Jimi Hendrix. Tupac Shakur. Kurt Cobain. Besides being tremendously influential musicians, all three men have another dark similarity: an untimely death. Sadly, premature death remains a common occurrence in the music industry, and recent research has found unsettling trends between musical genre and type of death.

Dianna Theadora Kenny, a professor of psychology and music at the University of Sydney, analyzed the deaths of over 13,000 musicians and found some startling trends. Based on Kenny’s results, The Washington Post reported, music genre plays a more important role than gender and age when it comes to the way a musican dies.

“This suggests that once someone is inducted into the popular music industry, effects of sex and age on mortality may be masked by genre 'membership' and its accompanying lifestyle,” Kenny explained in an article she wrote for The Conversation.

For example, the research revealed that country blues and gospel singers can expect to enjoy pretty much the same life expectancy as the general U.S. population. On the other hand, R&B, pop, folk, and “world” music (such as polka) singers had lower life spans than the rest of the U.S. population.

Kenny found that the more recent the genre of music, the younger its musicians died. For example, electronic, punk, metal, rap, and hip-hop genres had some of the youngest deaths. Exactly how these musicians died, however, greatly differed.

Punk rock and heavy metal had the most “accidental” deaths of any genre, with more than a quarter of all deaths resulting from accidents such as vehicular incidents or accidental overdoses. For example, while a total of seven percent of all the musicians involved in the research died by suicide, for the genre of punk musicians, this number was closer to 11 percent; and for heavy metal rockers, a shocking 19 percent died by their own hands.

Murder was the least popular cause of death, accounting for only six percent of deaths covered in the research. However, rap and hip-hop musicians had the most homicide-related deaths, with murder being the cause of death for over half of the musicians in these genres.

As for natural causes, heart-related deaths were more common in blues musicians, while fatal cancer was seen most often in folk and jazz musicians. With this being said, Kenny pointed to the fact that for a large percentage of the genres covered in the study, their musicians have not yet lived long enough to be at increased risk for either heart disease or cancer, so these inflated numbers may not be completely accurate.

While the percentage of musicians who die young may be larger than the general population, this does not necessarily mean that music is the cause for this.

“These figures likely represent a combination of factors inherent in the popular music industry (such as the ubiquitous presence of alcohol and other substances of addiction, irregular hours, touring, high levels of stress, performance anxiety) and the vulnerability that many young musicians bring with them into their profession from adverse childhood experiences,” Kenny wrote. “Add to this the subcultural values and philosophies in distinct music genres with which young musicians become imbued, and you have a complex, multi-faceted picture of musician mortality.”

In her exploration of death in the music industry, Kenny has also disproved the popular “27 Club” myth. While it is true that famous musicians such as Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, and Amy Winehouse did die at 27, Kenny found that in a population of musicians spanning 70 years, a whopping 1.3 percent died at 27 years of age. In fact, the most popular age of death was actually 56, which accounted for 2.2 percent of all deaths.

Source: Kenny DT. Music to die for: how genre affects popular musicians' life expectancy. The Conversation. 2015.