They may have passed away, yet these celebrities will live on in the pages of history. Here is a list of celebrities who died in 2016, but who will forever be immortalized through their life’s work.
1. David Bowie
The English singer, who won six Grammy Awards during his lifetime, was an iconic figure in popular music for over five decades. He also worked as an actor. David Bowie died from liver cancer on 10 January 2016 in his New York City apartment. His death came just two days after his 69th birthday and the release of his final album.
“He always did what he wanted to do. And he wanted to do it his way and he wanted to do it the best way…He was an extraordinary man, full of love and life. He will always be with us. For now, it is appropriate to cry,” wrote Tony Visconti, David Bowie’s producer.
The “one-man studio band and consummate showman,” according to The New York Times, sold more than 100 million records and won seven Grammy Awards during his lifetime. At the age of 57, Prince died from an accidental fentanyl (synthetic opioid pain medication) overdose at his Paisley Park recording studio and home in Minnesota on 21 April 2016.
“Few artists have influenced the sound and trajectory of popular music more distinctly or touched quite so many people with their talent. As one of the most gifted and prolific musicians of our time, Prince did it all,” tweeted former President Barack Obama.
3. Muhammad Ali
The three-time lineal heavyweight champion, nicknamed “The Greatest,” is regarded as one of the most significant and famous sports figures of the 20th century. After a lengthy battle with Parkinson’s syndrome, due to boxing-related brain injuries, Mohammad Ali died on 3 June 2016, at the age of 74, at a hospital in Arizona.
“All of us were around him hugging and kissing him and holding his hands, chanting the Islamic prayer. All of his organs failed but his heart wouldn’t stop beating…a true testament to the strength of his spirit and will,” tweeted Hana Ali, Muhammad Ali’s daughter.
4. Harper Lee
The American novelist was renowned as the writer of To Kill a Mockingbird, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and has become a classic of modern American literature. At the age of 89, she died in her sleep at her home in Alabama.
“Harper Lee was ahead of her time, and her masterpiece To Kill A Mockingbird prodded America to catch up with her,” said former President George W. Bush in a statement on the passing of Harper Lee.
5. Edgar Mitchell
The NASA astronaut was the sixth person to walk on the moon. He was the Lunar Module Pilot of Apollo 14 and the last surviving member of the Apollo 14 crew. On 4 February 2016, the 45th anniversary of his lunar landing, Edgar Mitchel died at the age of 85 while under hospice care in Florida.
“He believed in exploration, having been drawn to NASA by President Kennedy’s call to send humans to the moon. He is one of the pioneers in space exploration on whose shoulders we now stand,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden.
6. Nancy Reagan
As the wife of the 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, Nancy Reagan served as the First Lady of the United States from 1981 to 1989. She founded the “Just Say No” drug awareness campaign. Nancy Reagan died, of congestive heart failure, at the age of 94 on 6 March 2016 in California.
“Nancy Reagan was the rock behind one of the greatest leaders of our time…She embodied grace and poise for generations of Americans,” said New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
7. Morley Safer
The award-winning broadcast journalist was the longest-serving reporter on 60 Minutes – the most watched program in television history. On 19 May 2016, eight days after announcing his retirement from 60 Minutes, Morley Safer died from pneumonia at his home in Manhattan.
“Morley has had a brilliant career as a reporter and as one of the most significant figures in CBS News history, on our broadcast and in many of our lives. Morley’s curiosity, his sense of adventure and his superb writing, all made for exceptional work done by a remarkable man,” said Jeff Fager, executive producer of 60 Minutes.
8. Arnold Palmer
Nicknamed “The King,” the professional golfer is regarded as one of the greatest players in the sport’s history. He is also the first superstar of golf’s television age and did more to promote the sport than any other player. While awaiting heart surgery, Arnold Palmer died on 25 September 2016 at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Pennsylvania. He was 87 years old.
“Arnold transcended the game of golf. He was more than a golfer or even great golfer. He was an icon. He was a legend. Arnold was someone who was a pioneer in his sport. He took the game from one level to a higher level, virtually by himself,” said former golfer Jack Nicklaus.
9. Fidel Castro
The Cuban revolutionary and politician served as the Prime Minister of Cuba, from 1959 to 1976, and as President, from 1976 to 2008. Fidel Castro was a popularizing world figure who significantly influenced various groups and individuals across the world. He died, at the age of 90, on 25 November 2016 in Havana, Cuba. The cause of death was never revealed.
“Without exaggeration, a whole era of history is gone with Fidel Castro,” said Dimitry Medvedev, Russia’s prime minister.
10. George Michael
The English singer was one of the best-selling music artists of all time, with 115 million records sold worldwide. He also won two Grammy Awards. On 25 December 2016, George Michael was found dead in his bed at his home in Oxfordshire, England. The 53-year-old singer died from heart failure due to an enlarged and inflamed heart, coupled with a fatty liver.
“George Michael’s sweet soul music will live on even after his sudden death. Having worked with him on a number of occasions his great talent always shone through and his self-deprecating sense of humor made the experience even more pleasurable,” tweeted musician Paul McCartney.