A look back at this epic year in celebrity news would not be complete without reflecting upon some of the brightest stars who said goodbye to us in 2012.

Here are 12 of the most notable pop culture figures - from singers to actors to authors and even historical figures - who passed away this year:

Posted in: News

Chicago mobster Frank Calabrese Sr., a known hit man who strangled victims and slit throats, died earlier this week in a federal prison at the age of 75.

Calabrese passed away Tuesday at the Butner Federal Medical Center, said Ed Ross, a spokesman for the North Carolina Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Posted in: R.I.P.

Ray Collins, a musician who invited a guitarist named Frank Zappa to join the band that eventually became the Mothers of Invention, has died aged 76.

Posted in: R.I.P.

Fontella Bass, the singer most famous for her huge 1965 hit "Rescue Me," has died. She passed away Wednesday in Missouri at the age of 72.

According to Bass' family, the singer passed away in a St. Louis hospital from complications Fontella suffered following a heart attack three weeks ago.

Posted in: R.I.P.

Charles Durning, an 89-year-old decorated World War II veteran and award-winning actor whose career spanned the 20th Century, has passed away.

From the burlesque stage and theater to television and film, playing roles as diverse as society itself, Durning's career was marked by so many roles.

Posted in: R.I.P.

Spencer Cox, a well-known AIDS activist who worked with scientists to create the first drugs that combat this deadly diseased, passed away yesterday in Manhattan. He was 41.

Posted in: R.I.P.