We're only a quarter of the way through the year, but some truly beloved, noteworthy public figures have already left us here in 2021.
Each of these artists, athletes, politicians, and pop culture icons may be gone from this world. But they will never be forgotten. Ever.
For their fans and loved ones alike, true legends never die.
Their legacies live on; their stars will never fade; and their work will be cherished for generations to come, as those whose lives they touched pass the love and admiration on to future generations.
Join us as we pay tribute to the stars we've lost in 2021.
May they rest in eternal peace, and/or power.
DMX passed away on April 9 from an accidental drug overdose that he suffered several days prior that left him in a vegetative state. The iconic rapper, who rose to fame with his gritty style in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and remains an influence on the genre to this day, was just 50 years old.
Prince Philip, lifelong companion of Great Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and the longest-serving consort of any British monarch, passed away on Friday, April 9. He was 99 years old. A statement posted on the official Buckingham Palace website confirmed the news, saying: "It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle. The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss." Having led a truly remarkable life for a century, Philip is survived by his wife, four children, eight grandchildren and ten grandchildren.
What an actress and pioneer. Legendary actress Cicely Tyson, a Tony and Emmy winner who was perhaps best known for her Oscar-nominated role as a sharecropper’s wife in the 1972 film “Sounder,” died on January 28. She was 96 years old. There will never be another like her.
This one hits particularly hard for a generation of people who grew up watching him on Saturday morning television. Dustin Diamond, the former Saved by the Bell star, died of lung cancer at age 44 on February 1. His death comes just a couple of weeks after his diagnosis was made public, making the news all the more surprising and saddening. Diamond's death also came following a period of estrangement from his former co-stars; Dustin and his character Samuel "Screech" Powers were not included in the recent revival of Saved By the Bell.
On February 4, 2021, Christopher Plummer passed away at the age of 91. The legendary Canadian actor racked up more than 200 (!) theater, film and television credits over the course of his storied career, winning Tony, Emmy and Academy Awards along the way. A household name ever since he co-starred in the Sound of Music with Julie Andrews more than half a century ago, Plummer became known to another generation of fans with recent standout roles in works such as All the Money in the World and Knives Out.
Olympia Dukakis, the acclaimed, award-winning actress, director, producer, teacher and activist, passed away on May 1. She performed in over 130 stage productions, over 60 films and in 50 TV series over the course of an iconic career. She was 89.
Michael K. Williams
Michael K. Williams, best known for his portrayal of Omar Little on HBO's The Wire, poses here in a photo shoot in early 2021. He sadly was found dead a few months later. Williams was 54.
Comic legend Norm MacDonald has passed away following a 10-year battle with cancer. The beloved actor, writer and comedian was 61 years old.
Biz Markie, a beloved rapper best known for the hip hop classic "Just a Friend" and other hits, passed away at a Baltimore area hospital on Friday evening, July 16. He was 57 years old.
Walter Mondale, a Minnesota minister’s son who became a United States Senator and Vice Oresident of the United States under Jimmy Carter from 1976-1980, and went on to be the Democratic nominee for President four years later before losing the 1984 election to Ronald Reagan, passed away in April 2021. He was 93 years old.
Larry King, a journalist who anchored eponymous radio and talk shows for decades, became synonymous with CNN, and interviewed just about every famous person on the planet, is sadly dead at the age of 87. May he rest in perpetual peace.
Baseball legend Henry Aaron, better known as Hank Aaron, who endured racist death threats as he broke Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record in 1974, died on January 22 at the age of 86. The ballplayer known as “Hammerin’ Hank” - a staunch civil rights advocate who spent 23 years in the major league, mostly with the Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves - died “peacefully in his sleep,” the Braves said, but no cause of death was given. He held the record for most career home runs until Barry Bonds broke it, allegedly with the aid of steroids.
Jessica Walter, the beloved, veteran actress who established one of the funniest and most memorable characters in TV history - Lucille Booth on Arrested Development - passed away in her sleep on Wednesday, March 24. She was 80 years old.
She was 80 years old.
Rush Limbaugh, a conservative talk radio pioneer and one of the most influential voices within the Republican Party for decades, died after a battle with lung cancer. He was 70 years old. The news was confirmed on February 18 by Limbaugh's wife, Kathryn, who made the announcement on her late husband's widely listened-to program.
Just a week apart from Tyson, another iconic actress, Cloris Leachman, passed away at the age of 94. She was best known for her roles in famous film and television projects such as “Young Frankenstein” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”
Manukura, the rare, snow-white kiwi bird that was the first-ever hatched in captivity, died in its native New Zealand after multiple surgeries. The beloved flightless bird inspired toys and a picture book, winning the hearts of children and conservationists alike. #nestinpower
On February 8, 2021, Billy Brown's adult children took to social media to reveal that their beloved father had passed away the night before following a seizure. The father, grandfather, and Alaskan Bush People star had been reported to be in poor health for years prior to his passing.
The acclaimed English actress Helen McCrory, of Harry Potter and Peaky Blinders fame, among other works, and the wife of actor Damien Lewis, passed away in April 2021 after a heroic battle against cancer at the age of 52.
May Willie Garson rest in peace. The veteran actor died at the age of 57 after a short battle with an illness.
Gabby Petito, 22, was found dead in September 2021. A travel influencer and vlogger who traveled with Brian Laundrie since 2019, the pair traveled the country together, with Petito documenting their trips on Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok. The cause of her death remains a mystery.
Bernard Madoff, a.k.a. Bernie Madoff, the mastermind of the biggest investment fraud in U.S. history who conned tens of thousands of clients out of a purported $65 billion, died Wednesday, April 14. He was 82. He died at the Federal Medical Center in Butner, North Carolina, apparently from natural causes. He pleaded guilty in 2009 to a ponzi scheme that investigators said started in the early 1970s and defrauded as many as 37,000 people in 136 countries.
Divinity, a white female dove once owned by Prince, died in early February, according to the late singer’s Paisley Park estate. She was 28. Paisley Park said Divinity died “following a decline in health due to age.” One of the original doves Prince kept at his iconic Minnesota complex, "Divinity was an ever-present fixture for countless Paisley Park tours, events, and productions,” the estate said in a statement. “Divinity’s beautiful coo has welcomed visitors since Paisley Park first opened its gates to the public in October 2016 ... she was one of the enduring links to Prince for thousands of fans. She will be missed.” #coo #nestinpower
You're looking at an all-time great. May Ed Asner rest in perpetual peace. We loved his work.
Jahmil French, an actor best known for having starred as Dave Turner on Degrassi: The Next Generation, passed away from unknown causes. He was only 29 years old. Not many details about this tragedy are known at this time, but French's death was confirmed by his friends and co-workers on social media on March 2.
For five seasons and multiple movies, Mira Furlan starred as Delenn on the landmark science fiction series, Babylon 5. She is also well known for her role as Danielle Rousseau on Lost. Mira passed away on January 20. The beloved and talented actress was 65.
The world of entertainment lost a beloved personality when Mat George, who co-hosted the very popular podcast She Rates Dogs, died in the early hours of Saturday, July 17. He was only 26 years old. The late star's colleague and co-host, Michaela Okland, confirmed her friend's passing in a statement on Twitter. George was killed in a hit-and-run.
Larry Flynt, the famous Hustler magazine and empire founder (and unlikely First Amendment rights hero immortalized in the film The People vs. Larry Flynt), died at the age of 78.
Legendary music producer Phil Spector died on January 17 while still serving 19 years-to-life for murdering actress Lana Clarkson. Before the notorious killing that landed him a life sentence, he produced over a dozen top 40 hits in the 1960s including “Da Doo Ron Ron,” “Be My Baby” and “He’s a Rebel,” as well as perhaps most notably the Righteous Brothers’ iconic track “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling."
Sad news from the world or reality TV on July 6, as multiple outlets have confirmed the passing of Love After Lockup star Tracie Wagaman. She died at the age of 41, just a week after giving birth. Completely devastating.
If you are familiar with the name John McAfee, then you're probably aware that not only did he develop world-famous anti-virus software, his eccentric and possibly criminal behavior long overshadowed his successes as an entrepreneur and programmer. In October 2020, McAfee was arrested in Spain on tax evasion charges, and in June 2021 he was found dead in his cell of an apparent suicide.
Henry "Nacho" Laun
Henry "Nacho" Laun, a veteran presence on the reality show Wahlburgers and a very close friend of actor Mark Wahlberg, died in May 2021 from unknown causes. He was 54 years old.
Hattie, a seal which had been entangled in a net for more than two years, has passed away, according to multiple media reports. The Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust had been trying for two years to rescue the seal that was first seen entangled in fishing wire in 2018, the BBC reports. But in May 2021, rescuers said they had to make the very sad decision to put the animal down once she was finally caught. Rest in power.
Brayden Smith was only 24. The five-time Jeopardy! champion made quite a name for himself during some of Alex Trebek's final episodes. His passing in early February 2020 was incredibly surprising and tragic.
Siegfried Fischbacher, pictured here back in 2012, was one half of the famous magician duo Siegfried and Roy, along with Roy Horn (1944-2020). He died of cancer in 2021 at the age of 81.
Linda Torres, a reality star best known for her appearances on the hit show Big Ang, passed away in early April at the age of 67.
Dazharia Shaffer, a rising star on the social media network TikTok, died at the age of 18. So young, so much ahead of her. R.I.P.