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
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.
The Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner said that Menza’s heart attack and ultimately death was caused by cardiovascular disease. Unfortunately, Menza was pronounced dead upon arrival to the hospital.
22 Harriet Carell
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.”
Harriet had four children including Steve, and six grandchildren. Steve had made a special acknowledgement to his parents during an interview with The Guardian in 2013. "My parents ... are very down to earth, kind, smart, generous people. They both grew up during the Great Depression and had a true sense of value: for possessions, for family, for each other."
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.
Afeni’s son, Tupac, was a legendary and groundbreaking hip-hop legend. He was murdered in 1996 at the age of 25. Afeni is said to have greenlit an upcoming production called All Eyez On Me, a biopic about her son Tupac, before her death.
20 Michelle McNamara
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.
Oswalt wrote to his Twitter followers preceding the funeral, "Funerals are final but there's no closure. Memorials are hopeful but they don't bring back the dead." Michelle and Patton share a seven-year-old daughter, Alice.
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.
At the time of his death, Prince weighed a frail 80 pounds and had allegedly been "preparing to die for a little while." During the time leading up to the musician’s death, he had become totally iron deficient, weak, and made matters worse by hardly ever eating. He was taking an unknown recipe of painkillers, opiates, and illegal substances which ultimately sped up his death.
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.
Chyna was only 45 years old at the time of her death. The exact cause has not been revealed, but Police pronounced her dead on the scene. Authorities don’t suspect any sign of foul play. Legal prescription bottles were found but nothing alarming, and there was no suicide note left at the scene.
17 Doris Roberts
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.
Doris will always be our favorite on-screen grandma!
16 David Gest
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.
"David was truly larger than life," said friend and former bodyguard, Imad Handi. "He was not just a huge talent and a dear friend but a showbiz icon. “I know he will be missed by millions of fans around the world, and particularly in Britain, who came to love his charm and blistering one-liners."
15 Lady Melinda Rose Woodward
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.
At the time of her death, she and Sir Tom had been together for 59 years. The two of them were only 16 years old when they got married! Together they had a son, Mark, who now works with his father as his manager.
14 Keith Hefner
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.
Hef tweeted to his followers to confirm Keith’s death, “This morning, my dear brother and best friend passed away. I love you, Keith. Rest in peace.”
13 Merle Haggard
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.
Haggard’s exact cause of death has not been confirmed.
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.
Duke became a teen star back in the sixties, winning an Academy Award for her role as Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker.
11 Phife Dawg
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.
"Malik was our loving husband, father, brother and friend," his family said in a statement to the press. "We love him dearly. How he impacted all our lives will never be forgotten. His love for music and sports was only surpassed by his love of God and family."
10 Frank Sinatra Jr.
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.
Frank Jr.’s sister, Nancy Sinatra, who is also an acclaimed singer herself, posted a short message eulogizing her father on Facebook saying, “Sleep warm, Frankie.”
9 George Martin
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.
Martin passed away in his home in Wiltshire, England. Ringo Starr, The Beatles' drummer, tweeted “Thank you for all your love and kindness, George. Peace and love.”
8 Lee Reherman
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.
"Anybody who came in contact with him, even people who may have been on a film set with him for just one day, Lee was very much loved by everyone," said his manager, Kathy Carter, per NBC News.
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.
Lee returned to her hometown in Alabama to care for her ill sister, Alice.
6 Big Ang
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.
Her rep made a statement after her death saying, “It is with sad regret that we inform you that at 3:01 a.m. Angela Raiola peacefully ended her battle with cancer, and was called home. She was surrounded by nothing but love from her immediate family, and closest friends."
5 Katie May
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.
Sadly, Katie leaves behind her seven-year-old daughter. Her family started a GoFundMe account to support the child.
4 Dave Mirra
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.
Dave’s good friend and a BMX legend himself T.J. Lavin told TMZ following Mirra’s death, … “I just wish he would have called me. I would have jumped on a plane in a second. There’s always another way. If anyone needs help, just please get it. I feel sick about this.”
3 Alan Rickman
Best known for his role as Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films, Alan Rickman was an English actor who starred in many other films like Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Die Hard, Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny, Galaxy Quest, and Love Actually. He died of pancreatic cancer surrounded by friends and family. His illness was a tightly kept secret until the time of his death.
2 Rene Angelil
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.
Celine recently made her first live performance since his death at the Billboard Music Awards.
1 David Bowie
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.