Saying goodbye to those we love is never easy, even when it comes to icons and celebrities.
Although we may not know these individuals on a personal level, it’s still an adjustment to not see them grace the red carpet or the big screen again.
However, that doesn’t mean their memory won’t live on. Whether we’re watching the works they’ve already brought to life, or are reading their autobiographies, or even just reminiscing in our favorite photos of them on social media, the memories of these stars will live on for many decades to come.
We’re taking a moment to reflect on some of the celebrities that we’ve lost this year. Below is our recap, in no particular order.
Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant
Longtime Lakers star Kobe Bryant, 41, his daughter Gianna, 13, and six others died Jan. 26 in a helicopter crash near his home in Calabasas, California. All of the helicopter occupants were on their way to basketball games at the Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks at the time of the crash. You can read the full story here.
Famed host of Jeopardy! Alex Trebek lost his battle with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer on Nov. 8 at the age of 80. He was the host of the gameshow for over 30 years and first announced his diagnosis in March of 2019. Read more about his legacy here.
The British weightlifter-turned-actor who was the body behind Darth Vader, not the voice, in the original Star Wars trilogy, died at the age of 85 on Nov. 28. His agent, Thomas Bowington, said Prowse’s passing came after a short illness. You can read more about Prowse here.
Natalie Desselle Reid
Natalie Desselle Reid, known for her role alongside Halle Berry in the 1997 film “B.A.P.S.” and on the sitcom “Eve,” died at the age of 53. A representative for her family said she died after a battle with colon cancer. To learn more about Reid, click here.
Texas native Nikki McKibbin, best known for her third-place finish in American Idol’s first season, died Nov. 1 at the age of 42. Her husband Craig Sadler confirmed her passing on social media after she suffered a brain aneurysm. Read more on McKibbin here.
Scottish actor Sean Connery, best known for his role as secret agent James Bond, died Oct. 31 at the age of 90. He leaves behind a wife and two sons, but his success with the James Bond movies will continue to live on. To read more about Connery, click here.
Billy Joe Shaver
Texas native and outlaw country singer Billy Joe Shaver died Oct. 28 at the age of 81 following a stroke. Shaver is best known for his songs, “Honky Tonk Heroes,” “I Been To Georgia on a Fast Train,” and “Old Five and Dimers Like Me.” Read more about Shaver’s career here.
Jerry Jeff Walker
Texas outlaw music legend Jerry Jeff Walker died Oct. 23 at the age of 78 after a lengthy battle with throat cancer. Walker was first diagnosed in 2017. He’s widely known for his 1968 song, “Mr. Bojangles.” To read more about Walker, click here.
Eddie Van Halen
Guitar rock icon Eddie Van Halen passed away Oct. 6 at the age of 65. The musician’s family says he died after a battle of cancer. Van Halen is most known for his blockbuster record, “1984,” which includes his classic hits, “Jump,” “Panama” and “Hot for Teacher.” You can read more about Van Halen here.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a women’s rights champion and the court’s second female justice, died Sept. 18 due to complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer. She was 87. Ginsburg was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1993, according to the Associated Press. You can read more about Ginsburg here.
Actor Chadwick Boseman, most known for his role as the Black Panther in the Marvel universe, died Aug. 28 at the age of 43 after a battle with colon cancer. He was first diagnosed four years ago. You can read more about Boseman here.
Early guitarist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers Jack Sherman died Aug. 22 at the age of 64. Sherman performed on the band’s debut album and accompanied them on their first tour in the USA. For more on Sherman, click here.
Talkshow host Regis Philbin passed away July 24 at the age of 88. He’s most known for hosting “Live! with Regis and Kelly” in New York and the game show, “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.” Read more about Philbin here.
“Glee” star Naya Rivera died after she was found July 13 after accidentally drowning while boating on a California lake, according to a report by The Associated Press. Her son was with her at the time but was found safe by officials. Rivera was known for her role in “Glee,” the FOX TV musical comedy, where she starred from 2009 to 2015. Read more about Rivera here.
Tommy ‘Tiny’ Lister
Former professional wrestler and actor Tommy “Tiny” Lister, most known for his Deebo character in the “Friday” films, died Dec. 10 at the age of 62. His manager said he was found unconscious in his California home. Lister was also known for his roles in “The Fifth Element,” “The Dark Knight” and “Austin Powers in Goldmember.” For more on Lister, click here.
Houston-born country music icon Kenny Rogers died at his Georgia home on March 20 at the age of 81. The Grammy-winning musician is most known for his hits “Lucille,” “Lady” and “Islands in the Stream.” Read more about Rogers’ legacy here.
Actor Nick Cordero, nominated for a Tony Award and most known for his roles in Broadway shows “Waitress,” “A Bronx Tale,” and “Bullets Over Broadway,” died July 5 in Los Angeles from COVID-19 related complications, according to a previous report. He was 41 and he spent more than 90 days in the hospital.
Kelly Preston, actress and wife of actor John Travolta, died July 12 at the age of 57 after a two-year battle with breast cancer. She was married to Travolta for 28 years and leaves behind three children. Read more on Preston here.
Ben Stiller’s father, Jerry Stiller, died from natural causes on May 11 at the age of 92. Stiller was married to Anne Meara for nearly 62 years and he became an A-list box office star for his roles in “Tropic Thunder,” “Dodgeball” and “There’s Something About Mary,” according to the Associated Press. Read more about Stiller’s life and career here.
Other celebrities we have lost this year include Joe Diffie, Hal Ketchum, Charlie Daniels, Carl Reiner, Bill Withers, John Callahan, James Lipton, Kirk Douglas, Neil Peart, David Lander, Ed Murray, and many others.
Despite the loss of these renowned actors and actresses, political figures, professional athletes, musicians, and more this year, they will never be forgotten.
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