No one said life was fair—which becomes even more poignant when it comes to losing a beloved celebrity. Many of our favorites are remembered not only for their entertainment abilities but for their big personalities and their heart. From the controversial rapper who changed an entire genre to the movie star with millions of adoring fans, these 15 celebrity deaths shook the world and caused us all to collectively weep in grief. Here is a look back at some of the most impactful recent losses in entertainment that still linger today.
1. Robin Williams
One user posted, “Robin Williams. I loved that man.”
A second user replied, “I'm still pretty torn up about him and Steve Irwin.”
Another commenter added, “Happy to find both of these at the top. Certainly, my choices RIP.”
One Redditor also commented, “I think they were gonna do a movie together, and all the gods were like, nope, the mortals can't have such entertainment. Seriously, though, a movie with Mr. Williams, Mr. Irwin, and Mr. Farley. Beautiful people, those guys.”
2. Alan Rickman
One Redditor also posted, “Alan Rickman.”
Another commenter replied, “My first movie introduction to him was the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves, and I still threaten to take someone's heart out with a spoon. [God] rest his soul…”
One commenter quoted, “'But why a spoon, cousin?'”
Another Redditor replied, “'Because it's dull. It'll hurt more, you TW*T.'”
3. Grant Imahara
“Grant Imahara,” one user commented.
Another user responded, “His death was so random and unexpected that I genuinely didn't believe he died. For a couple days after it happened, I was silently convinced it was an internet prank. Watching the videos of Adam Savage touring his workshop was really hard, too.”
One Redditor replied, “Aneurysm is a silent killer; even perfectly healthy people can get it suddenly, sometimes during the night. It's terrifying. You just go to sleep and never wake up again, because of the faulty vein in your brain.”
4. Steve Irwin
One user commented, “I’m Australian and was in class when I found out that Steve Irwin passed over. It was physically upsetting. I was really distressed all day. I don’t remember feeling that shock since Princess Diana.”
A second user replied, “Steve Irwin is the first celebrity death that I remember happening. Sometimes, I wonder what he’d be up to if he was still alive today.”
Another added, “I imagine that, if he had survived the stingray attack, he'd be back swimming with a school of stingrays in the next show. To show that there is nothing to fear and that the stingray that hit him didn't really mean to do it. Then he would explain how they defend themselves, and he'd also kiss a ray at the very end of the show and call it his ‘little mate' before releasing it.”
A user also shared, “I remember that Animal Planet had his family and friends over to announce it. It completely destroyed me; it was like my favorite uncle had died. I was so upset that my parents couldn't get me to school for days. The saddest, most frustrating part of it all is that you know, we all know, anyone that had 15 minutes to hear him talk knows… If he had had a chance to say some last words, they would've most likely been, ‘It was my fault, please don't blame, hate, or hurt the animal.' He taught me to see beauty in all living things, even creatures our primal instinct rejects. My tribute to him is trying to spread his message that all life is precious and should be respected, admired, and protected, not feared or destroyed.”
5. Anthony Bourdain
One user posted, “Anthony Bourdain. I miss his snarky attitude.”
Another commenter replied, “I think it hit me because, as a pessimistic and generally melancholy sorta person.. I saw within him a kindred spirit with similar tastes and hobbies, etc… Seeing someone who kind of has an idealized version of a life I'd want and that they couldn't handle and make it out of here so to speak… it kind of dampens the morale a bit when it comes to your own chances of finding peace and happiness.”
“This is a perfect summary if you ask me. His snarky attitude, his love for food and other cultures, and meeting people. And indeed, his somewhat melancholic personality… That's me. That's about as perfect as a match can be on paper. And I get it. That's what hit me even harder. Sometimes, I really do get it. And I agree,” added one user.
Another user replied, “It's hard rewatching all his stuff now. Some of the things that he said really made me sit up and think to myself that we all missed the signs and taught me to listen to people more carefully.”
6. Chester Bennington
One user shared, “Chester Bennington.”
Another user replied, “'When my time comes, forget the wrong that I've done; help me leave behind some reasons to be missed.'”
One user commented, “I bawled my eyes out and had to pull over and park my car when “Leave Out All The Rest ” played off my Spotify playlist in 2019. It took on a whole new meaning for 2 reasons:
“I had recently moved to Florida after a really bad divorce, so I lost my entire support base of family and friends from my home state with that move. I'm South Asian, and the stigma of divorce and all of that stupid stuff that our community has, weighed heavily on me because of what my parents were experiencing from people in their lives. The shame was getting to me, I was just driving around waiting for my flight back to my home state. I booked my flight the night before Christmas because I felt too ashamed to show my face to my family. Somehow I gathered the strength to purchase those tickets and come back to Michigan for a while. This song reminded me of how small this feeling was, that I had nothing to be ashamed of anymore and that I also needed to leave those parts alone, so to speak.
“It was like a friend of mine gave me a ton of wisdom, love, and support. Then reality sank in; he was gone for good. I took out what I thought were all of the Linkin Park songs from my playlists a few days after he passed because I couldn't help but feel extremely sad when I would hear them (all the songs are back on my playlists now). But back in 2019, his death was still relatively fresh in my mind, and I thought I took out all of the band's songs. I missed this one, and I swear, it helped me so much.
“Wherever you are, Chester, I hope you have peace and tranquility. My only regret is not being able to help you, but I will continue to be compassionate and helpful towards others in life the way I have been. Thank you for helping me along with so many others, whether you know it or not man.”
One user also added, “That moment in the memorial concert when they play Numb without the vocals but have a spotlight on an empty microphone wreathed in flowers kills me every time. That the crowd picked up on it right away and sang the whole song too…”
7. Mr. Rogers
One user posted, “It was pouring rain that morning and I'd stopped to grab breakfast before a looming nightmare commute to work. Right as I was about to pull the key out of the ignition, I heard them say on the radio that he'd passed and just sat there in my car, sobbing.
“I met him in 1983 when he came to my elementary school with the Purple Panda, and for a 4-year-old, it was like meeting Jesus. I was so overcome I just blurted out, ‘You're my best friend!' and he smiled and said, ‘I'm so glad that we're friends.' We didn't deserve Fred Rogers.”
A second user commented, “My parents were mildly abusive. It was only because of Mr. Rogers that I knew something was wrong in my household. The amount of love he shared with people on the other side of the TV was awe-inspiring. I think if someone tried to do that today, they'd come off as insincere or [trying too] hard.”
Another user shared, “I think he's the celebrity the world needs most right now. Though I think he'd be so disappointed in all of us to see how we treat each other. I still remember where I was when I heard he'd passed away. My high school band was at Disney World. I can't remember what park we were at that day, but there was a bust there of Mr. Rogers that was already covered in flowers when we got there that morning, and people of all ages were stopping there to pay their respects even though it was raining. It just showed how truly beloved he was that so many generations felt like they'd lost a friend when he passed.”
8. Heath Ledger
One Redditor posted, “In 8th grade English class, we read Taming of the Shrew, and then the teacher let us watch 10 Things I Hate About You to show us how his works still impact writing today. So I had JUST discovered Heath and had a massive crush on him when he passed away less than a year later. It was the first celebrity death that really impacted me.”
Another user also shared, “Still makes me so sad. I thought he was an amazing actor. He just seemed to exude joy.”
“More than exuding joy, he was a remarkable actor. There is a scene in A Knight’s Tale in which he and his cohorts are looking towards the camera as someone is telling them some news. Heath Ledger’s face passes from subtle emotion to emotion. You could read his entire thought process as he absorbed the news. The other actors’ faces were just one look of surprise at the news. I so regret we didn’t get to see Heath Ledger continue to develop because he had a rare gift.” one user replied.
9. Chris Cornell
One Redditor also shared, “Chris Cornell. So talented; gone too soon and died so tragically.”
Another user replied, “I saw him and Chester Bennington in 2007 together. Hell of a show. They’re the reason I never hesitate to say yes to a concert now.”
One commenter added, “Yeah, I'll forever regret never seeing Linkin Park in concert. They were my favorite band as a teenager, and I had one opportunity to see them live when I was in high school and skipped it because I was sure I'd have another chance. Nope. Damn.”
10. Chadwick Boseman
One Redditor shared, “Chadwick Boseman R.I.P. Black Panther.”
Another user commented, “He was such a humble, thoughtful, and selfless dude. I remember watching 21 Bridges and Black Panther and wishing I was as badass and selfless as his characters were. Knowing he was battling cancer while working on several of his movies blew me away; he knew how important Black Panther was to people and continued to train and study every day while battling cancer. Not to mention visiting children battling cancer and hoping to make their day a little happier and a little easier. He continues to motivate me every day to be a more selfless and stronger person and reminds me not to waste my life worrying about what others think of us and just doing what you know is right. He's one of the few people I look up to and strive to be [like. Rest] in peace Chadwick.”
One Redditor added, “A friend of mine went to middle school with him. She had just moved to a new town after her parents split up and was having a really rough time; she says that he was one of the only people at that time who was genuinely nice to her. Chadwick Boseman was organically, truly good, and that's a rarity these days.”
11. Sir Terry Pratchett
One user commented, “Sir Terry Pratchett. He and his works both made the world a better, more interesting place.”
A second user replied, “Terry Pratchett is the reason I evolved from a scared and nerdy introvert kid to the sociable ‘nerd whisperer.' He instilled in me the idea that the filters you use to shape your reality because the actual one is absurd, bizarre, weird, sad, and funny on every scale and step. It is up to us, how we perceive and handle it. Thanks and GNU, Sir Terry Pratchett.”
Another commenter added, “Terry Pratchett is and always will be my favorite author. He could make me laugh and cry in the same sentence. Even now, years later, when I reread his books, I find references or subtleties I missed the last time. He died towards the end of my pregnancy with my youngest. It was a horrible, very traumatic pregnancy and very dark time for me. His death made it worse, especially as his books always brought comfort. It has been several years since then, and I still cannot bring myself to read the last book as I am still not ready for it to be over.”
12. Anton Yelchin
“Anton Yelchin,” one user shared.
A second Redditor replied, “Dude had cystic fibrosis. And that isn’t even what killed him.”
Another user added, “He was in my extended friends group…grew up as besties with my buddy's kid. I used to see him at pool parties and stuff, and he had seen one of my bands, so we would chat about that. Super nice guy with a ton of amazing stories…and then one day, it was just like: ‘Oh my god. Did you hear about Anton???' Totally f***ed.”
Another user added, “I hope y'all check in on his mom. Last time I was regularly in Hollywood she was still going to his grave for hours every day. Very sad.” Another user added, “He's my go to for this question. Poor guy had the whole world in front of him. He was in great movies (hell even his voice work in Trollhunters was great) , and the way he went is just so random and awful. Not to say other deaths aren't tragic, but I think his was more so when compared to the natural death of someone 99 years old, or a drug-related death of someone or someone taking their own life.”
13. Carrie Fisher
One user ended, “We never deserved Carrie Fisher.”
Another Redditor commented, “Followed immediately by Debbie Reynolds 🙁 I felt so bad for Billie Lourd.”
One user replied, “I met her at a Comic-Con right before she died. She was still so beautiful, funny and classy. I was heartbroken when I heard she died.”
14. David Bowie
One user posted, “David Bowie.”
Another replied, “That would be my pick. Knowing he made his last album, released it, and then died 3 days later. It was beyond spooky, but also really cool and creative.”
One Redditor added, “The music videos he created for that album were eerily beautiful.”
Another commented, “My nan bought on the day he died she was on the way back home to listen to it turned on the radio and it announced he had died. She still has the album unopened; she just couldn't bring herself to do it.”
15. Jim Henson
A user shared, “Jim Henson, too early and such a source of joy to so many.” Another user commented, “Yes. Every time I go to Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World, I have to go to the Muppets 3D movie; it was the last thing he did as Kermit. It makes me sad that he died before the paperwork with Disney was complete and because of that a lot of the plans for the muppets at that park never happened. Watch his funeral on PBS, it's one of the best celebrations of a human's life you can see.”
Do you agree with the list above? Share your comments below!
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