Celebrities garner massive amounts of attention. Why should we focus on our own lives when the life of a Kardashian is so different and exciting? And it doesn’t have to just be Kardashians. Fans of music, sports, and movies all have their own celeb crushes and poster children. We just want to know everything about these amazing people who have taken the world by storm. What clothes do they wear? What choices do they make that put them ahead of the pack? What does Beyonce eat? What elixir of youth has kept Steve Buscemi alive so long? How much deodorant does Justin Bieber use?
You can see the problem. If you aren’t careful, that celeb crush can slip into a full-blown obsession, and before you know it you’re sitting in a conversion van across the street from Adele’s house and holding a telephoto lens. Then the emotions set in. Jealousy, anger, rage, whatever. Every now and then, this attraction toward famous people proves fatal. These celebs received the wrong kind of devotion from dangerous fans.
Latina songstress Selena Quintanilla-Pérez (known the world over as simply "Selena") was a rising star when her fan club founder, Yolanda Saldivar, gunned her down, at age 23, on March 31, 1995. According to Time, Selena befriended Saldivar soon after the fan club was founded in 1991 and eventually hired her as an assistant and later as manager of the Selena Etc. clothing boutique. That’s when the trouble began. Saldivar was fired after reportedly embezzling funds from the Grammy winner. Some time later, Selena agreed to meet with Saldivar at a Days Inn in order to retrieve some financial records. It was there that Saldivar shot Selena. According to the New York Times, a nine-hour standoff with police followed before Saldivar surrendered. She was sentenced to life in prison, most of which she has reportedly spent in solitary confinement for her own protection, according to TMZ.
The murder of up-and-coming actress Rebecca Schaeffer has had lasting legal impacts. The 21-year-old star of My Sister Sam was shot in the doorway of her Hollywood home by obsessed fan Robert John Bardo on July 18, 1989. According the Los Angeles Times, Bardo stalked Schaeffer for three years prior to the killing and had even sent her letters and tried to meet with her on the set of her sitcom. When his gestures went unanswered, the Tuscon, Ariz. resident spent $250 to hire private investigators to track down Schaeffer’s address, which they acquired from the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Bardo then paid his crush a fatal visit, reportedly ambushing her when she answered the door. Interestingly, Bardo also had a copy of Catcher in the Rye on him at the shooting, but he denied any desire to emulate John Lennon’s killer, reported the Los Angeles Times. After Schaeffer’s death, legislation was passed to prohibit DMV employees from disclosing addresses.
Many folks say they’d like to die doing what they love, but not on a murderer’s timetable. Damageplan and former Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell, 38, was shot while performing on stage December 8, 2004. His killer was diehard Pantera fan Nathan Gale, a former football player and U.S. Marine. Friends described him as a good guy until something snapped. Gale reportedly began thinking that he’d penned some of Pantera’s songs. "He was off his rocker," one-time friend Jeramie Brey told The Columbus Dispatch. "He said they were his songs, that Pantera stole them from him and that he was going to sue them." According to the Daily News, Gale also blamed Darrell for the breakup of Pantera. During the fateful show in Columbus, Ohio, the 25-year-old reportedly rushed the stage screaming, "You broke up Pantera!" Gale killed the guitarist and three others before being shot and killed by a police officer.
Young Russian artist Mikhail Lermontov was forever immortalized after his friend and admirer, Nikolai Martynov, killed him a duel in 1841. At age 26, Lermontov was making a name for himself as a poet, author, painter, and soldier, but he was also earning a reputation as a partier and prankster. The latter may have led to his demise. According to Russia Behind the Headlines, Martynov was reportedly teased relentlessly by Lermontov and eventually grew so tired of it that he challenged his friend to a duel. Lermontov accepted, but during the face off, he fired into the air, while Martynov aimed for the heart. That story is the stuff of legend, and it’s unclear if Martynov suffered any consequences for the killing, but Lermontov’s fate was sealed. His funeral was attended by thousands, and to this day, he is considered one of history’s greatest poets.
Cameroonian soccer star Albert Ebossé reportedly died at the hands of fans after a match on August 23, 2014 in Algeria. According to The Guardian, the 24-year-old striker and his JS Kabylie teammates were leaving the field after losing to USM Alger. The players were reportedly being showered by projectiles hurled by angry fans when something struck Ebossé in the head. The object supposedly dented his skull, killing him, but that story has since come under question. As reported in The Guardian, "A new autopsy has claimed that [Ebossé] was stabbed and brutally beaten to death in the changing rooms…" Pathologists said the player suffered from more than just head trauma, including a cervical vertebrae rupture and other wounds indicating a struggle. At the time of this writing, it seems there may be more to Ebossé’s death than an out of control fan, but considering soccer is a sport that has incited entire countries to go to war, we’re keeping all theories on the table until further notice.
Outside of the death itself, perhaps the worst thing about John Lennon’s death at the hands of Mark David Chapman on December 8, 1980, is that it happened for virtually no reason at all.
Chapman was reportedly a Beatles fan earlier in his life, but he wasn’t truly obsessed with Lennon until Chapman himself experienced a religious awakening. And he wasn’t driven by some subliminal message he supposedly heard, but by the hypocrisy he thought he heard in Lennon’s lyrics. In addition to that, Chapman targeted Lennon simply because he thought killing someone famous would make him famous, too. To that end, he approached Lennon, asked for an autograph, got it, and then came back later to shoot him dead. All because he wanted fame. He got infamy instead.
We know this to be his motive, because he’s admitted as much. When up for parole — for the ninth time — in September 2016, he told the board (as quoted by the Telegraph) that he had "a true sociopathic mind," and that he wanted to "shoot [Lennon] so that [Chapman] could be somebody." Unsurprisingly, the parole board stone-cold rejected his request for freedom, just as they had done eight times in the past. He was up for parole again in 2018, but received his tenth rejection to the surprise of absolutely no one.
Christina Grimmie was an up-and-coming 22-year-old superstar. She had just wowed viewers on The Voice, placing third in her season, and was branching out on her own. That is, until a crazed fan named Kevin James Loibl murdered her in front of stunned fans on June 10, 2016.
As reported by Click Orlando, Loibl was described by his friend, Cory Dennington, as a severe loner who, over the previous year or so, had grown psychotically attached to Grimmie. He would watch her videos on YouTube non-stop, altered his appearance (through Lasik, teeth whitening, and hair implants) so he might look good for her, and got angry whenever Dennington pointed out that the chances of Loibl winning Grimmie’s heart were less than slim to none. Finally, Loibl decided to meet Grimmie, and apparently decided that if he couldn’t have her, nobody could.
On June 10, Grimmie was signing autographs after a show when Loibl approached. Rather than getting something signed and leaving like everyone else, Loibl grabbed the guns he had somehow smuggled into the building and shot the singer. Her brother quickly grabbed Loibl, who managed to escape, only to shoot himself dead right after. Grimmie passed shortly thereafter.
On June 23, during the 1994 World Cup, Colombia — one of the favorites to win — dropped a 2-1 shocker to the United States, thanks in part to an own goal from Colombia’s Andres Escobar. He attempted to block a shot but instead dribbled the ball past his own goalkeeper.
In a just world, this would’ve simply been an embarrassment for Escobar — instead, it wound up sealing his fate. On July 1, Escobar was at a restaurant in his hometown of Medellin, Colombia. He got into an argument with some patrons over the goal, and the patrons ended the argument by shooting him multiple times. According to The Independent, one of them shouted "thanks for the own goal!" as he shot him.
According to Fox News, the shooter, a gangster named Humberto Munoz Castro, received 42 years in prison, though he got out after just 11. His bosses and accomplices, Santiago and Pedron Gallon, never received punishment, as Castro refused to snitch on them. Gangsters getting involved caused many to suspect that, in addition to being fans, Escobar’s killers were heavily involved in drug trafficking and gambling, and that a lot of money rode on Colombia making it through. Since they didn’t, the gangsters blamed the own-goal guy (even though the rest of the team played badly, too), and made sure it was the costliest error of his life.