Fans of the hit NBC reality show The Voice were in mourning this weekend following the shocking murder of former contestant Christina Grimmie. The 22-year-old singer was shot and killed at a fan meet and greet following her concert in Orlando, Florida on Friday. The shooter, Kevin James Loibl, 27, shot and killed himself after being tackled by Grimmie's brother, according to police. Authorities have not provided any background information on Loibl or a possible motive.
Responding to the news on Twitter, Grimmie's Voice coach Adam Levine wrote, "Behati [Levine's wife] and I are absolutely devastated and heartbroken by Christina Grimme's tragic death. Our hearts go out to her family."
Grimmie was a finalist in season six of the singing competition show and finished in third place. The pop singer released one studio album, entitled With Love, in 2013, as well as a pair of EPs. Prior to competing on The Voice, Grimmie became a YouTube sensation thanks to her popular covers of hit songs like Miley Cyrus's "Party in the U.S.A" and Nelly's "Just a Dream."
With the sad news of Grimmie's passing in mind, we're taking a look at six other musicians who were murdered before their time.
Famed rapper and actor, Tupac Shakur, 26, was fatally shot in a drive-by shooting on September 7, 1996 in Las Vegas. The rapper, known for his stage name 2Pac, died six days later at the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada. The murder remains unsolved to this day, but reports have indicated it was likely gang-related— particularly having to do with the infamous East Coast-West Coast hip hop rivalry.
Considered one of the greatest rappers ever, Shakur was ranked 86th on Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. Shakur, whose music revolved around themes of racism, violence, and social justice, has sold 75 million albums.
A pioneer of both soul and R&B, 44-year-old Marvin Gaye was shot dead by his father in 1984 following a family dispute. His father, Marvin Gaye Sr., was initially charged with first-degree murder, but the charge was later dropped to voluntary manslaughter.
Known for hit songs like “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” and “Sexual Healing,” Gaye’s musical legacy is wide and varied, with artists like Aretha Franklin, James Taylor, and A Perfect Circle all citing influence. Fashion-wise, Gaye even influenced Nas, Common, and Michael Jackson.
Founding member of the famed reggae group The Wailers, Peter Tosh was killed during a home invasion in 1997. Tosh, 40, was shot in the head after by a three-man gang who demanded money from the singer.
A devotee of Rastafari, Tosh called for the legalization of marijuana in both public lectures and on albums like Legalize It. He was awarded a posthumous Grammy Award for best reggae album for his 1987 release No Nuclear War.
The “King of Soul” Sam Cooke was fatally shot in December 1964 by the manager of the Hacienda Motel. The motel’s manager, Bertha Franklin stated that she shot the 33-year-old Cooke in self-defense after the singer broke into her office and attacked her. Franklin’s account was disputed by Cooke’s friends and family, but her account was later cleared in a coroner’s account. She would later go on to successfully sue Cooke’s estate.
Considered a pioneer of soul music, Cooke had 30 top 40 hits, including “Chain Gang,” Wonderful World,” “Twisting the Night Away” and “A Change Is Gonna Come.”
The Notorious B.I.G.
Affectionately known as “Biggie,” Christopher Wallace was killed in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles six months after his West Coast rival Tupac Shakur was gunned down. Like Shakur’s death, no one has ever been arrested for Wallace’s murder, but the shooting has often been linked to the East Coast-West Coast feud. Wallace was 23 years old.
Born in Brooklyn, Wallace was known for his loose style and dark storytelling abilities. His debut album, Ready to Die, was ranked number 133 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
Credited for helping Latin music break into the mainstream, Selena Quintanilla-Perez, better known simply as Selena, was murdered by Yolanda Saldivar in 1995. The murder occurred three weeks after Saldivar was fired by Selena’s family for embezzling money from the clothing boutique, which she managed. She was sentenced to life in prison after just three hours of jury deliberation on October 23, 1995. Selena was just 23.
Referred to as the “Mexican Madonna,” Selena’s death made the New York Times front page for two straight days and her funeral drew over 60,000 mourners. A biopic starring Jennifer Lopez came out less than two years after the singer’s death.