2. Kobe Bryant $400 mil • DIED: January 26, 2020 (age 41) CAUSE: Helicopter crash The Los Angeles Lakers legend had a stake in BodyArmor sports drink; in November 2021, Coca-Cola bought the 70% of BodyArmor it didn’t already own for $5.6 billion. Bryant’s estate received a reported $400 million, according to the Wall Street Journal.

3. David Bowie $250 mil • DIED: January 10, 2016 (69) CAUSE: Cancer The sale of Bowie’s publishing catalog and masters to Warner Chappell in January generated enough income to make Major Tom jealous, to the tune of $250 million.

★ 4. Elvis Presley $110 mil • DIED: August 16, 1977 (42) CAUSE: Heart attack His estate didn’t make a ton directly off the smash Elvis biopic, but the film is expected to lift Presley’s earnings through 2024.

5. James Brown $100 mil • DIED: December 25, 2006 (73) CAUSE: Heart failure In December 2021, New York– based independen­t publisher Primary Wave acquired a stake in the Godfather of Soul’s music rights, as well as his name and likeness, for an estimated $100 million. Brown’s estate will reportedly use some of the proceeds to fund academic scholarshi­ps.

★ 6. Michael Jackson $75 mil DIED: June 25, 2009 (50) CAUSE: Overdose/homicide With pandemic restrictio­ns lifted, Jackson’s Las Vegas Cirque de Soleil show is back in action and raking it in. There’s a new cash cow in the barn, too: MJ the Musical on Broadway has grossed an impressive $80 million since opening nine months ago.

7. Leonard Cohen $55 mil • DIED: November 7, 2016 (82) CAUSE: Fatal fall The Canadian’s iconic “Hallelujah” is one of the most-covered songs in history— there are hundreds of versions and counting—juicing Cohen’s annual royalty stream.

★ 8. Dr. Seuss • $32 mil DIED: September 24, 1991 (87) CAUSE: Cancer Theodor Geisel wrote more than 60 classics as Dr. Seuss, including Green Eggs and Ham, The Cat in the Hat and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The books still sell—some $16 million worth since last November—along with a Netflix deal, plus lots of merchandis­ing.

9. Jeff Porcaro $25 mil • DIED: August 5, 1992 (38) CAUSE: Heart attack Porcaro is probably best known as the drummer for Toto—he cowrote the band’s biggest hit, “Africa”—but he was also a legendary studio musician who kept the beat on Michael Jackson’s album Thriller.

★ 10. Charles Schulz • $24 mil DIED: February 12, 2000 (77) CAUSE: Cancer Apple TV+ now owns the rights to It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and A Charlie Brown Christmas and this year will make the shows available for free to nonsubscri­bers on certain dates.

11. Juan Gabriel $23 mil • DIED: August 28, 2016 (66) CAUSE: Heart attack The prolific Mexican singer and composer penned some 1,800 songs in his lifetime, moving an estimated 150 million albums and taking home three Latin Grammys. In April, Gabriel’s estate licensed the catalog of “El Divo de Juárez” to Universal Music Group.

★ 12. John Lennon $16 mil • DIED: December 8, 1980 (40) CAUSE: Homicide In addition to the usual royalties from his time as a Beatle and his solo work, Lennon’s estate collected his share of an estimated $20 million from Disney for its Peter Jackson–directed documentar­y series Get Back.

13. George Harrison $12 mil • DIED: Nov. 29, 2001 (58) CAUSE: Cancer Harrison likewise profited from the Get Back docuseries in addition to his annual solo and Fab Four royalties. His estate, along with Lennon’s, pulled in a few million more from the Beatles Cirque de Soleil show.

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