A U.K. academic study has found that musicians were two to three times more likely to die prematurely than the general population.

Between 1956 and 2005 there were 100 deaths among the 1,064 artists scrutinized by researchers at the Centre for Public Health at Liverpool John Moores University. Notable victims of premature death in the study include Elvis Presley, Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin.

Overall, the report found that musicians were most at risk in the first five years after achieving fame, with death rates more than three times higher than normal. Jimi Hendrix, Bon Scott of AC/DC and Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols all died within this five-year period.

The research report, "Elvis to Eminem: quantifying the price of fame through early mortality of European and North American rock and pop stars", was published in the Journal of Epidemiol Community Health. It found that more than a quarter of the deaths were connected to drugs or alcohol abuse.

The sample of musicians was taken from those performing on records in the Virgin book "All-Time Top 1,000 Albums", published in 2000.

According to the report's authors, the results raise questions about whether musicians should be considered to front public health messages such as anti-drugs campaigns.

"Pop stars can suffer high levels of stress in environments where alcohol and drugs are widely available," the study concluded. "However, their behavior can also influence would-be stars and devoted fans. Collaborations between health and music industries should focus on improving both pop star health and their image as role models to wider populations."

According to the analysis, music stars experience "significantly higher mortality" between three and 25 years after their initial success. However, after 25 years the rate of mortality begins to return to the same level as the general population, but only among European artists.

The study suggests this divergence could be related to the greater appetite among U.S. acts for reunion tours, exposing them to an unhealthy lifestyle in later years. It could also be explained by lack of health insurance for U.S. musicians who become impoverished in later life.

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