Rock 'n' roll is littered with tales of wasted potential and stars that burned out too soon. Our list of Rock Guitar Heroes Who Died Too Young is just another evergreen reminder.

It's easy to see why it often shakes out that way. Rock 'n' roll is supposed to be a permanent vacation, a lucrative get-out-of-jail-free card from the mundanities of everyday life.

The prospect of becoming a famous rock guitar player holds a particular allure. Some of the gone-too-soon guitarists on this list were mercurial and cloaked in mystique, shielding themselves from the world's scrutiny with their instrument. Others were untamed wildmen, fueled by the adoration of their fans and eager for any reason to cut loose both onstage and off.

But what happens when the roar of the crowd and the thrill of your instrument aren't enough to take the edge off?

Many musicians seek refuge in drugs and alcohol. At first it may be accepted, perhaps even encouraged, by fans, bandmates and industry professionals. But these habits inevitably become a hindrance, and the journey typically ends in one of two ways: get sober or die. Several of the guitarists on this list went the latter direction.

Others, meanwhile, were victims of unforeseen tragedy, from aircraft accidents to onstage shootings. Whatever the circumstances, these musicians were all taken too soon. They are all survived by their six-string prowess, but it's tantalizing to think what else they could have accomplished if given the chance.

Rock Guitar Heroes Who Died Too Young

They are survived by their six-string prowess.

Gallery Credit: Bryan Rolli

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