23 Devastating Celebrity Deaths In The First Half of 2016 Alone

2016 is certainly off to a grim start, seeing the loss of more than 20 celebrities in the first half of the year alone! By the end of March, we were losing celebrities left and right to sudden and unexpected deaths.

The world has lost world renowned icons, David Bowie and Prince. A handful of celebrities mourned the death of their parents this year including Steve Carell. We had to say goodbye to television's favorite grandmother, Doris Roberts, from the popular series, Everybody Loves Raymond. 

2016 has already been filled with so much tragedy and death, we're not sure we can handle much more the rest of the year! Let's take a look at some of the influential and prominent individuals that we have lost so far this year.

23 Nick Menza

via Billboard

The most recent passing occurred just last week. Former drummer of the thrash metal band Megadeth, Nick Menza passed away on the 21st of May. Doctors say the musician had a “massive heart attack” while performing with his current band, OHM at the Baked Potato in Los Angeles.

His former bandmates were shocked to hear the news of Menza’s death. Menza played on Megadeth’s first four albums. Megadeth founder Dave Mustaine tweeted to his followers, “TELL ME THIS ISN’T TRUE! I woke up at 4 AM to hear Nick Menza passed away on 5/21 playing his drums w/ Ohm at the Baked Potato #nickmenzarip.”

Other members of the band spoke out about Menza, sharing what a talented drummer he was but also a loving friend and father.

22 Harriet Carell

via Steve Carrell

Actor and star of the hit series The Office, Steve Carell lost his mother on May 7th of this year. The actor announced the news to his fans via Twitter, saying “Love you, mom.”

21 Afeni Shakur


Mother of the infamous slain rapper Tupac, Afeni Shakur died suddenly of a heart attack on May 2. Deputies from her town in California showed up to Ms. Shakur’s house after getting a report of cardiac arrest.

The deputies rushed her to the hospital, but she was pronounced dead 45 minutes later.

20 Michelle McNamara

via NBC News

You may not recognize this name right away, but you will probably recognize her husband, Patton Oswalt. Oswalt is an actor and comedian and has played roles in movies like Zoolander, Taxi, Failure to Launch, Balls of Fury and 22 Jump Street. He also had a recurring role in the series The King of Queens, Two and a Half Men, and Justified.

Patton’s wife Michelle McNamara was the blog creator for True Crime Diaries, where unsolved crimes are investigated. Michelle died suddenly and unexpectedly in the couple’s Los Angeles home. The 46-year-old had no known diseases or health issues and no prior warning signs that she may have been in danger. The results from the autopsy could take months because the office is so backed up with cases.

19 Prince

via ET Online

The world was truly shaken up when news that legendary musician, actor, and icon Prince died suddenly at his Paisley Park Compound in Minneapolis. Prince was just 57 years old. It was recently revealed that the cause of death was an opioid overdose.

It was also reported that he had a medical emergency one week prior and had to make an emergency landing in his jet. At the time, his reps told reporters and media that he had the flu.

Now, a few weeks after his death reports are surfacing that the icon actually had AIDS. He apparently had been diagnosed with the crippling condition around six months before his death.

18 Chyna

via Spencer Platt/Newsmakers

One day prior to Prince’s death, WWF legend Chyna was found dead in her apartment in California. Stories of her death were quickly overshadowed by thousands of articles and reports regarding Prince’s shocking death.

17 Doris Roberts

via Jerod Harris/WireImage

She’s the grandmother you love from Everybody Loves Raymond, she’s a talented actress with five Emmy Awards under her belt, and she’s starred in some of your favorite movies. Doris Roberts passed away in Los Angeles at the age of 90.

She is likely to have died of natural causes. Doris had one son, Michael Cannata, from her first marriage. Her second husband had passed away in the eighties. Doris has left behind three grandchildren, Kelsey, Andrew, and Devon.

16 David Gest

via ITV

You may recognize him from his time as a contestant on Big Brother, or as the infamous ex-husband of Liza Minnelli. Gest was also a dear friend to the late Michael Jackson.

Gest was found dead on April 12th at the Four Seasons in London. He was 62 years old. No cause of death has been announced. Police do not suspect anything suspicious with his death though.

15 Lady Melinda Rose Woodward

via The Sun UK

Well isn’t that a name! Lady Melinda was most known for being the wife of the legendary singer Sir Tom Jones. Lady Melinda had been battling cancer for quite some time and was said to have passed peacefully and surrounded by loved ones.

14 Keith Hefner

via Digital Spy

Brother of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, Keith died of cancer at the age of 87 on April 8th. His death came at an unfortunate time being just days before Hef’s 90th birthday.

You may have spotted Keith hanging around the Playboy bunnies in an episode of The Girls Next Door.

13 Merle Haggard

via Snopes

Country music fans mourned the death of Country Music Hall of Famer Merle Haggard on April 6. Merle was 79 years old and passed away at his home in Redding, California.

Haggard died on his birthday.

Haggard had been having some struggles a year prior battling double pneumonia, but the singer seemed to be doing better as of recently. He even scheduled a few tour gigs with Willie Nelson.

12 Patty Duke


Oscar winning actress Anna “Patty Duke” Pearce died at the age of 69 on March 29th. Her rep told USA Today, "Her cause of death was sepsis from a ruptured intestine. She was a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a friend, a mental health advocate, and a cultural icon. She will be missed."

Duke has kept up with appearances on screen, recently appearing in Glee, Drop Dead Diva, and Hawaii Five-0.

11 Phife Dawg

via The Source

Malik “Phife Dawg” Taylor, known best as a member of the band A Tribe Called Quest, died unexpectedly at the age of 45. His exact cause of death hasn’t been confirmed yet.

It is known that he suffered from a number of health issues, including diabetes. The rapper had to undergo a kidney transplant in 2008.

10 Frank Sinatra Jr.

via Illinois News Network

Legendary singer Frank Sinatra’s son died at the age of 72 on March 16. Frank is said to have passed away due to cardiac arrest. Frank was currently on his “Sinatra Sings Sinatra” tour around the country.

9 George Martin

via Screen Crush

Better known as “the fifth Beatle” and famed British record producer was widely known for his work with the famous pop group back in the day. Martin died at the age of 90, most likely of natural causes, although his actual cause of death has not been reported yet.

8 Lee Reherman

via FOX Sports

This Ivy League football star died at the tragic age of 49 on the first of March this year.

Reherman is most recognized for his time starring as Hawk on the original American Gladiators TV show in the '90s. Recently, he has appeared in Star Trek Into Darkness, The First Family, and Jane The Virgin.

His cause of death is still unknown, but sources say he claimed of a metallic taste before he died.

7 Harper Lee


Award winning novelist Harper Lee, best known for To Kill A Mockingbird, passed away on February 18th at the age of 89.

Lee is also famed for writing the quasi-sequel to Mockingbird called Go Set A Watchman. The book had actually just been published in 2015, which was 60 years after she actually wrote it.

6 Big Ang

via ET Online

Fans of the popular VHI show Mob Wives were shocked and devastated to hear the new that Angela “Big Ang” Raiola had died after losing her battle with throat cancer.

The reality star was known for constantly having a cigarette in her hand. All those years of smoking came back to get her in the end. The star was beloved by many and was a hilarious TV personality.

5 Katie May

via In Touch Weekly

This young 34-year-old Playboy model died tragically on February 4th due to a blocked carotid artery that led to a catastrophic stroke.

"It is with heavy hearts that we confirm the passing today of Katie May–mother, daughter, sister, friend, businesswoman, model and social media star," her family wrote, per E! News.

Katie has been dubbed, “The Queen of Snapchat.” She has a huge social media presence, with more than 2 million followers on Instagram.

4 Dave Mirra

via Lenny Christopher

Former Real World/Road Rules Challenge host, and BMX legend Dave Mirra committed suicide by shooting himself in the head in his truck on February 4th in North Carolina. Hours prior, the host had posted a loving picture of his wife, Lauren. He has left behind two children with her.

3 Alan Rickman

via Movie Pilot

2 Rene Angelil

via Women's Day

Celine Dion’s notoriously older husband and former manager Rene Angelil was 73 when he passed away on January 15. Celine met Rene when she was just fourteen years old. Despite the huge age difference, the couple had remained together and seemingly in love until the time of his death.

1 David Bowie

via Vogue

David Bowie’s passing was the first real shocking death of a superstar in 2016; news of David Bowie’s death rattled people all over the world. The English singer, actor, and artist was just 69 when he died.

The star was a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee with a five-decade glam rock career. He has had five platinum albums and has influenced people all over the world.

Bowie had been struggling with cancer for a while by the time of his death. The singer died peacefully and surrounded by family.

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23 Devastating Celebrity Deaths In The First Half of 2016 Alone