The Late Brother of Joaquin Phoenix: River Phoenix, A Life of Talent & Tragedy

Mon Jun 12 2023
By   Prajwol

In the world of entertainment, shocking news often reverberates through the industry. when the news of the untimely death of an American singer and actor, River Phoenix, hit Hollywood, people were left stunned.

The brother of the Oscar-winning actor, Joaquin Phoenix passed away on October 31, 1993. River left behind his legacy to his siblings. 

Until Now Singer River's Death: Who Was With River Phoenix When He Died?

River Phoenix died at the very young age of 23. He passed away in The Viper Room which is a club in Los Angelos. The club which was partially owned by the Hollywood star Johny Depp, was used by celebrities to escape from their limelight.

River Phoenix Obituary, he died at the age of 23.
River Phoenix Obituary: Died at the age of 23. Source: Pinterest

Phoenix and his girlfriend, Samantha Mathis, alongside his sibling Joaquin and Rain, were at the club. According to his girlfriend Mathis, she initially thought they were just dropping River's siblings and going to her house.

However, as some people in The Viper Room requested River to play with them, he could not refuse. Samantha was not okay with it. Later, a Bouncer from the LA club, The Viper Room, escorted the Until Now singer out of the club.

Actor River Phoenix and Samantha Mathis spotted at The Viper Room
Actor River Phoenix and Samantha Mathis spotted at were The Viper Room. Source: Pinterest

American singer River was feeling uncomfortable. His loved ones, i.e. his brother Joaquin and Rain, as well as his girlfriend Samantha, called 911. But it was too late and the singer was dead. His ashes were scattered at his family's ranch in Micanopy, Florida.

What Was River Phoenix's Cause Of Death?

Dark Blood actor River Phoenix died due to a drug overdose. Combined drug intoxication was cited as the cause of the celebrity death. It was found that Phoenix had consumed a mix of cocaine and heroin.

Phoenix's close colleagues and family members knew he was into drugs. He had remained two months sober while filming for Dark Blood. He quenched his thirst for drugs just after returning to LA.

River started binge consumption of drugs which ultimately lead to his untimely death. His girlfriend, Samantha, had also noticed that Phoenix was high on the night of his death. Samantha said:

“I knew something was wrong that night, something I didn’t understand. I didn’t see anyone doing drugs but he was high in a way that made me feel uncomfortable – I was in way over my head" 

River Phoenix's Legacy & Impacts On His Sibling's Life

I Love You To Death actor, River Phoenix's influence on his younger brother Joaquin Phoenix was significant. The Oscar-winning actor Joaquin has spoken about feeling his presence and guidance in his life and work. 

Joker actor Joaquin Phoenix spotted with his son River Phoenix.
Joker actor Joaquin Phoenix was spotted with his son River Phoenix. Source: Pinterest

The Joker actor, Joaquin also named his son River after his late brother. River's life and work have also inspired the non-profit organization The River Phoenix Center for Peacebuilding, which works on social justice issues and conflict resolution.

Rain Phoenix has released an album dedicated to him. She has always tried to be like his older brother. Furthermore, Jodean Buttom his half-sister also looks up to him and remembers him to this day.

River Phoenix's Love Life Before His Death

The Hollywood actor, Phoenix was with actress Samantha Mathis when he died. The couple started dating in 1992 until the death separated them.

River Phoenix and his girlfriend Samantha Mathis.
River Phoenix and his girlfriend Samantha Mathis. Source: Pinterest

Mathis remembers she had felt a connection with the Until Now singer since they were 19. River had asked for a cigarette from her in the nightclub.

Besides this, Phoenix had also dated other women in the past. Here is the list of Women Who River Phoenix Dated:

Girlfriend      Dating Period
Samantha Mathis       1992-1993
Suzanne Solgot             1989-1993
Marlee Matlin1988 (Rumored)
Martha Plimpton1986-1989

Phoenix's First Girlfriend Martha Plimpton

River Phoenix started dating Martha Plimpton, a co-star from The Mosquito Coast at the age of 15 in 1986. Initially, they could not stand each other but things turned out differently later.

The celebrity couple, Phoenix and Plimpton, was deep in love at a young age. They were both vegan and avoided wearing furs.

River Phoenix and his first girlfriend Martha Plimpton.
River Phoenix and his first girlfriend Martha Plimpton. Source: Pinterest

Silent Tongue actor Phoenix once came out crying from the restaurant after his girlfriend Martha ordered Shellfish. River was very sensitive in this type of matter and wanted to protect animal rights

Their lovely relationship, however, came to an end in 1989 after being together for 3 years. The two never talked about the reason for their breakup. Many people believe it was due to River's drug problem.

River Phoenix Had A Net Worth Of $5 Million At The Time Of His Death

The American actor and singer, River Phoenix was estimated to have a net worth of $5 Million at the time of death. Being able to amass this huge fortune at such a young age shows how talented the late actor was.

River started his acting career in 1982 with the TV Series Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. During his lifetime, he had 26 credits as an actor and numerous accolades.

River Phoenix and Wil Wheaton in the car during a shoot.
River Phoenix and Wil Wheaton in the car during a shoot. Source: Facebook Malati di Cinema

Joaquin's brother, River, held the title of promising actor of his generation. Furthermore, he was also into music and had formed a band alongside his sister Rain. 

After the band, Aleka's Attic, splitter in 1992, Phoenix continued to perform and write songs. He used to live a low-key life even after getting fame.

River Phoenix's Tragic Early Life

The Mosquito Coast actor River's life was full of tragic moments. He went through a lot during his early days too. His father, John Lee Bottom, became the archbishop of the cult group "The Children of God", and they went to San Juan.

River Phoenix with his siblings.
River Phoenix with his siblings. Source: Pinterest

Phoenix grew up in poverty and to manage food for the day, he had to work at a very young age. His siblings Joaquin, Rain, Summer, and Liberty all had to work to bring food to the table. Likewise, the cult group was forcing the child into sexual activities.

Later, River's family left the cult group and got themselves smuggled out in 1978 by a toy-filled freighter. Known by the surname Bottom, River took the surname of his mother Arlynn to start a new life.

Phoenix's Father, John Lee Bottom Passed Away In 2015

The pain of seeing their child's death is far worse than anything. One of the unfortunate people to see his child's death before him was John Lee Bottom.

Bottom died in the year 2015 after his long battle with cancer. River's father, John Lee, was 68 years old when he left this world. 



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