Every year there will be some celebrity deaths, but 2016 was an especially cruel in that respect. From David Bowie to Prince to Muhammad Ali, in 2016 we lost some of our most iconic stars who have shaped American culture and touched countless lives. But in addition to those cataclysmic losses, there were numerous others notables who were taken from us this year.
We’ve accumulated this list to remember and celebrate the remarkable lives of the celebrities that left this earth in 2016. It’s become a cliche to complain about how bad 2016 has been, but we truly hope that we don’t lose so many distinguished individuals in the next calendar year.
Prince was one of the most mercurial and talented pop stars to ever walk the planet. He was 57 when he died of a fentanyl overdose in April.
David Bowie was able to constantly reinvent himself during his five decades at the forefront of pop music. The Englishman died of liver cancer in January at the age of 69.
Muhammad Ali was perhaps the most iconic sporting figure of the 20th century. He was not only arguably the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time, but also someone who was willing to stand up for his what he thought was right. Ali, who had been living with Parkinson’s Disease since 1984, was 74 when he passed away in
The comedic actor was famous for his starring roles in films such as Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory and Blazing Saddles. He was 83 when he died in August as a result of complications due to Alzheimer’s disease.
Florence Henderson was an actress best known for her role as Carol Brady on The Brady Bunch. She was 82 when she died on Thanksgiving after suffering heart failure.
Harper Lee was the author of perhaps the most beloved American novel of all-time, To Kill a Mockingbird. She died at the age of 89 this February from natural causes.
Craig Sager was a beloved NBA on TNT sideline reporter known for his infectious joy and outrageous suits. He died at age 65 on December 15th after a hard-fought battle with leukemia.
Known as “The King”, Arnold Palmer was a legendary golfer who won 7 major championships and emerged as one of the game’s great ambassadors for over half a century. He died in September of natural causes at age 87.
Nancy Reagen was the first lady during her husband Ronald Reagen’s tenure as the 40th President of the United States. She was an anti-drug champion, and famously founded the “Just Say No” initiative. She was 94 when she died in March of natural causes.
Jose Fernandez was one of the best active pitchers in the MLB when he tragically died in a boating accident off Miami Beach at 24 years old in September. He had fled Cuba by boat as a teenager after three failed attempts, and had been a beloved figure in Miami’s Cuban community while pitching for the Miami Marlins.
Phife Dawg was an always on-point M.C. who was a part of the influential 90’s hip hop group A Tribe Called Quest. Phife Dawg, whose real name was Malik Taylor, died in March at age 45 as a result of complications due to diabetes.
Christina Grimmie was a 22-year-old singer known for her participation in NBC’s The Voice. She was tragically shot and killed in June while performing in Orlando.
Gordie Howe was a longtime Detroit Red Wing who was known as “Mr. Hockey” in Detroit is considered one of the greatest players in NHL history. Howe, who was Canadian, died in June at 88 years old due to natural causes.
Garry Shandling was a legendary stand-up comedian and comedic actor perhaps best known for his work on the The Larry Sanders Show. He died in March at the age of 66 after having a massive heart attack.
Chyna was a professional wrestler in the WWE during the peak of WWE’s popularity in the late 1999’s and early 2000’s. Chyna, whose real name was Joan Laurer, died of a prescription drug overdose in April at the age of 46.
Anton Yelchin was a Russian actor best known for his prominent role in the Star Trek reboot films. On the morning of June 19th he was found pinned between a Jeep Grand Cherokee and a brick pillar in what was described as a “freak accident”, and was pronounced dead at the age of 27 later that day.
Pat Summit was the longtime coach of the Tenesssee Volunteers women’s basketball team who accumulated an NCAA record 1,098 career wins to go along with 8 National Championships. After being diagnosed with Early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease in 2011, she died in June at the age of 64.
Kimbo Slice became a YouTube sensation for videos of him engaging in street fights, and then parlayed that notoriety into an MMA career that began in 2007. Slice, whose real name was Kevin Ferguson, died of a heart attack in June at 42 years old.
Leonard Cohen was a singer and songwriter whose prolific career led to an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Cohen’s best known song is ‘Hallelujah’. He was 82 when he died in his sleep in November after suffering from cancer.
Gwen Ifill was an esteemed political journalist and the host of PBS’s Newshour. She was 61 when she died in November after a battle with cancer.
Alan Rickman was an English actor best known for his roles as Hans Gruber in Die Hard and Severus Snape in the Harry Potter series. He died in January at age 69 after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
John Saunders was an ESPN broadcaster and sports journalist who worked for the company from 1986 until his death in August at 61 years old.
Doris Roberts was a longtime actress best known for her role as Raymond’s mother in the CBS sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond. She died in April at 90 years old after experiencing a stroke.
Frank Sinatra Jr.
The son of “The Voice”, Frank Sinatra Jr. survived a kidnapping at age 19 and went onto continue his father’s legacy as a singer and songwriter. Sinatra Jr. died from a cardiac arrest in March at 72 years old.
Kenny Baker was an English actor best known for his role as R2-D2 in the Star Wars movies. He was 81 years old when he died in August after years of suffering from a chronic lung disorder.