In Memoriam: 30 Beloved People We Lost in 2016

This year has been incredibly cruel, robbing us of so many greats.


Call it an overreaction if you will, but it felt like this year included more than its fair share of celebrity deaths. We said goodbye to music icons like David Bowie and Prince, world-class athletes like Muhammad Ali and Arnold Palmer and too many treasured actors to count. This past week alone saw the loss of George Michael and Carrie Fisher. Read on to remember some of the great talents the world mourned this year.

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David Bowie, 69, January 10

Ziggy Stardust could have been a celebrity in his own right, but Bowie became one of  the world's best-selling artists thanks to a lifetime of innovation. The glam rock icon released his last album only two days before he died of liver cancer. 

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René Angélil, 73, January 14

Celine Dion's husband and manager fought cancer three separate times before passing away in the couple's Las Vegas home. He left behind three children with Dion and three from a previous relationship. 

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Alan Rickman, 69, January 14

Although he played villainous roles in the Harry Potter series, Love Actually and Die Hard, the British actor remained a beloved figure on stage and screen. He succumbed to cancer.

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Glenn Frey, 67, January 18

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted the Eagles the first year they were nominated. And as lead singer and frontman, Frey played no small role in the band's success. He sang faves like "Take It Easy," "Tequila Sunrise" and "Peaceful Easy Feeling" before launching his successful solo career. 

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Harper Lee, 89, February 19

To Kill a Mockingbird won the intensely-private author a Pulitzer Prize, along with a permanent place in iconic American literature. The controversial follow-up Go Set A Watchman hit bookstores last year. 

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Joey Feek, 40, March 4

The courageous country singer got her start on the CMT competition Can You Duet with her husband and singing partner, Rory Feek. She decided to stop treatment for cervical cancer last year, and lived to see her daughter's birthday in February. 

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Nancy Reagan, 94, March 6

The former First Lady met her husband Ronald Reagan in Hollywood, but the couple is known for their lasting impact on the White House. Most famously, she launched the "Just Say No" campaign combatting recreational drug abuse. 

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Frank Sinatra Jr., 72, March 16

When your dad's Ol' Blue Eyes, it's tough to follow in his footsteps. But after his highly-publicized kidnapping at age 19, Frank Jr. went on to build a singing career in his own right. 

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Garry Shandling, 66, March 24

Between It's Garry Shandling's Show and The Larry Sanders Show, the stand-up comedian mastered '90s sitcoms like none other. The Emmys noticed too: Shandling received a total of 19 nominations, and hosted the show itself three times. 

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Patty Duke, 69, March 29

Duke won an Oscar at only 16 years old, but The Miracle Worker actress spent many years of her life advocating for mental health awareness. Her struggle with bipolar disorder inspired a successful campaign for increased funding and research. 

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Merle Haggard, 79, April 6

Country music fans need only point to Haggard's Kennedy Center Honor, Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and Country Music Hall of Fame induction to prove his legend status. The songwriter had 38 (!) number-one hits on the country charts between the '60s and '80s.

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Doris Roberts, 90, April 17

She may have played a snobby mom on Everybody Loves Raymond, but Doris Roberts was quite the caring woman in real life, especially as an animal rights advocate. Her lovable personality did come through on show, however. "She played the most intrusive, overbearing, nosy woman," Ray Romano said after her death. "And yet when I asked the fans who their favorite character was, all the time it was her."

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Prince, 57, April 21

He's a singer so iconic, he only needs one name. Prince received 32 Grammy nominations in his lifetime and won seven of them. Sadly, an opioid overdose took the artist's life way too soon. 

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Morley Safer, 84, May 19

Just eight days after announcing his retirement from 60 Minutes, the show's longest-serving correspondent died from pneumonia. He earned 12 Emmys, including one for Lifetime Achievement, and three Peabody Awards during his (coincidentally) 60-year career. 

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Muhammad Ali, 74, June 3

Born Cassius Clay, the controversial boxer later changed his name when he converted to Islam. But it was his feats in the ring that earned him the undisputed title of "The Greatest." 

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Christina Grimmie, 22, June 10

The promising singer received critical acclaim for her YouTube videos and performances on The Voice. In a tragic turn of events, Grimmie died all-too-young after a gunman shot her in Orlando. 

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Elie Wiesel, 87, July 2

Harper Lee wasn't the only award-winning author lost in 2016. Wiesel wrote Night, a harrowing account of his time as an Auschwitz prisoner, and 56 other books in his lifetime. His work as a "messenger to mankind" earned him a Nobel Peace Prize in 1986.

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Garry Marshall, 81, July 19

Do you love Happy Days, Pretty Woman or The Princess Diaries? Thank Garry Marshall for that. The director and producer stood behind some the biggest hits in the past five decades

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Gene Wilder, 83, August 29

The Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory actor quietly suffered from Alzheimer's disease before passing away this summer. Wilder also appeared in cult classics like Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein, and received an Academy Award nomination for his role in The Producers.

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Arnold Palmer, 87, September 25

If his 62 PGA titles don't impress you, the golfer's eponymous drink probably will. Just make sure you get the ratio right (hint: it's not half lemonade). 

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Bobby Vee, 73, October 24

At just 15 years old, Vee launched his music career under tragic circumstances. His group performed in place of Buddy Holly after "The Day the Music Died." Vee's admiration for Holly served him well; he quickly became a teen idol in the early '60s. 

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Leonard Cohen, 82, November 7

The folk singer wrote "Hallelujah" all the way back in 1984, but popular groups like Pentatonix still cover the chilling ballad today. Cohen was writing music up until his death too. He released three albums in the last four years of his life. 

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Gwen Ifill, 61, November 14

Ifill became the first African-American woman to host a national political talk show, earning a reputation for her poise and professionalism. Upon hearing of her passing, President Obama said, "I always appreciated Gwen's reporting, even when I was on the receiving end of one of her tough interviews."

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Sharon Jones, 60, November 18

Don't ever let age stop you from achieving your dreams. The soul singer only got her big break after turning 40, and received her first Grammy nod two years ago. After a cancer diagnosis in 2013, Jones lost her hair but continued to perform, refusing to wear wigs. She suffered a stroke while watching the presidential election results and passed away several days later. 

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Florence Henderson, 82, November 24

Henderson earned the title of TV's most iconic mom playing Carol Brady for half a decade. Just this year, she attended a Dancing With the Stars recording in support of her on-screen daughter Maureen McCormick. Henderson unexpectedly died from heart failure three days later on Thanksgiving. 

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John Glenn, 95, December 8

Becoming the first American to orbit the Earth is an accomplishment on its own. But Glenn went on to have prolific careers as both an astronaut and the senator of Ohio. At the age of 77, he also became the oldest person ever to fly in space. 

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Alan Thicke, 69, December 13

Dr. Jason Seaver was quite the loving dad in real life too. The Growing Pains star died while playing hockey with his youngest son, Carter. He left behind two other children, including famous singer Robin Thicke. 

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Zsa Zsa Gabor, 99, December 18

"I never hated a man enough to give him diamonds back," the nine-time bride once uttered. An actress and socialite, the most famous Gabor sister never strayed far from the spotlight thanks to her witty sayings and frequent marriages. 

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George Michael, 53, December 25

Christmas brought especially tragic news with the passing of the British singer. As part of the pop duo Wham! and a solo artist, Michael performed hits like "Last Christmas," "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" and "Careless Whisper." But his work as an LGBT advocate and HIV/AIDS fundraiser undoubtedly touched countless more lives. 

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Carrie Fisher, 60, December 27

Best known for playing Princess Leia in Star Wars, the actress was also a prolific Hollywood "script doctor," working on blockbusters like Hook, Sister Act, Lethal Weapon 3 and The Wedding Singer. She went into cardiac arrest on a flight four days before her death. 

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