Edith Piaf and Marcel Cerdan
The chanteuse Edith Piaf never forgave herself for the death of her great love, the world boxing champion Marcel Cerdan. Though he was married with three children, the two fell for each other passionately in the summer of 1948; newspapers around the globe reported on their affair, calling the pair "the queen of French music and the king of the ring". After being abandoned by her parents, and losing her own two-year-old daughter to meningitis in her teens, the diminutive "little sparrow" seemed finally to have found happiness. She dedicated her song "L'hymne and#224; l'amour" to Cerdan; it featured the lyrics, "If one day life tears you from me/If you die and are far away from me... I will die too". The words turned out to be prescient: on tour in New York in October 1949, Piaf pleaded with Cerdan to fly over and visit. Initially reluctant due to his fear of flying, he finally agreed, only for the plane to crash over the Azores, killing all on board. The singer never recovered from the incident, although she tried to continue her career. Instead, she fell into a deep depression, numbing her grief at Marcel's death with alcohol and drugs.