John Lennon and his murderer (Image via. Sportskeeda)

9 stars who were tragically murdered by their fans

Celebrity deaths are always tough for fans to deal with, but celebrity murders by fans are even worse for people to fathom. Research suggests that the fandom culture often causes fans to develop parasocial relationships with celebs, as a result of which, they become obsessed and devoted to an imaginary relationship that the other party is completely unaware of.

This often leads to stalking and harassment, but also may sometimes end in the celebrity being brutally murdered by their fans.


Furthermore, since celebrities are consistently in the limelight, a lot of information about their private and personal lives is quite easily accessible. This also plays a part in making them easy victims of fans who might cross the line of devotion.

On July 18, 1989, Rebecca Schaeffer, star of the CBS sitcom, ‘My Sister Sam,’ was fatally shot in the doorway of her West Hollywood apartment by an obsessed fan who had been stalking her for three years. Schaeffer's death led to the passage of America's first anti-stalking laws

Besides this, there are also times when celebrities might do something or take on a role in a film that does not sit well with their fans. This might lead to the latter convincing themselves that killing the celeb is the only option, as was the case with actress Rebecca Schaeffer.


Similarly, sometimes, the reason is that a celeb's lifestyle might not be something that an obsessed fan agrees with, as was the case with The Beatles member John Lennon.

Trigger warning: This article contains mentions of some brutal murders. Discretion is advised.


9 times celebrities were brutally murdered by their own fans

1) John Lennon


John Lennon was murdered by Mark David Chapman on December 8, 1980.

The Beatles star was one of the most influential celebrities in the '80s. His iconic song Imagine still hits a chord with listeners. However, his life was tragically cut short by a Beatles fan who didn't seem to appreciate Lennon’s lavish lifestyle and ended up murdering him.

Lennon was killed by a security guard named Mark David Chapman, who had previously been deemed to be mentally unstable and even claimed to hearing voices. In an interview with CNN, he said that he called the voices the "little people."

Chapman was obsessed with the main principle of the protagonist in J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye and believed that the world was full of phony people. He slowly became enraged with Lennon's lifestyle and with the band's proclamation that they were "popular than Jesus."

John Lennon was murdered forty years ago, on December 8, 1980:

Mark David Chapman waited for John Lennon on December 8, 1980, to return to his apartment. Although he missed Lennon that morning, Chapman met him following the latter's final and most iconic photoshoot with Yoko Ono for Rolling Stone. Chapman even approached Lennon and asked him for an autograph.

In a statement later, the killer said that Lennon was very kind and patient with him as he signed the former's album. He even supposedly asked Chapman if he needed anything and when he replied he didn't, the musician walked away.

When Lennon returned to his apartment that night, he exited his limousine and walked on 72nd Street to his building. He walked past Chapman, who shot Lennon five times at point-blank range.

Chapman murdered John Lennon on December 8, 1980, in New York. Needless to say, his murder is one of the most tragic deaths that fans still mourn over.

2) Tupac


One of the biggest mysteries of the music world is who murdered Tupac Shakur. The rapper was brutally murdered on September 7, 1996.

The rapper was one of the most popular figures of his time, and his influence is felt in the genre even today. However, he was brutally murdered in a drive-in at Las Vegas, with the fatal wound delivered by four .40 caliber rounds fired from a Glock. He died from his wounds six days later.

Orlando Anderson, an American gangster, was a prime suspect in this murder. Anderson has said on record multiple times that he is a big fan of Tupac. However, in June 1996, he was involved in an altercation with Trevon Lane from Death Row Records in the Lakewood Mall.

Tupac freestyling with Biggie in 1993

Coincidentally, sometime later, on September 7, 1996, Lane spotted Anderson at a fight in MGM and told Tupac and other members of Death Row Records, which then led to a huge fight. The fight occurred three hours before Tupac met his untimely death at the hands of an unknown assailant, so naturally, all fingers were pointed at Anderson.

Sgt. Kevin Manning, the one who was overlooking the murder investigation, told the Las Vegas Sun that the whole incident "may never be solved.” The investigation was declared to be at a standstill, and so far, no new information has been found on the killer.

3) Gianni Versace


The famous designer had an entire generation in a chokehold with his talents. However, it all ended when he was shot by a fan right outside his villa on July 15, 1997.

The link between serial killer Andrew Cunanan and Gianni Versace is debated highly. Versace was not Andrew's first victim, as he had killed his ex-lovers whom he suspected of giving him HIV. The 27-year-old managed to get into the Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list of the FBI due to his past misadventures and killings.

He was fond of a life of luxury that he funded with wealthy gay men as his lover. FBI believed that he was also engaged in prostitution alongside doing odd jobs to get by.


On July 15, Gianni Versace woke up in the morning for work and then headed to News Café, an ocean drive restaurant. After getting his magazine, he went up to his villa Casa Casuarina and precisely the moment he slipped his key into the lock of the gate, Andrew Cunanan walked up the marble steps and shot him twice, execution style, and then casually walked away.

While the motive for his actions is still unclear, according to People magazine, they may have met before, and Versace had been a client or past lover of Cunanan. The FBI believed that the serial killer was looking to get revenge on his former clients and lovers whom he suspected of giving him HIV.

Gianni Versace's death outside his apartment on July 15, 1997, plunged the fashion world into mourning. His legacy continues to stun fashion enthusiasts today.

4) Andy Warhol


The strangest case on this list so far is that of Andy Warhol. One of the most recognized artists in America and the leading figure in the pop-art movement, Warhol was shot by a radical feminist writer and activist, Valerie Solanas.

Although that near-death gunshot wound did not kill him at the time, it went on to become a huge factor in his death several years later and qualified as murder.

It is said that Valerie Solanas repeatedly tried to get Warhol to produce a play she had written, called Up Your A*s. However, she had little success as Warhol was not interested and never promised to produce the play. Warhol also reportedly mockingly gave Solanas a role in the movie I, A Man, which was described by Jose Diaz, curator of the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as “crude, vulgar, and humorless.”

At one point, when Warhol forgot where he had placed the manuscript, Solanas came to believe that Warhol was trying to steal her masterpiece. Diaz said:

“She became paranoid that he didn’t in fact lose the play, but wanted to keep it, claim it, and make it his own.”

On June 3, 1968, Solanas shot Andy Warhol in his new office with a .32 Beretta. She shot him twice, and the wounds were so grave that he was briefly declared dead and had to wear surgical corsets for the rest of his life. Warhol was left paralyzed by fear in the hospital and took refuge in alternative healing methods like crystals.

Warhol eventually died of cardiac arrest during gallbladder surgery. It was delayed for several hours due to his fears, and the complications from his gunshot wound also did not help, according to his doctors. He died on February 22, 1987, at age 58, in the hospital.

5) Selena


Selena was shot to death by her own manager on March 30, 1995, in the Days Inn motel.

This Latino superstar was the life of Tejano music. She won a Grammy for Selena Live, one of her albums, and was expected to break into the US mainstream pop music industry with her English album. However, she came to a tragic end and was murdered due to one of her fan/fan club managers stealing from her and getting embroiled in conflict.

Abraham Quintanilla Jr., the father and manager of Selena, gave permission to Yolanda Saldivar to be the president of Selena’s fan club. Yolanda Saldivar had reportedly been pestering him about starting a fan club for quite some time, and it bore fruit in the end.

However, that did not last long as Yolanda's employees, fashion designer, and cousin soon started complaining about her management style. In January 1995, Quintanilla Jr even started getting complaints from fans who paid the membership money and yet received nothing in return. Saldívar was confronted about it, and it came out that she embezzled nearly $60000 from the fan club.


The Dallas Morning News reported that her devotion to Selena was borderline obsessive. She was even reported to be possessive of Selena and tried hard to distance the star from others.


On March 30, 1995, Saldiver lured Selena to the Days Inn motel in Corpus Christi, Texas. At the motel, Saldiver told Selena that she had been r*ped in Mexico. Selena took her to the hospital, where an altercation happened over a lie that the former detected.

They returned to the motel and started arguing, and Selena was shot point blank by Saldiver during a heated argument at 23 years of age and was murdered. It was a truly tragic moment for the fans of Latino music.

6) Christina Grimmie


Christina Grimmie was shot to death by her fan on June 10, 2016.

At 22 years of age, this rising pop star was full of promise. She was placed in the third position in the reality TV show The Voice and had two studio albums to her name. However, her talented journey was cut short when a fan named Kevin James Loibl shot her and murdered her.

On June 10, 2016, Christina held a meet and greet with her fans. Kevin James Loibl, a 27-year-old man from St. Petersburg, took the opportunity to arrive with two handguns and a hunting knife, ultimately shooting Grimmie mercilessly.

After an investigation, the local police mentioned that Loibl had shown an “unrealistic infatuation” and an unnatural obsession with Gtimmie. An autopsy revealed that Grimmie was shot 3 times and was murdered.

Her family has since started the Christina Grimmie Foundation to help support families impacted by gun violence murders.

7) Dimebag Darrell


Dimebag Darrel was another talented musician who was brutally murdered by a fan on December 8, 2004.


So what happened? In short, a young fan who was too obsessed with heavy metal murdered the guitarist and two other people at an Ohio nightclub. The fan became upset that Pantera's group had broken up and blamed Dimebag Darrell for the unfortunate incident.

The fan, named Nathan Gale, was not mentally stable, according to his friends and family. One of his friends went on to tell NBC News that Gale would write down the Pantera lyrics and pass them off as his own:

"He said they were his songs, that Pantera stole them from him and that he was going to sue them."

Ironically, the death of Dimebag Darrell took place on the 24th anniversary of John Lennon’s murder, another legend whose life was cut short by a fan. Even after his murder, there have been several vandalism attempts on his grave, so a protective barrier was installed around it.


Pantera Drummer Vinnie Paul told Artisan News how disrespectful he found the whole incident to be:

“Fans are rabid, man; they do unheard-of things. I just wish they would respect him and let him rest in peace and just leave it at that.”

8) Rebecca Schaeffer


Rebecca Schaeffer's tragic death took place on July 18, 1989, in the hands of her fan.

Schaeffer, the breakout star of the sitcom My Sister Sam, found her fan sending her stuffed animals and other gifts rather sweet than alarming, according to people close to her.

On the day she died, she was getting ready for the very coveted role of Michael Corleone's daughter, Mary, in Francis Ford Coppola’s Godfather Part III. However, when the bell rang, it brought her a much darker fate than she bargained for.

Robert John Bardo, a 19-year-old obsessed fan, was on the other side of the door. He had paid an investigator $300 to find out where Rebecca lived. He has been obsessed with Schaeffer for over 3 years. He even got his brother to buy him a gun in preparation for meeting Schaeffer.

“Why?...Why” was the only thing Schaeffer could utter after she was murdered. Bardo later shared this information with his psychiatrist in jail.


The man decided to punish Schaeffer for some intimate scenes in Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills. On the day he knocked on the actress’s door, he had with him the card he had sent him and her autographed picture.


According to Bardo, Schaeffer was very polite with him and asked him to "please take care.” However, when he went for the second time that day, apparently, she was “cut” with him, and that became the reason for him to shoot her point blank and murder her.

After her murder, the US passed an anti-stalking law for the first time, which established that it was a "felony to cause another, or their family, to be in reasonable fear for their safety," and the law carried a prison sentence for those who broke it.

9) Andrés Escobar


The Columbian soccer star was at the top of his game when he was murdered on July 2, 1994.

On that fated day, Andrés Escobar kicked the ball into the net of his own team in an attempt to block it. Ten days after the match, while Escobar was partying with friends at Restaurante el Indio in Medellin, three people began shouting and hurling insult after insult at him. Following that, one could suddenly hear gunshots.

"Thanks for the auto-goal, you son of a b*tch." said one of the murderers repeatedly while shooting him. Escobar died of 12 gunshot wounds 45 minutes later.


According to Columbian authorities, drug traffickers murdered Escobar out of anger after they probably lost a lot of money betting on the game. This led to the 27-year-old with a promising future getting murdered and losing his life.

Due to the prevalence of social media, many celebrities get stalked or harassed. From Kendall Jenner to Robert Pattinson, many have faced such fan obsessions. However, it rarely results in a murder, and when it does, it naturally leaves fans shocked.


Quick Links

Edited by
Upasya Bhowal
See more
More from Sportskeeda