20 Celebrities We Suddenly Lost in 2020

Chloe Wilt | Jun 5, 2020 Celebrities
20 Celebrities We Suddenly Lost in 2020
Image: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Kobe Bryant
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Tragedy has struck in 2020 in more ways than one. Hearts have broken due to the global health crisis our world continues to suffer -- in addition to police brutality that continues to take black lives, and the wildfires in Australia earlier this year that burnt ecosystems to the ground. Needless to say, it's been a tough year so far. It's also been hard in the pop culture world, too, as many celebrities have died already -- and the year isn't even close to over. One way to honor the memory of the deceased is to learn about their lives. From sports legends to big screen superstars, 2020 has made us say farewell to a number of stars. Hopefully, by remembering these stars for their life's work we can honor their memories. 

It's hard for us to say goodbye to these beloved stars, but it's unimaginable for their friends and family. Many spouses, children, and family members have taken to social media to express their grief. Meanwhile, many fans have also posted online to commemorate the lives of their favorite celebrities. So much of the death seen in 2020 was so sudden. With an illness ravaging the world, many deaths were caused by that unforeseen cause. Other deaths were via tragic accidents or heartbreaking suicides. Celebrity deaths are hard for everyone, especially fans who have held a special place in their hearts for them for years. There is no right or wrong way to grieve their deaths, and even if we didn't know them personally, it can feel like we did. This year will always be remembered for the hardships the world endured, and for the legendary stars we lost. 

Here are 20 celebrities who have died in 2020.

  • Neil Peart

    Neil Peart
    Jason Merritt/Getty Images

    September 12, 1952 - January 7, 2020

    Neil Peart was a legendary drummer and lyricist for the rock band Rush. The musician had been quietly battling brain cancer for three years and sadly succumbed to the illness back in January. His Rush bandmates called Neil a "friend, soul brother and bandmate over 45 years." He was an award-winning drummer who valued the authenticity of rock music, and was known as "The Professor" in the music industry. 

  • Silvio Horta

    Silvio Horta
    Zuma/Splash News

    August 14, 1974 - January 7, 2020

    The beloved sitcom Ugly Betty was created by Silvio Horta, a Cuban American who truly lived the American dream. Silvio's diverse and inclusive series starred America Ferrera, Vanessa Williams, and many more. After his passing, stars of the Emmy award-winning show remembered him on Instagram with some heartfelt captions. 

    America Ferrera wrote, "I'm thinking of his family and loved ones who must be in so much pain right now - and of the whole Ugly Betty family who feel this loss so deeply." 

  • Elizabeth Wurtzel

    Elizabeth Wurtzel
    John Parra/Getty Images for New York Magazine

    July 31, 1967 - January 7, 2020

    In 1994, Elizabeth opened up the conversation about depression that had never been had before. The prolific writer penned the memoir Prozac Nation: Young and Depressed in America in a way that is still relevant today. Elizabeth was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a double mastectomy in 2015, but it the cancer was ultimately the cause of her death this year. Before her death, Elizabeth did what she did best and wrote about her experience with cancer in an article for The New York Times. 

  • Stan Kirsch


    July 15, 1968 - January 11, 2020

    Stan Kirsch was known for his role Richie Ryan in the TV series Highlander. In addition, the actor also had a few notable cameo roles throughout the '90s in shows like Friends, General Hospital, and JAG. Stan died by suicide at the age of 51 this year. 

    After his passing, his wife shared a message to friends and fans in a social media post. 

    "I want to thank everyone for the outpouring of love and support. I haven't been able to respond to all the texts, calls, emails -- but have read or listened to every single one of them. I feel surrounded by love and am forever grateful to each and every one of you."

  • Rocky Johnson

    Rocky Johnson
    Rob Kim/Getty Images

    August 24, 1944 - January 15, 2020

    Those in the wrestling scene will know the iconic fighter Rocky Johnson, but the rest of the world knows him as Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's father. Rocky, who was 75, died suddenly of a heart attack. In 1983, Rocky became the first black WWE tag fighter champion, retiring from wrestling in 1991. His son, The Rock, delivered a touching eulogy at his funeral. 

    "I wish I had one more shot, just to say goodbye, say I love you, say thank you, I respect you but I have a feeling he's watching, he's listening," he said. 

  • Kobe Bryant

    Kobe Bryant
    Xavier Collin/Image Press Agency via Splash News

    August 23, 1978 - January 26, 2020

    The world couldn't believe that Kobe Bryant, the basketball legend and inspiration to many, died in a helicopter crash. The news went from tragic to unimaginable when it was discovered that his daughter, Gianna Bryant, was also on board with him. Kobe leaves behind an incredible basketball legacy: He won five championships, two Finals MVPs, and countless more honors. His greatest legacy, though, are his four daughters and wife, Vanessa, whom he loved dearly. 

  • Gianna Bryant


    May 1, 2006 - January 26, 2020

    The adorable 13-year-old daughter to Vanessa and Kobe Bryant tragically lost her life in January, alongside her dad and seven other passengers, in a shocking helicopter crash. The horrific loss shocked the entire world, and everyone mourned for the up and coming basketball star. In addition to Gianna, Vanessa and Kobe have three other daughters: Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 1. Vanessa Bryant has shown incredible strength since losing her family members, and has shared plenty of love for them on her Instagram.

  • Lynn Cohen

    Lynn Cohen
    Splash News

    August 10, 1933 - February 14, 2020

    Many will remember Lynn Cohen as the mild-mannered Mags in Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Lynn had a diverse and successful acting career in the film and television industry, appearing in Sex and the City, Across the Universe, Law and Order, and more. Sam Claflin, Lynn's co-star in The Hunger Games franchise, wrote a sweet tribute. "I'll carry you everywhere. Always. Lots of love to you Lynn. Bless you. RIP x," he tweeted. 

  • Caroline Flack 

    Caroline Flack
    Splash News

    November 9, 1979 - February 15, 2020

    Caroline Flack was the host of the popular British reality dating show Love Island. At only 40 years old, she died by suicide in her apartment in London. The circumstances surrounding her death have been hotly contested, as Caroline was awaiting trial for allegedly assaulting her boyfriend. Many placed blame on tabloids and British media for their coverage on the TV personality ahead of her death. Her family was obviously devastated and asked for privacy. 

  • Amie Harwick

    Amie Harwick
    Paul Archuleta/Getty Images

    May 20, 1981 - February 15, 2020

    Celebrity sex therapist Dr. Amie Harwick was allegedly murdered. Her body was found under her balcony, and an autopsy discovered strangulation. One of her former boyfriends was charged with her murder. Amie celebrated female sexuality and wrote a self-help book for women called The New Sex Bible for Women: The Complete Guide to Sexual Self-Awareness and Intimacy.

  • Nikita Pearl Waligwa 

    December 1, 2004 - February 15, 2020

    The sweet little girl in Disney's The Queen of Katwe sadly died at the age of 15 after being diagnosed with a brain tumor. Her co-stars, including Lupita Nyong'o, paid tribute to the young rising star. Lupita wrote on Instagram, "It is with great sadness that I post about the passing of Nikita Waligwa, the sweet, warm, talented girl whom I worked with on the film, Queen Of Katwe. She played Gloria with such vibrancy." 

    Nikita's mother talked about her daughter's grace through such a difficult time during her funeral held in Uganda. 
  • James Lipton

    James Lipton
    Christopher Peterson/Splash News

    September 19, 1926 - March 2, 2020

    Host of the long-running Bravo series, Inside the Actors Studio, James Lipton died from bladder cancer at the age of 93. "His work was his passion, loved what he did and all the people he worked with," his wife told The Hollywood Reporter.  "He empowered people to do their best, and hopefully his spirit, curiosity and passion will live on." 

  • Danny Tidwell

    Danny Tidwell
    Chris Ryan/Corbis via Getty Image

    August 1, 1984 - March 6, 2020

    Danny Tidwell, a former contestant of So You Think You Can Dance, lost his life in a car crash at only 35. Danny's husband shared a loving tribute on Instagram. "We were so lucky to have him, life was so challenging for him. But he was a warrior, and he came back standing, always. We loved each other so much, he was and always will be family," he wrote. The dancer came in second place in the competition series in 2007. 

  • Max von Sydow

    Max von Sydow
    Splash News

    April 10, 1929 - March 8, 2020

    Swedish actor Max von Sydow had a long history of acclaimed film and TV roles in his lifetime. From The Exorcist to The Seventh Seal, to Game of Thrones, Max certainly left his mark. The 90-year-old earned two Oscar nominations throughout his career. He was a versatile actor, starring in serious dramas and goofy comedies -- like Strange Brew and Flash Gordon. 

  • Kenny Rogers

    Kenny Rogers
    Splash News

    August 21, 1938 - March 20, 2020

    Kenny Rogers was one of the music industry's rare artists who truly covered multiple genres. He played psychedelic rock ballads, lyrical country singles, and a few pop numbers, too. From 1971 to 1999, Kenny had over 30 No. 1 singles across a variety of genre charts. Many music greats remembered the talented artist and spoke out about their experiences with him. The 81-year-old died peacefully in his home from natural causes on March 20.

  • John Prine

    John Prine
    Astrida/Splash News

    October 10, 1946 - April 7, 2020

    Another music great died this year: John Prine. The legendary folk singer died after exhibiting coronavirus symptoms at 73 years old. John was notorious for his incredible songwriting, telling the most emotional stories through song. Music was always a part of John's life, even while working as a mailman in his early days. 

  • Irrfan Khan

    Irrfan Khan
    FameFlynet.uk.com/Splash News

    January 7, 1967 - April 29, 2020

    Bollywood and Hollywood icon Irrfan Khan died at 53 after struggling with a rare neuroendocrine tumor. Irrfan is recognizable (in the US) for his part in Life of Pi and Slumdog Millionaire, as well as countless Bollywood films. After news of his death dropped, thousands of messages from fans and friends poured out on social media. Priyanka Chopra, Mindy Kaling, and more stars showed their love for the great actor. 

  • Jerry Stiller 

    Jerry Stiller
    Splash News

    June 8, 1927 - May 11, 2020

    Comedian and actor Jerry Stiller -- best known for his part on sitcoms like Seinfeld and King of Queens -- died of natural causes at the age of 92. His son, fellow actor Ben Stiller, shared a tribute in a tweet. 

    "I'm sad to say that my father, Jerry Stiller, passed away from natural causes. He was a great dad and grandfather, and the most dedicated husband to Anne for about 62 years. He will be greatly missed. Love you Dad," he wrote.

  • Gregory Tyree Boyce

    Gregory Tyree Boyce
    Vivien Killilea/Getty Images

    December 5, 1989 - May 13, 2020

    The 30-year-old actor, best known for his role as Tyler Crowley in the Twilight saga, died from a fatal drug combination alongside his girlfriend, Natalie Adepoju, 27. Their deaths were surrounded by mystery after both of their bodies were discovered in their Las Vegas home. (A coroner later confirmed the autopsy discovered a combination of cocaine and fentanyl.) The two leave behind a 10-year-old daughter, and Adepoju's son from a previous relationship. Gregory's mother shared a tribute on Facebook and talked about his love for cooking and hopes of owning his own business one day. 

  • Fred Willard

    Fred Willard
    Zuma/Splash News

    September 18, 1939 - May 15, 2020

    Comedy great Fred Willard died at the age of 81 from cardiac arrest in his own home. The artist starred in many Christopher Guest comedies -- as well as the Anchorman movies, Austin Powers, Harold & Kumar, and many more. In his later years, Fred was a regular on the reality series The Bachelor, often showing up to host alongside Chris Harrison for competitions on various episodes. Chris tweeted a sweet tribute about the legend, sharing, "He was a kind, gentle, thoughtful, talented, loving man." 

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