Live fast, die young, and leave a beautiful corpse. Clichéd, sure, but also apparently true. A recent study of 1,050 American and European music artists between 1965 and 2005 shows that rock and rollers are twice as likely to die young as the rest of us working stiffs.
While the idea that rock stars tend to die young is nothing new, this is apparently the first study to scientifically document the trend. According to the report published in Britain’s Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health (PDF), a quarter of all the musicians’ deaths registered during the study period were due to drug or alcohol abuse.
What’s interesting is the data. One hundred stars, of the 1,050 observed, died during the 40 year study. And while 27 is often thought to be the rock star’s average shelf life (See: Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain—all dead at 27), the actual average age at the time of death is 42 for American rockers and 35 for Europeans.
No word on how undead rocks stars like The Rolling Stones threw off the average.