Billie Holiday is one of the most famous jazz singers in history. However, her difficult life came to an end at a far-too-early age.
Holiday was raised primarily by her mother since her father was not around. According to some reports, she was sexually assaulted as a child. She also went to work in a brothel as a teenager.
Holiday was first discovered in a Harlem jazz club at age 18. Over the next few years, she sang alongside stars such as Benny Goodman and Teddy Wilson. She eventually branched out on her own and recorded the legendary singles “Strange Fruit” and “God Bless the Child.”
More Tough Times and Death
While Holiday had success in the music industry, her personal turmoil continued. In 1947, she was arrested and ultimately convicted on a narcotics charge. She spent time in a federal rehabilitation center before her release from custody.
Despite her time in rehab, Holiday continued to struggle with drug addiction. She developed liver and heart problems related to her drug use, which led to her hospitalization in 1959. She was even arrested in her hospital bed for possession of heroin.
Holliday died from complications of drug and alcohol abuse on July 17, 1959. She was just 44-years old. However, her music lives on to this day. She was even posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the year 2000.