Though it’s only April, the world has already lost so much. We’re sorrowful for the tragedies that have already occurred and we mourn the loss of these famous faces who have died in 2016. For those of us who’ve followed the journeys of these incredible souls, it can be a heart breaking time. We’ve all seen their works of art, heard their performances, been inspired by their drive to do what they love, and witnessed the touching funeral arrangements in their honour.
Now, we can only remember the legacy they’ve left behind. This article is in memory of the individuals who’ve left their mark on the world and have now passed on from the world.
Celebrity Deaths in 2016 - Those We've Lost Too Soon
While many of us know her as Princess Leia from the Star Wars film series, Carrie Fisher continues to be a cultural icon and role model. Speaking out about her experiences with sexism, bipolar disorder and drug addiction, Fisher was not only an amazing actress, but also an incredible individual in her own right. Carrie Fisher passed away from a heart attack on the 27th of December.
An illustrious actress, singer, cabaret performer, businesswoman, and humanitarian, Debbie Reynolds is well known primarily for her roles on the silver screen. From being the star of Singin' in the Rain to Charlotte's Web - and even having a stint on Will & Grace, Reynolds' career has spanned decades and had an impact on many. Reynolds passed away one day after her daughter, Carrie Fisher on the 28th of December.
George Michael rose to fame as part of the music duo, Wham! which released hits such as Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go. He also had an amazing solo career as an artist, with timeless singles such as Careless Whisper and Praying for Time. Michael was also an active campaigner for LGBT rights, raising funds for HIV/AIDS charities. Michael passed away in his Oxfordshire home on the 25th of December.
When David Bowie passed away on the 10th of January, the world lost a British icon, a music legend and a beautiful human. His musical career spanned more than five decades and his humanitarian work was an incredible testament to his character. His final album, Blackstar, was released two days before his death.
Many children and young adults knew him as the scary Professor Snape from Harry Potter. However, Rickman’s acting career spanned decades, demonstrating incredible diversity of roles and immense ability across the silver screen and the stage. Alan Rickman passed away on the 14th of January from cancer.
Gene Wilder was a magician on stage, with many of us knowing him from his iconic role as Willy Wonka in ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’. He added his magic to many other films and productions throughout his career, most notably working with Mel Brooks and comedian Richard Pryor. Gene passed away on the 29th of August at the age of 83.
As a renowned Canadian singer, songwriter, poet, painter and novelist, Leonard Cohen has had an extremely varied creative life. Regardless of what form it was in, his art touched many souls and hearts. Cohen released his last album, You Want It Darker three weeks before his death on the 7th of November at the age of 82.
Sir Terry Wogan
As one of the most recognised faces (and voices!) of British radio and television, Sir Terry Wogan will be missed. For decades he played the part of presenter, host, DJ and more, earning himself a knighthood in 2005. On the 31st January, Sir Wogan lost his battle with cancer.
Ronnie Corbett was a Scottish actor, a writer, a broadcaster and, above all, comic genius. While his longest and most notable stint in the show Two Ronnies is what drew him the crowds, his infectious humour and personality made him a household name. His touching funeral was crowded by his comic friends who all demonstrated the simple and heart breaking reality that sometimes in grief, there is still love and laughter.
American actress Doris Roberts enjoyed a long and fruitful career, receiving five Emmys and many more awards. While she’ll no doubt be remembered for her part in Everybody Loves Raymond, she also appeared in flicks such as National Lampoon’s Christmas. On the 17th of April, Roberts passed away at the age of 90.
As an American singer and songwriter, Merle Haggard became a country music icon with a tendency to blend traditional country themes with more subversive lyrics centring on poverty and social issues. Following his time spent in prison, he emerged as the quintessential poetic American voice, to be remembered for years to come. He passed away on the 6th of April, surrounded by friends and family.
American novelist Harper Lee was renowned for her book, To Kill a Mockingbird. The book, a stunning exploration of racism in the deep South of the 1930s, won her critical acclaim, a Pulitzer Prize and the legacy as an American literary icon.
Gary Shandling was many incredible things throughout his life — an actor, director, voice artist, producer, comedian and writer. While he’s best known for his work on The Larry Sanders Show and the It’s Gary Shandling’s Show, he’s also to be celebrated for so many other reasons: his standup comedy, his incredible acting, his comedy genius. Shandling passed away at age 66.
The sudden passing of Prince is one of the most recent tragedies to rock the music world and the biggest surprise celebrity death in 2016. His flamboyant stage presence, innovative music and incredible talent has made him a beloved musical icon. Prince passed away at age 57, in his Minnesota home.
Though these are a mere handful of celebrity deaths in 2016 to mourn and remember, there are countless more individuals who’ve left their incredible marks upon the world, while also leaving the world far too early. All will be missed, all will be remembered. Who has shaped and inspired your life? We would love to hear your thoughts and stories.