For most, fame is fleeting. While some stardom seekers may enjoy a passing glimpse of the big time, they find themselves fading into oblivion all too soon. That is why there is nothing more tragic than when a true shining star is extinguished at the height of their career. For some the cause of death was an extended illness or a terrible accident, but for many the pressures of fame became too much.

Of course, often the premature deaths of these celebs give them immediate icon status and inspire a cult-like following. This list celebrates the lives of actors, musicians and other famous faces who were gone too soon.

Above: Amy Winehouse battled with addiction for many years and passed away from alcohol poisoning in 2011 at the age of 27.

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