A look back at stars still full of potential when their lives were cut short.
Actor Robin Williams poses at the screening of 'House Of D' during the 2004 Tribeca Film Festival May 7, 2004 in New York City. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images)
Philip Seymour Hoffman didn't want his children to become "trust fund kids" so he left his fortune to his girlfriend, a court document said.
Kurt Cobain, lead singer and guitarist for Nirvana, committed suicide on April 5, 1994, at age 27. The band's breakthrough came in 1991 when they released the song "Smells Like Teen Spirit."
Amy Winehouse, who won five Grammys for her 2006 album "Back to Black," was found dead on July, 23, 2011, at her home in London. A coroner later ruled the 27-year-old's cause of death to be alcohol poisoning.
Rapper Tupac Shakur died on Sept. 13, 1996, at age 25 after being shot four times six days earlier in Las Vegas. In addition to his rapping career, Shakur did some acting. His greatest hits album sold over 10 million copies in the U.S.
English musician Sid Vicious died at the young age of 21 on Feb. 2, 1979, from a heroin overdose. In 1977 he joined the Sex Pistols, the band that initiated the punk movement in the U.K. Vicious was known for wild antics on and off stage.
Patrick Swayze was best known for his tough-guy roles, as romantic leading men in the hit films Dirty Dancing and Ghost. He was named by People magazine as its "Sexiest Man Alive" in 1991.He died from pancreatic cancer on September 14, 2009.
Blues rock guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan was 35 when, on Aug. 27, 1990, he died when the helicopter he was riding crashed into the side of a ski hill after leaving a concert in East Troy, Wis.
Steve Irwin, better known as "The Crocodile Hunter," died at age 44 on Sept. 4, 2006, after being pierced in the chest by a stingray barb while filming an underwater documentary film.
Sal Mineo, another star of "Rebel Without a Cause," was stabbed to death in the alley behind his apartment building in West Hollywood on Feb. 12, 1976. He was 37 years old.
Ryan Dunn, a star of MTV's "Jackass," and member of the "Viva La Bam" crew died at age 34 on June 20, 2011. The Ohio-born actor was best known for his stunts on the show, including crashing golf carts and other gags with co-star Johnny Knoxville.
R&B singer Sam Cooke, whose hits included "Cupid," "You Send Me" and "Twistin' the Night Away," was shot and killed on Dec. 11, 1964, at the age of 33.
Mexican-American singer Selena, who was called "The Queen of Tejano music," was murdered by her fan club president in 1995. She was 23.
R&B and soul legend Otis Redding was only 26 when his plane crashed into Lake Monona in Madison, Wis., on Dec. 10, 1967.
River Phoenix was an actor and teen icon in the 1980s. The older brother of actor Joaquin Phoenix, he died on Oct. 31, 1993. He began acting at age 10, and was nominated for an Academy Award for his role as Danny in "Running on Empty" in 1988.
Rock and Roll pioneer Ritchie Valens had a recording career that lasted all of eight months, scoring several hits, including "La Bamba," before dying at age 17 in the same plane crash that claimed Buddy Holly and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson.
"Saturday Night Live" funnyman Phil Hartman was shot and killed by his wife on May 28, 1998, while he slept in their Encino, Calif., home. His wife committed suicide several hours later. Hartman was 49 when he died.
NBA Basketball star Reggie Lewis played for the Boston Celtics from 1987 to 1993. He was 27 when he suffered sudden cardiac death on the basketball court at an off-season practice on July 27, 1993.
Actress, model, showgirl, and sex symbol Marilyn Monroe died at age 36 on August 5, 1962. The photogenic actress made only 30 films in her lifetime, but still became a cultural icon and was nicknamed "The Blonde Bombshell."
Chris Wallace, also known as Biggie Smalls or Notorious B.I.G., was 24 years old when he was gunned down by an unknown assailant in a Los Angeles drive-by shooting on March 9, 1997. He was ranked No. 3 on MTV's "Greatest MC's of All Time" list.
Fate wasn't kind to either of Dean's "Rebel" co-stars, including Natalie Wood, who died by accidental drowning while on a weekend trip to Santa Catalina Island at the age of 43 on Nov. 29, 1981.
On April 1, 1984, soul music legend Marvin Gaye was shot dead by his father after he intervened in an argument between his parents over misplaced business documents. Gaye was 44 when he died
Cass Elliot, known Mama Cass and a member of The Mamas & the Papas, died in her sleep from a heart attack at the age of 32.
"Wizard of Oz" star Judy Garland had a long struggle with alcohol and drug use during most of her career, dying of an accidental drug overdose at the age of 47 on June 22, 1969.
John Ritter, famous thanks to his "Three's Company" role, fell ill filming "8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter" on Sept. 11, 2003. Ritter died later that evening, at 54, from an aortic dissection caused by a congenital heart defect.
Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, one-third of the group TLC, died of neck injuries and severe head trauma following a car accident in Honduras on April 25, 2002. Lopes was 30 years old when she died.
Actor, comedian and musician John Belushi died from a drug overdose at age 33 on March 5, 1982. He was well known for his acting roles in "The Blues Brothers" and "Animal House," and was a regular on the sketch comedy show "Saturday Night Live."
Former Beatle John Lennon was 40 when Mark David Chapman shot him in the back four times on Dec. 8, 1980, as Lennon and wife Yoko Ono returned to their New York apartment. Lennon was taken to the nearby Roosevelt Hospital where he later died.
The Doors lead singer Jim Morrison died at the age of 27 on July 3, 1971. Before his rise to fame, Morrison attended UCLA, where he was enrolled in the film program.
John Candy, known best for comic roles in movies such as "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" and "Uncle Buck," died in his sleep after suffering a heart attack on March 4, 1994, while on location filming "Wagons East!" He was 43 years old.
Just 16 days after Hendrix's death, on Oct. 4, 1970, strong-voiced Janis Joplin also died at age 27. The official cause of death was an overdose of heroin, possibly combined with the effects of alcohol.
Singer-songwriter Jim Croce, known for such songs as "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown" and "Time in a Bottle," died along with five others in a plane crash in Natchitoches, La., on Sept. 20, 1973. Croce was 30.
Guitar hero Jimi Hendrix also passed when he was 27. He was found dead in a London flat on Sept. 18, 1970.
Heath Ledger, best known for his films "The Dark Knight" and "Brokeback Mountain," died from an accidental prescription drug overdose on Jan. 22, 2008, at age 28. The Australia-born actor began his career at 16.
James Dean's short lived career ended with his death on Sept. 30, 1955. He is best known for his starring role in "Rebel Without a Cause." His three films and tragic car crash death made him an American legend.
Race car driver Dan Wheldon was a two-time Indianapolis 500 winner. He died on October 16, 2011 at age 33 after a crash during the IndyCar series season finale. He had 16 wins in his IndyCar driving career.
Queen frontman Freddie Mercury was 45 when he died of bronchopneumonia brought on by AIDS on Nov. 24, 1991, only one day after publicly acknowledging he had the disease.
"Diff'rent Strokes" actor Gary Coleman had many health issues over his life, including congenital kidney disease, heart surgery and two seizures. He died on May 28, 2010, at the age of 42, two days after falling down the stairs at his home.
Corey Haim rose to fame along with Corey Feldman in the 1980s. Although he was troubled by drug addiction throughout his later career, the Los Angeles County coroner's office ruled that his death at age 38 on March 10, 2010, was due to pneumonia.
Popular comedian and actor Chris Farley (right) was known for his skits in Saturday Night Live, as well as his film roles, especially Tommy Boy. He died at age 33 on December 18, 1997.
Singer and actor Elvis Presley was found dead at Graceland, his home in Memphis, Tenn., in 1977. He was 42.
Michael Jackson was preparing for a worldwide comeback tour when he died in June 2009 at age 50.
Whitney Houston died at the Beverly Hilton hotel on the eve of the Grammys on Feb. 11, 2012. She was 48. The coroner later named the cause of death as drowning due to atherosclerotic heart disease and cocaine use.
Buddy Holly, a singer-songwriter from the 1950s, is known as a pioneer of rock and roll. He died at the young age of 22 on Feb. 3, 1959, in a plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa. His successful career lasted less than two years.
Bernie Mac, the comedic actor known for roles in "Ocean's Eleven," "Mr. 3000" and "The Bernie Mac Show," died at the age of 50 on Aug. 9, 2008, from sarcoidosis, an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in tissue, complicated by pneumonia.
Actor Bruce Lee died on July 20, 1973, at age 32. He is considered the greatest icon of martial arts cinema, and is known for his roles in "Enter the Dragon" and "Fists of Fury," among others.
Actor Brandon Lee was 28 years old when he died during filming of his movie "The Crow" on March 31, 1993. He was best known for being the son of actor Bruce Lee, but was on the road to making a name for himself as an actor.
Actress Brittany Murphy, best known for her role in the 1995 comedy "Clueless," died at age 32 on Dec. 20, 2009. The L.A. County coroner said the cause of Murphy's death was pneumonia, iron-deficiency anemia and multiple drug intoxication.
Popular R&B artist Aaliyah died on Aug. 25, 2001, at age 22 in a plane crash in the Bahamas. She was also an actress and a model. At age 10 she performed on the TV show "Star Search," and signed a record deal at age 12.
Actress and Playboy Playmate of the Year Anna Nicole Smith died at age 39 on Feb. 8, 2007, in a Hollywood, Fla., hotel room as a result of an overdose of prescription drugs.
Andy Kaufman became a mainstream success thanks to his role of Latka on the sitcom "Taxi." Diagnosed in late 1983 with a rare form of lung cancer, Kaufman died at age 35 on May 16, 1984. The cause of death was kidney failure caused by a tumor.