In Memorium; Celebrities Who have Passed Away this Year Maddi Rudd-Staff Writer

Alan Thicke

The beloved dad from the hit 80s sitcom Growing Pains passed away this month from a sudden heart attack while playing hockey in Burbank, California. with his youngest son Carter. Alan was a funny, loving man who expelled kindness wherever he went. He has a close bond with his family; while they are in mourning, America is mourning their loss also.

David Bowie

David Bowie died from an eighteen-month cancer battle on January tenth of this year in his apartment in Manhattan, New York. He was known for his style and music as he received over twenty-eight awards during his career including a Grammy for best music video, the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and an induction into the Grammy Hall of Fame. His music has impacted the entire world and will never be forgotten.

Alan Rickman

Best known in all eight Harry Potter movies as Severus Snape and in Die Hard as Hans Gruber, Alan Rickman died in January. JK Rowling, the writer of the Harry Potter series, tweeted, “There are no words to express how shocked and devastated I am to hear of Alan Rickman’s death.” His friends and family remember him as a man full of laughs and kindness.


Prince was an American icon and one of the most influential musicians ever. He died this year in April from a fentanyl overdose in his home in Minnesota. He was best known for stage presence, makeup, outfits, and all-embracing work. His most famous song “When Doves Cry” was the number one song for five weeks in a row when it was released in 1984. His sister Tyka Nelson misses him more than anyone else, but her silver lining is, “He's not physically here but through Paisley Park and his music, he'll live on forever.”

Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali, celebrated as one of the most influential sports figures and civil rights activist of the twentieth century, died this year after a thirty-two year battle with Parkinson's disease. He was never afraid to speak his mind, especially when it came to politics and controversy, but when he did speak, everyone heard him. Ali was surrounded by all of his children holding his hands when he died.

Gene Wilder

Known for his hilariously weird roles in movies like Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory and Bonnie and Clyde, Gene Wilder died this year from Alzheimer's complications. He was a well-loved actor by people of all ages and could make anyone laugh. His famous rule for being a comedian was, “Don’t try to make it funny; try to make it real.” The whole country mourned when their childhood favorite actor died, but his jokes will always be remembered.

Harper Lee

After writing the Pulitzer Prize winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird, Nelle Harper Lee, known under her pen name as Harper Lee, became one of the most popular American fiction authors. To Kill a Mockingbird sold over forty-million copies, which just shows how popular Harper Lee’s work really was. She died in her sleep at eighty-nine in February of this year at an assisted living facility in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama. Lee did not like to make many “celebrity appearances”, but when she was seen by the public, she was always humble, and everywhere she went everyone knew how much she loved reading and writing.

Elie Wiesel

After he survived a year in multiple concentration camps during World War II at age fifteen, Elie Wiesel never gave up. When he moved to America from Europe, Wiesel became a strong civil rights activist and fought against all kinds of oppression. He became very famous when his book Night, a story of his life in concentration camps, became a hit. After an illness took over him, Wiesel died in July of this year at eighty-seven.

Christina Grimmie

This amazing artist’s life was cut too short in June of this year when an admirer shot her after a show in Orlando. Christina Grimmie became a star when she placed third in season six of the hit show The Voice. She was coached by the popular band Maroon 5’s lead singer Adam Levine, who saw something truly special in her. After her death, her family and close friend Adam Levine mourned. He personally paid for all of her funeral expenses and expressed his condolences about this girl with a special talent.

John Glenn

John Glenn, an amazing astronaut, became incredibly popular after becoming the first man to orbit around Earth. He died this year in December at age ninety-five. During the Cold War, when USSR was becoming more technologically more advanced than the United States, John Glenn raised the bar. After his journey, Glenn was asked to the White House by President John F. Kennedy and had books and articles written about him. He was so inspirational during his life that author Walter A. McDougall wrote, “It seemed that he had given Americans back their self-respect and more than that — it seemed Americans dared again to hope.” Even though he did not think of himself as a hero, everyone around him knew who he was and what he did.

Each of these men and women played a significant role in American pop culture, and they will be dearly missed.

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.