Fentanyl has quickly become one of the deadliest substances on the planet. The powerful narcotic — a synthetic opioid — is frequently mixed with recreational street drugs or prescription painkillers, creating a terrifyingly lethal combination. Not even the rich and famous are immune to the opioid epidemic, which continues to claim more lives with each passing day. Wonderwall.com is taking a look back at some of the bold-faced names we've lost to fentanyl over the years, starting with Mac Miller… In September 2018, the music star died at his home in the Los Angeles area following an accidental overdose of fentanyl, cocaine and alcohol. The rapper-producer was 26. The following year, three men were arrested for their roles in selling counterfeit oxycodone pills containing fentanyl to Mac, who'd reportedly requested the painkiller Percocet.
Keep reading for more stars we've lost to the opioid epidemic…
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In April 2016, Prince died at his home in Chanhassen, Minnesota, following an accidental fentanyl overdose. The music icon was 57. During a 2018 press conference, a prosecutor investigating Prince's death said that the superstar "thought he was taking Vicodin" and wasn't aware of the fact that the drugs he used for chronic pain management had been laced with fentanyl.
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Tom Petty died at a hospital in Santa Monica, California, in October 2017 after accidentally overdosing on a combination of opioids including fentanyl and oxycodone, plus two sedatives and an antidepressant. The chart-topping musician, who was 66, had struggled with chronic pain — and addiction issues — for years. Following his death, his family released a statement claiming that the "I Won't Back Down" singer had fractured his hip earlier that year. "On the day he died he was informed his hip had graduated to a full on break and it is our feeling that the pain was simply unbearable and was the cause for his over use of medication," they said.
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"The Wire" actor Michael K. Williams died of an accidental drug overdose in his Brooklyn apartment in September 2021. He was 54. The five-time Emmy nominee, who struggled with drug addiction during his pre-fame days, had fentanyl, heroin and cocaine in his system. "Addiction doesn't go away. It's an everyday struggle for me, but I'm fighting," he'd told The New York Times in 2017.
In November 2017, rapper Lil Peep died on his tour bus during a stop in Tucson, Arizona. He was just 21. A toxicology report later attributed his death to an accidental overdose of fentanyl and Xanax, though several other drugs (cannabis, cocaine, hydrocodone and oxycodone among them) were also in his system.
Digital Underground rapper Shock G died of an accidental overdose in a Tampa, Florida, hotel room in April 2021. He was 57. A toxicology report later determined the "Humpty Dance" chart-topper had fentanyl, ethanol and methamphetamine in his system.
Child star Logan Williams — who made his acting debut in the 2014 Hallmark Channel made-for-TV movie "The Color of Rain" (pictured) before portraying a young Barry Allen on "The Flash" — died of an accidental fentanyl overdose in his native Canada in April 2020. He was just 16. His mother later told the New York Post that he'd struggled with addiction issues for three years before his death. He was "in complete denial because he was so ashamed" of his addiction issues, she said.
In April 2016, true crime author Michelle McNamara, who was married to Patton Oswalt, died at their home in Los Angeles following an accidental overdose. She was 46. Multiple drugs — Adderall, Xanax and fentanyl — were in her system at the time. She also had previously undiagnosed heart disease that contributed to her death.
"Mani" actor and male model Daniel Mickelson died on the Fourth of July in 2021 of an accidental overdose of fentanyl and cocaine. He was just 23.
On New Year's Day in 2020, rapper Lexii Alijai, who was known for her collaborations with Kehlani, died of an accidental overdose of fentanyl and ethanol at the Loews Minneapolis Hotel in Minnesota, where she'd been living with her mother. She was just 21.
In May 2009, former Wilco member Jay Bennett, who left the alt-rock band in 2001, died of an accidental fentanyl overdose. He was 45. The musician — who struggled with chronic hip pain and was hoping to eventually undergo hip replacement surgery — was reportedly wearing a fentanyl patch to manage pain when he died. (It's unclear if he'd been prescribed the patch or had obtained it by other means.)
Bobby Brown Jr. — the son of musician Bobby Brown and former love Kim Ward — died at his home in Los Angeles in November 2020 following an accidental overdose of fentanyl, alcohol and cocaine. He was 28. According to Page Six, a witness saw him drinking tequila and ingesting coke and half a Percocet before he died. (Either substance could have been laced with the synthetic opioid.) "Bobby was not into drugs. Bobby was often easily influenced. This is a situation where he associated himself with the wrong people. My son is gone and those who contributed to his senseless death should be held accountable," his mother said following his death.
In September 2021, comedian Fuquan Johnson died at a Los Angeles house party of a suspected drug overdose. TMZ's sources said they believe he and two friends — comic Rico Angeli and Natalie Williamson — died after ingesting "cocaine laced with fentanyl," though a toxicology report has yet to confirm those suspicions. Comedian Kate Quigley was hospitalized but ultimately survived the tragic incident.