Numerous celebrity deaths mark 2016 as a year of great loss

Many well-known people died in 2016 including politicians, world leaders, film directors, sports stars, actors, and recording artists.

In the beginning of the year, the world lost music icon in rocker David Bowie in January. His unique style transformed over four decades and as a founder member of the rock band, The Eagles, Glenn Frey helped make the laid-back, country-rock sound that spawned more than 20 top 40 hits. Bowie died of liver cancer.

Actor Alan Rickman who famously brought villain Hans Gruber to life, also died in mid-January of pancreatic cancer. As well as Professor Snape from the “Harry Potter” franchise.

The following month, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died suddenly of natural causes in February. Scalia was the first Italian-American on the high court, and the court’s leading conservative voice.

Meanwhile, Harper Lee also died in February. Lee wrote one of the most well-known American classics of all time, “To Kill A Mockingbird.” The novel won her a Pulitzer and became a beloved Hollywood film.

One of the most influential first ladies of the 20th century died in March of 2016 of congestive heart failure. Nancy Reagan was known for her strength and fierce devotion to her husband, President Ronald Reagan.

There was a great sorrow at the shocking death of music legend, Prince. The seven-time Grammy winner known as “The Purple One,” died at his studio at the age of 57 of opioid overdose in April.

After six decades in show business, Doris Roberts also died in April, of a stroke. Roberts was best known for her role as Ray Romano’s mother in “Everybody Loves Raymond.”

Journalist Morley Safer was part of America’s Sunday nights for more than four decades, reporting on the world for CBS’ 60 minutes. Safer died in May of pneumonia.

Boxer legend Muhammad Ali was one of the most well-known athletes in the world. A huge personality outside the ring, he proclaimed himself “The Greatest” and millions of fans around the agreed. Ali died in June of septic shock.

Garry Marshall died of pneumonia in July. Marshall produced and directed some of America’s most popular TV shows and movies like “Happy Days,” and “Pretty Woman.”

Gene Wilder died in August of Parkinson’s disease. Wilder had many memorable comedic roles in the 1970’s and 80’s, playing everything from a mad scientist to a gunslinger to possibly his most famous role, Willy Wonka.

Arnold Palmer, one of the greatest golfers ever, won more than 90 tournaments and is credited with making the sport accessible to everyone. Palmer died of cardiovascular disease in September.

Janet Reno broke glass ceilings as the first female state attorney in Florida and the first female U.S. Attorney General. Reno died in November of Parkinson’s disease.

Florence Henderson was America’s favorite mom who spent years as a stage actress before becoming “The Brady Bunch” matriarch and mother to millions over the years through the show’s syndication. Henderson also died in November of congestive heart failure.

Later in the month of November, Fidel Castro who led Cuba for 60 years died after being in bad health since at least 2008. While the dictator’s death left some feeling a giant loss, others hope it will mean a new, modern era for the island.

The successful space mission of John Glenn, along with the rest of the “Mercury 7,” bolstered the American spirit. Glenn was the first American to orbit the Earth. After retiring from Nasa, he continued to serve the country as a U.S. Senator in Ohio. Glenn died in December.

Alan Thicke was the quintessential 1980’s TV dad. As Jason Seaver in “Growing Pains,” he helped redefine domestic roles. Off screen, Thicke was a musician, composing some of TV’s most popular theme songs. Thicke died later in mid-December of a heart attack.

In the last weeks of 2016, a member of Hollywood royalty, Carrie Fisher, made famous by her role as Princess Leia in the Star Wars franchise died of cardiac arrest. Her mother, screen legend Debbie Reynolds, famous for her role in the musical “Singin’ in the Rain,” died one day later of a stroke.

The world lost music icon, George Michael, famous for his part in the musical group “Wham” and his own solo success, when he died on Christmas Day.