From actors and writers to musicians, the close of the year is a time to remember those who inspired and challenged us but whose muse has been sadly silenced.
The year began with British music icon “David Bowie’s”: death from cancer.
The ever-changing artist behind ambitious concepts like “Space Oddity” and new wave pop like “Let’s Dance” was 69 when he passed away in January.
He was regarded by critics and musicians as an innovator, particularly for his work in the 1970s. His career was marked by reinvention and visual presentation, his music and stagecraft significantly influencing popular music.
During his lifetime, his record sales, estimated at 140 million worldwide, made him one of the world’s best-selling music artists.
In January British actor Alan Rickman also died from cancer at the age of 69. He had won over a new generation of fans as Professor Snape in the Harry Potter series.
The actor had made his name playing beloved bad guy parts in films like “Robin Hood:Prince of Thieves” and “Die Hard.”
Rickman also worked behind the camera directing two films “The Winter Guest” (1997) and “A Little Chaos” (2014)
The Italian novelist, literary critic, philosopher and university professor Umberto Eco was 84 when he passed away in February.
He was best known internationally for his 1980 novel “The Name of the Rose,” an historical mystery combining semiotics in fiction with biblical analysis, medieval studies, and literary theory.
Others lost their lives too young.
Pop music genius Prince was just 57 when he died from an accidental drug overdose in April in his suburban Minneapolis home.
He has been lauded as one of the most inventive and influential musicians of modern times with hits including “Little Red Corvette,” ‘‘Let’s Go Crazy” and “When Doves Cry”.
Anton Yelchin was a rising actor best known for playing Chekov in the new “Star Trek” films before he was killed in a freak car accident.
He was struck by his own vehicle as it rolled backward down his driveway in June. He was 27.
The film “Star Trek Beyond” was dedicated to his memory.
Gene Wilder, the comedic actor whose tightly wound characters often seemed about to tear out their frizzy hair in such classic films as “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” and “Young Frankenstein,” passed away in August at his home in Connecticut.
The American actor died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease. He was 83.
Andrzej Wajda was 90 when he died in October. The acclaimed Polish director was famous for his films which reflected his country’s turbulent history,
Recipient of an Honorary Oscar and the Palme d’Or, Wajda was a prominent member of the so-called “Polish Film School”.
He directed more than 40 films in his 60 year-long career working until the end of his life.
Italian actor–playwright, comedian, singer, theatre director, stage designer, songwriter, painter, and political campaigner, Dario Fo also passed away in October. He too was 90.
A controversial satirist, Fo was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1997.
Until his death, Fo remained an active participant and left-wing campaigner on various political, social and cultural issues.
The songwriter who dreamed up “Suzanne,” “I’m Your Man,” and, “Hallelujah” Leonard Cohen died in November. He was 82.
The Canadian musician and poet had released his latest album just three weeks before his death.
Then on Christmas Day George Michael, perhaps Britain’s biggest pop star of the eighties, died at 53.
Farewell My Friend! 🙏🏻 Another Great Artist leaves us. 💔Can 2016 Fuck Off NOW? pic.twitter.com/aEGIUNSJbt— Madonna (@Madonna) December 26, 2016
With school friend Andrew Ridgeley he formed the pop duo Wham! and his flair for songwriting brought them a string of hits from “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” to “Club Tropicana.”
In 1985 they made an historic tour of China, the very first by a western pop group.
Then, after years of being adored by millions of teenage girls, Michael announced he was moving on and going solo – but not before Wham! had sold over 25 million albums and 15 million singles.
His last years were marred by a string of arrests for drugs offences.
Michael was finally imprisoned for a month in 2010 after crashing his car into a shop in north London and said the experience led him to seek help for his addiction.
Carrie Fisher, who rose to fame as Princess Leia in the “Star Wars” films, died on December 27 aged 60.
Her passing came four days after she suffered a heart attack while on a flight from London to Los Angeles to celebrate the holidays with her family.
The actress was treated by paramedics immediately after the plane landed and rushed to the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center but never regained consciousness.
Born in Beverly Hills, Carrie Fisher got her showbiz start at age 12 in her mother’s Las Vegas nightclub act. She made her film debut as a teenager in the 1975 comedy “Shampoo,” two years before her “Star Wars” breakthrough.
Just a few hours after the death of her daughter Carrie Fisher it was announced Debbie Reynolds had died as a result of a stroke. The film star, who made her name at just 19 in the 1952 hit musical ‘Singin in the Rain’ was 84.
Two members of one family whose talents had shone across the silver screen for over 50 years. Carrie Fisher was a leading figure of the modern cinema, Debbie Reynolds one of the great actresses of Hollywood’s golden era.