Most animals have only one thing in mind. Famous or not famous, they see the human standing in front as either a source of food or a threat that needs to be eliminated.
Famous people are assaulted by animals everywhere they turn. When animals approach, it is not an autograph they are after. Check out the 14 celebs that died in animal attacks.
1. Timothy Treadwell
Timothy Treadwell was an American environmentalist and documentary maker, who was mauled by the same bear he was supposed to study.
Until this point, nothing seems unusual. You step the invisible line Mother Nature sets for you, and you receive a punishment. However, Timothy Treadwell was not your average city folk that fails to understand the wilderness. With 13 summers spent studying the grizzly bears of Katmai National Park in Alaska, Timothy was probably the person with the most accurate understanding of the beasts’ behavior.
He died together with his visiting girlfriend, Amie Huguenard, and the horrific scene got an audio recording. “Grizzly Man,” by Werner Herzog, is a documentary to watch if you want more on the topic.
2. Taylor Mitchell
via Taylor Mitchell
Chances are you are not a big fan of country folk, but you probably heard about Taylor Mitchell.
The Canadian singer and songwriter was a young rising star back in 2009. Her debut and only album “For Your Consideration” received enough positive critique to make people believe she will be the next Shania Twain.
However, destiny had a different plan for Taylor, and she died while hiking the Cape Breton Highlands National Park’s Skyline Trail. Believe it or not, coyotes were the animals responsible for the injuries that led to her death.
According to the official records, this was the only fatal coyote attacks on a human in Canada’s history. Unlucky!
3. Diane Whipple
Diane Whipple was a famous American lacrosse player, who participated in two World Cup events.
You probably wouldn’t hear about Diane or this awkward sport if it weren’t for the savage and shocking way to which she succumbed.
26 January 2001 was an ordinary day for Diane, as she went to buy some groceries. The attack happened as she walked back into her apartment building, and the culprits are two Perro de Presa Canario dogs.
The autopsy revealed that Diane Whipple suffered a total of 77 wounds, which covered most of her body and caused severe blood loss. Marjorie Knoller was not the owner of the dogs, but she was taking care of them while the owner was serving a life sentence in prison.
4. Guy Standing
Guy Standing was an English actor who moved to Hollywood in the early 1930s and subsequently appeared in many Paramount movies.
With a military career serving in the Royal Navy during WWI and decorated as Knight Commander of the British Empire (KBE), Standing was a high caliber name back in the days.
According to the myth, the actor was hiking the Hollywood Hills when a rattlesnake bit him, causing a fatal heart attack. However, some biographers tend to disagree with this fact and claim that the animal that caused the death was a black widow spider.
If you are in for older movies, you can see Standing perform in “The Lives of a Bengal Lancer” (1935).
5. Keltie Byrne
This tragic death will shock you because it was far from being an isolated case. Tilikum is an orca (killer whale) that showed everyone why the species is called that way.
On February 20, 1991, Keltie Byrne, a 21-year-old marine biology student, accidently fell into the pool where Tilikum and other two orcas resided. Although she was a competitive swimmer, the creatures prevented her from resurfacing, causing death by drowning.
The scene happened at SeaWorld Orlando, Florida, and the facility closed soon afterward.
We will leave now the story of Keltie Byrne to focus on something else. Tilikum caused two more deaths, a visitor who evaded security and entered her tank during the night, and another trainer the whale drowned in the water.
The 5,700 kg Tilikum continued to star in aquatic shows.
6. Jacky Boxberger
via Getty Images
Jacques “Jacky” Boxberger was a French athlete famous for his rare ability to perform in both short-distance and long-distance races. He participated in 4 consecutive Summer Olympics from 1968 to 1984, and also won the Paris Marathon in 1983 and 1985.
Although highly successful, Boxberger was forced to retire due to a knee injury acquired while doing military service. The athlete remained in popular culture due to his shocking death, at the hands of an elephant. It happened in 2001, while Boxberger was on vacation in Kenya with his wife and daughter.
Boxberger was trying to film an elephant when the beast grabbed him with its trunk and smashed him against a tree. And that is not all. The elephant trampled his body until he was dead, confirming once again that these smart herbivores are often a neglected danger.
7. Vitaly Nikolayenko
Vitaly Nikolayenko is the Russian equivalent of Timothy Treadwell, as he also died at the hands of the bears he was studying.
This tragic loss occurred in the Kronotsky State Reserve, 110 miles north of Petropavlovsk, deep inside the wilderness of the Kamchatka Peninsula.
The event happened just two months before Timothy and his girlfriend met a similar fate. With a career focused on bears and their lives spanning across more than 33 years, Vitaly was a painful loss for the scientific community.
Note again how unpredictable wild animals can be. Even with so much information and experienced accumulated, bad luck is waiting around the corner to turn a routine day of study into the last day alive.
8. Surinder Singh Bajwa
via List Surge
Surinder Singh Bajwa was the Deputy Mayor of Delhi. Elected in April 2007, he was able to enjoy the function and the privileges attached to it for only a couple of months. The official died in a tragic accident that involved an animal attack in October 2007.
Rhesus Macaques monkeys are not exactly the most vicious killers produced by nature. However, when they assemble in large numbers, it is easy to imagine a scenario like the one in the “Planet of The Apes.”
Surinder Singh Bajwa was attacked by a group of Rhesus Macaques monkey in his home and fell from the first floor. Although you might think this height is rarely enough to kill someone, the Indian politician died from the injuries.
9. José Gómez Ortega
Spanish people are notorious for their obsession with bull-fighting.
Although labeled by almost the entire society as inhuman for the beasts, such fights are still happening in arena across the Latin world.
José Gómez Ortega, or Joselito, was a legend amongst the fans of the practice. He was the youngest bullfighter to receive the title of “Matador de Toros,” at the age of 17.
Enjoying unprecedented success during the Golden Age of bullfighting, Joselito received fatal injuries in the ring in 1920. His death shocked the nation and established him as a legend of the sport.
We are not sure if compassion is justified towards this demise. Bullfighting is a “kill or be killed” sport in which the animals have the right to defend themselves.
10. Jean Batten
via NZ History
Jean Gardner Batten was a legendary figure in both New Zealand’s history and the history of aviation.
Jean became famous because she attempted and succeeded many record-breaking flights, including a direct solo flight from England to New Zealand.
She received the “Commander of the Order of the British Empire” and women of all ages perceived her as a hero and role-model. Although enjoying massive levels of popularity and the attention of most men, Batten spent her last years in solitude, traveling the globe without a real purpose in mind.
While being in Mallorca, she was attacked and bitten by a dog. Refusing medical treatment, Jean Batten died from complications. The news took five years to reach her close ones back in New Zealand.
11. Alexander I of Greece
Alexander I of Greece was one monarch that enjoyed a short and tumultuous reign. His rule intersected events like the First World War and Greco-Turkish War of 1919-1922.
Alexander died in a bizarre and shocking way, certainly unheard before for a man of his stature. He was bitten by a domestic Barbary macaque and died of septicemia in October 1920, triggering major controversy regarding who should follow him as ruler of Greece.
The responsible monkey belonged to the steward of the palace’s grapevines, and first attacked the king’s German Shepherd, Fritz. In an attempt to separate the two, another monkey got involved, and the monarch ended with superficial wounds, which he ignored.
It seems that killer primates have only one kind of people they are interested in – high-rank officials. We don’t like conspiracy theories, but it fits the bill here.
12. Marty Feldman
You probably know Marty Feldman because of his strange and funny-looking eyes. Popped out of their socket more than normal, they offered his performance an odd flavor.
Marty Feldman did not die as a consequence of a direct animal attack, but some animals were indeed involved in his controversial death. Feldman suffered a heart attack as a result of an alleged shellfish that caused food poisoning.
This tragic death happened in December 1982, in a hotel room in Mexico City. Feldman was working for Yellowbeard and was only 48 years old.
13. George Hensley
George Hensley died from an animal attack, but judging the circumstances that lead to that will never make you cry.
Hensley was an American Pentecostal minister that went a bit off the beaten road and claimed that all Christians are required by the Scriptures to handle venomous snakes.
His services are notorious for involving snake in all possible circumstances. We don’t know what to consider more sinister. His strange and unusual belief, or the fact that people were attending such meetings in the hope of better connecting with God.
At this point, we don’t know what snakes might have in common with human belief, and we are too afraid to ask the Internet.
14. Steve Irwin
via Stars Topix
What can we add about Steve Irwin? The Crocodile Hunter entertained us with his humor, Australian accent, and the obsession for crocodiles.
Steve’s iconic jumps on the poor reptiles reminded us of a maneuver derived from wrestling.
Steve’s death took anyone by surprise, even the bookmakers, who put crocodile bite as the most likely cause. It was a stingray that delivered a fatal injury to the heart, causing a massive hemorrhage.
You probably don’t know the fact that there was a footage of the attack, as Steve Irwin and his crew were filming the documentary series “Ocean’s Deadliest.”
The video was destroyed at the request of the family, before landing on the Internet and spreading like wildfire.