Home and Away real life deaths – overdose, horror crash and on-stage collapse

Australian soap Home And Away has broadcast many heartbreaking tragedies and deaths since it began in 1988.

However, in recent years, the soap has also paid tribute to a number of stars from the programme who have died unexpectedly, in what has become known as the 'Home And Away curse'.

Fan favourites including Shane Parish actor Dieter Brummer, Jesse McGregor star Ben Unwin and Hope Morrison actress Jessica Falkholt have sadly died in the past decade, with soap fans and stars from the world of entertainment paying tribute to performers who we lost too soon.

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Daily Star takes a look at the tragedies behind the deaths of some of Home And Away's stars.

Dieter Brummer

Dieter Brummer rose to fame playing Shane Parish on Home and Away between 1992-1996, becoming one of the soap's many heart throbs.

However, the actor was found dead at his home at the age of 45 years old on July 24, 2021 after police responded to a "concern for welfare" report, and the star was later reported to have taken his own life.

Following the news, a statement from the actor's family said: "We lost our handsome, talented, funny, complicated and beloved Dieter on Saturday morning.

"He has left a massive hole in our lives and our world will never be the same.

"Our thoughts go out to all of you who knew him, loved him, or worked with him over the years."

Fans also shared their tributes on social media following the news of Dieter's death, with one saying: "Oh my. Such sad news about Dieter Brummer. I remember watching the story line when he was in home and away. My thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time. #RIPDieterBrummer."

A second added: "I’m in shock after hearing about Dieter Brummer. Shane and Angel on Home and Away were couple goals in the 90’s. I had Smash Hits posters of him on my school books. So very unexpected and sad."

Jessica Falkholt

Jessica Falkholt was another fan favourite on Home And Away, after playing Hope Morrison on the soap in 2016.

However on Boxing Day 2017, she and her family were involved in a horrific car crash that killed Jessica, her parents and her sister.

The actress was rushed to St George's Hospital in New South Wales and underwent surgery, before being placed on a life support machine.

Sadly she died aged 29 years old after the decision was taken to switch off her life support machine on January 17, 2018 – a day after a funeral was held for her parents and sister.

A relative of Jessica's told Daily Mail Australia that they were at peace knowing the actress was "back with her family."

They added: "We're all sad but she is with her family now. Her mum was her biggest supporter so I am sure she is in her arms."

Russell Kiefel

One of the original Home And Away stars, Russel Kiefel played Roy O' Neale during the nineties, before leaving the soap to appear on stage and as Russell Brennan in Neighbours in 2015.

However, Russell suddenly collapsed while performing in a theatre production at Brown's Mart Theatre in Darwin, Australia and died shortly afterwards on November 20, 2016, aged 65 years old.

Tributes from both Home And Away and Neighbours stars were paid to the actor, with Neighbours Sheila Canning actress Collette Mann saying on social media: "I am very very sad to say that the wonderful actor, Russell Kiefel who played Russell Brennan in 2015 on @neighbours passed away yesterday. All our prayers and thoughts are with his wife Katrina and his beloved boys #gonetoosoon #russellbrennan #vale."

Travis Burns, who played his onscreen son in Neighbours also added: "So sad to hear the passing of Russell Kiefel today. It was an absolute honour to work with you. Rest in peace."

Ben Unwin

Ben Unwin joined Home And Away in 1996 as Jesse McGregor, after originally auditioning for another part in the soap.

However he became a fan favourite as Jesse, playing the role for over four years before leaving in 2000. He later returned to Summer Bay for another stint between 2002-2005.

Sadly 14 years later, police confirmed that Ben had died after his body was discovered at the bottom of a 300ft waterfall called Minyon Falls in 2019.

A police statement said: "Police attended Minyon Falls, Whian Whian, responding to a concern for welfare.

"The body of a 41-year-old man was located. The death has not been treated as suspicious."

Tributes from fans and fellow stars from the world of entertainment poured in for the actor, with Chloe Richards actress Kirsty Wright sharing a photograph of her and Ben on set.

She captioned the post: "I'm completely lost for words," adding: "I sit here, with tears, as I look through old photos of us on our magical journey into adulthood. I feel privilaged to have known you the way I did. I saw into your beautiful soul and you saw me."

A spokesperson for Channel 7, who broadcast Home and Away in Australia, also added: "Dieter was a much-loved Home and Away cast member…We send our sincere condolences to Dieter’s family and friends during this very difficult time."

Kimberley Cooper, who played Gypsy Smith, told News Australia: "He was a gift to come to work with every day and to be on the receiving end of his friendship was to know unwavering support, loyalty and love."

Annalise Braakensiek

Annalise Braakensiek was already an international star after becoming a model at the age of 16, later landing the role of Lise in Home And Away in 1998.

However in 2019, the star is reported to have written a series of posts by the actress on Instagram, with one saying: "Everything seems to feel twisted and upside down at the moment," while another addressed her split from husband of 16 years Danny Goldberg.

Her friends and family later called the police after they became worried for Annalise, with police later confirming that the actress had been found dead at her apartment in Sydney on January 6, 2019.

Police later said that there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the 46 year old's death, but no cause of death has since been confirmed.

Actor Rob Shehadie, who had starred alongside Annalise in the Australian comedy Fat Pizza, paid tribute to the star on Twitter, saying: "So sad and gutted to hear about the passing of Annalise Braakensiek, she was an amazing person. I will always cherish the great memories we had on the set of Fat Pizza and on tour. God rest your soul Annalise."

As well as being an actress, Annalise was an activist and an ambassador for suicide prevention organisation R U OK?, with Brendan Maher, CEO of R U OK? saying in a statement: "We are still processing the news we have heard today.

"We couldn’t have asked for a more genuine, kind and sincere spokesperson.

"Nothing we have ever asked of Annalise was too much, she has stepped up time and time again to share our message, even when she was going through her own tough times.

"Our team sends condolences to her family and friends at this devastating time."

Megan Connelly

Megan Connelly played Rebecca Nash in Home And Away, after original Rebecca actress Belinda Emmett was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Belinda later died aged 32 in 2006 following her cancer diagnosis, just one year after she married her TV presenter husband Rove McManus.

Five years before, Megan Connelly was also found dead at a relative's home on September 6, 2001, aged 27 years old.

It was later reported by outlets including The Independent that the actress had died of a reported drug overdose.

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