Culture / Celebrities

Notable deaths of 2016: A grim look back at the year’s loss of celebrities, politicians and musicians

2016 is over — almost— and the year of sorrow comes to a close. We look at the notable deaths of each month and touch their achivements, from their respective industries.

Dec 31, 2016 | By Vimi Haridasan

Unless you happen to be the Grinch or have not been reading the news of late, you must know that 2016 has dealt us with more heartbreaks than we care to handle. It is safe to say that not one month — except for October— spared us. Let’s hope that the final day of 2016 is free of bad news and carries us into a new year full of joy and happiness. In the mean time, we revisit the losses that were not just confined to Hollywood or the world of music as notable names in politics also made the list. Get those tissues ready, the following may just bring a tear or two to your eyes.


In the first half of January alone, we were dealt with two blows. We should have seen the signs when news of David Bowie’s death reached us. It was the beginning of a long list that may or may not have a few new additions. Four days after Bowie’s passing, the universe was robbed of Alan Rickman, the British thespian who is best known for his role as Professor Snape in Harry Potter. Before the month was out, fans of the Eagles were mourning the loss of Glenn Frey, the band’s co-founder.

FebruaryHarper Lee

The month of February brought along news that was just as sad with the passing of supreme court judge Anthony Scallia, and Harper Lee (above) who was the talent behind “To kill a mockingbird”.


Maintaining the momentum of the first two months, was the passing of former first lady Nancy Regan and the Beatles’ record producer George Martin. A Grammy winner and member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Martin was sometimes known as the “fifth Beatle”. The end of March saw the loss of former Oscar winner Patty Duke and the talented architect Zaha Hadid (above).


In April, we saw purple rain fall, with the death of award winning musician Prince. Upon his passing, tributes began to pour in from around the world with many looking back on his unique sense of style and ability to transcend generations with his music.


For those who thought June would bring some respite, the month ushered in the passing of Muhammad Ali. With his undefeatable spirit and passion for making the world a better place, the world came together to mourn the loss of a man who fought for a better future, both in and out of the boxing ring. Another tragedy struck that same month, with the death of Anton Yelchin (above) who found fame in “Star Trek” film reboot. At the age of 27, his loss was one that had come too soon.


The “Happy Days” were numbered in July, when news of director Garry Marshall’s passing broke. As the creator of the hit 80s TV show and man behind movies such as Pretty Woman and The Princess Diaries, it spelled the end of an era for women who enjoyed the fairytale creations.


Gene Wilder was another departure that hit close to home in August. Best remembered for his role as Willy Wonka, the actor had been battling Alzheimer’s disease in private for several years.


The world of politics mourned the loss of Israel’s former president and nobel peace prize winner Shimon Peres. Thought of as the last of the country’s founding father’s, he also served as Israel’s prime minister twice.


Best known for her role as the upbeat mother in “The Brady Bunch”, Florence Henderson was another entry to the list. As the first TV mom, she first began her career on Broadway before branching out into movies and television.


As a reminder that the grim reaper did not seem to share in the holiday cheer with the rest of us, the world woke to news of singer George Michael’s death on Christmas day. While his death was brought on by natural causes, those who grew up listening to his music felt the loss. Just days later, the sci-fi universe lost its very own princess. As an actor, writer and advocate of mental health, Carrie Fisher had played the iconic role of Princess Leia in Star Wars. The final entry — thus far — was one that many say had been brought on by a broken heart. Fisher’s mother Debbie Reynolds, the star of “Singin’ in the Rain” passed away just one day after, at the age of 84.

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