Troubled singer Billie Holiday was laid to rest today (July 21, 1959) in New York.
Billie died in as she lay suffering in a hospital bed, shortly after she was arrested for possession of heroin.
Thousands of people attended the legendary singer’s funeral, which took place at St. Paul The Apostle Roman Catholic Church, on 60th Street and Columbus Avenue in New York.
Entertainers like Earl Grant, Gene Krupa, and John Hammond attended the funeral for Billie Holiday, who was just 44-years-old when she died.
The singer, who recorded her first records in 1933 at the age of 18, had become a shell of her former self.
In March of 1959, her closest confidant, soulmate, and musical partner Lester Young died.
Lester Young’s death took a heavy toll on Billie Holiday, who continued to drink and do drugs at an even more alarming pace.
By her 44th birthday, Billie Holiday weighed just 95 pounds and was seriously addicted to alcohol and heroin.
In May 1959, friends for Billie Holiday became even more concerned, when she collapsed on the stage, during what would be her final public appearance, at the Phoenix Theater in Greenwich Village.
That same month, doctors diagnosed Billie Holiday as suffering from acute cirrhosis of the liver, as well as heart disease.
Incredibly, Billie Holiday’s addiction to heroin continued, even as she lay dying in the hospital.
On June 11, 1959, a nurse discovered a white envelope with heroin inside of it, tucked in Billie Holiday’s hospital bed.
Police arrested and charged the singer in her hospital bed, but authorities agreed to wait until the singer’s health recovered before she would have to stand trial.
Billie Holiday finally died from her diseases on July 17, 1959.