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Throughout history, drug addictions have plagued the lives of so many celebrities. Drugs have always been a part of celebrity culture. Actors, singers, politicians, even social media influencers have all abused drugs, which has led to the deaths of some of our favorite celebrities. Imagine being poor, then one day you wake up with access to millions of dollars. Your fame and fortune can get you whatever you want, including drugs. For many Americans, a drug habit can set you back financially, but not celebrities. They have access to substances the average person can’t get their hands on. Many entertainers feel the only way to escape is to numb their world by heavy drug use, which leads to overdoses. Highly addictive substances like heroin and fentanyl have been drugs of choice by celebrities for decades. They also happen to be the most lethal.

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Cocaine, which is also known as the “party drug” is also very popular among entertainers. Although not as lethal as the opioids, it is extremely addictive. Since it can be mixed with an opioid-like fentanyl undetected some celebrities are unintentionally taking the opioid and overdosing.

Comedian Fuquan Johnson died September 2, 2021, after overdosing on cocaine laced with fentanyl. His recent death has many concerned that more celebrities could be at risk because so many of them use cocaine. Actor Michael K. Williams was found dead in his Brooklyn penthouse on September 6 from an apparent heroin overdose, although an autopsy has not yet been performed. Williams’ fight with drug abuse is well documented and his death caught many by surprise. These two recent celebrity deaths have shocked the entertainment community and many folks are asking questions.

Drug overdoses aren’t a new phenomenon to entertainers. Michael Jackson and Prince both overdosed on opioids, but they aren’t the only deaths. With the recent overdose and death of comedian Fuqauan Johnson and actor Michael K. Williams, we decided to take a look at black celebrities who have died from a drug overdose.

This is a running list, but hopefully we won’t have to do too many more updates. Check out the list below.


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Notable Black People Who Have Died From Drug Overdoses  was originally published on

1. Fuquan Johnson

Fuquan Johnson Source:Getty

Comedian Fuquan Johnson was one of three people to overdose from a fentanyl-laced batch of cocainethat killed him and one other person in Los Angeles on Sept. 3, 2021. Johnson was 43 years old.

2. Frankie Lymon

Frankie Lymon Source:Getty

Frankie Lymon, an R&B singer who rose to fame as the lead singer in the 1950’s group The Teenagers, died of a heroin overdose in 1968 at the age of 25.

3. Dinah Washington

Dinah Washington Source:Getty

Dinah Washington, a jazz, blues and R&B singer who enjoyed a successful career in the 1950s, died of an accidental prescription drug overdose in 1963. She was only 39 years old.

4. Rob Pilatus

Rob Pilatus Source:Getty

Rob Pilatus, one-half of the Grammy Award-winning 1980s pop music duo Milli Vaniili that was later exposed as not having actually sung their songs, died from a drug overdose in 1998 after he consumed a deadly mixture of prescription pills and alcohol. He was 32 years old.

5. David Ruffin

David Ruffin Source:Getty

David Ruffin, who rose to fame as a member of the R&B group The Temptations, died from a drug overdose in 1991. His girlfriend at the time said he was using cocaine. Ruffin was 50 years old when he died.

6. Pimp-C

Pimp-C Source:Getty

Chad Butler, a rapper and member of Texas duo UGK who is more popularly known by his stage name, Pimp C, died in 2008 from what MTV called “an overdose that was triggered by a large consumption of codeine medication combined with a pre-existing sleep condition.” He was 33 years old.

7. Chris “Mac Daddy” Kelly

Chris “Mac Daddy” Kelly Source:Getty

Chris Kelly, who became famous as a teenage rapping member of the group Kriss Kross in the early 1990s, died from an accidental overdose “caused by the combined toxic effects of heroin, cocaine, ethanol and hydrocodone, and alprazolam,” CNN reported after his death in 2013. He was 34 years old.

8. Shock G

Shock G Source:Getty

Rapper Shock G, a founding member of the Bay Area hip-hop collective Digital Underground, was found dead in a Florida hotel room on April 22, 2021, following what Deadline called an “accidental overdose” from the effects of fentanyl, ethanol and methamphetamine in his system. He was 57 years old.

9. Ol’ Dirty Bastard

Ol' Dirty Bastard Source:Getty

Rapper and key founding member of the Wu-Tang Clan, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, died of a drug overdose in 2004 that was triggered by the combination of cocaine and Tramadol, a synthetic opioid painkiller. Born Russell Jones, ODB was just 35 years old when he died.

10. Billie Holiday

Billie Holiday Source:Getty

Billie Holiday, the legendary jazz singer and songwriter, died from an overdose in 1959 following years of being addicted to heroin. Her official cause of death was “alcohol- and drug-related complications.” The singer known as Lady Day was 44 years old when she died.

11. Eugene “Big Daddy” Lipscomb

Eugene “Big Daddy” Lipscomb Source:Getty

Former NFL player Eugene “Big Daddy” Lipscomb died of a heroin overdose in 1963, the year after he retired from professional football. He was 31 years old.

12. Len Bias

Len Bias Source:Getty

Len Bias, a college basketball legend at the University of Maryland, died of a cocaine overdose three days after the Boston Celtics selected him as the second overall pick in the 1986 NBA Draft. He was 22 years old.

13. Ike Turner

Ike Turner Source:Getty

Ike Turner, a rock n’ roll pioneer who became infamous for his tumultuous marriage to Tina Turner, died of a cocaine overdose in 2008. He was 76 years old.

14. Prince

Prince Source:Getty

Prince, the legendary singer, songwriter and performer, died of an opioid overdose in 2016. It was later determined that the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl played a role in Prince’s death. He was 57 years old.

15. Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson Source:Getty

Michael Jackson, the legendary “King Of Pop” music whose career spanned decades since he was a child performer, died in 2009 from an accidental overdose of propofol, a powerful sedative administered by the singer’s personal doctor. Jackson was 50 years old.

16. Juice Wrld

Juice Wrld Source:Getty

Juice WRLD, a rising star in rap music, died from a drug overdose caused by oxycodone and codeine toxicity when the rapper intentionally swallowed the drugs as police were searching his personal jet in 2020. Ingesting so many drugs at once caused him to go into a seizure that promoted his death. He was 21 years old.

17. Michael K. Williams

Michael K. Williams Source:Getty

Michael K. Williams, a transcendent actor whose performance as an openly gay drug dealer-robbing gangster on the hit cable TV drama, “The Wire,” was found dead in his Brooklyn apartment on Sept. 6, 2021, following a suspected drug overdose. While no official cause of death was immediately reported, authorities said they found heroin in Williams’ apartment. He was 54 years old.

18. Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix Source:Getty

Jimi Hendrix, widely hailed as the greatest rock n’ roll guitarist of all time, died following an accidental overdose on sleeping pills that prompted him to choke, or suffocate, on his own vomit while he slept. Hendrix was only 27 years old.