#18 River Phoenix
Born: August 23rd, 1970
Died: October 31st, 1993
Age at death: 23
Cause of death: Acute combined drug intoxication
On the evening of October 30th, 1993, River Phoenix was set to perform with the band P at the Hollywood nightclub called The Viper Room. The said band featured his good friends Flea and John Frusciante from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Gibby Haynes of the Butthole Surfers, Al Jourgensen of Ministry, and actor Johnny Depp. After Phoenix arrived at the club with Frusciante, cocaine was immediately passed around. Hours later, Phoenix had convulsions and collapsed on a sidewalk. He was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead early morning of the following day.
According to an autopsy, Phoenix died of “acute multiple drug intoxication,” including cocaine and morphine. Since Phoenix was not a regular drug user, many people close to the actor blamed Frusciante for being the one who gave Phoenix the drugs that took his life.
Phoenix’s first notable acting role was in the 1986 coming-of-age film Stand by Me, which was based on Stephen King’s novella The Body. He went on to play a son of fugitive parents in the 1988 movie Running on Empty, which earned him a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor at the age of just 18. He also played a gay hustler in search of his estranged mother in the critically acclaimed 1991 movie My Own Private Idaho.