Last year we saw an unfortunate steady stream of notable celebrity deaths including many legendary actors and musicians that we grew up with. Some passed at great old ages while others left us way too soon. And while there’s more to remember than just celebrities when we reflect on 2016, we wanted to take a moment to pay tribute to some of our favorite stars who left the spotlight this past year.
Patty Duke died at age 69 in March. In April, Merle Haggard passed on his 70th birthday, WWE wrestling legend Joanie “Chyna” Laurer died at the young age of 46 and musical legend Prince passed at age 57. In June, boxing great Muhammad Ali passed away at 74 after his long battle with Parkinson’s disease. Just recently we lost 95-year-old John Glenn, the first man to orbit the earth (1962) and later the oldest man (at the age of 77) to head into space (1998).
Other beloved stars and celebrities who passed in 2016 include Gene Wilder, Nancy Reagan, Gary Shandling, Maurice White, Alan Rickman and David Bowie. Just recently we lost: Alan Thicke, the Canadian actor who became a recognizable father figure on the TV sitcom, Growing Pains in the 1980’s; Florence Henderson, Mrs. Brady from the sitcom The Brady Bunch; Leonard Cohen, the singer-songwriter that brought us “Hallelujah”; and the legendary golfer Arnold Palmer.
At the end of last year, we also lost Star Wars and female icon Carrie Fisher, along with her mother Debbie Reynolds of “Singing in the Rain” fame, the following day. The holidays also saw the passing of music legend George Michael.
Other celebrities whose deaths in 2016 may have received less publicity include: Jean Shepard, one of the first women country singers in history; Kenny Baker, the British actor who played R2-D2 in the famous Star Wars films; Bill Cunningham, the famous fashion photographer from the New York Times; and Joseph Medicine Crow, the last surviving war chief of Montana’s Crow tribe.
NBC put together an even more comprehensive list of 2016 celebrity deaths than we could compile here, a lovely tribute to some of Hollywood’s favorites.
The number of famous people who died in 2016 is staggering, and just about every month brought the loss of yet another great entertainer. On occasion, a celebrity death may have an odd or interesting story behind it, while other times they succumb to old age or an unfortunate illness or accident. And while many of us follow celebrity news and trends, we understand that a lot of people suffered personal loss in the form of the passing of a loved one, family member, or friend last year. Our heart goes out to all who lost someone they loved, and wish you a better 2017. If you or someone you know is dealing with the loss of a loved one, we put together this guide to help you with the steps to take after a loved one passes away. Of course, at VitalChek.com you can also order death certificates or any other vital records you may need to help get affairs in order, so that you can look forward to the year ahead.