Celebrity Deaths: 10 Stars Who Died In 2016
Sadly, 2016 was marked by the deaths of several entertainers and other famous figures. While by no means a complete list of those who passed away in the past 12 months, below are 10 of the year’s most notable deaths.
1. Prince tragically died from a fatal overdose at his Paisley Park mansion in Minnesota on April 21 at the age of 57. Just a week before his death, the music legend was rushed to the hospital after overdosing on Percocet aboard a private jet from Georgia to Minnesota, prompting an emergency landing in Illinois. Following Prince’s death, President Obama said in a statement, “Today, the world lost a creative icon. Michelle and I join millions of fans from around the world in mourning the sudden death of Prince. He was a virtuoso instrumentalist, a brilliant bandleader, and an electrifying performer.”
2. David Bowie died on January 10 at the age of 69, following a year-and-a-half battle with cancer. The music icon released his latest album, Blackstar, only two days prior to his death. Over the course of his 40-year career, the glam rocker had a number of hits, including “Space Oddity,” “Rebel Rebel,” “Under Pressure,” and “Let’s Dance.” Bowie was also known for his androgynous character Ziggy Stardust, the protagonist of his 1972 classic, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust.
3. George Michael was found dead in his bed at his home in England on Christmas Day. The singer was 53. At the time of his passing, his manager said he died of heart failure, but a post-mortem has so far deemed the cause of Michael’s death “inconclusive.” Michael first became famous in the 1980s as part of the duo Wham! He later embarked of a successful solo career that included such hits as “Faith,” “Freedom,” and “Careless Whisper.” Michael, who came out as gay in 1998, announced earlier this year that he was releasing a new album in 2017, along with a documentary about his life.
4. Florence Henderson, best known for playing Carol Brady on “The Brady Bunch,” died of heart failure on Thanksgiving at the age of 82. The actress passed away surrounded by family and friends at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Just days earlier, Henderson was at the “Dancing With The Stars” season finale. A past competitor on the dance show, Henderson attended several tapings this past season to support contestant Maureen McCormick, who played her daughter on “The Brady Bunch.”
5. Alan Thicke tragically died on December 13 at the age of 69. The actor suffered a heart attack while playing hockey with his son, Carter. Thicke, of course, was best known for playing the patriarch, Jason Seaver, on “Growing Pains,” a role for which he received a Golden Globe nomination in 1988. More recently, he and his family starred on the reality show, “Unusually Thicke.” He also appeared on “Fuller House,” and made a cameo appearance as himself on the pilot of “This Is Us.”
5. Best known for his roles as Professor Snape in the Harry Potter movie series and Hans Gruber in the Die Hard films, actor and director Alan Rickman passed away on January 14 at the age of 69, following a secret battle with cancer. Rickman’s death came nearly four years after he married Rima Horton, whom he had been dating since the 1970s. The news of his passing prompted tremendous fan and celebrity reaction on social media. Stephen Fry was one of the first to pay tribute to the actor, writing, “What desperately sad news about Alan Rickman. A man of such talent, wicked charm and stunning screen & stage presence. He’ll be sorely missed.”
6. Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory star Gene Wilder died at his home in Connecticut on August 26 at the age of 83, due to complications from Alzheimer’s disease. A comic legend, Wilder starred in several Mel Brooks films, including Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, and The Producers. Wilder was also a collaborator with Richard Pryor on such films as Silver Streak, Stir Crazy, and See No Evil, Hear No Evil. Additionally, Wilder was an accomplished stage actor, screenwriter, director and novelist.
7. Carrie Fisher died on December 27, just five days after going into cardiac arrest during a flight from London to Los Angeles. Fisher was 60. Best known for playing Princess Leia in the Star Wars franchise, Fisher made her film debut in the 1970 comedy Shampoo, starring Warren Beatty and Goldie Hawn. In addition to being a movie star, Fisher was also a successful novelist and screenwriter. The mother of “Scream Queens” star Billie Lourd, Fisher herself grew up in Hollywood, the daughter of Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, who died one day after Fisher.
Following the heartbreaking passing of her daughter, Reynolds suffered a stroke on December 28 before dying later that day. The 84-year-old actress was discussing Fisher’s funeral with her son Todd Fisher when she fell ill and was rushed to the hospital. Reynolds’s first big movie role was the 1952 hit Singin’ In The Rain. That was followed by several other films, including The Unsinkable Molly Brown, for which she received an Academy Awards nomination. She also had her own TV series, “The Debbie Reynolds Show,” and was later nominated for an Emmy for playing Debra Messing’s mom on “Will & Grace.” In 2015, Reynolds was awarded an honorary Oscar for her humanitarian work.
8. Star Trek star Anton Yelchin died tragically on June 19 at the age of 27 when his Grand Cherokee Jeep rolled backwards and pinned him against the security gate at his Los Angeles home. The Russian-born Yelchin began acting as a child. After appearing in Steven Spielberg’s miniseries “Taken,” he went on to star on other TV shows and in movies. At the time of his shocking death, Yelchin had just wrapped production on Star Trek Beyond and was set to start shooting the TV series “Mr. Mercedes.” Since his passing, his parents have filed a wrongful death suit against Fiat Chrysler for having “significant defects” in Yelchin’s car, leading to the actor’s death.
9. A former Miss Hungary, Zsa Zsa Gabor died at the age of 99 on December 18. While Gabor appeared in a number of movies, including Moulin Rouge, Lili, and Touch of Evil, she was best known for being a socialite who married nine times. The actress ultimately died of a heart attack, but she had been plagued by poor health for nearly a decade and a half beforehand. Gabor’s health started to decline after she was partially paralyzed in a car crash in 2002. She also suffered a stroke in 2005, and later broke her hip, had a lung infection, and had her right leg amputated. For the last few years of her life, Gabor was bedridden.
10. Boxing legend Muhammed Ali passed away at the age of 74 on June 3. In 1984, Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, which was likely precipitated by the head trauma he received from boxing. An Olympic gold medalist and three-time heavyweight champion, The Greatest, as he was known, made his last public appearance two months earlier at Phoenix’s 22nd annual Celebrity Fight Night, which benefitted several charities, including the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center. Following his death, Ali received tributes from a slew of luminaries, including Will Smith and President Obama. He was also eulogized at his funeral by Billy Crystal and President Bill Clinton.
More stars we lost in 2016 are featured in the gallery below. Gossip Cop again offers condolences to families, friends and fans.