While 2016 may still be young since it is not even half over yet, it is shocking to think about the amount of celebrities that have already been taken away from us. From music icons like David Bowie and Prince to acting legends by the likes of Alan Rickman and everything in between, 2016 has just been a really tough year for us all. The impact that these individuals have bestowed upon us will be forever in our hearts and will do nothing short of resonate through the ages.
Everything and everyone inspires the world in some shape or form and these specific individuals have engraved themselves into cultural history forevermore. Sure, it is hard to say if they left us too soon or if they had more work to be done but the life cycle carries on and it is up to those who remain in the land of the living to keep their memory alive for as long as we possibly can. Whether it be appreciating a piece that they worked on or drawing inspiration from something that they did, there are ways to ensure that their life’s work will never be lost in the world, it’s just up to us to make it so. It’s impossible to say what the rest of the year has in store but, as a small tribute to the events that have surpassed in 2016, here’s a list of the most shocking celebrity deaths thus far. May they rest in peace.
10. David Bowie
David Bowie is known around the world due to his inevitable ability to leave a lasting impression. Whether it be his fearless fashion sense which typically came through via his alter-ago Ziggy Stardust to his unmistakable music that serves as an introduction to glam rock, the world was hit hard when the news of Bowie’s passing came to the forefront. Despite being such a worldly icon, his personal life was a well-kept secret to all except for his close friends and family and his 18-month battle with cancer was something that he wanted to keep private for as long as possible. In his last days, you can rest assured that he was at peace despite his physical deterioration caused by the chemotherapy in the Catskill Mountains area of upstate New York surrounded by those he loved. As a parting gift to the world though, he released his latest album Blackstar just two days before his death which just so happens to co-inside with his 69th birthday, January 8th. He also made sure to send out thank you notes to friends who may not have been aware that his days were numbered to let them know just how much he appreciated them. If you wish to read an in-depth tribute to the legacy that is David Bowie please read the tear-jerking yet informative piece via the BBC or the slightly less lengthy yet still as tear-jerking memorial brought to you by The Daily Mail.
9. Phife Dawg
One of the founding members of the critically acclaimed rap group A Tribe Called Quest died on Tuesday March 22nd, 2016 due to complications that were a result of his diabetes at the young age of 45. Having struggled with diabetes for such a long time, the health risks were no stranger and he had even undergone a kidney transplant in 2008 because of it. However, this did not stop him from speaking optimistically about his health and future plans to Rolling Stone last November. All this to say that he will be greatly missed by all, especially his loving family and friends who only spoke good things about him, and the void that he left behind will be felt by all. To read more about his impact on the music industry, you can read Rollingstone‘s tribute piece honoring this hip hip icon.
8. Alan Rickman
Alan Rickman died on January 14th, 2016 after fighting his secret battle with cancer which the disease finally won. Alan Rickman was so much more than just Professor Snape in Harry Potter, he was a talented actor on both the screen and stage as well as an amazing friend to all that he met. In the tributes dedicated to him by the likes of Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Thompson, they all cannot help but speak about his amazing sense of humor, wit and what it means to be a great friend as well as colleague; The Guardian has brought together a beautiful and heartwarming piece which goes into an incredible amount of detail on the matter. It is a shame that he let go so soon as the world always suffers an incredible loss when one of the best is no longer with us but everyone has their a time, it’s what you do with it that matters most of all.
7. Erik Bauersfeld
More popularly known as the voice of Admiral Ackbar in the Star Wars franchise, Erik Bauersfeld passed away due to natural causes in his own home on Sunday April 3rd, 2016 at the ripe old age of 93. His rise to fame may not have been a drastic one but it proof that life is filled with happy accidents. Having created the voice for Admiral Ackbar solely based on a picture, his “It’s a trap!” will be forever remembered in the hearts of Star Wars fans everywhere. While he may not have been the biggest celebrity on the block, the news hit hard to anyone who even had a slight passion for the cult classic. If you’re at all interested in seeing a small compilation of Twitter posts and more information about his death CNN has done a wonderful job at reporting it.
6. Doris Roberts
The Everyone Loves Raymond actress sadly left us in her sleep on April 17th, 2016, she was 90 years old. Doris Roberts began acting all the way back in kindergarten and knew that she wanted to eventually become an actress from that point forward. While she may have been in the industry for over 50 years, Everyone Loves Raymond can be directly linked to her major leap into showbiz. After having won 5 Emmy awards in her life, it cannot be said that she did not have a fulfilling career that resulted in her living out her childhood fancies. To consult a complete list of what she has done, please turn your attention to Variety‘s article that’s dedicated to her full life.
5. Tony Burton
Tony Burton is best known for his tough-talking character Tony “Duke” Evers in the Rocky franchise which, over the years, has become nothing short of a classic. According to The New York Times, there are a few contributing factors to his death which include complications from pneumonia and, according to his daughter, dementia. Having been in and out of the hospital more times than can be counted over the past year, at least it can be said that he is now forever released from his suffering. This tragedy occurred on the 25th of February, 2016. He was 78 years old.
On April 20, 2016 WWE superstar and adult entertainment actress Chyna was found in her bed. Her cause of death is a supposed drug overdose which is linked to a mistake in her use of prescription sleeping pills and tranquilizers over the course of several weeks. While she may not have been suffering from a mental illness of any kind, her judgment was clouded due to some overbearing emotional turmoil which she was trying to work through by going to see a psychiatrist and seeking help from a woman’s domestic violence group, USA Today explains. Given, there can be no way to determine if this overdose was intentional but here’s to hoping that her mind is clear and at ease, wherever she may be.
3. Keith Emerson
Keith Emerson is best known for his involvement in the progressive rock band Emerson Lake and Palmer since they had a great influence on rock, classical and jazz music. While he was an active musician until the day he died, March 10, he was suffering from depression which was most likely caused by the degenerative nerve issue that was hindering his ability to play music. This being said, Keith Emerson had a sensitive soul and The Daily Mail suggests that his suicide may have even been prompted by some hateful words. While we may never know exactly why he decided to commit suicide it is still a saddening yet reassuring fact to know that he died on his own terms.
2. Billy Paul
While the general public may not know him by name, it all seems to come together once you are reminded that he is the one to thank for one of the greatest, albeit slightly controversial, love songs ever made: “Me and Mrs. Jones”. Having a career that has spanned over 60 years is an accomplishment for anyone, especially a musician, but Billy Paul has done it with grace, dignity, big glasses and iconic beard. Being a Philadelphia native, jazz was in his blood and it showed when you juxtaposed his thick tenor voice with sensual beats. He was still in the process of lining up numerous appearances even after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer so sadly he won’t be able to finish those plans but at least his fans can know that he was thinking of them in his passing. For more information about his impact and life please read the article brought to you by CBC.
Due to how recently Prince has passed, his true cause of death remains to be unknown. There have, however, been a few theories which include a potential drug overdose from Percocet or AIDS but nothing can be confirmed nor denied until the coroner releases their findings in a few weeks time. Either way, the events leading up to his eventual passing are unique in nature considering that he had performed and put on a great show on April 14th just to be found in an elevator on the first floor of Paisley Park on April 19th. It has been verified by various sources that his health was in a state of deterioration and he was on Percocet to help him cope with the immense pain that he was in due to the arthritis in his hip but it came to a huge shock to all when he was pronounced dead at 57. However, his wholehearted believe in God meant that He did eventually heal him and Prince had come to terms with this and, on some level, even knew that his life was slowly coming to a close. Whether or not Prince got what he wanted will always be one of those lingering questions but his acceptance of his fate surely made his transition an easy one.