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Data Points, November 2007

Live Fast, Die Young

Living fast is a rock ‘n’ roll cliché, and now scientists have quantified that speed. They analyzed the fates of European and North American musicians who became famous between 1956 and 1999, based on the artists' appearance in a 2000 poll of the all-time top 1,000 albums. The genres covered were rock, punk, rap, R&B, electronica and new age. Although the celebrities studied do not affect overall mortality statistics, the scientists worry that their risky behaviors could negatively influence their millions of fans.

Number of famous musicians studied: 1,064

Number who died by 2005: 100

Median age of death of:

North American celebrity: 41.78

European celebrity: 35.18

Percent of deaths related to drug and alcohol use: 31

Risk of early death compared with general population (within first 25 years of fame): 1.7 times

SOURCE: Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, October 2007

This article was originally published with the title "Data Points."

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