When stars pass away unexpectedly, fans all over the world are left shocked and stunned. And more often than not, conspiracy theories often spring up around the deaths of some of this celebrities — be it Michael Jackson, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley or John Lennon.
In the case of Jackson, who died of cardiac arrest five days back, it took hours for the first conspiracy theories to start circulating. The most popular is that he faked his death to escape the media glare and impending bankruptcy — despite medical reports blaming an overdose of prescription drugs.
Heath ledger‘s death in last January (2008) shocked fans, family and friends alike. The Australian actor, who apparently died of a drug overdose, was discovered by his housekeeper and his masseuse in his apartment.
Two weeks after his death, a report from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of New York concluded that the death was accidental ‘resulting from the abuse of prescription medications.’
A case against Ledger’s close friend Mary Kate Olsen, who was alleged to have supplied Ledger with the drugs, was also closed.
Image: A picture of Heath Ledger at makeshift memorial outside the apartment where he died in New York
Natasha Richardson had it all — a loving husband in actor Liam Neeson, two sons, Micheal and Daniel and a successful career.
But on March 16, tragedy struck when the Parent Trap actress died of a head injury while taking a skiing lesson at the Mont Tremblant Resort in Quebec.
The most shocking part was that Richardson seemed to be fine after the fall, and even turned back paramedics and an ambulance which initially responded to the accident. But three hours later, after returning to her hotel room, she complained of a headache and was taken to a local hospital. Seven hours later, she was in a critical condition.
The next day she was flown to Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, where she died on March 18.
An autopsy conducted by the New York City Medical Examiners Office the following day revealed the cause of death was an ‘epidural hematoma due to blunt impact to the head’, and her death was ruled an accident.
Anna Nicole Smith‘s death was shocking too.
The model and former Playboy Playmate died of drug overdose on February 8, 2007, in Florida, at the age of 39.
A month later, her boyfriend Howard K Stern and doctors Sandeep Kapoor and Khristine Eroshevich were charged with giving her drugs from June 5, 2004 to January 26, 2006.
In 1962, Marilyn Monroe‘s shocking death at her home in Los Angeles led to a number of conspiracy theories.
An autopsy found a cocktail of drugs in her system and the county coroner recorded the cause of death as acute barbiturate poisoning by accidental overdose.
However, speculation over Monroe’s death continues to this day and centres on her relationships with US President John F Kennedy and his brother, Robert Kennedy. Most of the theories allege she was murdered either by the CIA or the Mafia as she knew too much about the Kennedy links to organised crime.
Conspiracy theories have surrounded the demise of the Elvis Presley, who was found dead on his bathroom floor in Graceland in 1977.
Two autopsies into the death of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, whose prescription drug abuse was widely documented, concluded that he was killed by a sudden heart attack. And, yet there are many theories surrounding his death — by far the most persistent being that he somehow faked his own death in a bid to boost flagging record sales.
Hundreds of thousands of supposed sightings of the legend have been claimed in the three decades since.
The 1980s witnessed conspiracy theories surrounding the death of the former Beatle John Lennon.
He was shot dead outside the Dakota building in New York where he lived, by Mark David Chapman, on December 8, 1980.
Chapman was jailed for murder and is still in prison. But the most popular conspiracy theory over Lennon’s death is that he was killed by a remote control. And those who believe this claim that Chapman was programmed by US government agents to kill Lennon and that they used the novel Catcher in the Rye as a signal to go ahead with the operation.