20 Tragic Celebrity Deaths in 2020 That Brought Us to Tears
January 11, 2021 8:00 AM EST | 8 min read
It feels like all of us have lost someone we know to 2020.
It has been a year of struggle and sadness for everyone.
These celebrities who passed away in 2020 were some of the best athletes, actors, musicians, and people in the industry.
Each of these deaths left their fans a little sadder, and a hole to fill.
Some left this earth with the best years of their lives ahead of them, and others lived a long life and did more than ‘break even.’
Each deserves to be remembered for their contributions to the world.
Young people who left this world too soon
#1 Kobe Bryant
We were only 26 days into 2020 when the world lost Kobe Bryant in a tragic helicopter crash.
Kobe Bryant was an unstoppable force in the NBA.
He led the Lakers to win multiple championship series.
Black Mamba, a nickname he earned because of his moves on the court, was like nothing we had seen before.
He also gave back to the community and taught kids the art of the game.
Another heartbreaking loss of the crash was that of his daughter.
#2 Chadwick Boseman
Chadwick Boseman played a variety of historically significant roles.
In 42 he plays baseball legend, Jackie Robinson.
His supporting role in Draft Day allowed him to show how talented an actor he was.
Boseman also brought the life of James Brown to the big screen with the movie Get on Up.
His big break came when he starred as Black Panther in the Marvel Comic movies, Captain America: Civil War and Black Panther.
Sadly, he died of colon cancer at 43.
#3 Nick Cordero
Nick Cordero was an award-winning Broadway, TV, and film star who passed away because of COVID-19 complications.
He was admitted to the hospital in March.
Doctors amputated his right leg on April 18th because of a blood clot.
He would pass away on July 5th at just 41 years old.
Nick and his wife had celebrated the birth of their son just last year.
You will also enjoy our article on Black Panther quotes.
#4 Naya Rivera
Naya Rivera had been in show business since she was a child but is best known for her role in Glee.
In 2011, she began her career as a musical artist.
On July 8th, she rented a boat for a fun excursion with her three-year-old son.
He would later be found on the boat alone.
Sadly, she drowned at 33.
Political figures who left behind a legacy
#5 Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Ruth Bader Ginsburg was much more than a lawyer and a judge, she was a pioneer who paved the way for women.
She was an icon, a symbol, a beacon of hope, and a guardian for those who needed her help.
Ruth once said, “When I’m sometimes asked ‘When will there be enough [women on the Supreme Court]?’
and I say ‘When there are nine.”
She succumbed to her battle with pancreatic cancer at 87.
#6 John Lewis
John Lewis was an American politician and civil rights, activist.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., along with other civil rights leaders, inspired him to speak out against the injustices facing black people.
He has been a congressional representative since 1987, where he fought to preserve human rights.
He reminded us that activism was the responsibility of anyone who witnessed oppression, and his life fighting for the cause.
He was 80 years old when he also passed away from pancreatic cancer.
Authors whose work we will miss
#7 Mary Higgins Clark
Mary Higgins Clark was an exceptional suspense author.
She wrote 51 books, and each of them hit the bestsellers list!
Her first suspense novel: Where are the Children?
was published in 1974 and it was the first time she didn’t have to worry about money.
She published her second novel only three months later, and it sold for 1.5 million dollars.
Her death was sad, but not suspicious in any way.
She died of natural causes at 92.
#8 Winston Groom
Winston Groom is the author of Forrest Gump, which became a popular film of the 90s.
Unlike the movie, there is a sequel to the book, titled Gump & Co.
which was published in 1995.
He died in his sleep at 77 years old, most likely of a heart attack.
TV personalities that enriched our lives
#9 Regis Philbin
Regis Philbin, known as the “hardest working man in show-business,” was the co-host of Live With Regis and Kelly!
He also hosted several game shows, including Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
Philbin had a lengthy television career but sadly died of a heart attack a month before his 89th birthday.
#10 Alex Trebek
Alex Trebek lost his battle with pancreatic cancer on November 8, 2020.
He had been the host of Jeopardy!
He was a great man who always had the answers and encouraged us to ask questions.
Like Ruth Bader Ginsburg and John Lewis, he also died of pancreatic cancer.
#11 Wilford Brimley
Wilford Brimley served in the US Marine Corps before landing various roles on TV.
His big break came when he landed a role on The Waltons.
He is most known for being the face of the Quaker Oats commercials.
He died at 85 after battling an illness with his kidneys for two months.
#12 Edd Byrnes
If you are a Grease fan, then you know Edd Byrnes as host Vince Fontaine.
However, he is most known for his starring role in 77 Sunset Strip.
His death was attributed to natural causes, and he was 87 years old.
Iconic Silver Screen actors that left a void in Hollywood
#13 Olivia de Havilland
Gone With the Wind, the movie, starred Vivien Leigh and Olivia de Havilland as leading Southern Belles.
Margaret Mitchell wrote the book, and Olivia de Havilland played the role of Ashley’s wife, Melanie Hamilton.
Olivia, unlike other stars, didn’t want to play Scarlette, instead preferring the quiet dignity of Melanie’s character.
She starred in many other films and was the living actor of the Golden Age of Hollywood.
She died in Paris of natural causes at 104.
#14 Sean Connery
Sean Connery is a household name known for playing: “Bond, James Bond.”
He also starred in the Indiana Jones franchise as Henry Jones, Indiana’s dad.
That Scottish accent was killer on the ladies.
Agent 007 passed away at age 90 in his sleep of heart failure and pneumonia complications.
#15 Kirk Douglas
Kirk Douglas had a humble beginning as the son of immigrant parents.
His childhood, along with that of his six sisters, can only be described as poor.
He was a box office hit during Hollywood’s Golden Era.
He is also Michael Douglas’ dad.
Kirk was 103 when he passed away.
#16 Jeremy Bulloch
Jeremy Bulloch, an English actor, had an incredible 60-year long career.
The Force was strong with this one, and he is best known for his roles in the Star Wars franchise.
He was Boba Fett in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
He left the earthly realm at 75 because of complications due to his long battle with Parkinson’s.
#17 Kelly Preston
Kelly Preston, otherwise known as Mrs. John Travolta, was an actress with an impressive career.
She starred in over 60 different productions, including Jerry McGuire.
She had been battling breast cancer for two years before her death at 57 years old.
Musical legends whose voice touched us
#18 Peter Green
Peter Green, the founder of Fleetwood Mac, was a superb songwriter and performer.
His musical career started back in 1966 when he joined John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers.
The musician died at 73 in his sleep.
#19 Charley Pride
Charley Pride was not only an excellent singer and guitarist, he was also a professional baseball player!
He actually got his start singing for 15 minutes prior to the start of the baseball games.
His biggest hit song was Kiss an Angel Good Mornin’.
He passed away at 86 from COVID-19 complications.
#20 Kenny Rogers
Kenny Rogers was a singer, whose most popular song was The Gambler.
He had a unique voice that was great for country music.
He also did a little bit of acting too.
The gambler in the song that Kenny is speaking to tells him, “Every hand’s a winner, and every hand’s a loser, and the best that you can hope for is to die in your sleep.”
Kenny was 81 when he passed away in hospice care of natural causes.
Unfortunately, there were many other celebrities who passed away during this horrible year, and I couldn’t list all of them.
If you have someone you would like to add, please do so in the comment section below.
Here is hoping that we don’t lose so many stars, or loved ones, in 2021.