By now, you’ve probably heard about actress Natasha Richardson’s skiing accident. According to sources close to Richardson, she’s been declared brain dead and will likely die. The heartbreaking lesson in all this is the importance of wearing helmets during activities such as skiing. Had she been wearing a helmet, she might be fine.
This tragic story also brings up another conversation: Untimely celebrity deaths.
Should Richardson, 45, succumb to her injuries, she’ll become the latest in a long line of celebrities taken long before their time. This brought up a discussion today with myself and some girlfriends about the celebrity deaths that affected us the most, or the ones we remember the most. For me, there are two that stick out in my mind:
When Heath Ledger passed away unexpectedly last year, suffice it to say I, along with most people, was shocked. So much so that it almost felt as though he were someone I knew personally. And honestly, I’m still not quite over his death. I think it stems from the fact that he was just a bit younger than me, which of course has me contemplating my own mortality. Couple that with the sad realization that he’s also a father, and that his daughter will never really get to know him, and his loss took on an even deeper meaning for me. Not to mention the loss of an obviously talented performer, which it seems we have so few of these days. Sad business, all around.
The other death is one you may have already forgotten, but it still sticks out in my mind:
When R&B singer Aaliyah passed away in 2001 at only 22, I was stunned. I remember the day I found out and how I immediately had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. Aaliyah was also just a few months younger than me, and at 22, I could not fathom losing your life after living such a short time. I still can’t. I remember getting on a plane to the Bahamas a few years later, and all I could think about was Aaliyah, and what those final moments must’ve been like for her. I also still think of her today, and think of all the things she never lived to see: 9/11, the election of the first black president, her own wedding.
I guess celebrity deaths are a reminder for all of us that we’re not immortal, and that we can be in the middle of doing something fun, or just feeling a bit under the weather, and then, poof! It’s over. You just never know.
What celebrity deaths really affected you?