Every year that passes is another year in which a string of beloved celebrities depart this world, sometimes with fanfare and heartbreak, sometimes without a single frontage headline. Whether we like to admit it or not, we’re all a little fascinated by the lives of the rich and the famous, if not only because they are forced upon us, a cross between real-life soap operas and Stockholm Syndrome.
2017 was another big year for celebrity deaths as the baby boomers that entertained from the 60s onwards continued to met their demise and as younger generations were struck down by illness, accident or suicide. So, let’s take a look at the celebrity deaths of 2017 as the year draws to a close and we look back with a heavy heart.
Mary Tyler Moore – Actress – 80
The star of the Dick Van Dyke Show and the Mary Wyler Moore Show, the American actress was 80 when she died.
Bill Paxton – Actor – 61
- Date of Death: February 25th, 2017
- Cause of Death: Complications from Surgery
The old joke is that Bill Paxton is best known for not being Bill Pullman—admittedly, it is easy to mix the two up. But Paxton was a very talented actor with a long list of big hit films and TV shows to his name, including Aliens and Titanic. He died when he was just 61 following complications that resulted from heart surgery.
Charlie Murphy – Entertainer – 57
- Date of Death: April 12, 2017
- Cause of Death: Leukemia
A death that was forgotten fairly quickly, Charlie Murphy didn’t quite make as much of an impact on the world of entertainment as his brother Eddie, but he definitely deserved to stay in the public’s hearts and minds longer than he did. Charlie was a talented performer, but one that failed to reach the heights he could have done.
He died of leukemia when he was 57.
Erin Moran – Actress – 56
- Date of Death: April 22nd, 2017
- Cause of Death: Cancer
While the name Erin Moran might not ring a bell, her face definitely would, as would the theme tune to the show that made her a star. That’s because Moran played a lead role in Happy Days. She was the bright, attractive and bubbly Joanie Cunningham, and she also starred in several other TV shows while appearing from them to time in everything from The Bold and the Beautiful to The Waltons.
She died in April 2017 aged just 56 years old. Her death was attributed to throat cancer.
Ian Brady – Child Murderer – 79
- When Did he Die? May 18, 2017
- Where Did he Die? Prison, where he belonged
- How Did he Die? Not painfully enough
Okay, so we take it back, not all deaths are tragic. This one was a moment of celebration for the countless families that suffered at the hands of this vile, evil human being. He is said to have died of “natural causes”, which is not as slow or as painful as we would have liked his death to be.
And for those of you who have not had the displeasure of knowing this man, he was the Moors Murderer, responsible for the deaths of many children with his partner in crime Myra Hindley. He died in prison aged 79.
Chris Cornell – Singer – 52
- When Did he Die? May 18, 2017
- How Did he Die? Suicide
The lead singer from the grunge band Soundgarden, as well as several supergroups, Cornell was one of the most talented vocalists of his generation, with songs like Black Hole Sun going a long way to ushering in stylistic changes in the punk and rock genres.
He was just 52 when he died, taking his own life by hanging.
Roger Moore – Actor – 89
- When Did he Die? May 23, 2017
- How Did he Die? Cancer
Although Roger Moore was one of the most famous actors of his generation, taking a leading role in several James Bond films and winning the hearts of countless females the world over, his death was quickly forgotten in the news-heavy Spring of 2017. The British actor died in Switzerland aged 89, following a battle with cancer.
Check Tiote – Soccer Player – 30
- When Did he Die? June 5, 2017
- Where Did he Die? Beijing, China
- Cause of Death: Heart Attack
Another name that many of you may not recognize, but one that came as a shock to the ones who do. Tiote was a talented soccer player that used to line-up for Newcastle United in the English Premier League. Hailed a breakthrough star in his first season (a time when many top clubs wanted his signature) he eventually faded away and was later signed by a Chinese club. It was in China, training for Beijing Enterprises, when Tiote died.
He passed of a heart attack aged just 30. Unfortunately, he is not the first well known athlete to pass so young from a heart attack and he probably won’t be the last. Genetic predispositions, undetected problems and environmental factors, combined with the stresses athletes put on their body, means this is a bigger issue than you might think.
Tiote left behind many adoring fans in England, China and in his home country of Ivory Coast. More importantly, he left behind a wife and three children. His wife was also expecting his fourth child around the time of his death.
Adam West – Actor – 88
- When Did he Die? June 9, 2017
- How Did he Die? Leukemia
An iconic voice, an iconic role—Adam West’s popularity was reborn in the 2000s thanks to shows like Family Guy, but it was the original camp caped-crusader show Batman that won him his early fame. In later years he battled with leukemia and it eventually took his life aged just 88.
Prodigy – Rapper – 42
- When Did he Die? June 20, 2017
- How Dod he Die? Sickle-cell anemia
Prodigy was best known for his work as one part of the Mobb Deep duo, a rapper with immense talent and one who was taken aged just 42. He was hospitalized and later died due to complications from sickle-cell anemia.
Michael Bond – Author – 91
- When Did he Die? June 27, 2017
Michael Bond was the creator of Paddington. He wrote the Paddington Bear series of books, beginning in 1958 and contributing to books due to be published right up to 2018. His creation made it onto countless adverts, films and other media. He was 91 when he died.
Nelson Ellis – Actor – 39
- When Did he Die? July 8, 2017
- Cause of Death: Heart Failure
Ellis played one of the lead roles in vampiric drama and black comedy True Blood. He unfortunately lost his life aged just 39 due to complications from heart failure.
Chester Bennington – Singer – 41
- When Did he Die? July 20, 2017
- Where Did he Die? Palos Verdes Estates, California
- Cause of Death: Suicide
The lead singer from Linkin Park, the Nu Metal band beyond the simply brilliant Hybrid Theory and Meteora, Chester’s voice was raw, powerful, and unlike anything else to grace the world of mainstream (or otherwise) music. He took his own life by hanging aged just 41, signaling the end of an era for many metal fans who grew up listening to his music.
Linkin Park had actually released a very non-metal album prior to Chester’s death and when this was torn apart by fans and critics alike he reacted very poorly. This, combined with a history of abuse and depression, may have been the final straw for the troubled singer. In any case, it was a death that countless music fans struggled to deal with and one of the biggest shocks of the year.
Hugh Hefner – Playboy Founder – 91
- When Did he Die? September 27, 2017
- Where Did he Die? Playboy Mansion
Best known for frolicking with blonde bombshells and wearing a silk dressing gown, Hefner lived the life that every retired man dreams of, right until the point he didn’t. But few people will be shedding a tear for him because not only was he a womanizer by all accounts, but he was also 91 and rich as hell.
Trust us on this one, Hugh had a good run.
Sean Hughes – Comedian – 51
- When Did he Die? October 16, 2017
- How Did he Die? Liver Cirrhosis
Hughes was a comedian, actor and TV personality, an incredibly gifted comic that allegedly battled with an alcohol dependance throughout his adult life. The former Fringe comic, who also appeared on Nevermind the Buzzcocks, was just 51 when he passed. His final tweet, posted hours before his death, read simply, “In hospital.” The news of his death broke just as countless Twitter users and fans were offering him their support and well wishes.
Kevin Cadle – Sports Presenter – 62
- When did he Die? 16th October, 2017
Cadle was a Sky Sports presenter, one of the voices of the NFL in the United Kingdom. He was a former basketball coach that had made a huge name for himself with NFL loving fans in the UK. He worked hard to establish US sports in the United Kingdom and was instrumental in increasing the popularity of these sports across the pond.
Cadel was 62 when he passed.
Charles Manson – Murderer – 62
- When did he Die? 19 November, 2017
- Where did he Die? Bakersfield, California
- How Did he Die? Heart Attack
Like Ian Brady, this is a death that only crazy people will cry over. Also like Ian Brady, it’s a death that came far too late. Why is it that serial killers seem to live so long when they are behind bars?
David Cassidy – Singer – 67
A heart throb to countless teenage girls growing up in the 1970s and 1980s, Cassidy was a singer and an entertainer that passed away in his Florida home aged 67.
- When Did he Die: November 21, 2017
- How Did he Die? Liver Failure
- Where Did he Die? Fort Lauderdale, Florida, US
Leon Bernicoff – TV Personality – 83
- When Did he Die? December 23, 2017
- Where did he Die? Merseyside, England
British readers will recognize this happy-go-lucky man as one half of Leon and June, a Merseyside couple from Gogglebox. Unfortunately Leon passed aged 83 on December 23rd, leaving his loving wife and his extended family, by which we mean the millions of Gogglebox fans who tuned in to watch him every week.
Other Celebrity Deaths in 2017
There are many names deserving of being on this list that we just didn’t have space to include. We don’t want to omit them altogether, so you can find a shorter entry on them below. If you think we missed any, feel free to contact us and let us know.
- Miguel Ferrer – January 19th – Throat Cancer
- Chuck Berry – March 18th – Heart Attack
- Tom Petty – October 2 – Cardiac Arrest
- Liz Dawn – September 26 – Emphysema
- Jake LaMotta – September 19 – Pneumonia
- Bruce Forsyth – August 18 – Bronchopneumonia
- Jerry Lewis – August 20 – Cardiovascular Disease
- Barry Norman – June 30 – Natural Causes
- Peter Sallis – June 2 – Natural Causes
- Colin Dexter – March 21 – Natural Causes
- Tara Palmer-Tomkinson – 8 February – Brain Tumor