libertarian, while Jones is extremely conservative. However, they both had distrust of the government and could both go on an angry rant, so there is some common ground there.
4. Stephen King Killed John Lennon
Most conspiracy theories around celebrity deaths at least try to argue that the actual death itself is what you need to be suspicious of. This particular conspiracy theory wants you to question who committed a murder. In this case, the idea is that Stephen King killed John Lennon. Let that sit for a minute.
This theory is one of those wide-reaching and baffling ones that involves all kinds of inexplicable symbols and government involvement. Essentially, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan conspired together to get Stephen King, who was not yet famous, to assassinate John Lennon. They did this by implanting government codes in magazines for King to read.
In real life, Mark David Chapman killed John Lennon and after it happened he just waited for the police to come and pick him up. The conspiracy theory states that Chapman’s guilty plea is something that you shouldn’t believe, and further proof can be found in the fact that Stephen King was hit by a car in 1999, in an attempt by the government to run him over to silence him.
The originator of this conspiracy theory, a man named Steven Lightfoot, also believes that he personally is responsible for Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential win. So we might argue that, uh… this conspiracy theory isn’t based on a whole lot of logic or irrefutable evidence.
3. The Illuminati Killed Brittany Murphy
Actress Brittany Murphy died at age 32 due to pneumonia and drug interactions. Her husband died five months later of the same thing. Right away you have some very fertile ground for some conspiracy theories to start brewing. Even if none of them are true, the circumstances are still bizarre at best.
The idea that both Murphy and her husband died of exposure to toxic mold was later floated as a possibility. Murphy’s mother first said that the mold explanation was absurd, and then changed her mind and publicly stated she believed that was the cause of death, and then filed a lawsuit against the builders of her daughter’s home.
Murphy’s father, on the other hand, believes that his daughter was deliberately poisoned with heavy metals like antimony and barium. He requested samples of her hair for independent testing but never attended any of the court hearings, so his request was dismissed.
Other theories popped up as to how and why Murphy died, including the somewhat colorful conspiracy theory that the Illuminati was behind the death. Apparently her husband had spoken on the record about how a secret Hollywood group had been trying to destroy Murphy’s career.
Another conspiracy points out that Murphy was good friends with a TSA whistleblower who the government was trying to silence. There were many fingers being pointed in many directions, but evidence was scant at best.
2. Morrissey Predicted Princess Diana’s Death
The life and the death of Princess Diana has fascinated many people for years, and while it’s generally accepted that Diana’s death was caused by paparazzi and a car crash, there is an unusual conspiracy theory that doesn’t seek to claim any of that didn’t happen, but rather the Irish singer Morrissey predicted it all.
According to the theory, Morrissey’s album Maladjusted debuted in the same month and year that Diana died. The first single is one called “Alma Matters.” The cover art for the album features Morrissey leaning on a car. The back cover of the album shows three men. Doesn’t make sense so far? Well, Diana was once called maladjusted in a newspaper article, and she died in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel. In a car. With three men.
The conspiracy gets even deeper when you get into the finer details. For instance, when Morrissey is leaning on the car, his right arm was tucked into his shirt just like Napoleon. And where is Napoleon from? France. The country where Diana died.
Additionally, the song “Alma Matters” is 4 minutes and 47 seconds long. Diana’s time of death was listed at 4:47 a.m. Judge for yourself.
1. Michael Jackson Was Murdered
There is no doubt that Michael Jackson was one of the biggest musical acts of all the time. His life and career made headlines constantly. It would be unusual if his death didn’t have at least one conspiracy theory surrounding it.
As far as the rest of us know, Michael Jackson died in 2009 at age 50. A doctor had irresponsibly given him an lethal dose of a surgical anesthetic and was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for administering the drug. The conspiracy theory says this is all just a smokescreen.
According to various blogs and message board posts, Jackson was actually murdered by the Illuminati. In fact, the same shadowy organization had set up Michael Jackson in the past by falsely accusing him of child molestation. Those accusations had dogged Jackson for years prior to his death. He’d even been tried for sex abuse in the year 2004, but was acquitted on all charges.
The conspiracy theory states that, after Jackson was acquitted, the Illuminati had to switch gears and plan for his murder. And why did the Illuminati want Michael Jackson dead? It has something to do with him buying the Beatles back catalog in 1984. Apparently this gave Jackson too much power, and that meant he had to be taken out.