From the King of Pop to The King of Rock & Roll, Hollywood's lost some very special people over the years. But what did their final moments look like? Here are some of the famous last words from legendary icons.
"I'm gonna go see Jesus, want to see Jesus."
On February 9th, 2012, Whitney Houston performed for the last time when she joined Kelly Price on stage to sing "Jesus Loves Me" in Hollywood. It was only two days later that the iconic singer was found unconscious in a hotel suite at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, submerged in the bathtub.
Upon investigation, law enforcement reported "No obvious signs of criminal intent," found. It was later reported by those with her on her final day of life that Houston said, "I'm gonna go see Jesus, want to see Jesus." However, it is believed that her peers thought she was just reminiscing on her last musical performance.
"Okay, I won't"
Another icon in the music world was Elvis Presley. According to his former fiance, Ginger Alden, the last words the musician spoke were, "Okay, I won't." Apparently, he was replying to Alden telling him, "Don't fall asleep in there," while he was on his way to read in the restroom.
After a while in the there, Ginger checked on Elvis and found him unresponsive on the restroom floor. "Elvis looked as if his entire body had completely frozen in a seated position and then had fallen forward, in that fixed position," reported the devastated fiancé.
"I eventually realized that, in court, you might be able to help one or two people at a time. Going into an auditorium to sing, you can reach a room full of people."
Deemed Canada's "First Lady of The Blues," Salome Bey is widely believed to have paved the way for other women in the blues industry. While there was no denying that she left a lasting impact on her peers, Bey had her run with forgetting many happenings. This is due to dementia that she began to develop in her early 60s.
Despite what may have happened in her later life, Salome was still with it enough at the end of her life to reminisce on a conversation she had with her father. While he may have wanted her to be a lawyer, Bey was set on becoming a singer. "Going into an auditorium to sing, you can reach a room full of people," she reflected.
"Happy anniversary, I love you."
Football coach and well-known personality in the NFL, Vince Lombardi's is considered by many to be one of the best coaches in football history. At the end of his life, he sat next to his wife, Marie. Both grappling with what was happening, Lombardi's final words were, "Happy anniversary, I love you."
Unfortunately, Lombardi passed away at the age of 57 on the anniversary of his marriage to Marie. He reportedly told Father Tim, who had come to be by Vince's side, that he was not afraid to die, and that he wished he had accomplished more throughout his life. In his final moments, he spoke words of admiration to his beloved.
Prior to when Michael Jackson's mysterious death shocked the entire world on June 25, 2009, it was reported by those close to him that Jackson asked for "More milk." This may sound odd to some, however, it was later reported that Michael had nicknamed his medication anesthetic, milk.
So, Dr. Conrad Murray did what he could to make Jackson comfortable and sent him home. Unfortunately, these were the last words that crossed the music mogul's lips before he encountered a fatal bout of cardiac arrest at his LA mansion. His passing sent shockwaves through the world, but like others listed, his legacy lives on.
"Money can't buy life."
Bob Marley was a reggae king loved by many in Jamacia and around the world. He had a large family and was close with his son, Ziggy, who was with his father on the day he passed away in 1981. Unfortunately, even at the young age of 36, Marley was suffering from cancer.
Despite the pain he may have been in, Bob dedicated his life to spreading messages of peace, freedom, and love. Ziggy reported that during his last conversation with his father, Marley spoke his last words. "Money can't buy life." In the following days, Bob's passing was deemed a national holiday by the Jamaican government.
"Learn to love the hate. Embrace it. Enjoy it. You earned it. Haters are a good problem to have. Nobody hates the good ones. They hate the great ones."
Another famous celebrity to leave this world too soon was basketball superstar Kobe Bryant. He and his daughter, Gianna, tragically passed away in a sudden helicopter accident on January 26, 2020. His final words were reported as, "Haters are a good problem to have. Nobody hates the good ones. They hate the great ones."
And, a great one he was believed to be. So much so, that Bryant was posthumously inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2021. Despite the immense hardships of losing her husband and child, Vanessa Bryant delivered an acceptance speech on Kobe's behalf.
"Music has been my doorway of perception and the house that I live in."
This legendary Brit was a leading figure in the music world. Unfortunately, after succumbing to a vicious battle with liver cancer, rock and roll was changed forever. According to his longtime friend Gary Oldman, his last words were said to be about music: "'It has been my doorway of perception and the house that I live in."
As Tony Visconti from Rolling Stone put it, Bowie "always did what he wanted to do. And he wanted to do it his way, and he wanted to do it the best way. His death was no different from his life – a work of art." Safe to say, despite being taken from this world far too soon, Bowie paved the path for other creative minds in Hollywood.
"Now, now, brothers... be cool, be calm."
When 39-year-old Malcolm X walked into the Audubon Ballroom on 166th Street and Broadway, he had no idea he'd never be leaving. Unfortunately, that's exactly what happened after 3 assassins brutally claimed his life on Feb. 21, 1965. But up until his very last moments, the freedom fighter was preaching nothing but peace.
According to eyewitnesses, the activist had attempted to ease tensions after a commotion had erupted in the audience. "Now, now, brothers, break it up… be cool, be calm," he allegedly said. Sadly, it was no use - shortly after, he was ambushed. But while February 21 will live in on infamy, Malcolm's impact will never be forgotten.
When John Lennon's stroll with Yoko Ono took a tragic turn one night in December 1980, the entire world was left rattled. Unfortunately, 40+ years later, and the Beatles icon's loss is just as painful. But what were his final words? Perhaps it depends on who we ask.
While some eyewitnesses allege he was heard saying "I'm shot," others claim a simple "yeah" was muttered. But according to his grieving partner? "No," Ono claimed when asked if Lennon had said anything at the time of the attack. Whether anything was heard or not, John's uniting music will live on forever...
"I'm in no pain. No pain. Don't cry for me, Rahaman. I'm going to be with Allah. I made peace with God, I’m okay…Rahaman, how do I look?"
Muhammed Ali's 2016 death marked the passing of a true icon - both inside and outside of the boxing rings. After his 32-year-old battle with Parkinson's disease came to a tragic end, the heavyweight champion's loss was felt by many - including, of course, his mourning family.
According to his brother, Ali's last words were nothing short of emotional. "Shaking, he said, 'Rahaman, how do I look?'" Rahaman Ali recalled. "He said to me, 'I'm in no pain. No pain… Don't cry for me, Rahaman. I'm going to be with Allah god. I made peace with God. I'm OK.'"
"Love one another."
Much like John Lennon, George Harrison's death marked another shocking loss in the music world. And while his passing looked very differently, it was just as painful. After lung cancer claimed his life at just 58-years-old, the Beatles fandom had suffered yet another tragedy.
But according to his grieving wife, Olivia Harrison, his final breaths were actually very peaceful. "Everything else can wait, but the search for God cannot... love one another," the musician allegedly told her. From his last words to his famous songs, Harrison will forever be cherished for bringing the world together.
"The story of life is quicker than the blink of an eye. The story of love is hello and goodbye, until we meet again."
When Jimi Hendrix passed away after taking illegal substances on the night of September 18, 1970, it sent shockwaves through Hollywood. But despite the endless questions his sudden death brought, there was one thing that was clear that fateful night: the rocker's final thoughts.
Spanning several pages in length, a mysterious poem was discovered by the rocker's bedside: "the story of life is quicker than the wink of an eye... The story of love is hello and goodbye, until we meet again.." read Hendrix's final thoughts, as revealed by his then-girlfriend Monika Danneman.
Marvin Gaye Jr.
"Mother, I'm going to get my things and get out of this house. Father hates me and I'm never coming back."
From How Sweet It Is to Let's Get It On, Marvin Gaye Jr. was once the master of love songs. Unfortunately, his life off stage wasn't quite as melodious. On April 1, 1984, the Motown legend was killed after a heated argument with his father turned fatal.
"Marvin told me, 'Mother, I'm going to get my things and get out of this house. Father hates me, and I'm never coming back," his grieving mother Alberta recalled of the events that led up to the tragic showdown. Safe to say, despite the singer's untimely passing, his beloved legacy will forever live on.
"I'm going over the valley."
Babe Ruth was a legend like no other. When he wasn't busy scoring yet another home run on the field, the MLB legend was busy defying all odds as he fought against a debilitating case of throat cancer. Unfortunately, that same battle came to an end on August 16, 1948.
At just 53-years-old, the baseball star's passing proved to be a major loss in the sporting world. But up until his final breaths, it appears the Bambino kept his head held high. According to several reports, as Ruth tried to climb out of his hospital bed on the evening of August 16, he told doctors, "I'm going over the valley."
"Let's go for a drive. We will be back in five minutes."
On November 13, 2013, Paul Walker's life came to a tragic end doing the thing he loved most - driving. "Hey, let's go for a drive," the Fast & The Furious star had allegedly told his pal Roger Rodas. Unfortunately, their joy ride took a devastating turn after their Porsche Carrera GT clipped a lamp and burst into flames.
"He lived his life, and he died fast and furious," Walker's friend Jim Thorp reflected. "He loved speed, he loved cars, and he had to die this way." Safe to say, from his life in the fast lane to the endless fundraisers he was involved with, Hollywood's golden boy will never be forgotten.
He was an unwavering optimist full of wisdom and light. Perhaps that's why Heavy D's final words were just as meaningful as the life he lived. "BE INSPIRED!" the rapper tweeted in 2011, shortly before his tragic passing. At just 44-years-old, the Jamaican-American star allegedly suffered a sudden heart attack.
But in the days that lead up to his shocking death, the artist actually spent his time shedding words of encouragement online. "Never stop believing... Every original idea was considered insanity at first," he assured. Perhaps we could all learn a thing or two from the inspiring legend...
Huddie 'Leadbelly' Ledbetter
"Doctor, if I put this here guitar down now, I ain't never gonna wake up."
Blues guitarist Huddie 'Leadbelly' Ledbetter breathed music. So much so, that his final words reflected just how much he respected the craft. "Doctor, if I put this here guitar down now, I ain't never gonna wake up," he allegedly warned doctors. Unfortunately, he was right.
After passing away in 1949 from Lou Gehrig's disease, the artist's passing was felt tremendously in the world of Blues. But fast forward to today, and Huddie Ledbetter's gone on to cement a legacy as one of the most noteworthy folk musicians of the 20th century.
"I love you and my head hurts."
We first fell in love with him as the quick-witted adopted son of a wealthy New York family. And with good reason. From his famous one-liners to his contagious smile, the Diff'rent Strokes child-star was just as lovable on-screen as he was off.
Sadly, as his years in the limelight continued to grow, so did the star's health problems. On May 28, 2010, Gary Coleman passed away after suffering a sudden brain hemorrhage at just 42-years-old. "He said, 'I love you, and my head hurts.' Those were the last [words]," Shannon Price, his ex-wife, revealed.
"I'm going away tonight."
On December 25, 2006, while most families were ringing in the holiday season, the Browns were met with devastating news. At 1:45 a.m., the "Godfather of Soul" had passed away from congestive heart failure related to pneumonia. But even during his final days, the ill star felt good.
"He didn't believe in telling you he didn't feel good because his thing was, 'I feel good - doo dah doo dah doo dah doo,'" former personal manager, Charles Bobbit reflected. Unfortunately, though, the gravity of the singer's illness was no surprise. "He told me... 'I'm going away tonight,'" Bobbit reflected of his final breaths.
"I finally get to see Marilyn again."
When Joe DiMaggio passed away in 1999, there was only one thing - or should we say, person - on his mind: the (late) love of his life, Marilyn Monroe. In fact, according to Morris Engelberg, the baseball star's lawyer, he never stopped loving his former wife.
"I'll finally get to see Marilyn," DiMaggio allegedly whispered to Engelberg from his deathbed. But that wasn't the first time his late wife's name left his lips. "We were sitting together in the patio one night, talking about his illness, and he said, 'I don't feel bad about dying. At least, I'll be with Marilyn,'" Engelberg revealed.
"OK, I'll call you soon."
"He said he was doing perfect… he said, 'OK, I'll call you soon,'" a baffled L. Londell McMillan confessed. Unfortunately, mere days after Prince assured his lawyer not to worry about his well-being, things took a tragic turn. On April 21, 2016, the singing legend passed away at his Paisley Park mansion.
At just 57-years-old, the When Doves Cry artist's passing was nothing short of untimely. Nonetheless, his impact both on and off the stage will never be forgotten. "Prince had an amazing life. He enjoyed life," McMillan recalled. "He had a lot of fun."
"I don't want to die."
She was a source of inspiration for musicians that followed; "someone who wanted to do things her own way," as her general practitioner perfectly put it. Unfortunately, in 2011, Amy Winehouse's years-long battle with substance abuse reached a tragic end.
At just 27-years-old, Amy passed away quietly in her Camden home one fateful summer night. According to her GP, Winehouse had called him up mere hours before with some startling words: "I don't want to die." While her final moments were clearly tragic, the artist will forever be cherished for paving the way for other female stars.
"Leave me alone. I'm fine."
With a voice as lively as Barry Whites, the music legend's memory will never be forgotten. The Hollywood singer made waves for his soulful music and seductive songs, something that earned him the suave nickname, "The Doctor of Love" - in addition to 2 Grammy Awards.
Sadly, the star's 4-decade career came to a sudden end in 2003. According to reports, the 58-year-old muttered "leave me alone, I'm fine" to his nurse shortly before passing from a stroke. Nonetheless, his fiery songs are bound to light up our love lives for years - decades - to come.
"I hope this exit is joyful and I hope never to return."
From her prominent brows to her bright, bold wardrobe Frida Kahlo certainly knew how to make a splash in the world. Despite her humble beginnings, the visionary went on to become one of the most respected artists in the world. But she never forgot where she came from.
Over the years, the Mexican figure became a trailblazer not only for struggling women, but for anyone without a voice. Perhaps that's why her final days consisted of lots of self-reflection. "I hope this exit is joyful, and I hope never to return," Kahlo wrote in her diary, shortly before her 1954 death.
"It's better to burn out than to fade away."
Kurt Cobain is one of many on our list whose death was just as noteworthy as the decorated life he once led. On April 5, 1994, the entire world was left rattled after news broke of the Nirvana rocker's passing -something that remains a mystery to this very day.
Despite the endless conspiracy theories now clouding his name, Cobain's self-inflicted death was accompanied by a note. As the artist wrote, "It's better to burn out than to fade away." Ironically enough, his nod to Neil Young's song Hey Hey, My My would never fade away. "It struck a deep chord inside of me," Young confessed.
"Walk with the wind, brothers and sisters, and let the spirit of peace and the power of everlasting love be your guide."
John Lewis dedicated his entire life to being a part of the change. So much so, that the Georgian freedom fighter prepared one last speech to be read on the day of his funeral. And from the sounds of it? The Congressman was just as inspired by us as we were him.
"While my time here has now come to an end, I want you to know that in the last days and hours of my life, you inspired me," began his essay. "So I say to you, walk with the wind, brothers, and sisters, and let the spirit of peace and the power of everlasting love be your guide."
"Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow."
When Steve Jobs took his final breaths on October 5, 2011, he had no idea it'd turn into a viral debate online. Sure enough, that's exactly what happened. "Monosyllables, repeated three times… Steve's final words were, 'OH WOW. OH WOW. OH WOW,'" revealed his sister.
While the Apple innovator's vague words left lots of room for interpretation, there's one thing that will always remain clear: Steve Jobs' journey from near-bankruptcy to founding a multi-billion dollar empire will forever serve as a reminder that no dream is too small.
When Tupac Shakur's black BMW 750Li was ambushed on a fateful September night back in 1996, the hip-hop world was changed forever. Unfortunately, after succumbing to his wounds, the 25-year-old's passing was felt everywhere. But what were his last words?
According to Chris Carroll, the responding officer at the time, the rapper's words were actually quite simple: "He looked at me, and he took a breath to get the words out, and he opened his mouth, and I thought I was actually going to get some cooperation. And then the words came out: 'F*** you.'"
"I am the architect of rock 'n' roll! I am the originator!"
Richard Wayne Penniman, known to many music lovers as Little Richard, passed away from bone cancer on May 9th, 2020. Upon his final breaths, the rock and roll blues legend announced his true identity one final time.
Little Richard described himself as "the architect of rock 'n' roll." And according to many other big personalities in the industry who were said to be influenced by him, he wasn't wrong. Following Penniman's passing, he was buried in the Oakwood University Memorial Gardens Cemetary in Alabama.