Entertainment

People we've lost in 2020

Updated 7:22 PM ET, Fri April 3, 2020
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Adam Schlesinger, the co-founder of pop-rock band Fountains of Wayne and an Oscar-nominated songwriter, died Wednesday, April 1, from complications related to coronavirus. He was 52. Kimberly Butler/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images
Bill Withers, the singer-songwriter whose soulful hits included "Lean On Me," Ain't No Sunshine" and "Lovely Day," died Monday, March 30, of heart complications, according to his family. He was 81. Reed Saxon/AP
Lorena Borjas, a transgender Latinx activist from New York who spent decades advocating for people from marginalized communities, died March 30, due from complications due to the novel coronavirus, according to a close friend. Borjas, 59, spent decades serving transgender people, undocumented immigrants, sex workers and those living with HIV/AIDS, providing them with legal assistance and other services. The Translatin@ Coalition
Tomie dePaola, a children's author and illustrator known for his book "Strega Nona," died on March 30. The 85-year-old author died from complications from surgery after he fell in his barn which served as a studio, according to a statement from his literary agent. DePaola authored nearly 300 books, including "Oliver Button is a Sissy," "The Legend of Old Befana," and the New York Times best-seller "Quiet." Jonathan Fickies/Getty Images
Rocker Alan Merrill, who wrote and recorded the original version of the hit song "I Love Rock 'n' Roll," died Sunday, March 29, after being diagnosed with coronavirus, his daughter told CNN. Merrill, 69, was a big star in Japan in the 1970s and wrote and recorded the anthem "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" in 1975 with his band The Arrows. Joan Jett & the Blackhearts covered the song in 1982 and the single shot to the top of the Billboard Hot 100. Courtesy Laura Merrill
Famed Japanese comedian Ken Shimura died March 29 after contracting novel coronavirus, his representatives said. Shimura, 70, has been described as "Japan's Robin Williams," with the country's television networks heavily covering his death. Noriaki Sasaki/AP
Joe Diffie, a country music singer known for his lighthearted odes to country life that reached mainstream success in the 1990s, died March 29 from complications of coronavirus, his publicist said in a news release. Diffie was 61. Timothy Hiatt/Getty Images
Fred "Curly" Neal, whose flashy dribbling skills and smile made him a Harlem Globetrotters legend, died Thursday, March 26. He was 77. Ross D. Franklin/AP
World-renowned jazz musician Manu Dibango died of coronavirus on March 24, according to his official Facebook page. He was 86. The Cameroonian saxophone player achieved global fame in the 1970s for his style of mixing jazz with traditional music from his home country. Dibango was also a big influence for many musicians around the globe for several decades and his music was often sampled; most famously in Michael Jackson's hit "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin." Sia Kambou/AFP/Getty Images
Kenny Rogers, whose legendary music career spanned six decades, died on March 20. He was 81. Rogers had 24 No. 1 hits during his career, and more than 50 million of his albums sold in the United States alone. Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images
Swedish actor Max Von Sydow, who made his name in the films of Ingmar Bergman before featuring in international hits like "Game of Thrones," died March 8 at the age of 90. He was a well-known figure in both European and American cinema, starring in films from Bergman's masterpiece "The Seventh Seal" to international blockbusters such as "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." Warner Brothers/Getty Images
James Lipton, whose serious interviews with high-profile stars "Inside the Actors Studio" for more than 20 years made him a well-known pop-culture figure, died March 2 at the age of 93. Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP
Hosni Mubarak, the former Egyptian president who ruled for nearly 30 years until being overthrown, died on February 25. He was 91. During his 29 years in power, Mubarak survived would-be assassins and ill health, crushed a rising Islamist radical movement and maintained the peace pact with neighboring Israel that got his predecessor killed. Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Clive Cussler, the bestselling author and sea explorer, died on February 24, his family announced in a Facebook post.
He was 88.
Ronnie Bramhall/G.P. Putnam's Sons/AP
Katherine Johnson, a pioneering mathematician who, along with a group of other brilliant black women, helped make US space travel possible, died on February 24. She was 101. Her life and work served as inspiration for the film "Hidden Figures." Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
Former Major League Baseball shortstop Tony Fernandez died at age 57, the Toronto Blue Jays tweeted on February 16. He suffered a stroke and had been struggling with kidney issues, the team said. During his 17-year career, Fernandez won four Gold Glove Awards, made five All-Star appearances and won a World Series title with the 1993 Blue Jays. Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
Caroline Flack, the former host of the hit British reality show "Love Island," died at the age of 40, her family confirmed on February 15. A family lawyer told PA Media that Flack committed suicide and her body was found in her east London apartment. ITV/Shutterstock
Actress Lynn Cohen, best known for her role as Magda the housekeeper in "Sex and the City," died February 14, according to her manager. She was 86. Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
Actor Robert Conrad, known for the television show "The Wild Wild West," died February 8 at the age of 84, according to family spokesman Jeff Ballard. Courtesy Conrad Family
Kirk Douglas, one of the great Hollywood leading men whose off-screen life was nearly as colorful as his on-screen exploits, died February 5 at the age of 103, according to his son, actor Michael Douglas. Hulton Archive/Archive Photos/Getty Images
Willie Wood, a Hall of Fame football player and former safety for the Green Bay Packers, died February 3 at the age of 83, according to a statement from the team. Wood won two Super Bowls as a member of the Packers. AP
Mary Higgins Clark, the bestselling "Queen of Suspense" who wrote dozens of suspense novels sold worldwide, died January 31 at age 92, Clark's publisher confirmed on Twitter. Clark's writing career spanned decades and included bestselling titles such as "Loves Music, Loves to Dance" and "A Stranger Is Watching." Simon & Schuster
NASCAR driver John Andretti, a nephew of racing legend Mario Andretti, died from colon cancer on January 30, according to a tweet from Andretti Autosport. He was 56. Robert Laberge/Getty Images
NBA legend Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, on January 26. He was 41. Bryant was one of nine victims in the crash. His 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, was also killed. Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Leila Janah, a social entrepreneur who poured her energy into creating job opportunities for the world's poorest communities, died January 24 due to complications from epithelioid sarcoma, a rare soft-tissue cancer. She was 37. Elisabetta Villa/Getty Images
Jim Lehrer, the legendary debate moderator and former anchor of the "NewsHour" television program, died January 23 at the age of 85. Lehrer anchored the "NewsHour," the flagship newscast on public television in the United States, for 36 years. Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images
"Monty Python" star Terry Jones died at age 77, Britain's PA Media news agency reported on January 22. Jones was a member of the much-loved British comedy group and also directed a number of its most popular films, including "Life of Brian" and "The Meaning of Life." Chris Ridley/Radio Times via Getty Images
Americana singer and songwriter David Olney, whose music was recorded by Linda Ronstadt, Steve Young, Emmylou Harris and others, died of an apparent heart attack while performing in Florida on January 18, according to a statement on his website. He was 71. Scott Housley/davidolney.com
Former professional wrestler Rocky "Soul Man" Johnson, WWE Hall of Famer and the father of actor Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, died at the age of 75, the WWE announced on January 15. WWE
Sultan Qaboos bin Said, who ruled Oman since 1970, died January 10, according to the official Oman News Agency. He died at age 79 and was the longest-serving Arab leader. Mohammed Mahjoub/AFP/Getty Images
Rapper 5th Ward Weebie was a major player in the distinctive bounce music scene in New Orleans. He died January 9 at the age of 42. His publicist said he had a "heart attack which turned into emergency heart surgery and ultimately heart failure." Erika Goldring/Getty Images
Don Larsen, the man who pitched the only perfect game in World Series history, died January 8 at the age of 90, according to his representative Andrew Levy. AP
Elizabeth Wurtzel, whose 1994 memoir "Prozac Nation" ignited conversations about the then-taboo topic of clinical depression, died on January 7. She was 52. Her husband, Jim Freed, told CNN she died following a battle with metastatic breast cancer that had spread to her brain. Dan Callister/Writer Pictures/AP
Neil Peart, who helped propel the band Rush to global stardom and sealed his place as one of the greatest drummers in rock music, died January 7 after a long battle with brain cancer, according to a family spokesman. He was 67. Fin Costello/Redferns/Getty Images
Derek Acorah, a popular TV psychic medium and former host of the British reality show "Most Haunted," died January 3 at the age of 69. Ian West/PA Wire/AP
John Baldessari, one of America's most influential conceptual artists, died on January 2. He was 88. Baldessari was renowned for combining photography with various other media, with some of his most iconic works featuring colorful dots pasted over subjects' faces in portraits and found photographs. Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for LACMA
David Stern, the former NBA commissioner who reshaped the league and presided over its skyrocketing growth for three decades, died on January 1. He was 77. Mike Stobe/Getty Images