- Title: The famous names who passed away in 2016
- Date: 2nd December 2016
- Summary: NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES (FILE - FEBRUARY 19, 2009) (REUTERS) ***WARNING CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** LEONARD COHEN ON STAGE AT BEACON THEATER
- Embargoed: 17th December 2016 08:55
- Keywords: David Bowie Prince Alan Rickman Leonard Cohen film music death celebrity 2016 year-end
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- Story Text: EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS MATERIAL WHICH WAS ORIGINALLY 4:3
EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY
It's likely that 2016 will best be remembered for world-shaping events like Brexit and Donald Trump's election win, but it's also a year in which numerous high profile celebrities passed away.
The year began with British music icon David Bowie dying from cancer.
The passing of the 'Let's Dance' performer drew crowds to a shrine in Brixton, where Bowie was born and grew up.
The music world lost another major icon when Prince was found dead at his home in Minnesota in April.
Prince, known for songs including "Purple Rain" and "When Doves Cry," died on April 21 of an accidental overdose of a powerful painkiller at his Paisley Park estate. He was 57.
The death of Muhammad Ali, the former heavyweight champion known as much for his political activism as his boxing brilliance, triggered a worldwide outpouring of affection and admiration for one of the best-known figures of the 20th century.
Ali, who had long suffered from Parkinson's syndrome which impaired his speech and made the once-graceful athlete almost a prisoner in his own body, died aged 74.
The cause of death was septic shock due to unspecified natural causes. Ali was first admitted to a Phoenix-area hospital, HonorHealth, with a respiratory ailment.
British actor Alan Rickman, whose roles ranged from Hollywood villains to Professor Snape in the Harry Potter films, died in January after a battle with cancer aged 69.
With his aquiline features and cultured - if often menacing - English accent, he became one of Britain's best-known actors of stage and screen over the last 30 years with a career stretching from the Royal Shakespeare Company to sci-fi spoof "Galaxy Quest".
His family said he had died surrounded by family and friends.
Songwriter and poet Leonard Cohen died in his sleep after a fall in his Los Angeles home in the middle of the night.
Cohen, music's man of letters whose songs fused religious imagery with themes of redemption and sexual desire, died on Nov. 7. He was 82. No cause was given for his death when it was announced three days later on his Facebook page.
Actor Anton Yelchin, best known for playing the young Russian starship navigator Chekov in the rebooted series of "Star Trek" movies, was killed in June when accidentally crushed by his own car against a driveway wall.
The Russian-born Yelchin, 27, died shortly after he apparently stepped out of his car in the steep driveway of his Los Angeles home and it rolled backwards.
The U.S. also lost one of its key writers of the 20th century, Harper Lee, the author of "To Kill a Mockingbird" and its surprise follow-up "Go Set a Watchman".
"To Kill a Mockingbird" was published in 1960 as the civil rights movement was heating up and its unflinching examination of racial hatred in the South made it especially poignant. Its theme could be summed up with the advice that Atticus Finch, the noble lawyer, gave his young daughter, Scout: "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view - until you climb into his skin and walk around in it."
Renowned award-winning film directors also passed away this year, with Michael Cimino, best known for "The Deer Hunter", and "L.A. Confidential" maker Curtis Hanson among the biggest names.
Mexico mourned the loss of Juan Gabriel, a musical icon across Latin America for more than 40 years, who died of a heart attack in August at age 66.
Gabriel, whose real name was Alberto Aguilera, was born in 1950 into a poor family in the western Mexican state of Michoacan and rose to sell millions copies of his albums and have his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Other major names from the world of music to pass away in 2016 included Glenn Frey, a founding member of rock band Eagles, Maurice White, founder of funk group Earth, Wind and Fire, and Natalie Cole, daughter of music great Nat King Cole.
The husband of Celine Dion, Rene Angelil, also died this year, as did Frank Sinatra Jr. and The Beatles' former manager George Martin.
And from the film world, another major name to die was Academy Award winning star Gene Wilder, best known for "The Producers", "Blazing Saddles" and "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory".
The U.S. actor died in August aged 83 from complications of Alzheimer's disease, according to a family statement.
"Star Wars" actor, Kenny Baker, the man behind the R2-D2 robot also died that month.
Gary Shandling, Robert Vaughn and Alexis Arquette were also among other names from film to pass away in 2016.
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