2016 has been a rough year for celebrity deaths. In such a short timespan, we've lost many of pop culture's leading men and women. Legends like Prince and David Bowie, rising stars like Anton Yelchin and comedy kingpins like Doris Roberts and Gene Wilder all bid us farewell this year.
In earnest, celebrity deaths are almost always heartbreaking, because we come to relate to these icons. We laugh, cry and learn with them. And though we've lost them, their legacy and accomplishments in industry live on.
It's been over seven years since the King of Pop left us, and we still can't really believe it. Michael Jackson was nothing short of extraordinary, bringing together generations of music lovers with tracks like "Thriller," "Billie Jean," "Beat It," and "Smooth Criminal."prevnext
Paul Walker was a rare breed of action actor. His role as Brian O'Conner in the Fast & Furious franchise is redeeming as we see a man go from chasing absolutes to believing that people really can change. His emotion onscreen may not have been a game changer, but that's just what Walker did.
He was a family man who lived the same life on and off-screen, and though last year's Furious 7 had us say our final goodbyes, we'll surely never forget.prevnext
As one of The Original Kings of Comedy, Bernie Mac showed us how theatrical stand-up could bring us together. Sorry Kevin Hart, but Bernie Mac did it first. But Mac didn't just kick ass on the stage, but in film and television as well.
The Bernie Mac Show paved the way for situational comedies like Modern Family and his roles in films like Ocean's Eleven, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle and Transformers all made us love the Mac just a little bit more.prevnext
Whitney Houston changed the world as one of the best-selling musicians of all time. Tracks like "I Will Always Love You" became anthems in film, television and even people's personal lives. How many weddings do you think were bookended by that song?
Her influence has also shaped the way we listen to pop music. Artists like Mariah Carey and George Michael source her as an influence, and though we lost her in 2012, a part of Houston is felt in every song we hear today.prevnext
Murphy's smile was infectious, matched only by her dedication to form in the movies she starred in. In 8 Mile, Clueless, Uptown Girls and Sin City, Murphy became a staple of drama, comedy and youth in the film industry. Her 2009 death was more than sudden, and we can only imagine the wonders she could have continued to give audiences.prevnext
As the Joker, Heath Ledger captured the minds of millions, bringing insanity to the screen in The Dark Knight, regarded by men to be one of the greatest films ever. His posthumous Oscar brought into focus just how much he cared about his work.
But Ledger didn't just steal the show as the Joker. In The Patriot, Lord of Dogtown, A Knight's Tale and Brokeback Mountain, Heath Ledger earned his way into our hearts, too.prevnext
Man, Amy Winehouse could belt. With one-of-a-kind vocals, Winehouse commanded soul, rhythm and blues and jazz during her career. Her two albums, Frank and Back to Black, are so critically lauded that the latter was briefly the best-selling album of the 21st Century. Talk about impact.prevnext
If you've ever laughed, chances are you owe it to Robin Williams. With an impact on comedy and drama so vast that we can't help but think of him every time we chuckle, Williams was impeccable. In films like Aladdin, Good Will Hunting, Mrs. Doubtfire, Jumanji and plenty more, we fell in love with his smile, impressions and charisma.prevnext
Severus Snape. Hans Gruber. Alexander Dane. Colonel Brandon.
Alan Rickman was a king on stage and on the big screen. His power to command a set was unmatched, and his acting skills were nothing short of incredible. Though we only lost him this year, it feels like forever.prev