Prince joined the grim fraternity of mysterious Hollywood deaths on Thursday, forever remembered not just for his musical achievements but for the puzzling questions hanging over his tragic end.
Prosecutors in his home county announced Thursday that no one would be charged in connection with his April 21, 2016, death because they could find no evidence to explain how he got the opioid that killed him in an accidental overdose.
A two-year investigation concluded that Prince thought he was taking the common painkiller Vicodin when, unbeknownst to him, it was laced with deadly fentanyl. But authorities could not say how Prince obtained the pills that killed him.
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Although scores of celebrity deaths have shocked and grieved millions over the years, only a relative few remain officially murky as to the who, what and why. Here are a few:
Bobbi Kristina Brown, 2015
The little-girl-lost daughter of the late, legendary Whitney Houston died July 26, 2015, in an Atlanta-area hospice nearly six months after she was found unconscious in her Georgia home. She was 22. She never regained consciousness to explain what happened before she was found face down and unresponsive in her bathtub in suburban Atlanta.
More than a year later, the autopsy results were released: She died from a fatal combination of multiple drugs and immersion in water. But the medical examiner could not say whether her death was intentional or accidental so it was ruled “undetermined.” Although her family cast suspicion on her boyfriend at the time, no one has been charged in connection with her death.
Dolores O’Riordan, 2018
The lead singer of the Irish alt-rock band The Cranberries died unexpectedly at age 46 on Jan. 15, 2018, in a hotel room in London where she was recording. Her death has been classified as “unexplained” but not suspicious.
The coroner has yet to rule on the official cause of death.
Tupac Shakur, 1996
The star hip-hop artist was in a car headed to a club gig in Las Vegas when he was shot four times on Sept. 7, 1996, in a drive-by shooting. He died six days later, on Sept. 13, at a local hospital. He was 25.
His murder is still unsolved.
Christopher Wallace, aka Notorious B.I.G., aka Biggie Smalls, 1997
Just six months after Shakur’s murder, another star rapper, Wallace, was shot multiple times in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles on March 9, 1997, as he was leaving a party. He died an hour later. He was 24.
His murder remains unsolved as well.
Natalie Wood, 1981
Thirty-six years after Natalie Wood drowned off the coast of Catalina Island in California, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in February re-opened the investigation into her mysterious death. With her then-husband, Robert Wagner, now a person of interest, Wood’s case remains one of many celebrity deaths still shrouded in suspicion, at least among some detectives.
On Nov. 29, 1981, the child star-turned-Oscar-nominated actress disappeared from her yacht under circumstances that remain murky at best. Hours later, her body was found, clad in a flannel nightgown, red down jacket and blue socks, floating in the Pacific about a mile away from the yacht and off the island’s Blue Cavern Point.
Her death was ruled an accidental drowning at the time. But the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department reopened the case in 2011; the following year, the cause of death on her death certificate was changed to “drowning and other undetermined factors.”
Now detectives have reopened the case again. So far, no charges have been filed against Wagner or anybody else.