FALLEN IDOLS

From the poets, pop icons and presidents buried in Paris’ Père Lachaise to the artists and authors sleeping it off in the likes of London’s Bunhill Fields, there are certain old-school celebrities who’s final resting places draw crowds from countires near and far. But where do we go to pay our respects to the more modern day icons who left us all too soon?

Princess Diana

1961 – 1997

The death of Princess Diana in 1997 left millions of people across the world in mourning. Britain saw unprecedented scenes of grief and outpourings of sadness at the loss of the ‘Queen of Hearts’. Carpets of floral tributes were left outside Buckingham Palace after her death and a subsequent memorial fountain in Hyde Park and a playground in Kensington Gardens were opened. For 15 years mourners across the world made the pilgrimage to the Althorp Estate in Northamptonshire, Diana’s final resting place. The estate housed an extensive exhibit chronicling her life. Now closed, fans have many more memorials to visit including the Princess Diana Memorial Garden in Belfast and Le Clos des Blanc-Manteaux, Paris – France’s official memorial, a nature garden for children.

Tupac Shakur

1971 – 1996

Like many stars who die too young there are several conspiracy theories and urban myths surrounding Tupac’s death. Many fans believe he’s still alive, despite a picture seemingly showing the rap star on an autopsy table. One of the best selling music artists in history, Tupac was killed in a drive-by shooting in 1996. His group, The Young Outlawz, took his song lyrics seriously and as part of a private memorial they held, they smoked some of his ashes. The remainder of his ashes were buried in Soweto, Johannesburg by his mother, Afeni Shakur. She also commissioned a statue of the rapper for the Peace Garden at the Tupac Amaru Shakur Center for the Arts in Stone Mountain, Georgia.

Amy Winehouse

1983 – 2011

One of Britain’s most acclaimed young artists, Amy Winehouse’s death was not only seen as, tragic but a huge loss to the world of music. Her signature husky voice on the Back to Black album made it an instant success and saw her soar to fame almost overnight, but the excesses eventually led to her death aged just 27 – the same age musical greats such as Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison also passed. Amy’s family laid her to rest in Edgware’s Jewish Cemetery. A black headstone with pink writing and a singing bird mark her last resting place. Fans have commented on a YouTube video, which shows the grave and gives directions, noting the stones left on the grave instead of flowers, a Jewish tradition.

Kurt Cobain

1967 – 1994

Nirvana’s chaotic frontman, Kurt Cobain, tragically committed suicide in 1994. His ashes were  scattered in to the Wishkah River in Washington, at a Buddhist temple in New York and some kept by his wife, Courtney Love. With no formal grave site fans have no set place to remember the much missed rock star. Cobain’s hometown of Aberdeen, also in Washington, held it’s first annual Kurt Cobain day last year and in 2005 added ‘Come As You Are’ to the town’s welcome sign. Aberdeen also has a small unofficial memorial park with information about Nirvana and a guitar statue. Some fans have also taken advantage of one of Cobain’s former homes being listed on Airbnb earlier this year. The two bedroom apartment in Fairfax, LA was available to rent for just over $150 a night. Last year saw the 20th anniversary of Cobain’s death and thousands of fans flocked to the Seattle home where the singer took his own life. As a tribute they left flowers, notes and unopened beer bottles.

Heath Ledger

1979 – 2008

After a string of Hollywood film roles which never quite saw Heath Ledger’s acting talent flourish to its full, he landed the role of Ennis Del Mar, a cowboy, in the Oscar nominated Brokeback Mountain in 2005. From there it seemed his career was going to flourish. He had just finished filming The Dark Knight, playing The Joker in the Batman franchise, when he was found dead from an accidental overdose of prescription pills in his apartment at the age of 28. His role in The Dark Knight earned him a posthumous Oscar and critical acclaim. Thousands of fans gathered outside his home after hearing the news of his death, leaving flowers and tributes. Since then fans have made the trip to Western Australia to pay their respects, with some blogging their experience online. Ledger’s ashes were scattered on the family plot in Karrakatta Cemetery, and a Heath Ledger Memorial has been built in nearby Applecross.

IMAGE CREDITS

Diana’s Memorial Fountain, Hyde Park – Laura Bittner

Amy Winehouse statue, Camden – Paul Hudson / Letters for Amy – John W. Schulze

Heath Ledger Memorial, Applecross – pweaver