Notable celebrities who died in aircraft incidents

These are some of the notable celebrities who have died in aircraft disasters over the years:

Troy Gentry

The 50-year-old was one half of the country music duo Montgomery Gentry. On Sept. 8, 2017, Gentry was traveling in a helicopter to his scheduled concert performance in New Jersey when the aircraft crashed.

Jenni Rivera

The 53-year-old, who was best known in Banda music, died in a plane crash on Dec. 9, 2012. Rivera and six others were in a Learjet that departed Monterrey, Mexico. Just before the crash, she had completed a concert.

John Denver

The "Rocky Mountain High" folk singer died when he was flying a personal experimental aircraft over Monterey Bay, California, on Oct. 12, 1997. He was 53.

John F. Kennedy Jr.

The son of the 35th U.S. president, Kennedy was behind the controls of a Piper Saratoga light aircraft that had departed New Jersey on July 16, 1999. His wife Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy and her sister Lauren Bessette were also on board when it went down off the shore of Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. Kennedy was 38.

Ritchie Valens, Buddy Holly and the "Big Bopper"

The trio of rock legends all died on impact in a small plane crash while departing Mason City, Iowa, on Feb. 3, 1959, which was also immortalized in music as "The Day the Music Died." All three had completed a concert in nearby Clear Lake, Iowa. Valens was just 17 years old. Holly was 22. "The Big Bopper," whose real name was J.P. Richardson, was 28.


The R&B singer was only 22 years old when she died in a plane crash while departing the Bahamas on August 25, 2001. She had completed a music video shoot on the islands.

Roberto Clemente

The baseball legend died on Dec. 31, 1972, while he was en route to help Nicaraguan earthquake victims. Even though parts of the crashed plane were found in the waters off Nicaragua, Clemente's body was never recovered.

Patsy Cline

The country music legend, who was famed for her hits "Walkin' After Midnight" and "Crazy," died while on board a private plane belonging to her manager on March 5, 1963, in Tennessee. Cline was 30.

Stevie Ray Vaughan

The Texas-born Vaughan was leaving a concert in East Troy, Wisconsin, on board a helicopter when it slammed into the side of a ski hill on August 27, 1990. He was 35.

Payne Stewart

Best known for his throwback style in modern golf, Stewart was on board a Learjet that departed Florida for Texas on Oct. 25, 1999. At some point during the flight, the aircraft suffered depressurization and veered off the planned course, continuing to fly on autopilot. There was no communication from the flight, prompting F-16 jets to be scrambled to the wayward aircraft. It eventually went down in a field in South Dakota. Stewart was 42.

Jim Croce

The singer behind "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown" was on board a chartered Beechcraft aircraft when it crashed into a tree on take off in Natchitoches, Louisiana, on Sept. 20 1973. He was 30.

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