The tragic death of British Indian actor Jiah Khan on 3 June 2013 ruled the news waves yesterday – speculation as to the cause and circumstances of her death were of course rife. Twitter and the blogosphere were abuzz with celebrities and the aam aadmi together expressing shock, disbelief and dismay at the untimely death […]

The tragic death of British Indian actor Jiah Khan on 3 June 2013 ruled the news waves yesterday – speculation as to the cause and circumstances of her death were of course rife. Twitter and the blogosphere were abuzz with celebrities and the aam aadmi together expressing shock, disbelief and dismay at the untimely death of the Bollywood star.

The abrupt end of a beautiful and famous young starlet immediately recalled to mind, the death of Nafisa Joseph who also took her own life some years ago.

The parallels are striking – Jiah Khan’s real name was Nafisa Khan which she had reverted to recently. Both women were famous, beautiful, supposedly with floundering careers and relationship issues. They both took their own lives. Another startling similarity was the age at which both these women took their lives: Jiah Khan was 27, Nafisa Joseph was 26.

Jiah Khan 199x300 Jiah Khan & The Forever 27 Club

THE FOREVER 27 CLUB

On her Twitter page she described herself as “actor…poet…singer..musician..and dreamer… life through my rose coloured glasses ,  formerly known as Jiah Khan…”. Alas for her, it is this very group of talented professionals – actors, singers, musicians, poets – who seem lamentably predisposed towards death by suicide or other violent means – all at the age of 27.

One study noted that the life expectancy of musicians is about 36.9 years whereas the average person in the western world dies at age 75.8. This is startling enough by itself. What is even more so is the number of musicians who have died at the age of 27. It is known as the Forever 27 Club or The Curse of 27. Sounds like a B grade horror film but the numbers don’t lie:

• Jimi Hendrix gruesomely died after choking on his own vomit induced by a deadly cocktail of wine and sleeping pills. He was 27
• Ron “Pigpen” McKernan, founding member of the Grateful Dead died from gastrointestinal hemorrhage due to alcoholism at 27 years old
• Rolling Stones founder and guitarist Brian Jones died from drowning at age 27
• Janis Joplin died from a likely overdose of heroine again at age 27
• Mia Zapata the lead singer of The Gits was murdered at age 27
• Jim Morrison of the Doors had a heart failure at age 27 and died
• Kurt Cobain of Nirvana committed suicide by shooting himself at age 27
• Amy Winehouse singer and songwriter died from alcohol poisoning at – what else age 27

This just a small sample of musicians and celebrities who have died at age 27 from a range of different reasons – drug overdose, alcoholism, murder, suicide, car accidents, asphyxiation, cardiac arrest, diabetes complications, poisoning and other tragic and unsavory circumstances. There were many more and alas for Jiah (Nafisa) Khan she seemed destined to swell the ranks of the Forever 27 club.

Why is 27 years of age so significant for so many? It could be that professional and personal insecurities for a 27 year old individual are difficult to take – that would explain the suicides and other self destructive behavior. But what about the accidents, the medical emergencies and the murders that have claimed so many famous lives at 27 – well that’s just eerie.

Image Source : IANS

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