Celebrities in Addiction and Recovery Who Died in 2016

There is no shortage of celebrities in recovery. We’ve lost many celebrities in 2016. A few we lost to serious medical issues,  some to old age and others to addiction. Many of the celebrities we lost in 2016 were in recovery and advocated for the addiction recovery community.

Unfortunately, others could have prevented death by overdose if they had sought professional help for their addiction. Below is a list of just some of the celebrities we lost in 2016:

1) Carrie Fisher – 12/27/16

There’s no doubt that Carrie Fisher was a Hollywood icon. Born to actor parents, the late Eddie Fisher and now, Debbie Reynolds, the actress’s most poignant and memorable role was as the original Princess Leia in the first Star Wars film. Carrie Fisher struggled with addiction and bipolar disorder. She was an advocate for both mental health and addiction recovery and an accomplished author.

Fisher wrote many books detailing her experiences with addiction, including an autobiographical novel, Postcards from the Edge, Wishful Drinking, Delusions of Grandma, and Surrender the Pink. Based on her one-woman stage show, Wishful Drinking was her greatest success. It garnered much attention on Broadway and HBO released a documentary about the play in 2010. The cause of her death is to be determined.

2) George Michael – 12/25/16

George Michael was a pop legend of the ’80s and ’90s. Selling over 100 million records worldwide, his music career stretched well over three decades. He was an advocate for LGBT rights and HIV/AIDS and donated much of his earnings to honorable charities over the years.

Unfortunately, Michael struggled with addiction and was arrested for possession and drug-impairment in 2006, 2008 and 2010. He admitted to smoking crack cocaine, which led to a 2008 arrest. In 2010, he crashed his car into a storefront while intoxicated and on drugs, which provoked him to seek help at an alcohol and drug rehab. Michael was in recovery but still struggled with health issues and hospital visits. The family denies any involvement with a “rumored” heroin addiction preceding his death.

3) Prince – 4/21/16

An iconoclast, Prince was a legendary musician, timeless artist and an actor. Prince sold over 150 million records worldwide and had 39 studio albums. The Minneapolis singer is best known for his albums, Prince, 1999, Purple Rain, Sign ‘O’ The Times, and Graffiti Bridge. The iconic film, Purple Rain, Under the Cherry Moon, and  Graffiti Bridge were also cult classics.

While Prince stayed away from drugs and alcohol for the majority of his career and supposedly banned musicians from bringing alcohol and marijuana on tour, he did have hip surgery in the mid-2000s. He continued to perform in pain and many suspect this sparked a secret addiction to opioid painkillers. After his death on April 21, 2016, it was confirmed that he died of an accidental overdose on the opioid, Fentanyl. Prince lived a private life, but reports say friends contacted an opiate addiction specialist prior to his death but the intervention was too late.

4) Patty Duke – 3/29/16

Patty Duke was best known for her role as a teenager portraying Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker, for which she had become the youngest Oscar winner at the time. She also starred in several Broadway shows from 1959-1961 and had her own sitcom, “The Patty Duke Show”.

Unfortunately, she endured early childhood trauma. Her father was an alcoholic, her mother suffered from bipolar disorder and her brother’s managers and guardians gave her drugs and sexually molested her. Her family history of bipolar disorder caught up with her and she struggled with bipolar, alcoholism, drug abuse, and several suicide attempts. However, she became a huge supporter of addiction recovery and advocate for mental health treatment. Duke unfortunately died of a sepsis from a ruptured intestine.

5) David Bowie – 1/10/16

The iconic British rocker and innovator, David Bowie died after an 18-month battle with cancer. The pop music legend’s career spanned over 5 decades and he was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. Over the span of his career he released 27 studio albums and 9 live albums, and most recently the album, Blackstar, on his birthday on January 8, 2016. Bowie passed away just two days after his 69th birthday.

Bowie had a history of abusing drugs and primarily cocaine in the 1970s. He battled a 10-year addiction to cocaine. The cocaine took over his life in his 20s and he considered suicide at 28. It scared him that he didn’t think he would make it to 30. His life in Los Angeles had become a wasteland for him and he left L.A. for Switzerland, then Berlin where he remained clean.

Recovery Matters

The year 2016 has been rough, given the most shocking deaths of our most cherished celebrities. While some suffered from long-term illnesses and health problems, others unfortunately fell victim to their addiction. However,  many of these celebrities have become inspirational advocates for addiction recovery and mental health after battling their own issues.

At Transformations, we support you and your loved one’s recovery. If you need to reach out for help at any time, our admissions staff is always here to answer any questions or concerns you may have. Don’t be afraid to reach out to us by calling us at 800-270-4315.