December 30, 2017 9:00 am

Celebrities we lost in 2017

Year in review: Celebrities who passed away in 2017


The majority of people probably want to put this year behind them.

From the beginning of 2017 up until the very end, hugely popular celebrities in the worlds of music, TV and cinema passed away, leaving devastated fans in their wake.

Here are some of the beloved celebrities who we lost in 2017.

Chester Bennington

Linkin Park lead singer Chester Bennington died at the age of 41 on July 20. The Los Angeles Coroner’s office spokesman Ed Winter says the 41-year-old rocker hanged himself from a bedroom door in his home near Los Angeles.

Erin Moran

Erin Moran, the former child star who played Joanie Cunningham in the sitcoms Happy Days and Joanie Loves Chachi, died on April 22 at age 56.

The actor died naturally from complications of Stage 4 cancer, as was previously suspected by the authorities working on her case.

Gord Downie

Gord Downie performs during Day 3 of the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival 2011 held at the Empire Polo Club on April 17, 2011, in Indio, Calif.

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Gord Downie, the beloved lead singer of Canadian rock band The Tragically Hip, passed away from glioblastoma in October at the age of 53.

Downie revealed in May 2016 that he had terminal brain cancer. He was diagnosed in December 2015 after suffering a seizure, and then had surgery to remove the bulk of the brain tumour, while six weeks of radiation and chemotherapy reduced it even further.

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Post-treatment, the energetic lead singer was deemed healthy enough to go on a Canada-wide 15-stop summer tour in 2016, which started in Victoria, B.C., and ended in the band’s hometown of Kingston, Ont., on Aug. 20. CBC, which broadcast and streamed the concert live, reported that 11 million Canadians tuned in to watch or hear the final Man Machine Poem Tour show.

Tom Petty

Tom Petty, the lead singer of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and the performer behind classic songs such as Free Fallin’, died on Oct. 2 at the age of 67.

Petty was hospitalized on Oct. 1 after being discovered unconscious in full cardiac arrest. Medical personnel who rushed to the scene were able to restart Petty’s pulse and he was put on life support at UCLA Santa Monica Hospital.

A statement from longtime manager Tony Dimitriades said that Petty died “surrounded by family, his bandmates and friends.”

Martin Landau

Martin Landau, the chameleon-like actor who gained fame as the crafty master of disguise in the 1960s TV show Mission: Impossible, then capped a long and versatile career with an Oscar for his poignant portrayal of aging horror movie star Bela Lugosi in 1994’s Ed Wood, died in July at the age of 89.

Landau died of unexpected complications during a short stay at UCLA Medical Center, his publicist Dick Guttman said.

Mary Tyler Moore

Mary Tyler Moore, best known for starring on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, died at the age of 80 on Jan. 25. Moore was in grave condition at a Connecticut hospital and she was suffering from a number of health problems which became critical. Moore died with her husband and friends nearby, her publicist Mara Buxbaum, said.

David Cassidy

David Cassidy on-set for ‘The Forty-Year Itch’ in November 1971.

ABC via Getty Images

David Cassidy, the teen and pre-teen idol who starred in the 1970s sitcom The Partridge Family and sold millions of records as the musical group’s lead singer, died on Nov. 21 at age 67.

Cassidy, who announced earlier this year that he had been diagnosed with dementia, died surrounded by his family, a family statement released by publicist JoAnn Geffen said. Geffen also said that Cassidy was in a Fort Lauderdale, Fla. hospital suffering from organ failure.

Jim Nabors

Jim Nabors, the actor best-known for playing the character Gomer Pyle on The Andy Griffith Show in the 1960s, died at his home on Nov. 30 in Hawaii. He was 87.

Nabors’ partner of 38 years, Stan Cadwallader, told CBS News that Nabors’ health began to decline rapidly after Thanksgiving. He underwent a series of tests on Nov. 29, but the decision was made to bring him home from the hospital. The coroner has not yet released Nabors’ cause of death, but Cadwallader said it appears to be from natural causes.

Chris Cornell

Rocker Chris Cornell, who gained fame as the lead singer of the bands Soundgarden and later Audioslave, died at age 52 on May 18.

Detroit’s medical examiner said that a preliminary autopsy shows the 52-year-old singer died by hanging. A police spokesman told two Detroit newspapers that Cornell was found with a band around his neck.

Don Rickles

Don Rickles

Comedy legend Don Rickles died on April 6 at the age of 90, his publicist Paul Sherfin confirmed. He would have been 91 on May 8.

Rickles, known for his decades of comedic work, specifically his mastery of the insult, passed away due to complications from kidney failure at his home in Los Angeles.

Charlie Murphy

Charlie Murphy, comedian and brother to well-known actor Eddie Murphy, died in a New York City hospital on April 12 after a battle with leukemia at the age of 57.

Hours before the news of his death was released, Murphy appeared to be reflecting on the past in his last tweet. “One to Sleep On: Release the past to rest as deeply as possible,” he tweeted on April 11.

Adam West

Adam West, who starred in the iconic 1960s TV series Batman, died in June at the age of 88. A family spokesperson reported that West died in Los Angeles after a short battle with leukemia, passing away peacefully surrounded by his family.

The late actor is survived by his wife Marcelle, six children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Hugh Hefner

Hugh Hefner, the founder of men’s lifestyle magazine Playboy, has died of natural causes aged 91 on Sept. 27.

Hefner helped usher in the 1960s sexual revolution with his groundbreaking magazine, around which he built a multi-million-dollar business empire.

Roger Moore

Sir Roger Moore, best known for his portrayal of action hero James Bond, died at the age of 89, his children announced on Twitter. According to his three kids, Moore succumbed to cancer in Switzerland on May 23.

Bill Paxton

Bill Paxton died from a stroke on Feb. 25, 11 days after heart valve replacement surgery, states the actor’s death certificate. Paxton was also undergoing surgery to repair damage to his aorta, the main artery that carries blood from the heart to the body. He was 61.

The actor, best known for his role in the tornado-chasing Twister, appeared in many fan favourites, including AliensTitanic and TV series Big Love.

Fats Domino

Fats Domino

Fats Domino, the amiable rock ‘n’ roll pioneer whose steady, pounding piano and easy baritone helped change popular music even as it honoured the grand, good-humoured tradition of the Crescent City, died on Oct. 24. He was 89.

Malcolm Young

Malcolm Young of the rock band AC/DC performs at the Met Center in Bloomington, Minn., on the Fly On the Wall tour on Sept. 29, 1985.

Jim Steinfeldt/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

AC/DC guitarist Malcolm Young died at the age of 64 in mid-November from the side effects of dementia.

In a statement, Young’s family said he “passed away peacefully with his family by his bedside.”

Young, along with his brother Angus, founded the band in 1973. They were inspired to choose the high-energy name AC/DC from the back of a sewing machine owned by their sister, Margaret.

“As a guitarist, songwriter and visionary he was a perfectionist and a unique man,” the band wrote on its Facebook page.

Dick Gregory

Dick Gregory, a comedian who lambasted racism and played a prominent role in the 1960s civil rights movement after becoming one of the first black comics to perform for white audiences, died on Aug. 19 at age 84.

Gregory, who lived in Washington, checked into Sibley Memorial Hospital a week before his death, after falling ill, said his longtime publicist Steve Jaffe. He died at the facility of heart failure, Jaffe said.

Greg Allman

Music legend Gregg Allman, whose bluesy vocals and soulful touch on the Hammond B-3 organ helped propel the Allman Brothers Band to superstardom and spawn Southern rock, died on May 27. He was 69.

Allman had cancelled some 2016 tour dates, announcing on Aug. 5 that he was “under his doctor’s care at the Mayo Clinic” due to “serious health issues.” Later that year, he cancelled more dates citing a throat injury. And in March 2017, he cancelled performances for the rest of the year.

Della Reese

Della Reese

Della Reese, a noted jazz, gospel and pop singer, as well as the star of ’90s TV show Touched By an Angel, died at the age of 86 on Nov. 20.

Reese’s Angel co-star, Roma Downey, released a statement about her passing. “On behalf of her husband, Franklin Lett, and all her friends and family, I share with you the news that our beloved Della Reese has passed away peacefully at her California home last evening surrounded by love. She was an incredible wife, mother, grandmother, friend, and pastor, as well as an award-winning actress and singer. Through her life and work she touched and inspired the lives of millions of people,” reads the statement.

“She was a mother to me and I had the privilege of working with her side by side for so many years on Touched By an Angel. I know heaven has a brand new angel this day. Della Reese will be forever in our hearts. Rest In Peace, sweet angel. We love you.”

Stevie Ryan

Stevie Ryan, the former YouTube star who landed a spot on VH1 for an impersonation-based series called Stevie TV, passed away on July 1 at the age of 33. The Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office ruled her death to be a suicide by hanging.

Nelsan Ellis

Nelsan Ellis as Lafayette on ‘True Blood.’


Nelsan Ellis, the actor who played Lafayette on HBO vampire series True Blood for its entire seven-season run, died on July 8 at the age of 39.

The family of Ellis said the cause of his death was because his heart failed due to alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Ellis’ manager relayed the news to The Hollywood Reporter:

“Nelsan’s father has bravely agreed for me to share the circumstances of Nelsan’s heart failure,” read the statement. “Nelsan has suffered with drug and alcohol abuse for years. After many stints in rehab, Nelsan attempted to withdraw from alcohol on his own. According to his father, during his withdrawal from alcohol he had a blood infection, his kidneys shut down, his liver was swollen, his blood pressure plummeted, and his dear sweet heart raced out of control.

On the morning of Saturday July 8th, after four days in Woodhull Hospital, Nelsan was pronounced dead. Nelsan was a gentle, generous and kind soul. He was a father, a son, a grandson, a brother, a nephew, and a great friend to those that were lucky enough to know him. Nelsan was ashamed of his addiction and thus was reluctant to talk about it during his life. His family, however, believes that in death he would want his life to serve as a cautionary tale in an attempt to help others.”

June Foray

June Foray, the voice-over star who played hundreds of characters including, Cindy Lou Who, Rocky the Flying Squirrel and Nell Fenwick, died at the age of 99 on July 26.

Sam Shepard

Sam Shepard was an American playwright, actor, author, screenwriter, and director.

AP Photo/Charles Sykes, File

Sam Shepard died with family by his side on July 27 at the age of 73. A family spokesperson said that Shepard died at his home in Kentucky from complications related to Lou Gehrig’s disease, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Shepard is survived by his children, Jesse, Hannah and Walker Shepard and his sisters, Sandy and Roxanne Rogers.

John Heard

In this Sept. 12, 2011 file photo, actor John Heard arrives at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Producers Peer Group celebration of the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles.

AP Photo/Matt Sayles

Veteran character actor John Heard passed away at the age of 72 in Palo Alto, Calif., in late July.

The Santa Clara County coroner’s office confirmed months later that Heard died of myocardial infarction. The actor had a lengthy roster of film and television credits throughout a career spanning four decades, including playing the forgetful father in Home Alone and its sequel.

Chuck Berry

Legendary U.S. rock ‘n’ roll singer and guitarist Chuck Berry performs in Burgos, Spain in 2007.

Israel Lopez Murillo/Associated Press/File

Rock music pioneer Chuck Berry died in March. Berry, whose full name was Charles Edward Anderson Berry, was found after police were called to a medical emergency at his residence. The singer-guitarist, known for such hit singles as Johnny B. Goode, Roll Over Beethoven and Sweet Little Sixteen, was 90 years old.

Berry was among the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Glen Campbell

American country singer Glen Campbell, circa 1967.

Silver Screen Collection/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Glen Campbell, the grinning, high-pitched entertainer whose dozens of hit singles included Rhinestone Cowboy and Wichita Lineman and whose appeal spanned country, pop, television and movies, died in early August. He was 81.

Campbell’s family said the singer died in Nashville. Campbell announced in June 2011 that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and that it was in its early stages at that time. Coroners later confirmed that Campbell died of Alzheimer’s-related causes.

In the late 1960s and well into the ’70s, the Arkansas native seemed to be everywhere, known by his boyish face, wavy hair and friendly tenor. He won five Grammys, sold more than 45 million records, had 12 gold albums and 75 chart hits, including No. 1 songs with Rhinestone Cowboy and Southern Nights.

John Hurt

This Sep. 13, 2011 photo shows John Hurt arriving for the U.K. film premiere of ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’ at the BFI Southbank in London.

AP Photo/Sang Tan, File

John Hurt, a British actor famous for roles in films such as AlienV for Vendetta and The Elephant Man, died at the age of 77 in January after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

One of Hurt’s most recognizable roles was in Ridley Scott’s sci-fi classic Alien. In that film, he played Kane, a crew member aboard a spaceship who is attacked by a parasite that plants an alien in his chest.

Hurt continued to act in popular films in recent years. He starred in the Harry Potter series as Mr. Ollivander, who worked at the shop where Harry received his first magic wand in Diagon Alley.

He also starred in 2004’s Hellboy as a kindly occult expert who becomes a father figure to a demon who travels to Earth through a portal in the Second World War.

Jerry Lewis

In this Sept. 5, 2005, photo, longtime host Jerry Lewis performs during the Muscular Dystrophy Association telethon in Beverly Hills, Calif.

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File

Comedian Jerry Lewis died in August at the age of 91 at his home in Las Vegas. His publicist said he died of natural causes with his family by his side.

His annual Labour Day Weekend telethons to raise funds for muscular dystrophy, which were held from 1966 until 2010, were as legendary as the man himself. His fundraising efforts won him the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the 2009 Oscar telecast, an honour he said, “touches my heart and the very depth of my soul.”

Richard Anderson

Richard Anderson attends the 1st Annual PopCon LA Pop Culture Convention on July 8, 2012, in Los Angeles.

Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

Richard Anderson, the tall, handsome actor best known for co-starring simultaneously in the popular 1970s television shows The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman, died at age 91 in late August from natural causes.

Anderson was married and divorced twice. His first wife, Carol Lee Ladd, was the daughter of actor Alan Ladd. His second wife, Katharine Thalberg, was the daughter of actress Norma Shearer and movie mogul Irvin Thalberg. The couple had three daughters.

Troy Gentry

In this Jan. 17, 2013 file photo, Troy Gentry of the Country Music duo Montgomery Gentry performs on the Rebels On The Run Tour in Lancaster, Pa.

Owen Sweeney/Invision/AP, File

Troy Gentry, a member of country music group Montgomery Gentry, died in a helicopter crash in early September at the age of 50.

Frank Vincent

Actor Frank Vincent attends the “Chicago Overcoat” DVD Launch Party at Sweet & Lowdown on April 21, 2011, in New York City.

Bobby Bank/WireImage

Frank Vincent, a veteran character actor who often played tough guys, including mob boss Phil Leotardo on The Sopranos, died at age 80 in September. He passed away from complications of heart surgery.

He is survived by his wife Katherine, daughters Debra and Maria, son Anthony, two grandchildren and three siblings.

Harry Dean Stanton

In this Feb. 4, 2008, file photo, actor Harry Dean Stanton arrives at a celebration for actress Marion Cotillard in West Hollywood, Calif.

AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File

Harry Dean Stanton, the shambling, craggy-face character actor with the deadpan voice who became a cult favourite through his memorable turns in Paris, Texas, Repo Man and many other films and TV shows, died in September at age 91.

Stanton died of natural causes in Los Angeles, his agent confirmed.

He was widely loved around Hollywood, a drinker and smoker and straight talker with a million stories who palled around with Jack Nicholson and Kris Kristofferson among others and was a hero to such younger stars and brothers-in-partying as Rob Lowe and Emilio Estevez. “I don’t act like their father, I act like their friend,” he once told New York magazine.

Lil Peep

Lil Peep, a New York rapper, died on Nov. 15 of a suspected drug overdose at the age of 21. Police in Tucson, Ariz., say Lil Peep, whose real name was Gustav Ahr, was found dead on his tour bus ahead of a scheduled concert in the city.

Kim Jonghyun

Jonghyun of South Korean boy band SHINee attends the Seoul premiere of SM Entertainment ‘SMtown The Stage’ on August 4, 2015, in Seoul, South Korea.

Han Myung-Gu/WireImage

The singer of K-pop band SHINee, Jonghyun, was found unconscious in a Seoul hotel on Monday, Dec. 18, and was rushed to the hospital and later pronounced dead. He was 27.

Jonghyun, whose real name was Kim Jong-hyun, had sent his sister ominous text messages prior to his death, according to Seoul police. One read “Final farewell” while another said, “I’ve had a hard time. Please let me go and say that I did a good job. This is my last word.”

Police later ruled his death a suicide.

Heather Menzies-Urich

Heather Menzies (Louisa von Trapp) attends ‘The Sound of Music’ 40th Anniversary Special Edition DVD Cast Reunion at The Tavern on the Green Nov. 10, 2005, in New York City.

Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images

Heather Menzies-Urich, who played Louisa von Trapp in the 1965 musical The Sound of Music, died at 68 on Christmas Eve. Menzies-Urich’s son Ryan said that the actress was recently diagnosed with brain cancer.

“She was an actress, a ballerina and loved living her life to the fullest,” he said. “She was not in any pain but, nearly four weeks after her diagnosis of terminal brain cancer, she had enough and took her last breath on this earth at 7:22 p.m.”

Rose Marie

Actress and comedian Rose Marie talks to the press in April 2002 as she arrives for a ceremony honouring comedian Milton Berle at Hillside Memorial Park and Mortuary in Los Angeles.

Nick Ut/AP/File

Rose Marie, the wisecracking Sally Rogers of The Dick Van Dyke Show and a show-business lifer who began as a bobbed-hair child star in vaudeville and worked for nearly a century in theatre, radio, TV and movies, died on Dec. 28. She was 94.

Marie had been resting in bed at her Los Angeles-area home when she died and was found by a caretaker, said family spokesman Harlan Boll.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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