In Memoriam: Celebrities We Lost in 2016
The year 2016 showed no mercy when it came to our beloved music and cultural icons. Several major music figures in the R&B, hip-hop, pop, soul, rock and blues worlds have sadly bid farewell to us this year.
Among the music icons that have passed include Natalie Cole, the Whispers’ Nicholas Caldwell, blues legend Otis Clay, Philadelphia soul man Billy Paul, tunesmiths Rod Temperton and Kashif, as well as dance music icon Colonel Abrams.
In hip-hop, we lost several prominent figures including parody rapper Clarence “Blowfly” Reid, DJ Big Kap, ATCQ rapper Phife Dawg, PM Dawn member Prince Be, former N.W.A manager Jerry Heller and Atlanta rapper Shawty Lo.
In the world of rock, two major icons left this earth. David Bowie, the British singer who has influenced artists in all genres of music during his 50-year career, died in January. He will undoubtedly be missed by both musicians and fans alike. Another rocker, Eagles co-founder Glenn Frey, also passed away, which saddened many fans of both that long-running California band and his solo 80s hits.
One death that shook up the world was the untimely passing of Prince. The 57-year-old guitarist was found dead inside the elevator of his Paisley Park compound on April 21. According to the Minnesota Medical Examiner’s Office, Prince died from an accidental drug overdose of Fentanyl, which was found in his system and there was no other significant factors that led to his death.
We have also lost Maurice White, the co-founder of the legendary soul/funk group Earth, Wind & Fire. During his illustrious career in music, White help delivered Africana, self-pride and soulful music to the masses. Also, Denise Matthews, better known as Vanity, also passed away. In November, charismatic vocalist and front-woman of the soul band The Dap-Kings Sharon Jones succumbed to cancer at the age 60.
Outside of music, we mourned the passing of boxing icon and activist Muhammad Ali, while in Hollywood, veteran actors Ron Glass and Bill Nunn transitioned their way to heaven. Another entertainer, Ricky Harris, died on Dec. 26. The 54-year-old funnyman, who appeared in hit movies like Heat and Dope, died of a heart attack.
Finally, on Christmas Day, pop icon George Michael passed away from heart failure. He was 53 years old.
In honor of these incredible musicians, celebrities and sports figures, we pay homage to each of them in the photo gallery above. So without further ado, peep our recap of Artists We’ve Lost in 2016.