Celebrity Deaths in 2020: Stars We’ve Lost
Saying goodbye is never easy, especially when it comes to icons and stars fans have grown to love. Scroll down to see Us Weekly’s tribute to the celebrities who died in 2020.
The rock music legend, known for his iconic singles “Tutti Frutti” and “Good Golly, Miss Molly,” died on May 9 at the age of 87 of unknown causes.
Horn died at age 75 of complications from the coronavirus, Us Weekly confirmed on May 8. He was best known for being one half of the magic act Siegfried and Roy with Siegfried Fischbacher.
The Bad Company lead singer died of cardiac arrest at his home in Florida on May 6. Howe replaced the band’s original singer, Paul Rodgers, in 1983 and later left the rock group in 1994. Before his death at age 66, he had suffered heart problems, including a prior heart attack in 2017.
Courtesy of Brian Howe/Twitter
The country singer died at age 30 on May 2. Her brother Cody Groves wrote on Facebook, “The medical examiner has completed autopsy and there was no indication of foul play or self harm. Simply put, Cady Groves died of natural causes. She had some medical problems last fall and our best guess at this point until further testing is complete is that they had resurfaced.”
News of the Scrubs alum’s death broke on May 1. He was 56. The actor was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor in January 2019.
The Bollywood icon, who starred in Slumdog Millionaire and Life of Pi, died on April 29 at age 53 after battling a colon infection.
Ashley ‘Minnie’ Ross
The Little Women: Atlanta star died on April 27 at age 34 after being involved in a head-on car accident.
Courtesy of Ashley Ross/Instagram
Marty and Nancy Smith
The legendary motocross racer and his wife were killed in a dune buggy accident in California on April 27. He was 63.
Courtesy of Marty Smith/Instagram
The Chernobyl Diaries star’s brother confirmed to TMZ that the actor was found dead in his Daytona Beach, Florida, home on April 22. He was 52.
The former Playboy Playmate died by suicide at age 33 on April 15 at her home in Austin, Texas.
Chowdhry died in his native India on April 15 after suffering from a ruptured ulcer in his intestine. He traveled to the South Asian country for a dental visit, but was unable to return to the U.S. due to the coronavirus pandemic. Throughout his acting career, he appeared on television shows such as The Office, The Cosby and Prison Break. He was 64.
The Tommy Boy actor and Broadway star passed away from “natural causes” on April 15. He was 81. The Tony winner’s daughter Elizabeth Dennehy shared the news via social media following his death. “It is with heavy hearts we announce that our father, Brian passed away last night from natural causes, not Covid-related,” Elizabeth wrote via Twitter. “Larger than life, generous to a fault, a proud and devoted father and grandfather, he will be missed by his wife Jennifer, family and many friends.”
The WWE confirmed that the legendary wrestling announcer passed away on April 16. “When considering the greatest ring announcers in the history of sports and sports-entertainment, you’d be hard-pressed to name one better than Howard Finkel,” the company said in a statement addressing the loss of their 2009 Hall of Fame inductee. “In addition to his legendary tenure as a ring announcer, The Fink was an indispensable resource inside the WWE offices for his vast knowledge of sports-entertainment history.” Finkel’s cause of death was not announced at the time.
The New York Yankees co-owner died at age 63 on April 14 after battling a long-standing health issue. His family remembered him as a “genuine and gentle spirit who treasured the deep relationships he formed with those closest to him.”
The former NFL player died on April 12, after being transported to a local hospital following a single-car accident in Alabama. Jackson played for the Minnesota Vikings, the Buffalo Bills and the Seattle Seahawks across his 10 seasons in the league. “One of Tarvaris’ greatest attributes was his positive outlook and approach. He genuinely cared about others, was a good friend and will be missed by family, teammates and Vikings fans everywhere,” a statement from the Minnesota team read on April 13.
The M*A*S*H actor and NFL star died on April 4 after suffering complications from dementia. He was 82. “The Eagles are saddened to learn of the passing of former running back Timmy Brown,” a representative for the Philadelphia Eagles said in a statement on Twitter. “Timmy Brown’s legendary career was defined by his versatility and work ethic.”
The Philadelphia rapper, born Chynna Rogers, died in her home on April 8 at age 25. Her cause of death has yet to be released. “Chynna was deeply loved and will be sorely missed,” the “No Dimmer” artist’s family said in a statement, per Page Six.
The folk singer-songwriter died at age 73 on April 7 at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville after battling COVID-19. Bruce Springsteen, Kacey Musgraves and Miranda Lambert were among the many stars who paid tribute to Prine after his death.
Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean
The granddaughter of Robert F. Kennedy died at age 40 on April 2 after her canoe overturned in the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland with her 8-year-old son, Gideon, also on board. A dive and rescue team found McKean’s body in 25 feet of water on April 6. Her son has not yet been found.
Courtesy of David McKean/Facebook
The actress, who was best known for playing Mrs. Kintner in Jaws, died in early April at an assisted living facility in Ohio after battling COVID-19. She was 91.
The actress and activist died at age 86 on April 5 after battling pneumonia. “My mother was an extraordinary woman who led an extraordinary life,” her son, actor Kiefer Sutherland, tweeted.
The Aliens actor died at age 68 on April 4 after complications arising from a coronavirus-related infection.
The actress, who starred alongside Audrey Hepburn in the 1959 classic The Nun’s Story, died on April 2 after suffering pneumonia due to the coronavirus. She was 86.
The Flash alum died suddenly on April 2. He was 16. Williams’ mother, Marlyse Williams, told The Tri-City News the family was “absolutely devastated.”
Courtesy of Grant Gustin/Instagram
The musician died on April 1 after being hospitalized for coronavirus. He was 52.
The actor and dialect coach died at age 76 on March 31 after contracting the coronavirus. He starred as Caluan Ematt in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Last Jedi in addition to coaching the casts of movies including Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers: Endgame and the Lord of the Rings franchise.
The country singer, who had hits in the ‘90s with songs like “John Deere Green” and “Third Rock From the Sun,” died on March 29 at the age of 61 due to complications related to coronavirus, his publicist confirmed to Rolling Stone. Diffie had revealed just two days earlier that he had tested positive for COVID-19. “I am under the care of medical professionals and currently receiving treatment,” he said in a statement on March 27 that asked “the public and all my fans to be vigilant, cautious and careful during this pandemic.”
The All My Children star died on March 28 after suffering a stroke at his Palm Springs, California, home, according to his family. He was 66. “Your bigger than life, gregarious personality will leave a hole in our hearts forever. We are devastated–my great friend, co-parent partner, and loving father to Kaya,” his ex-wife, Eva La Rue, wrote on social media.
On March 26, it was confirmed by the Playwrights Horizons that the character actor died at age 69 from coronavirus complications. “With love and heavy hearts, Playwrights Horizons pays tribute to Mark Blum, a dear longtime friend and a consummate artist who passed this week,” the theater group wrote via Twitter. “Thank you, Mark, for all you brought to our theater, and to theaters and audiences across the world. We will miss you.”
Top Chef Masters season 3 winner died of an infection in the hospital on March 25 after testing positive for coronavirus. Cardoz’s family confirmed his passing to Indian publication Scroll.in. He is survived by his wife and business partner, Barkha Cardoz, and their two adult sons, Peter and Justin.
Fairchild Archive/Penske Media/Shutterstock
The Tony-winner playwright died from coronavirus complications at the age of 81 on March 23. McNally previously battled lung cancer and was living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
“The Gambler” crooner passed away from natural causes at his home in Sandy Springs, Georgia, on Friday, March 20. “The Rogers family is sad to announce that Kenny Rogers passed away last night at 10:25PM at the age of 81. Rogers passed away peacefully at home from natural causes under the care of hospice and surrounded by his family,” Rogers’ family posted on his official Twitter account on March 21.
The former boxing champion died at age 58 following a long battle with diabetes. His nephew Floyd Mayweather announced his death on March 17. “My uncle was one of the most important people in my life inside and outside of the ring,” he said in a statement on his website. “Roger was a great champion and one of the best trainers in boxing. Unfortunately, his health was failing him for several years and now he can finally rest in peace. Roger meant the world to me, my father Floyd Sr., my uncle Jeff, our whole family, everyone in and around the Mayweather Boxing Gym and the entire boxing world. It is a terrible loss for all of us.”
The Oscar-nominated actor died at the age of 92, TMZ confirmed on March 17. A staple of films in the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s, Whitman starred in projects like The Comancheros and Murder, She Wrote. In addition to his prolific acting career, Whitman was a World War II veteran and accomplished boxer. He is survived by his five children.
20th Century Fox/Kobal/Shutterstock
The Carol Burnett Show alum died at age 84 on March 12 after battling an undisclosed illness, TMZ reported. He was also known for his role as Steve Trevor on the Wonder Woman TV series in the 1970s.
The child star died in a car accident in San Bernardino County, California, on March 9. Brino was part of a quadruplet who portrayed twins David and Sam Camden on 7th Heaven from 1999 to 2007.
Max von Sydow
The actor died at age 90 on March 8. He was best known for his roles in The Exorcist, Game of Thrones and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
The gifted dancer, who was the runner-up on season 3 of So You Think You Can Dance, died on March 6 at the age of 35. Choreographer and dancer Travis Wall announced his brother’s death in an Instagram post on March 7. “My heart is broken. Yesterday I lost a brother . And we all lost a gift. I’m not ready. But I never think I will be. Because I can’t believe this is real. I can’t believe you’re gone,” the Emmy winner wrote alongside five photos of Tidwell. “You were more than my brother. You were my inspiration. I idolized you growing up. Wanted to dance just like you. Wanted to be you! I wish I could jump in your arms again like we used to when we were kids and onstage dancing. We will all remember the joy and passion you brought to everyone you came in contact with through out your journey. A journey cut to short. You are a legend. And I love you so much Danny. Rest In Peace my brother. I can’t believe I’m even typing this . Please pray for my mom and my family during this difficult time.”
Choreographer and actress Debbie Allen was among those who posted tributes to the dancer on social media. “Danny Tidwell, our beautiful dancing genius ‘Prince amongst Paupers’ you are in God’s Ensemble. We will always speak your name with love and respect. See you on the other side. Love, Mama D,” she wrote on Instagram and shared a clip of the dancer performing. In 2010, Tidwell moved to Oslo, where he was a soloist with the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet. Wall later posted an update on his Instagram Stories, writing, “For those asking. My brother Danny was killed yesterday in a car accident. After all he’s been thru. I can’t believe he was taken away so sudden from us.”
Photo by Rogelio Solis/AP/Shutterstock
The actress, who starred in Plaza Suite and The Great White Hope on Broadway, died on February 20 at the age of 82. The Pennsylvania native also appeared as a recurring character on Melrose Place (playing Constance Fielding). Her family announced her passing via a Los Angeles Times obituary, revealing she died at her home in Los Angeles while in hospice care.
On March 2, James Lipton died at 93. He was best known for creating and hosting Inside the Actors Studio. His wife revealed he had been battling bladder cancer.
Mark Von Holden/Variety/Shutterstock
The Trader Joe’s founder died on February 28 at the age of 89 in his Pasadena, California, home. His son, also named Joe, announced the news in a statement, adding that his father died after a long illness.
The author of Sahara, a book that was turned into an action-adventure film in 2005 starring Matthew McConaughey, passed away on Monday, February 24. He was 88.
“It is with a heavy heart that I want to share the sad news that my husband, Clive passed away on Monday,” a statement on the late author’s Facebook page read on February 26. “It has been a privilege and a great honor to share in his life. I want to thank you, his fans and friends for all the support, for all the good times and all the adventures you have shared with him. He was the kindest, most gentle man I ever met. I know, his adventures will continue.”
The famed mathematician, who was among the trailblazing black women to help pave the way for the United States’ space travel, passed away at age 101 on February 24. Johnson was the inspiration behind the 2016 film Hidden Figures, in which Taraji P. Henson starred. NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine confirmed the loss in a statement on the agency’s website.
“NASA is deeply saddened by the loss of a leader from our pioneering days, and we send our deepest condolences to the family of Katherine Johnson,” he said. “Ms. Johnson helped our nation enlarge the frontiers of space even as she made huge strides that also opened doors for women and people of color in the universal human quest to explore space. Her dedication and skill as a mathematician helped put humans on the moon and before that made it possible for our astronauts to take the first steps in space that we now follow on a journey to Mars. Her Presidential Medal of Freedom was a well-deserved recognition.”
The lifestyle guru and restaurateur died on February 22 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease, her family announced in a statement. She was 70. “It is with great sadness that my daughter Dana and I announce the passing of my wife, Barbara Elaine Smith,” Smith’s husband, Dan Gasby, wrote in an emotional Facebook post. “Thank you to all the friends and fans who supported B. and our family during her journey. Thank you to everyone for respecting our privacy during this agonizing time. Heaven is shining even brighter now that it is graced with B.’s dazzling and unforgettable smile.”
Courtesy of B. Smith/Instagram
The Dixie Crush frontwoman passed away on February 17 after she sustained injuries from a car wreck. In a statement to the band’s Facebook page, the country group spoke highly of the singer. “Our hearts are broken over this senseless tragedy,” the statement read. “Lindsey was a founding member of Dixie Crush back in 2015. From the very beginning, everyone knew she was something special. Her Uncle Tony described her best as a supernova. Above and beyond her beautiful voice, Lindsey just had a way of connecting with every audience leaving an indelible impression.”
The statement continued, “Not only would she give an amazing performance, but after every show, Lindsey would come offstage, take time to meet anyone who wanted to say hi, take pictures, and build friendships.”
Courtesy of Lindsey Renee/Facebook
The “Welcome to the Party” rapper (real name Bashar Jackson) died at age 20 on February 19 after being shot during a home invasion in Los Angeles.
Griffin Lotz/Rolling Stone/Shutterstock
The former NASCAR driver was found dead at age 43 on February 17 at her Oklahoma City-area home. The medical examiner’s office later determined that the cause of death was an accidental drowning.
The Hollywood family therapist, who was engaged to Drew Carey in 2018, died at age 38 on February 15. The Los Angeles Police Department found her unresponsive outside her Hollywood Hills home after she fell three stories. Her ex-boyfriend Gareth Pursehouse was arrested on murder charges later that day.
Courtesy of Dr. Amie Harwick/Facebook
The former Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew star died on February 16 at the age of 35. “I am so heartbroken to share the saddest news of my life that my son Jason Davis passed away this morning in Los Angeles,” his mother, Nancy David Rickel, told The Hollywood Reporter in a statement. “Jason had a true heart of gold with such a zest for life. He was such a caring soul to everybody who ever knew him. He loved his friends and his family above all else. We ask for privacy as we take time to grieve this most devastating loss.” The grandson of philanthropist Barbara Davis and former owner of 20th Century Fox Marvin Davis and brother of Brandon Davis appeared in the films Rush Hour and Beverly Hills Ninja and on TV in Roseanne, 7th Heaven and the Disney Channel animated series Recess. He had been open about his struggles with substance abuse and recently cofounded the charity Cure Addiction Now.
The former Love Island host died on February 15 at the age of 40, according to a family statement released to The Sun. Flack reportedly took her own life at her apartment in London, The Sun reported.
The veteran stage actor, who was best known for her role as Magda on Sex and the City, died on February 14, according to Variety. She was 86. Cohen made a name for herself on Broadway, starring in Orpheus Descending and Ivanov, and also played Mags in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.
The former child actor and environmental activist, who starred in the movie Nanny McPhee when he was 11, died on February 6 at the age of 25. “He died doing what he loved, working for the noblest cause of all,” his mother, Liz Jensen, tweeted the following day. “His family could not be prouder. Let’s celebrate all he achieved in his short life and cherish his legacy.”
The actor best known for playing Secret Service agent James T. West in the 1960s TV hit The Wild Wild West died at the age of 84, his family confirmed on February 8. Known for doing his own stunts, Conrad starred in Hawaiian Eye and Baa Baa Black Sheep and was also a singer who released music in the 1950s and ’60s as Bob Conrad. He also appeared in films including Sudden Death and Samurai Cowboy and hosted a radio show called The PM Show With Robert Conrad.
The Tonight Show favorite died at age 91 on February 7 when he was fatally struck by a car while crossing a busy intersection. He is best known for his work on the NBC late-night show, the television game show To Tell the Truth and his Tony award-nominated performance in Subways Are for Sleeping.
The director and actor died on February 5 at the age of 77 from a heart attack, Conway’s publicist confirmed to Deadline. The New York native was best known for his roles in 1993’s Gettysburg, 2000’s Thirteen Days and 2006’s Invincible. His TV credits included The Outer Limits, The Black Donnellys, Who Killed Jane Doe? and The Good Wife. He had a total of 80 acting credits and one directing credit to his name before his death.
The French longboard surfing champion died at the age of 24 in February in Queensland, Australia. A cause of death has not been confirmed. “The surfing community has lost a member of its family, a beautiful person with a shining smile, an artist on the longboard whose enthusiasm radiated from (her region) Vendée and everywhere else,” the French Surfing Federation wrote in a statement via their website on February 4.
Courtesy of Poeti Norac/Instagram
The Spartacus actor died at the age of 103 on February 5. His son Michael Douglas confirmed the news in a statement posted to Instagram. “It is with tremendous sadness that my brothers and I announce that Kirk Douglas left us today at the age of 103,” Michael said. “To the world, he was a legend, an actor from the golden age of movies who lived well into his golden years, a humanitarian whose commitment to justice and the causes he believed in set a standard for all of us to aspire to.”
Mary Higgins Clark
The best-selling suspense novelist died of natural causes in Naples, Florida, on January 31 at the age of 92. Clark wrote more than 40 books during her long career, selling more than 100 million copies in the U.S. alone. In 2000, the mother of five signed a $64 million contract for her next five books, making her the highest-paid female author in the world at the time.
The NASCAR driver and nephew of racing legend Mario Andretti died at age 56 on January 30 after battling stage IV colon cancer. “We will forever carry with us John’s genuine spirit of helping others first and himself second,” Andretti Autosport said in a statement on Twitter.
Dusay, best known for her roles in Star Trek and All My Children, died on January 28. The late actress’ stepdaughter Elizabeth Perine issued a statement about Dusay’s death via Facebook, writing: “She was quite a woman and had quite a grand life.” She was 83.
The former L.A. Lakers player died at the age of 41 after his private helicopter crashed in Calabasas, California, on January 26. The NBA great was traveling with eight other people when a fire reportedly broke out on the aircraft. Fire Capt. Tony Imbrenda told KTLA that witnesses reported the helicopter went down quickly and slammed into the ground. Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, was also killed in the crash.
The Bachelorette season 15 contestant was rushed to the hospital in Boca Raton, Florida, on January 13, 2020, after an apparent overdose. Gwozdz was in critical but stable condition in the ICU for a week before he died, per TMZ. He was 29.
The Monty Python troupe cofounder died at age 77 on January 21 after what his family described as a “long, extremely brave but always good humored battle with a rare form of dementia.” He is survived by his wife, Anna Soderstrom, and three children, Bill, Sally and Siri.
The actress, known for her roles on King of Queens and Modern Family, died of natural causes at her home in Palm Springs on January 11. She was 95. Michaels’ extensive television career included appearances on 2 Broke Girls, Everybody Loves Raymond and Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
The WWE Hall of Famer passed away at the age of 75, WWE reported on January 15. Known in the ring as “Soul Man,” Johnson was Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s father and a professional wrestler from the mid-1960s until his retirement from the ring in 1991. He made WWE history after teaming up with Tony Atlas to become the Soul Patrol. Together, they became the first African-American World Tag Team Champions.
Paramedics pronounced the Highlander alum dead on January 11 after his wife, Kristyn Green, found him hanging in their Los Angeles home’s bathroom. He was 51. Green confirmed the news on Facebook, writing: “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.”
The Rush drummer died on January 7 after a three-year long battle with brain cancer. He was 67. Peart is survived by his wife, Carrie Peart, and their daughter, Olivia.
The Australian actor, who appeared in one episode of American Horror Story: Hotel in 2015, died at age 27 on January 7. “[He] had the world at his feet . But sadly he struggled with mental illness and addiction,” his mother, actress Jane Badler, wrote on Instagram. “A brilliant spark shone bright too short a time .. I will miss you Harry every day of my life.”
Courtesy of Harry Hains/Instagram
The Grease star died unexpectedly of natural causes at his home in Santa Monica on January 8. He was 87. The 77 Sunset Strip alum’s son, Logan Byrnes, announced the news via Twitter, writing: “It is with profound sadness and grief that I share with you the passing of my father Edd Byrnes.”
The former Are You The One? star, who appeared on the series in 2017, died on January 9, Us Weekly confirmed at the time. She was 23. The former MTV reality star passed away after suffering from cardiac arrest and being rushed to the hospital in West Virginia, TMZ reported.
Courtesy Alexis Eddy/Instagram
The screenwriter, best known for The Graduate and cocreating the 1960s series Get Smart, died on January 8 in Los Angeles after suffering a heart attack. The legendary writer, whose credits include The Garry Moore Show and Catch-22, was 89 when he passed.
The writer and producer was found dead on January 7, from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, Variety reported. He was 45. Horta, whose body was discovered in a Miami hotel room, was best known for creating Ugly Betty and Jake 2.0.
The rapper passed away on January 2 at the age of 21. The “Hate U Again” singer’s family confirmed the news on Facebook. “You’re a real legend. If you know or heard her music you’d feel chills. Rest in paradise you’ll never be forgotten!” her cousin, Raeisah Clark, wrote on social media. “I’m so lost for words…my beautiful cousin with so much talent & Unique soul Lexii Alijai It’s too soon.”
Courtesy Lexii Alijai/Instagram
Bobbi Kristina Brown’s former boyfriend died on January 1 after suffering a series of heart attacks and being rushed to the hospital in Florida amid New Year’s celebrations. The emergency staff was unable to revive him. He was 30.