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Suicides that shocked the world

Eyewitness News takes a look at the deaths of prominent personalities who committed suicide.

The apparent suicide of US actor and comedian Robin Williams has shocked the world and sparked a global conversation on mental illness. Picture: Getty Images.

JOHANNESBURG - The apparent suicide of US actor and comedian Robin Williams has shocked the world and sparked a global conversation on mental illness.

Eyewitness News takes a look at the deaths of other prominent personalities who committed suicide.

Kevin Carter

On 27 July 1994, the award-winning South African photojournalist committed suicide by taping one end of a hose to his pick-up truck's exhaust pipe and running the other end to the driver's side window.

He died of carbon monoxide poisoning, aged 33.

Portions of Carter's suicide note read:

"I'm really, really sorry. The pain of life overrides the joy to the point that joy does not exist... depressed ... without phone ... money for rent ... money for child support ... money for debts ... money!!! ... I am haunted by the vivid memories of killings and corpses and anger and pain ... of starving or wounded children, of trigger-happy madmen, often police, of killer executioners ... I have gone to join Ken if I am that lucky."

Carter was the recipient of a Pulitzer Prize for his photograph depicting the 1993 famine in Sudan.

L'Wren Scott

Fashion designer L'Wren Scott was found dead in her high-rise Manhattan apartment on 17 March.

The 49-year-old former model and stylist, who was the girlfriend of Rolling Stones lead singer Mick Jagger, committed suicide by hanging.

She was discovered with a scarf around her neck.

Scott's sleek, sexy designs were popular among Hollywood stars such as First Lady Michelle Obama and Nicole Kidman, who was also Scott's friend.

Johannes Kerkorrel

South African singer, songwriter, journalist and playwright Ralph Rabie, better known as Johannes Kerkorrel, hanged himself on 12 November 2002 in Kleinmond, near Hermanus.

He was survived by his long-term partner and by his ex-wife and son.

Johannesburg-born Rabie worked as a journalist for the Afrikaans weekly newspaper Rapport. In 1986, as apartheid reached its peak under National Party-led government under State President PW Botha, Rabie started performing politically themed cabaret at arts festivals under his new stage name, kerkorrel meaning church organ in Afrikaans.

In 1987, Rabie was fired by Rapport for using quotes from Botha's speeches in his music. He then became a full-time musician and performer under the name Johannes Kerkorrel en die Gereformeerde Blues Band (Johannes Kerkorrel and the Reformed Blues Band), a deliberate reference to the Reformed Church.

Alexander McQueen

British fashion designer Alexander McQueen committed suicide on 11 February 2010 aged 40 shortly after the death of his mother.

He took a mix of cocaine, tranquilisers and sleeping pills before hanging himself at his London flat, an inquest concluded.

McQueen had an ability to shock and his autumn/winter 1995 collection 'Highland Rape' which featured dishevelled looking models in torn clothing was considered a classic example.

Fiona Coyne

Fiona Coyne, the actress, author, playwright and television presenter who hosted the South African version of The Weakest Link, committed suicide at her home in Fish Hoek on 18 August 2010, aged 45.

She had recently divorced her husband, Willie Fritz, after 22 years of marriage.

Coyne reportedly left notes for her housekeeper Zoleka Shumani and her family.

Kurt Cobain

Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain, who rose to fame in 1991 as the frontman of the rock band Nirvana and popularised the grunge rock movement, was 27 years old when he shot himself on 5 April 1994, at his Seattle home. His body was discovered three days later.

Tony Scott

Film director Tony Scott, who directed blockbuster films including Top Gun and Beverly Hills Cop II, jumped to his death on 19 August 2012 from a suspension bridge over Los Angeles Harbour, leaving behind a suicide note in his office and a list in his car of people to contact.

The 68-year-old, the brother of Oscar-winning director Ridley Scott, enjoyed a good reputation in the film and television industry, having produced TV shows and made movies such as Days of Thunder and Crimson Tide.

Pictures: AFP, Wikimedia Commons.