Cause of death by genre.

Various causes of death for musicians of different genres.

University of Sydney Professor of Psychology and Music Dianna Kenny's research "Stairway to hell: life and death in the pop music industry" delves into the bleaker side of pop stardom. 

Kenny claims that her study is based on the "first population study of performing pop musicians (n=12,665) from all popular genres who died between 1950 and June 2014 of whom 90.6 percent (11,478 musicians) were male."

More than 200 sources were accessed to collect data on age, circumstances and manner of death.

The results really weren't all too surprising in my opinion.

"Across the seven decades studied," Kenny writes. "popular musicians’ lifespans were up to 25 years shorter than the comparable US population."

"Accidental death rates were between five and 10 times greater. Suicide rates were between two and seven times greater; and homicide rates were up to eight times greater than the US population."

A month later, Kenny published a related piece: "The 27 Club is a myth: 56 is the bum note for musicians." Here, she tackles the notorious age that has famously represented the end for some of music's most important innovators, including Kurt Cobain, Hendrix, Morrison, Joplin and Brian Jones. Here findings reveal that 56 better qualifies than 27 as the age musicians kick the bucket.

Kenny's third and final study, published March 22, 2015, focuses on musical genre and death. She covers the following genres: African, ballad, bluegrass, blues, Cajun, calypso, Christian pop, conjunto, country, doo-wop, electroclash, folk, funk, Gospel, hard rock, hip hop, honky tonk, indie, jazz, Latin, metal, new wave, polka, pop, psychedelic, punk, punk-electronic, rock rap, reggae, rhythm and blues, rock ‘n’ roll, rockabilly, ska, soul, swamp, swing, techno, western and world music.

Some of the findings (full chart above):

51.5 percent (high above the average) of hip-hop deaths are homicide.

19.3 percent (high above the average) of metal deaths are suicide.

24.4 percent (high above the average) of rock deaths are accidental (drug overdose, etc.)

Are the results that surprising?

Then, there are some anomalies like Ozzy, Willie Nelson and Keith Richards, who are apparently immortal.  

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