It may seem like a fairly morbid subject to discuss, but the only way to raise awareness of issues such as suicide is to talk about them openly on a public platform. As you are probably aware, many celebrities have struggled with their mental health; with some facing tragic endings – believing that their only option left is to take their own lives.
Here, we have listed some of the most haunting suicide notes, left by some of the most well-known people of all time:
Virginia Woolf is considered to be one of the most famous and influential writers of the 20th century. From the age of 13; Woolf had suffered with her mental health, in which she was reported to have had had sudden random mood swings to manic excitement. In those days, many referred to her as being simply ‘mad’, which of course was due to the lack of education surrounding mental health.
Between the years of 1910-1913, she was sent to Burley House in Twickenham – a home where women were sent if their family were unable to cope with their nervous disposition.
In later years, Woolf’s mental health worsened after the destruction of her home during the London Blitz, as well as the passing of her friend, Roger Fry. On 28th March 1941, she drowned herself by filling her coat pocket with stones and walking into the River Ouse.
Leaving a suicide note to her husband, she wrote:
I feel certain that I am going mad again. I feel we can’t go through another of those terrible times. And I shan’t recover this time. I begin to hear voices, and I can’t concentrate. So I am doing what seems the best thing to do. You have given me the greatest possible happiness. You have been in every way all that anyone could be. I don’t think two people could have been happier till this terrible disease came. I can’t fight it any longer. I know that I am spoiling your life, that without me you could work. And you will I know. You see I can’t even write this properly. I can’t read. What I want to say is I owe all the happiness of my life to you. You have been entirely patient with me and incredibly good. I want to say that—everybody knows it. If anybody could have saved me it would have been you. Everything has gone from me but the certainty of your goodness. I can’t go on spoiling your life any longer. I don’t think two people could have been happier than we have been”
13. Adolf Hitler
Hitler had always planned to commit suicide, knowing that Germany would eventually be forced to surrender. Realising that he had failed, he got in contact with a doctor, who informed him that the most effective way to end his life would be to poison himself with cyanide and then shoot himself in the head.
Hitler and his wife Eva were married just 40 hours before both taking their own lives. Eva’s body reportedly didn’t have any gunshot wounds when she was found, meaning she had died immediately from cyanide poisoning.
Before carrying out the procedure, Hitler wrote a note which read: “I die with a happy heart, aware of the immeasurable deeds and achievements of our soldiers…”
“I myself and my wife – in order to escape the disgrace of deposition or capitulation – choose death. It is our wish to be burnt immediately…”
English comedian Tony Hancock was best known for his professional partnership with Sid James from 1956, however, he has also gone down in history for starting the trend of transitioning from radio to TV.
His own radio show known as ‘Hancock’s Half Hour’ had become an instant hit overnight and nobody believed he could be an even greater star on television. It was then during the early 1960’s in which his career faced an immediate decline, therefore took it upon himself to start producing his own shows – which as you would imagine caused a great deal of stress; so much so that he became heavily reliant on alcohol. He became estranged with former co-star Sid James; who was making it big in the Carry On Films which caused a huge blow to Hancock, who had always wished to make it big in the film industry and was also facing personal issues within his marriage.
As a result of his failed achievements during this decade, Hancock took his own life on 25th June 1968 by overdosing on a mix of pills and vodka.
In his suicide note, Hancock declared: “Things just seemed to go too wrong too many times.”
11.Hunter S. Thompson
Hunter S. Thompson was an American journalist, most famed for his involvement with the year spent with the Hells Angels Motorcycle gang, with the intention of writing up a first-hand account to give readers an insight into their lives. He later publicised the book, ‘Hell’s Angels’ in 1967.
According to those closest to him, Thompson had been suffering from depression; in which he constantly worried over his ageing body and medical issues.
He was discovered dead on 20th February 2005 with a gunshot wound to the head at the age of 67.
His suicide note read: “No More Games. No More Bombs. No More Walking. No More Fun. No More Swimming. 67. That is 17 years past 50. 17 more than I needed or wanted. No Fun for anybody. 67. You are getting Greedy. Act your old age. Relax–This won’t hurt.”
10.Vincent Van Gogh
Van Gogh is certainly one of the most influential artists of all time – however, what many don’t realise is that he also took his own life at the age of 37.
In 1890, he suffered an intentional self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest, but died around 30 hours after the incident took place. Regretting the decision of trying to end his life, Van Gogh managed to find two doctors who tended to him, but were unable to remove the bullet without the assistance of a surgeon.
His final words were: “The sadness will last forever.”
Sid Vicious was best-known for performing in one of the greatest 70’s punk bands of all time, but he had also battled with a severe addiction to substances behind-the-scenes.
It seems his suicide was just a tragic accident in Vicious’ case, due to the fact that he was planning a new album and intending to get his life back on track. However, one evening, he overdosed at his own house party. Despite family and friends trying to revive him with immediate effect, he passed away at midnight.
After his passing, his mother found a note in the pocket of his jeans which read: “We had a death pact, and I have to keep my half of the bargain. Please bury me next to my baby. Bury me in my leather jacket, jeans and motorcycle boots Goodbye.” After the note was publicised, many presumed suicide had always been planned.
Evelyn McHale was only made famous after a photograph of her dead body was taken four minutes after she jumped from the 86th floor of the Empire State building. She had always wished for people to remember her body as it was when alive, but this wish never came true.
She landed on top of a parked-up limousine, and photography student Robert Wiles then ran across the street and snapped a photo of her lifeless body. The photo was named ‘The Most Beautiful Suicide’.
Her suicide note read: “I don’t want anyone in or out of my family to see any part of me. Could you destroy my body by cremation? I beg of you and my family – don’t have any service for me or remembrance for me. My fiance asked me to marry him in June. I don’t think I would make a good wife for anybody. He is much better off without me. Tell my father, I have too many of my mother’s tendencies.”
It has always been a huge conspiracy as to whether Marilyn Monroe actually committed suicide or her death was a result of foul play.
She was discovered dead in her home in the early hours of the morning on 6th August 1962. It was no secret that Monroe had always suffered with her mental health and had endured a fairly troubled upbringing; yet, a number of conspiracies have been floating around since the mid 60’s as to whether other parties were involved – including the former president, John F. Kennedy.
In her suicide note, she wrote:
“I still am lost…everything is pulling against my concentration…My will is weak …I sound crazy, but I think I’m going crazy…I get before a camera and my concentration and everything I’m trying to learn leaves me. Then I feel like I’m not existing in the human race at all.”
Terry Kath was one of the founding members and lead singer of rock band, Chicago. Kath had always been known to have had an addiction to substances and alcohol, due to the fact he became ever more unhappy throughout his adult life, but in the end, these addictions did not lead to his sudden death.
One evening whilst playing with guns with a friend, he jokingly put the revolver to his head, believing it wasn’t loaded. He was unaware that there was in fact, a round in the chamber and after pulling the trigger, he died instantly.
His haunting last words were: “Don’t worry, it’s not loaded.”
George Sanders was an English actor; most notable for his affluent accent which led him to appear in the role of many villainous characters throughout his career during the mid-20th century.
In his later life, Sanders suffered from dementia and was also said to have had a stroke. Worried his health would worsen in his old age, he became severely depressed.
One day, he was found dead after suffering a cardiac arrest as a result of swallowing five bottles of barbiturate Nembutal.
“Dear world, I am leaving you because I am bored. I feel I have lived long enough. I am leaving you with your worries in this sweet cesspool — good luck.” his suicide note read.
American actor and comedian Robin Williams left the world in a state of shock when he passed away at the age of 63 back in 2014. According to his wife, Williams had been suffering from paranoia and a type of dementia known as Lewy bodies.
He was discovered to have hung himself.
Leaving a note, he wrote: “I’m done with that. Time to go. No more to come.”
3.Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Charlotte Perkins Gilman was an American novelist and feminist. Over the decades, she has gone on to become an iconic figure due to her outspoken nature and viewpoints which have inspired generations, in terms of how females should be viewed in society; as well as animal welfare and race.
Gilman found herself to be suffering from depression but had no idea what was actually wrong with her. Recording her internal thoughts in her diary, she came to the conclusion that she must be suffering from ‘some brain disease’.
In 1935, she discovered that she had incurable breast cancer and soon after, took her own life.
“When all usefulness is over, when one is assured of an unavoidable and imminent death, it is the simplest of human rights to choose a quick and easy death in place of a slow and horrible one.” she wrote.
Christine Chubbuck was an American news reporter and has gone down in history for taking her own life on LIVE television.
She had always suffered from depression and had aimed to commit suicide back in 1970 by taking an overdose, but her parents made sure Chubbuck’s bosses and the public were unaware of her personal struggles, to avoid the risk of her being judged or even fired.
A week before the incident, Chubbuck joked with news editor Rob Smith that she would take her own life on air. He later said he believed she just was making a ‘sick’ joke and brushed the comment aside.
Chubbuck was in the middle of a news broadcast when a film reel of a restaurant shooting jammed and failed to play. Talking to the camera one last time, she said: In keeping with Channel 40’s policy of bringing you the latest in ‘blood and guts’, and in living color, you are going to see another first—attempted suicide.” She put the gun to her head and pulled the trigger.
Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain shocked the world when he passed away at the very young age of 27 back in 1994.
He was found dead in his Seattle home with a gunshot wound to the head. He was also discovered to have taken a number of substances before shooting himself.
Cobain left a lengthy suicide note to his wife and daughter, which ended with the emotional phrase: “Frances and Courtney, I’ll be at your altar. Please keep going Courtney, for Frances for her life will be so much happier without me. I LOVE YOU. I LOVE YOU.”