Many celebrities take the "live fast, die young" idea literally and pass away without ever reaching their full potential â€” and illegal narcotics are often the reason why. In the celebrity world, where the use of hard drugs is widespread, "speedballing" (in which heroin and cocaine are injected together in the same syringe) is among the most notorious of killers. Mixing heroin, a powerful depressant, with a stimulant as potent as cocaine makes this cocktail more dangerous than taking either drug straight and dramatically increases the chances of an overdose. This spectacularly dangerous way of getting high has prematurely claimed the lives of a number of promising young stars. Here we list 10 celebrities who died from a heroin-cocaine speedball.
10. River Phoenix
River Phoenix rose to fame as the character of Gordie in classic coming-of-age movie Stand by Me, and developed into a teen heartthrob and a promising actor. Following his breakout film role, the oldest Phoenix brother moved into more mature territory with his Academy Award-nominated role in Running on Empty as well as box office hits like Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. The young idol had something of a squeaky-clean image as an activist and charity worker, which is why, perhaps, it was so shocking to the general public when, on October 30, 1993, he was found suffering from seizures on the sidewalk outside Hollywood's Viper Room, after taking large amounts of cocaine and heroin (as well as other drugs such as diazepam, ephedrine). The actor was rushed to hospital but could not be resuscitated and was pronounced dead, aged just 23. Who would have thought that Gordie would end up in such straights?