By Stephen Skipper
Many have said that 2016 was one of, if not, the worst years in recent memories. There was the attack on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando that took the lives of 50 people, the turmoil of the election season, and, of course, the countless big name celebrities that were lost. People from all walks of life left us this past year: actors, musicians, athletes, even political leaders. No one was safe from the year of 2016.
The first of note to be lost, was musician David Bowie, passing from liver cancer at age 69. Performing for over five decades, he is recognized as one of the world’s best-selling musicians with 11 number one albums and nine platinum certifications, being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. Just four days later, actor Alan Rickman, known for his role in the Harry Potter franchise as Severus Snape, also lost his battle with cancer.
In April, the world lost the artist known as Prince to a drug overdose, bringing tragedy to his career. Prince was not the only one to have his life cut short.
Two bright young stars were taken far too soon this past year. The first was music artist Christina Grimmie, who was shot and killed following a concert in Orlando at just 22 years of age. The second was Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez who died in a boat crash at only 24. Both had their whole lives and careers ahead of them, and things were looking bright when tragedy struck.
The sports world lost another great in June with the passing of boxing legend Muhammad Ali, one of the leading heavyweights of the twentieth century and an inspiration to others. Alongside boxing, the professional wrestling world also had some heavy losses this past year, including “The Ninth Wonder of the World” Chyna and longtime manager, Mr. Fuji.
One of the most polarizing deaths was that of the Cuban revolutionary, Fidel Castro. Many celebrated his passing as the dawn of a new age for Cuba and hope of the country finally making advancements. Once he had passed, then-president Barack Obama opened the doors for Americans to travel to Cuba for the first time in nearly 60 years.
Arguably the most difficult season was around the holidays. A day after Thanksgiving, Ron Glass, best known for his role in the cult science fiction show, Firefly, died from respiratory failure, though that was only the beginning. On Christmas Day, itself, singer George Michael died in his home at just age 53 from undetermined causes. The hits just kept on coming as two days later, Star Wars icon Carrie Fisher passed away from a heart attack she suffered four days previously. The very next day, Fisher’s own mother, Hollywood legend Debbie Reynolds, lost her life due to complications from a stroke, ending the year on a truly somber note.
Death is a given. It comes to all of everyone, but that does not mean it will not hurt when the time comes. 2016 was especially difficult to get through with death taking stars left and right. All these greats and the many more that had been lost over the course of the year of 2016 will be missed with heavy hearts. One can only hope that 2017 will be kinder in sparing those people hold dearly in their hearts.