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The Real Reason Famous Musicians are Dying (Hint: Don’t Blame 2016)

We’ve lost dozens of musicians this year–I don’t have to recite them again, do I?–which has prompted a full hate-on for 2016. We just can’t wait for this bloody year to end. But is it really 2016’s fault? Maybe not. This is from Medium.

I have a very unpopular opinion. It is not 2016 that is to blame for many of our favorite icons dying and falling ill at ages that are too young. It is drug and alcohol abuse.

People exclaimed over and over as one well-known artist after another died too soon, “2016 is the worst! Please stop now!” But one important thing quietly slipped by this year with barely a notice that is related to many of the deaths we have experienced this year. A study was released by the CDC stating that the US Life Expectancy has decreased for the first time since 1993. And no one knows why. There are a few thoughts to the cause such as obesity, opioid abuse and suicide. The important thing to pay attention to is, if you are in you 40’s or 50’s, you will probably not live as long as your parents or grandparents did and it may be due to a life-threatening addiction.

The rest of the article will give you pause for thought. (Thanks to Greggory for the link.)

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38573 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

One thought on “The Real Reason Famous Musicians are Dying (Hint: Don’t Blame 2016)

  • The author makes a significant error in this piece. It is not true that “you will probably not live as long as your parents or grandparents did.” Now, if we end up having several years of worsening mortality, enough to wipe out a generation of improvements, then maybe that statement could be true. But we’ve had one year’s worth of worsening. That’s not going to do it.

    As well, it becomes problematic to compare celebrities and musicians to the general public. Famous artists have a number of characteristics – particularly access to drugs and prevalence of mental illness – that paint a very different mortality picture when compared to the rest of the population.

    Yes, a reduction in life expectancy in the US should be concerning. But at this point, it may just be a statistical anomaly. If it continues for a couple of years, then that will be a real problem (albeit it may be the only way the US gets itself out from under trillions of dollars in unfunded pension liabilities).


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