From Bowie to Prince: famous faces we said goodbye to in 2016

Remembering some of the much-loved figures who have died since the start of this year

Princes death appeared to confirm what many people have been saying: 2016 is proving to be annus horribilis for celebrities.

The year was not even a fortnight old when the news that shocked the world broke: David Bowie had died from cancer at the age of 69 in New York City. Almost no one had known Bowie was ill he had gone to great lengths to conceal the fact from even close friends.

The musician died peacefully, surrounded by his family after an 18-month battle with cancer. His death came just three days after the release of Blackstar on his 69th birthday as a parting gift to his millions of fans.

Alan Rickmans death coming just four days after Bowies upset the young and old alike. After his first big film role in Die Hard in 1988, the British actor won a new generation of fans with his portrayal of Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films. He suffered a stroke last August, but again decided to keep his health a private matter. Like Bowie, he died at the age of 69 from pancreatic cancer.

As well as Bowie and Rickman, January also brought with it the death of British television and radio personality Sir Terry Wogan on the very last day of the month. He died after a short illness at the age of 77. A hint came last November, when he pulled out of hosting BBC1s Children in Need appeal for the first time in its 35-year history due to poor health. As well as serving up acerbic commentary for the Eurovision song contest, Wogan presented the Radio 2 breakfast show for 12 years from 1972 and again from 1993 until 2009.

Terry Wogan pulled out of hosting BBC1s Children in Need in November, for the first time in its 35-year history. Photograph: Daily Mail/Rex Shutterstock

Exactly two months later, another star closely associated with the BBC comedian Ronnie Corbett died aged 85 in hospital in south London, surrounded by his family.

His double act with Ronnie Barker made the pair some of the most successful entertainers of the 1970s and 80s.

Corbetts death came a few days after the death of an international football superstar Johan Cruyff. The Dutch maestro, famed for a piece of skill named in his honour, the Cruyff Turn, died aged 68 of cancer at his home in Barcelona.

And on the day before Prince added his name to this list, the British comedian actor and writer Victoria Wood died of cancer at home with her family. She was 62 and also had not made public the state of her health.

The tally of deaths is significant, and 2016 is not yet four months old. The Guardian has given over the front page of its print edition to all of these public figures except Cruyff, to whom the Sports section dedicated its front page.

The Guardians obituaries page, according to its editor, is no longer able to fit in all the public figures who would have historically figured on the page because of the rise in high-profile deaths. The nature of fame and celebrity has changed radically in the past decade, with the rise in internet use and mobile devices such as smartphones, along with the plethora of television channels available.

As well as actors, musicians, royalty, sporting figures, politicians and the like, there are now hundreds of reality TV stars, comedians, game show hosts, mavericks and people famous simply for being famous. That means there are far more celebrities whom more people will have heard of when their number is up.

Read more:

Similar Posts