The year 2016 was indeed one of the worst years for celebrities and their fans and the world at large. The year saw the shocking deaths of several stars and famous figures from rock legend David Bowie to boxing legend Mohammed Ali to Hollywood icon Carrie Fisher. Below are some of the most famous celebrities who died in 2016.
David Bowie was a multi Grammy Award winning English singer-songwriter and actor famed for such hits as Space Oddity, Fame, Heroes, Let’s Dance, Starman and Ashes to Ashes. In 1996, he received his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. David Bowie died tragically on January 10, 2016 at the age of 69 after losing a long battle with liver cancer. At the time of his death, he was married to the Somali-born American model Iman, with whom he had a daughter named Alexandria. Bowie also had another child named Duncan Jones from his previous marriage to Mary Angela Barnett.
Quick Facts about David Bowie’s Death
- His official cause of death was liver cancer.
- He died in his apartment in New York City two days after he turned 69.
- According to Bowie’s wishes, no funeral was organized for him upon his passing.
- His body was cremated on January 12, 2016 in New Jersey and his ashes dispersed in Bali, Indonesia.
David Bowie was born in Brixton, London, England on January 8, 1947 to Margaret Mary and Haywood Stenton Jones. He was married twice. His first marriage was in 1970 to American model and actress Angie Bowie, with hom he had a son named Duncan Jones. The marriage ended in divorce in 1980. His second and last marriage was in 1992 to Somali-American model Iman. The couple had a daughter named Alexandrai Jones and remained married until Bowie’s tragic death in 2016 in New York City, New York, United States.
Alan Rickman was a renowned English actor and director remembered for his portrayal of the character Severus Snape in the Harry Potter series of films. His other notable film roles include Sheriff Nottingham from 1991’s Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Grigori Rasputin from 1996’s Rasputin: Dark Servant Of Destiny, Hilly Kristal from 2013’s CBGB, Lieutenant General Frank Benson from 2015’s Eye in the Sky and Absolem the Caterpillar from 2016’s Alice Through the Looking Glass. Rickman died tragically at the age of 69 in London, England after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.
At the time of his death, he was married to his longtime partner Rima Horton, the former Labor Party councilor and Economics lecturer. The couple had no children.
Quick Facts about Alan Rickman’s Death
- The official cause of his death was pancreatic cancer.
- He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in August 2015 after suffering a stroke.
- It was only after he died that the public knew he was battling terminal cancer.
- His death bore great resemblance to that of English singer and songwriter David Bowie, who had died four days earlier. Both Rickman and Bowie died at the same age and from existing terminal cancer which had been concealed from the public until their deaths.
Alan Rickman was born in 1946 in West London, England to Margaret and Bernard William Rickman. He grew up with a sister named Sheila and two brothers named Michael and David. In 2012, he got married to his longtime girlfriend Rima Horton. The marriage produced no children and lasted until his death in 2016.
Victoria Wood was a multiple BAFTA Award winning English actress, comedienne, screenwriter and songwriter best remembered for her work on the sketch series Victoria Wood as Seen on TV, the British television sitcom Dinnerladies and the 2006 television film Housewife, 49. Throughout her career, she was nominated for the BAFTA TV Awards 14 times, winning four of these nominations. Victoria Wood died at the age of 62 at her home in Highgate, London, England on April 20, 2016 after losing her battle with terminal cancer.
Quick Facts about Victoria Wood’s Death
- She died of terminal cancer, a disease she was diagnosed with in the latter part of 2015.
- She was able to keep the fact that she was suffering from cancer private until her death.
- She died peacefully at her home in London in the presence of her former husband Geoffrey Durham and their two children.
Victoria Wood was the last child of Nellie and Stanley Wood. She had three older siblings, including brother Chris Foote Wood, who grew up to become a politician and an author. She was married once to English actor and comedy magician Geoffrey Durham. The marriage lasted from 1980 to 2002 and produced two children.
Prince was a renowned American singer, songwriter, music producer and multi-instrumentalist who gained international stardom with such hits as Purple Rain, Kiss, I Wanna Be Your Lover, Let’s Go Crazy and When Doves Cry. Throughout his career, he won over 30 major awards, including an Academy Award in 1985 for his trademark song Purple Rain, 6 American Music Awards, 6 Brit Awards, 7 Grammy Awards, 3 Grammy Hall of Fame Awards and 1 Golden Globe Award. In addition to his numerous awards, in 2004, he was honored with an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Prince’s life tragically came to an end on April 21, 2016. He was 57 years old when he died after accidentally overdosing on fentanyl opoid.
Quick Facts about Prince’s Death
- Prince suffered from severe influenza in the days before his death.
- At 9:43 a.m. on April 21, 2016, authorities received a 9-1-1 call from Prince’s home at Paisley Park, Chanhassen, Minnesota. The caller first told the dispatcher that Prince was unconscious before going on to say that he had died. When emergency responders arrived at Prince’s home, they found him unconscious in an elevator and tried reviving him but to no avail. According to one of the paramedics, Prince had died about six hours before their arrival.
- Prince was pronounced dead at approximated 10:07 a.m.
- After a thorough investigation into Prince’s death, police said they were unable to find any evidence of foul play or suicide.
- The official cause of Prince’s death was an accidental overdose of fentanyl opoid.
- His body was cremated in accordance with his wishes.
- Following Prince’s death, several prominent figures across the globe mourned him, including U.S. President Barack Obama.
Prince was born on June 7, 1958 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States to Mattie Della and jazz musician John Lewis Nelson. He grew up with his younger sister singer Tika Evene (also known as Tyka). He also had several half-siblings. He was married twice. His first marriage was to dancer and singer Mayte Garcia in 1996. The couple had a son, who died in infancy. The marriage ended in 1999. His second marriage was to Manula Testolini in 2001. The marriage ended in divorce in 2006.
Muhammad Ali, also known by such nicknames as “The Greatest” and “The Champ”, was a legendary American professional boxer widely regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all time. He won his first heavyweight title in 1964 when he was only 22 years old. He won his second and third heavyweight titles in 1974 and 1978 respectively. In addition to winning multiple heavyweight titles, he also won numerous highly prestigious awards and honors such as the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Presidential Citizens Medal. In 1999, BBC honored him with the Sports Personality of the Century award. On June 3, 2016, Muhammad Ali, who had been battling Parkinson’s disease for several years, died of septic shock at a hospital in Phoenix, Arizona, United States. He was 74 years old.
Quick Facts about Muhammad Ali’s Death
- On June 2, 2016, Muhammad Ali was rushed to a hospital in Scottsdale, Phoenix, Arizona after he experienced difficulty breathing.
- His condition, which was initially said to be “fair”, became critical within hours and led to his death the following day – June 3, 2016.
- His official cause of death was septic shock.
- Following his death, famous figures such as U.S. President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan and Bill Clinton and many others paid tribute to him.
- Muhammad Ali’s funeral pallbearers included Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis and actor Will Smith.
Muhammad Ali was born to Odessa O’Grady Clay and Cassius Marcellus Clay Sr. in Louisville, Kentucky, United States on January 17, 1942. Throughout his life, he was married four times. His first marriage was to Sonji Roi from 1964 to 1966. In 1967, he got married to his second wife Belinda Boyd (later known as Khalilah Ali). After the demise of the marriage, he got married to actress Veronica Porsche. The marriage lasted from 1977 to 1986. His fourth and final marriage was to Yolanda Williams. This marriage lasted from 1986 until his death in 2016. He had at least 9 children, including former professional boxer Laila Ali.
Peter Vaughan was a noted British actor best remembered for his portrayal of such characters as Maester Aemon on the fantasy drama TV series Game of Thrones, Grouty on the TV sitcom Porridge and Charlie Johnson on the British TV sitcom Citizen Smith. On December 6, 2016, Vaughan died at the age of 93 in West Sussex, England. Peter Vaughan was born to to Eva Wright and Max Ohm in Wem, Shrophsire, England on April 4, 1923. He was married twice. His first marriage was to English actress Billie Whitelaw. The marriage lasted from 1952 to 1966. His second and last marriage was to actress Lillias Walker. He had no biological child of his own.
Zsa Zsa Gabor
Zsa Zsa Gabor was a celebrated Hungarian-born American actress who in 1936 was crowned Miss Hungary. After emigrating to America in 1941, Zsa Zsa went on enjoy a very successful career as an actress appearing in such films as 1952’s We’re Not Married, 1958’s Touch of Evil, 1966’s Picture Mommy Dead and 1984’s Frankenstein’s Great Aunt Tillie. On December 18, 2016, Gabor died at the age of 99 after suffering a massive cardiac arrest.
Quick Facts about Zsa Zsa Gabor’s Death
- She died at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, California from a cardiac arrest.
- She spent the last five years of her life on life support, and as of the time of her death, she was on life support.
- Her funeral was held at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills on December 30, 2016.
Zsa Zsa Gabor was born to Vilmos Gabor and Jolie Gabor in Budapest, Hungary on February 6, 1917. She grew up with two sisters Eva and Magda Gabor. Despite being married nine times, she had only one child, a daughter named Francesca Hilton who died of stroke in 2015. Francesca’s father was Conrad Hilton, the founder of the Hilton Hotels chain. At the time of Gabor’s death, she was married to Frédéric Prinz von Anhalt, whom she was 26 years older than.
Rick Parfitt was a renowned English guitarist who gained international stardom as a member of the rock band Status Quo, who are famous for songs such as In the Army Now, Pictures of Matchstick Men, Whatever You Want and Rockin’ All Over the World. As a member of Status Quo, Parfitt not only played rhythm guitar but also sang and wrote some of the band’s most famous songs. In 2010, he was honored with an OBE (Officers of the Order of the British Empire). On December 24, 2016, Parfitt died tragically from sepsis at a hospital in Marbella, Spain. He was 68 years old.
Quick Facts about Rick Parfitt’s Death
- On December 22, 2016, Parfitt was sent to a hospital in Marbella, Spain after suffering an infection from a shoulder injury from a previous fall.
- On December 24, 2016, he died from sepsis while at the Marbella hospital.
Rick Parfitt was born in Woking, Surrey, England on October 12, 1948. He got married for the first time to Marietta Boeker in 1973. The couple had two children, including a daughter named Heidi, who died tragically at the age of two after drowning in the family pool. His second marriage was in 1988 to Patty Beedon, with whom he had a son named Harry. His third and final marriage was to Lyndsay Whitburn in 2006. He and Lyndsay had two children together. At the time of his death, he and Lyndsay were separated.
George Michael was an English singer and songwriter who burst into international stardom as a member of the English musical duo Wham! who are known for hits such as Careless Whisper and Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go. After Wham! disbanded in 1986, Michael began a massively successful solo career, which saw him release such hits as One More Try, Jesus to a Child, Amazing, Father Figure and Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me with Elton John. Throughout his lifetime, he sold over 100 million albums across the globe, making him one of the best-selling musicians of all time. He also won several awards during his lifetime. Some of these notable awards included two Grammy Awards, four Ivor Novello Awards and three Brit Awards. On December 25, 2016, Michael was found dead in his home. He was 53 years old.
Quick Facts about George Michael’s Death
- Michael died in the early hours of Christmas Day in his bed at his home in Goring-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, England.
- His body was found by his boyfriend Fadi Fawaz.
- His manager revealed that he died of heart failure and that his death was peaceful.
- A post-mortem was conducted on his body four days after his death to find exactly what killed him, but the autopsy results were inconclusive.
George Michael was born to Lesley Angold and Kyriacos Panayiotou in London, England on June 25, 1963. He grew up with two older sisters Melanie and Yioda. Throughout his life, he never got married nor had any children, and at the time of his death, he was in a romantic relationship with his Australian gay partner Fadi Fawaz.
Carrie Fisher was an American actress and writer who made her film debut in the 1975 comedy film Shampoo. She went on to gain international stardom playing the character Princess Leia in the Star Wars series of films. Her other notable film credits include 1980’s The Blues Brothers, 1986’s Hannah and Her Sisters and 1989’s When Harry Met Sally… As a writer, she wrote a number of novels, most notably the bestselling semi-autobiography Postcards from the Edge, which came out in 1987. On December 27, 2016, at the age of 60, Fisher died tragically at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, California.
Quick Facts about Carrie Fisher’s Death
- On December 23, 2016, Fisher was on a commercial flight from London to Los Angeles when she went into a massive cardiac arrest about 15 minutes before her flight landed. And as soon as her flight landed at the Los Angeles International Airport, she was rushed by ambulance to the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and placed on a ventilator.
- In the morning of December 27, 2016, Fisher passed away at UCLA Medical Center.
- A day after Fisher died, her mother legendary actress Debbie Reynolds, who was completely heartbroken, suffered a stroke and died. According to reports, Debbie Reynolds’ last words before she passed away were the words “I want to be with Carrie”.
- Fisher and her mother Debbie will have a joint funeral and be buried together.
Carrie Fisher was born in Burbank, California on October 21, 1956 to actress Debbie Reynolds and singer Eddie Fisher. At the time of her death, she left behind her mother Debbie Reynolds, who died a day later, daughter Billie Lourd, younger brother Todd Fisher and two half-sisters Tricia and Joely Fisher. From 1983 to 1984, she and singer-songwriter Paul Simon were married. From 1991 to 1994, she was in a relationship with talent agent Bryan Lourd. The relationship produced her only child Billie.
Debbie Reynolds was an Academy Award winning American actress and singer whose notable film credits include 1950’s Three Little Words, 1952’s Singin’ in the Rain, 1964’s The Unsinkable Molly Brown and the American television sitcom Will & Grace. In 1997, Debbie became one of a handful of actors to receive two Hollywood Walk of Fame stars. A day after her daughter Carrie Fisher’s tragic death, Debbie suffered a severe stroke on December 28. 2016 and died few hours later at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles.
Quick Facts about Debbie Reynolds’ Death
- Her death came a day after her actress daughter Carrie Fisher died.
- Debbie died few hours after suffering a severe stroke.
- Shortly before dying, she reportedly uttered the words “I want to be with Carrie.”
- In addition to the funerals of Debbie and her daughter Carrie being held together, the pair will be buried together at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park cemetery in Glendale, California.
Debbie Reynolds was born to Maxene and Raymond Reynolds in El Paso, Texas on April 1, 1932. Throughout her life, she was married and divorced three times. Her first marriage was to singer Eddie Fisher, with whom she mothered her only two children: Carrie Fisher and Todd Fisher.
René Angélil was a Canadian talent manager, music producer and singer best remembered for being the husband and manager of singer Celine Dion. On January 14, 2016, Angélil died from cancer at the age of 73. His official cause of death was throat cancer. At the time of his death, he was married to Celine Dion, with whom he fathered three children. René Angélil 1942 – 2016.
Glenn Frey was a renowned American singer and songwriter best remembered for being one of the founders of the legendary rock band Eagles. After the Eagles broke up in 1980, Frey launched a successful solo career with the release of his 1982 debut album No Fun Aloud. Throughout his career with the Eagles, he won several prestigious awards, including six Grammy Awards. In 1998, he and the other members of the Eagles were honored with an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. On January 18, 2016, millions of Eagles fans all over the world were shocked when Frey died suddenly at the age of 67at the Columbia University Medical Center from complications related to rheumatoid arthritis, pneumonia and ulcerative colitis.He was married twice. His last marriage was in 1990 to Cindy Millican, with whom he fathered three children. At the time of his death, he and Millican were still married.
Christina Grimmie was an American singer and songwriter who burst into the limelight after appearing on the singing competition show The Voice. Her debut EP titled Find Me was released in 2011. On June 10, 2016, Grimmie’s young life came to a tragic end when a 27-year-old gunman named Kevin James Loibl fatally shot her The Plaza Live theater in Orlando, Florida while she was signing autographs after a performance. The gunman then turned the gun on himself and shot himself dead. Grimmie, who was shot four times, was rushed to the Orlando Regional Medical Center, where she unfortunately died from the gunshot injuries and a massive loss of blood. She was only 22 years old. Following Grimmie’s tragic murder, a number of celebrities paid tribute to her. Singer and actress Selena Gomez, who was Grimmie’s longtime friend, said her heart was totally broken by Grimmie’s sudden death.
William Christopher, was an American actor who gained international stardom portraying such character as Lester Hummel on the series Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. and Father Mulcahy on the hit TV series M*A*S*H. Christopher died at the age of 84 at his home in Pasadena, California on December 31, 2016. The cause of his death was small-cell carcinoma. At the time of his death, he was married to Barbara O’Conner, with whom he had two children.
Other celebrities who died in 2016
Other famous personalities who passed away in 2016 include the following:
- Nancy Reagan was an American stateswoman and actress best known for being the wife of Ronald Reagan, the 40th President of the United States of America. She served as America’s First Lady from 1981 to 1989. Nancy died at the age of 94 on March 6, 2016 in Bel Air, California. The official cause of her death was congestive heart failure.
- Phife Dawg, also known by the nickname the “Five Foot Assassin”, was an American rapper best remembered for being a member of the hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest whose famous songs include Award Tour, Bonita Applebum and Scenario. On March 22, 2016, at the age of 45, Phife died tragically in his home from complications related to diabetes – a disease he had been suffering from for over two decades.
- Patty Duke was an American actress and singer who won an Academy Award when she was only 16 years old for her portrayal of the character Helen Keller in the 1962 biographical film The Miracle Worker. Her other notable film roles include Natalie Miller in the 1969 film Me, Natalie and Marlene Chambers in 1970’s My Sweet Charlie for which she respectively won a Golden Globe Award and a Primetime Emmy Award. On March 29, 2016, she died suddenly from a ruptured intestine. She was 69 years old.
- Doris Roberts was an Emmy Award winning American actress and author best remembered for her portrayal of Marie Barone, the mother of Raymond Barone on the popular sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond. Her notable film credits include The Honeymoon Killers, Little Murders and Simple Justice. Roberts died on April 17, 2016 in Los Angeles at the age of 90. The official cause of her death was stroke.
- Anton Yelchin was an American actor who gained international stardom portraying the character Pavel Chekov in the Star Trek film series. Away from the Star Trek films, Yelchin was also known for appearing in such films as 2001’s Along Came a Spider, 2009’s Terminator Salvation and 2011’s Fright Night. On Jun 19, 2016, Yelchin died in a freak accident which saw him being crushed to death by his own car outside his home in Los Angeles. He was only 27 years old.
- Garry Marshall was a renowned American director, actor and writer best remembered for being the creator of the American television sitcom Happy Days. He was also known for directing such films as 1984’s The Flamingo Kid, 1990’s Pretty Woman, 2001’s The Princess Diaries and 2010’s Valentine’s Day. He died of pneumonia at the age of 81 on July 19, 2016 in Burbank, California.
- Bobby Vee was an American singer known for such hits as Devil or Angel, Run to Him, Rubber Ball and The Night Has a Thousand Eyes. On October 24, 2016, at the age of 73, Vee died in Rogers, Minnesota, United States from complications related to Alzheimer’s disease.
- Gene Wilder was a Primetime Emmy Award winning American actor and writer remembered for starring in such films as 1971’s Willy Wonka & the Chocolate, 1976’s Silver Streak and 1989’s See No Evil, Hear No Evil. In 2003, he received his first Emmy Award for his guest role on the sitcom Will & Grace. On August 29, 2016, Wilder died at his home in Stamford, Conneticut from complications relating to Alzheimer’s disease. He was 83 years old.
- Alexis Arquette, also known as “Eva Destruction”, was an American transgender actor, activist and cabaret performer who is best remembered for her male-to-female transitioning. Away from her gender transitioning, Arquette is also remembered for appearing in several films such as The Wedding Singer, Clubland and Blended. On September 11, 2016, Arquette, who had been living with HIV for 29 years, passed away after suffering a cardiac arrest. According to members of her family, who were by her side at the time of her death, she died while listening to David Bowie’s “Starman”.