Life is a short and fragile thing. While you’re living your own, you might not realize just how delicate it is until you experience tragedy. It’s easy to get caught up in your own life to the point of forgetting that it won’t last forever. These photos are a good reminder of our own mortality. Shortly after each of these pictures were taken, life-changing tragedy struck. The photos below are the very last pictures ever taken of each of these celebrities before they passed away. For every picture that you see, there was also a tragedy.
1. Freddie Mercury, Lead Vocalist of ‘Queen’
As a member of Queen, Freddie Mercury was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.
This is the last picture taken of Mercury in 1991, before he died of bronchial pneumonia resulting from AIDS.
A 2005 poll ranked him as the “Best Male Vocalist of All Time”
2. Tupac Shakur, American Rapper, Actor and Songwriter
Tupac Shakur sits with his manager Suge Knight before he was gunned down in a fatal drive-by shooting, on September 13, 1996.
2Pac was ranked number two on MTV’s list of The Greatest MCs of All-Time, in 2006.
Six months after his death, Christopher Wallace, A.K.A. “Notorious B.I.G.” was killed in a shooting that many believe was in retaliation for the death of Tupac.
3. Amelia Earhart, American Aviation Pioneer
Amelia Earhart was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.
This photo shows her before taking her final flight as she posed for photos in 1937. Her aircraft and remains were never recovered, but the most widely accepted theory states that she ran out of fuel before crashing into the ocean.
4. Adolf Hitler, Nazi Party Leader
As dictator of Nazi Germany, Adolf Hitler was at the centre of World War II and the Holocaust in Europe.
This photo of Hitler was taken approximately two days prior to his death. He was standing outside of his Berlin bunker, surveying the damage a bomb had done.
5. Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States of America.
Abraham Lincoln is credited with preserving the Union, abolishing slavery, strengthening the federal government, and modernizing the economy.
Accounts of Lincoln’s last photograph are varied. This picture was supposedly taken before his assassination in 1865 and was found in General Ulysses S. Grant’s photo album.
Lincoln was shot in the Ford’s Theater by John Wilkes Booth in an attempt to revive the confederate cause.
6. Albert Einstein, a German Theoretical Physicist
A German-born theoretical physicist, Albert Einstein developed the theory of relativity.
Einstein posed for this photograph in March of 1955 at his home in Princeton, New Jersey. A month later he died from an aortic aneurysm.
He was never a religious man and once wrote “I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but expressed it clearly”.
7. Heath Ledger, Australian Actor
Heath Ledger died on January 22, 2008 from an accidental intoxication from prescription drugs, known as an accidental overdose.
Here, Ledger smiles on the set of “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” before later overdosing on pain killers.
Ledger received a posthumous Oscar for his portrayal as “The Joker” in the film “The Dark Knight”
8. Anne Frank, German Writer
Frank is one of the most discussed Jewish victims of the Holocaust, and her wartime memoir “The Diary of a Young Girl” has been the basis for several plays and films.
A typhus epidemic spread through the concentration camp where she was prisoner, and is believed to have been the ultimate cause to her death.
Anne Frank stands with her sister Margot in early-to-mid 1942. This was taken before her family were discovered and arrested on August 4th, 1944.
9. Bob Marley, Jamaican Singer-Songwriter
Bob Marley was a member of the Rastafari religion, which worships Ethiopian Emperor, Haile Selassie. He converted to the Ethiopian Orthodox religion shortly before his death.
Marley is among the world’s best-selling artists of all time, with sales of more than 75 million records.
In this photo, Marley hangs out with his family in Munich, Germany, before he passed away from cancer on May 11, 1981.
10. Elvis Presley, American Singer-Songwriter
Elvis Presley pulls into Graceland with Ginger Alden on August 16, 1977, after visiting the dentist
He was drafted in to the military in 1958 and achieved the rank of Sergeant during his service.
Nicknamed “the King of Rock and Roll”, or simply, “the King”, Presley is often regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century.
11. Christopher Wallace, A.K.A “The Notorious B.I.G.”, American Rapper
Notorious B.I.G.’s double disc album “Life after Death” was released 16 days after his death and achieved “Diamond Status”, selling more than 10 million units.
Raised in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, when Wallace released his debut album “Ready to Die” in 1994, he was hailed as a central figure in the East Coast hip hop scene.
Biggie Smalls appears in this photo with Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, right before his death after the Soul Train Music Awards.
12. Jimi Hendrix, American Songwriter
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame describes Jimi Hendrix as “arguably the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music”.
Hendrix poses here with his favorite instrument, “Black Betty,” the day before he died. His real name was Johnny, and he played in bands with the Isley Brothers and Little Richard.
13. Marilyn Monroe, American Actress, Model, Singer, Film Producer
Marilyn Monroe, born Norma Jean Mortenson, is one of our culture’s major sex symbols, having starred in a number films during the 1950s and 60s.
She was a member of the Pentecostal church from birth until 1956 when she converted to Judaism.
Marilyn Monroe visited Frank Sinatra and Buddy Greco the weekend before her death on August 5, 1962.
14. Princess Diana, Humanitarian, Princess of Wales
Diana Spencer was the first wife of Charles, Prince of Wales, and mother to the beloved Prince William, heir to the throne, and Prince Harry.
The telecast of her funeral drew over 32 million viewers.
Princess Diana is in the back seat here, looking back at the paparazzi. Seconds after this picture was taken, the Mercedes she was in crashed.
15. Steve Irwin, Wildlife Expert, Television Personality
Australian animal lover and television star Steve Irwin achieved worldwide fame from his TV series “The Crocodile Hunter”, an internationally broadcast wildlife documentary show, co-hosted by his wife Terri.
Irwin poses here with marine biologist Chris Jones on his boat two days before his death in 2006.
16. Steve Jobs, Co-Founder of Apple Computer, Tech Revolutionary
Biographer Walter Isaacson described Steve Jobs as the “creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing.”
Jobs is seen here days before succumbing to pancreatic cancer, after a fight that spanned several years.
17. Ronald Reagan, U.S. President, Governor, Actor
Reagan is revered Republican politician, commentator, and actor, who served as the 40th President of the United States from 1981 to 1989.
Seen here sharing a kiss with his wife Nancy, Reagan passed away after fighting Alzheimer’s for nearly a decade.
Before becoming president, Ronald Reagan enjoyed a long run as Governor of California from 1967 to 1975. He is also well known for an illustrious career as an actor and union leader in Hollywood.
18. Paul Walker, Actor
Paul Walker gained international fame for his portrayal of Brian O’Conner in the street-racing action film franchise “The Fast and the Furious”.
Walker died in a tragic car wreck after leaving a charity event to benefit victims of a typhoon. The driver of the car was Roger Rodas.
19. Michael Jackson, Singer, Songwriter, Dancer, Record Producer
Known affectionately as the “King of Pop”, Michael Jackson’s contributions to the music world, along with his widely-publicized personal life, kept him in the global spotlight as a prominent pop culture icon for over four decades.
Michael Jackson was rehearsing for his sold-out show at the Staples Center in Los Angeles two days before his sudden death.
20. Whitney Houston, Singer, Actress, Producer
In 2009, Guinness World Records cited Whitney Houston as the most awarded female act of all time,with an estimated 170-200 million records sold worldwide.
Whitney Houston is seen here leaving Tru Hollywood club, before her death in a nearby Hollywood hotel.
21. John F. Kennedy, 35th President of The United States
John F. Kennedy as his motorcade toured downtown through Dallas moments before his assassination
that altered the course of U.S. history.
To date, JFK has been the only Roman Catholic president, as well as the only president to have earned a Pulitzer Prize. He was also the youngest president elected to office at that time, at 43 years old.
22. Kim Jong Il, Supreme Leader of North Korea
Supreme Leader Kim Jong Il is pictured with his entourage, that included his son and successor Kim Jong Un, before he passed away in December of 2011.
In keeping with the tradition of establishing eternal posts for the members of the Kim dynasty, after Kim Jong Il’s death, he was designated as the “Eternal General Secretary” of the WPK and the “Eternal Chairman of the National Defence Commission” of North Korea.
23. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Civil Rights Leader, Activist, Minister
Among his many important accomplishments, King also helped to organize the 1963 March on Washington, where he delivered his legendary “I Have a Dream” speech and established his legacy as one of the greatest orators and humanitarians in American history.
Martin Luther King Jr. is pictured here during one of his final interviews before his tragic assassination.
24. Babe Ruth, Baseball Player
Babe Ruth’s impressive Major League career spanned 22 seasons, from 1914 through 1935. He began his MLB career as a left-handed pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, but is best known as a slugging outfielder for the New York Yankees.
“The Bambino”, “The Sultan of Swat”, Babe Ruth, during his legendary final appearance at Yankee Stadium is captured here.
25. The Beatles, British Rock Band
The Beatles were formed in Liverpool in 1960, by John Lennon, Paul McCartney,George Harrison and Ringo Starr. They are widely regarded as the greatest and most influential act of the rock era.
This is the last photo taken of all four of The Beatles together. As the years wore on, Lennon was shot in 1980, and Harrison eventually died of lung cancer, in 2001.
One day, each of us will exit this mortal coil. We may not know when or where that will happen, but that won’t stop it from happening. Take a moment to appreciate the life you’re living. Hopefully, these celebrities took a chance to do the same before passing away. Click below to share this reminder to appreciate your own life.