This is, I think, a good and thoughtful essay from NPR ("Does It Help To Get Angry At Someone With Addiction?") on Philip Seymour Hoffman, addiction, forgiveness, and so forth.

It was inspired, however, by a piece from the Washington Post that rubs me very much the wrong way. It begins:

The death of Cory Monteith, from a drug overdose, was sad. But the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman makes me angry. Monteith was a kid wrestling with addiction, no doubt exacerbated by an environment in which the opportunity for self destruction was ever present. Hoffman was an artist, and his death forecloses so many possibilities, roles never played, characters never created, ideas never expressed.

So a 31 year-old is a kid who had an addiction, while a 46 year-old is an adult who owed it to his art to keep living. The question in the title of the NPR piece refers to anger more broadly (at parents, friends, etc. who struggle with addiction) rather than to one's feelings about an actor.

Still, I'd tweak the question a bit and ask the author of the original article: what would give a fan the right to be angry at Hoffman (assuming we're talking about someone who isn't a relative or friend, in which case the situation gets considerably muddier)? Feel bad for him and his family? Sure, especially for his kids. Feel bad at the loss of a talented individual? Okay. But be angry at someone you don't know because his death means you don't get to watch his movies? No…he didn't owe his fans anything, nor did he owe it to his art to keep living (had he decided that acting was bad for his recovery and walked away, would anyone have the gall to get angry about that?). He may have owed it to himself and his family, but not us, no matter how much we appreciated his work.

I'm not even sure that I would be bothered if the author had used the passive voice and said that he was angry about a talent/career that had been lost—it could mean being angry at Hoffman, but it could just as easily, and far more charitably, read as being angry at the circumstances that led to Hoffman's overdose.

Sorry for getting rambly; I read both pieces this morning and it's been rolling around in my head all day.