Freak accidents and tragic deaths of famous people over the years

Freak accidents and tragic deaths of famous people over the years
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Hit by a stone kicked by a monkey. What are the chances of that?

Well sad to say, it happened to the former White Rabbit candy firm chairman, Weng Mao, who reportedly died later in hospital after he was struck by the rock

But the 67-year-old's death is not the first of such strange - and sometimes unexplainable - deaths of prominent people.

Actress Grace Kelly had a sudden stroke while driving, causing her to loose control of her car and she drove it off the road. She went into a coma and never came out of it. 

Bruce Lee's son, Brandon Lee, died after a cast member shot him on set. He died for real. 

We take look back at the deaths of famous people over the past 30 years; some of whom died tragically, others mysteriously.

Either way, we remember them. Take a walk down memory lane with us. 

James Dean, 24

Died: Sep 30, 1955

A firm lover of racing, actor and heartthrob James Dean was banned from racing during production of the movie Giant, where he starred as the male lead. Once production was up, however, Dean began racing again.

On one of his wild rides, Dean speedily turned his Porsche into an intersection along a highway in California, US, and came face to face with a Ford Tudor. He slammed hard on his brakes but it was too late.

The impact caused Dean several injuries like a broken neck, and the Rebel Without a Cause star eventually died that day.

Grace Kelly, 52

Died: Sep 14, 1982

While driving back to Monaco from her country home in Roc Agel, France, actress Grace Kelly suffered a sudden stroke that caused her to lose control of her car and drive off a steep, winding road.

The impact caused her to go into a coma while her daughter Stephanie, who was riding shotgun, suffered a hairline fracture.

Kelly's husband Rainer decided to take her off life support days later.

Brandon Lee, 28

Died: March 31, 1993

Bruce Lee's son got more than just his dad's interest in martial arts - he, unfortunately, died young just like his dad.

Brandon Lee died of a gunshot wound while on the set of The Crow when a cast member accidentally shot him during a scene.

The dummy cartridge in the gun had been exchanged with blank rounds containing live powder charge.

Wong Ka Kui, 31

Died: June 30, 1993

Leader of the Hong Kong rock band, Beyond, Wong Ka Kui had accidentally fallen 2.7 metres off a narrow, slippery stage during a concert and landed on his head.

The impact caused him to go into a coma, and he never made it out alive from surgery.

Princess Diana, 36 and Dodi Fayed, 42

Died: Aug 31, 1997

The two lovers died tragically in a car accident due to the driver's negligent driving and the throngs of paparazzi that pursued them while they were on their journey.

Being one of the most iconic and well loved public figures at the time, Princess Diana's death shocked the world.

Chang Yu-Sheng, 31

Died: Nov 12, 1997

The Taiwanese pop-singer was involved in a head-on collision that placed him in an immediate coma.

A post-mortem after his death proved that he had been driving under the influence of alcohol.

Hide from X Japan, 33

Died: May 2, 1998

After a night of partying, Hide was found hung by a towel tied to a doorknob in his apartment.

After investigations, police confirmed that the Japanese musician had taken his own life.

John F. Kennedy Jr., 38

Died: July 16, 1999

His failure to maintain control of the airplane during its descent over water at night caused the plane to crash into the water.

Days later, divers found fragments of the plane, as well as his body and his family members' bodies still strapped in the fuselage of the plane.

Aaliyah, 22

Died: Aug 25, 2001

American singer and dancer Aaliyah died from an explosion when her plane crashed mid-flight from the Bahamas.

She had been filming her music video for "Rock the Boat" and had decided to fly home a day earlier when production was completed quicker than expected.

Her entire crew had been killed in the crash with her.

Steve Irwin, 44

Died: Sept 4, 2006

Known as the crocodile hunter, Australian Steve Irvin got killed by a stingray while filming scenes in a part of the Great Barrier Reef for his television show.

The stingray had repeatedly pierced Irvin with his tail, causing a portion of Irvin's spine to pierce his heart and eventually causing it to bleed out.

Beatrice Hsu, 28

Died: Jan 28, 2007

Taiwanese singer Beatrice Hsu was involved in a fatal car accident while travelling with her assistant to Nantou, Taiwan, to film her show Daughter of the Sun.

Her assistant, who was driving, collided with a guardrail and this caused the car to spin onto the slow side of the highway. An oncoming truck then slammed into the rear of the car, killing Hsu and injuring her assistant.

Lee Eon, 27

Died: Aug 21, 2008

The K-Pop star died in a motorcycle accident when his bike hit the guardrail of an overpass, causing him to die instantaneously.

Jimi Heselden, 62

Died: Sep 25, 2010

The segway founder was found dead in a river after he plunged 80ft over a limestone cliff while ironically riding a country version of the 2-wheeled segway.

Sita Chan, 26

Died: April 17, 2013

Chan lost control of her car due to heavy rain and fog along Hoi Po Road flyover in Hong Kong, and it caused her to swerve and hit a kerb. The impact caused her to lose her life.

Paul Walker, 40

Died: Nov 30, 2013

The Fast and Furious star died in a car crash when Roger Rodas crashed the car into a concrete lamppost and two trees. The car then exploded into flames, killing both of them.

Eun B from Ladies' Code, 21

Died: Sep 3, 2014

The K-pop star died on the spot after a fatal car accident involving the entire Ladies' Code group.

The back wheel of the van had presumably fallen off and caused the vehicle to slip on the slippery road when it was raining and hit one of the guardrails.

Fellow singer RiSe died a couple of days later.

James Horner, 61

Died: June 22, 2015

The American composer died when his S312 Tucano turbo aircraft crashed into the Pos Padres National Forest near California.

Anton Yelchin, 27

Died: June 19, 2016

The rising young actor, who starred as Chekov in the new "Star Trek" film, was killed when his car rolled backward down his steep driveway, and pinned him against a brick mailbox pillar and security fence.

His friends found him dead by the car when they went to check on him.

Anton Yelchin

mldas@sph.com.sg

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