Celebrity deaths 2020 – all the stars who died last year – The Sun

IN a year full of tragedy, 2020 saw the passing of some of the world's greatest stars. 

We remember the talented, witty and dazzling icons who died in 2020.

Which celebrities died in 2020?

Lexii Alijai, 21 – 01/01/2020

Lexii Alijai, a rising rap star whose real name was Alexis Alijai Lynch, died aged 21.

The up-and-coming American star passed away on New Year's Day.

She started rapping over beats of well-known songs and earned herself an army of fans.

Her raps to songs such as Thugz Mansion by Tupac saw her popularity instantly rise.

She released her first studio album, Growing Pains, in September 2017.

Derek Acorah, 69 – 03/01/2020

Celebrity Big Brother star and TV psychic Derek Acorah died aged 69 from sepsis and pneumonia, his heartbroken wife revealed.

Derek, who appeared in Most Haunted, passed away during the midnight hours in Southport General Hospital where he was being treated in intensive care.

His devastated wife Gwen told The Sun Online: "He was taken really quickly. It was pneumonia which got him in the end… it's devastating that's he's gone."

Harry Hains, 27 – 07/01/2020

American Horror Story actor Harry Hains passed away at the age of just 27.

His mum Jane Badler, who is also an actor, took to Instagram to tell her fans the shocking news.

She said: "He was 27 and had the world at his feet. But sadly he struggled with mental illness and addiction.

"A brilliant spark shone bright too short a time… I will miss you, Harry, every day of my life."

Harry also featured in trippy Netflix drama The OA and also loved his music, and performed under the name ANTIBOY.

Silvio Horta, 45 – 07/01/2020

Ugly Betty show creator Silvio Horta passed away after a suspected suicide.

He was found dead in a Miami motel room in an apparent suicide, according to sources, Variety reports.  

According to the publication Horta reportedly died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Derek Fowlds, 82 – 17/01/2020

The actor died at Royal United Hospitals Bath after suffering from pneumonia that led to heart failure caused by sepsis.

He was surrounded by his family when he died and is survived by sons Jamie and Jeremy.

Derek appeared in various film roles, before becoming better known on TV as Mr Derek in The Basil Brush Show.

He also starred in Yes Minister opposite Sir Nigel Hawthorne and Paul Eddington from 1980 to 1984 before the sequel Yes, Prime Minister ran from 1986 to 1988.

Terry Jones, 77 – 22/01/2020

Terry died after a battle with dementia.

He rose to fame as members of the Monty Python comedy troupe in 1969 with the first broadcast of groundbreaking sketch show Monty Python's Flying Circus.

The group also featured John Cleese, Sir Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, and Graham Chapman, who died of cancer in 1989.

Kobe Bryant, 41 – 26/01/2020

Kobe and his oldest daughter, Gianna died in a tragic helicopter crash, which came down in California.

The NBA legend and his daughter, 13, were on their way to a basketball practice when the helicopter came down in conditions that had forced the LAPD to ground their choppers.

Bryant shot to fame as an 18-year-old and and played for the Los Angeles Lakers for 20 years, winning five NBA championships on the way.

The death of the player – nicknamed The Black Mamba – sent shockwaves through the NBA and stunned fans around the world.

Nicolas Parsons, 96 – 28/01/2020

Nicholas' family revealed he had died after battling a short illness.

A highlight of his career was hosting the comedy radio game show Just A Minute since its inception in 1967.

Nicholas also hosted Sale Of The Century between 1971 and 1983 – setting a record with 21million viewers.

In a statement issued by his agent Jean Diamond, on behalf of his family, said: "Nicholas passed away in the early hours of the 28th of January after a short illness at the age of 96.

"He was with his beloved family who will miss him enormously and who wish to thank the wonderful staff at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital."

Kirk Douglas, 103 – 05/02/2020

The legendary actor died aged 103 – with his grieving movie star son Michael saying he is "proud to be your son" in a heartbreaking tribute.

The Spartacus star, who was one of the biggest actors of the silver screen during Hollywood's heyday, passed away surrounded by his wife, and three sons.

A statement shared on Instagram by Michael read: "It is with tremendous sadness that my brothers and I announce that Kirk Douglas left us today at the age of 103. 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.

"But to me and my brothers Joel and Peter he was simply Dad, to Catherine, a wonderful father-in-law, to his grandchildren and great-grandchild their loving grandfather, and to his wife Anne, a wonderful husband."

John Shrapnel, 77 – 14/02/2020

The English actor passed away after a battle with cancer.

The Notting Hill star was a recognisable face on screen and stage with The National Theatre paying tribute to him on Twitter, posting: "We're very sad to hear that the wonderful actor John Shrapnel has died." adding, "He performed in many productions at the National Theatre, including Phèdre – our first @NTLiveproduction."

He leaves behind three children and a wife.

Caroline Flack, 40 – 15/02/2020

The TV presenter was best known for hosting Love Island before standing down in 2019.

Her decision to leave the hit ITV dating show came after she had been charged with assault following a bust-up at her home with her then boyfriend, Lewis Burton.

At the time, Flack said she was "absolutely devastated" about leaving.

Her departure came just as she was preparing to host Winter Love Island in South Africa.

Shortly afterwards, Caroline was found dead in her London flat after taking her own life – just one month before being due in court.

Pop Smoke, 20 – 18/02/2020

New York rapper Pop Smoke was shot dead in an apparent home invasion.

The rapper, real name Bashar Barakah Jackson was at his home in Hollywood when the tragedy unfolded.

A host Stars have offered their condolences and Mobo awards paying tribute to the young artist, saying:"RIP Pop Smoke.Only 20 years old…and with so much talent"

He had success after releasing a his breakout single Welcome To The Party in 2019 and his debut mixtape Meet The Woo and worked with a number of music artists including his feature on the hit song Gatti with JackBoys and Travis Scott.

Max Von Sydow, 90 – 8/03/2020

Max von Sydow – who starred in Game of Thrones, Flash Gordon, Star Wars and The Exorcist – died in March aged 90.

The Swedish-born actor brought iconic characters and villains to life in an incredible career that spanned more than sixty years and saw him feature in over 200 films, TV and radio programmes.

Max von Sydow played the Three Eyed Raven in Game of Thrones, as well as Ming the Merciless in the 1980s cult hit Flash Gordon.

He also took on the role of Blofeld in the 1983 James Bond film Never Say Never Again, as the priest Father Lankester Merrin in The Exorcist, and as the knight in Ingmar Bergman’s arthouse classic The Seventh Seal. 

His wife Catherine Brelet said her husband passed away at their home in France on Sunday.

Michel Roux Snr, 78 – 11/03/2020

Legendary chef Michel Roux died at home aged 79 in March after a long battle with a lung condition.

The French cook was with his family in Bray, Berks, when he passed away peacefully.

A leading light of the Roux culinary dynasty, Michel is widely regarded as one of the finest chefs to ever work in the UK and is best known for opening Le Gavroche in Sloane Square with his older brother Albert in 1967.

It was the first British restaurant to be awarded a Michelin star in 1974 and smashed records by earning another two in the next eight years.

The now two-star restaurant has since moved to Mayfair and is run by his nephew, TV chef Michel Roux Jr.

Bill Withers, 81 – 03/04/2020

Lean On Me singer Bill Withers, who also wrote Lovely Day and Ain't No Sunshine, passed away in Los Angeles in April.

A three-time Grammy Award winner, Withers was also part of the Navy for six years, after joining at the age of 17.

In 1971, the signer signed a record deal with Sussex Records where he put out his debut album Just As I Am, which included the hit Ain't No Sunshine.

The iconic track climbed to No. 3 on the Billboard charts and spent 16 weeks in the top 40.

Honor Blackman, 94 – 05/04/2020

Legendary Bond girl Honor Blackman died aged 94 from natural causes.

The star was famous for playing Pussy Galore in the James Bond classic Goldfinger.

Honor was born in Plaistow, East London, in 1925 to a civil service statistician dad.

During the Second World War, she became a motorcycle dispatch rider for the Home Office.

Minor acting roles helped propel her to stardom and she was cast opposite Sean Connery in Goldfinger in 1964 – taking Judo for the feisty female role.

Sir Stirling Moss OBE, 90 – 12/04/2020

Stirling Moss lived his life in the fast lane.

One of the most iconic racing drivers of his age, Moss was an inductee to the Motorsport Hall of Fame and active from 1948 to 1962, with Top Gear paying tribute to him in October 2020.

Moss rose to fame following the Second World War and began his racing career in 1948.

He won a total of 212 of the 529 races he entered in his 14-year career, with his first Formula One triumph at the 1955 British Grand Prix.

Stirling had retired from public life in January 2018 after undergoing lengthy rehabilitation for a serious chest infection he contracted more than two years earlier.

Moss' wife was at his bedside as he passed away in the early hours of Easter Sunday – April 12, 2020 – following a long illness.

Little Richard, 87 – 09/05/2020

Rock’n’Roll pioneer Little Richard inspired music stars from Elvis to The Beatles. 

The star, who performed in drag as a teen, would wear make-up on stage and have his hair up.

He was fond of saying in later years that if Elvis was the king of rock ’n’ roll, he was the queen.

Little Richard’s hits Tutti Frutti, Long Tall Sally, Rip It Up, Lucille and Good Golly Miss Molly sold millions of copies worldwide.

Mick Jagger led the tributes at the time of Little Richard’s death, saying: “He was the biggest inspiration of my early teens and his music still has the same raw electric energy when you play it now as it did when it first shot through the music scene in the ’50s.”

Vera Lynn, 103 – 18/06/2020

Dame Vera Lynn was the wartime singer famed for her morale boosting songs that supported British troops during the Second World War.

The singer died in June 2020 aged 103, having lived an incredible life.

Vera Lynn was born in East Ham on March 20, 1917 and began performing aged seven. 

She was best known for her 1939 hit We'll Meet Again, which was hugely popular with troops posted overseas and their families back home.

The Queen sent a private message of condolence to Dame Vera’s family after her death.

Ennio Morricone, 91 – 06/07/2020

Legendary film music composer Ennio Morricone died aged 91 in Rome. 

He composed scores to Spaghetti Westerns like "A Fistful of Dollars" and "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" and helped to musically define a cinematic era.

Born in Rome in 1928, Morricone wrote scores for some 400 films but his name was most closely linked with the director Sergio Leone with whom he worked on the now-classic Spaghetti Westerns as well as "Once Upon a Time in America" starring Robert De Niro.

Morricone also wrote hauntingly beautiful music for the 1986 film “The Mission”.

Naya Rivera, 33 – 13/07/2020

Glee star Naya Rivera was found dead in July at Lake Piru in California concluding a five day search.
The 33-year-old actress and her four-year-old son, Josey swam in Lake Piru together before she drowned.

Naya used the last of her energy pushing her son back onboard a boat but didn't have enough to save herself, police say.

Naya was best known for her performance as Cheerleader Santana in the high school musical series Glee.

Peter Green, 73 – 23/07/2020

Peter Green, one of the world's most revered guitarists and founder of Fleetwood Mac, died aged 73. In July.

The blues and rock guitarist and songwriter was behind some of the band's biggest hits of the 1960s and his influence on contemporary music is still felt today.

Green was born in Bethnal Green, east London on 29 October, 1946.

Throughout his career, he was known for kick-starting the second wave of blues music in the UK.

Plaudits included Rolling Stone placing him at number 38 in their list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Players of All Time, while Mojo magazine named him the third best player of all time.

Green was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.

Olivia de Havilland, 104 – 25/07/2020

British-American actress Olivia de Havilland died at the age of 104 in Paris in July.

Havilland, who played Melanie Hamilton Wilkes in Gone With the Wind, was the last surviving cast member of the film.

Her character competed against the protagonist Scarlett O'Hara for the affections of philanderer Rhett Butler, played by the late Clark Gable.

An icon of the silver screen and double Oscar winner, Havilland also starred in The Adventures of Robin Hood and The Heiress.

The actress maintained a decades-long feud with her sister and rival star Joan Fontaine.

Chadwick Boseman, 43 – 28/08/2020

BLACK Panther star Chadwick Boseman died at the age of 43 after a four-year battle with colon cancer.

The actor passed away in August at his Los Angeles home with his wife, Taylor Simone, and other family members by his side.

The prominent actor was known for a number of roles – but most notably the lead in the Disney action-hero flick Black Panther.

The South Carolina native played King T’Challa in the original 2018 film, and reprised the role in spinoffs Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War.

President-elect Joe Biden tweeted at the time: "The true power of @ChadwickBoseman was bigger than anything we saw on screen.

"From the Black Panther to Jackie Robinson, he inspired generations and showed them they can be anything they want — even super heroes.”

Archie Lyndhurst, 19 – 22/09/2020

Archie’s Dad, Only Fools and Horses star Nicholas Lyndhurst, said he was “utterly grief stricken” after his son Archie Lyndhurst died aged 19 from a “short illness” in September.

Archie followed in his dad’s footsteps into acting and the teen actor had already enjoyed a number of roles on the small screen.

His breakthrough came as Ollie Coulton in the childrens' Bafta-winning CBBC series So Awkward.

He also played a young version of Jack Whitehall’s character Alfie Wickers in the sitcom Bad Education and guest starred in an episode of Casualty.

Diana Rigg, 82 – 10/09/2020

Avengers and Game of Thrones star Dame Diana Rigg died aged 82 from cancer.

The former Bond Girl passed away "peacefully" at home in September surrounded by her family after a secret six-month battle with the disease.

Rigg famously played secret agent Emma Peel in 51 episodes of the Avengers in the 1960s.

She was also the only Bond girl to marry 007 – getting hitched to George Lazenby in Her Majesty's Secret Service.

Rigg also appeared in Game of Thrones as the ruthless Olenna Tyrell to great acclaim between 2013 to 2017.

Eddie Van Halen, 65 – 06/10/2020

Guitar legend Eddie Van Halen died of throat cancer aged 65. 

Co-founder of The Van Halen, Eddie passed away at St. Johns Hospital in Santa Monica, California, with his wife Janie by his side.

Van Halen is among the top 20 best-selling artists of all time, and his band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.

Eddie has one son, 29 year old Wolfgang Van Halen, from his marriage to first wife Valerie Bertinelli.

Johnny Nash, 80 – 06/10/2020

American singer-songwriter Johnny Nash is best known for his US No1 single I Can See Clearly Now, which he wrote in 1972. 

Born in Houston, Texas, on August 19, 1940, Nash continued to live in the city until his death.

As a reggae and pop singer, Nash was one of the first non-Jamaican artists to record reggae music in Kingston.

Nash was famously private about his personal life, and is survived by his wife, Carli.
He also had two children – son, Johnny Jr and daughter Monica.

John Sessions, 67 – 02/11/2020

Known for his wit and talent, actor and comedian John Sessions originally hailed from Ayrshire in Scotland.

As a young man, Sessions moved to London to study at the world-renowned Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

Sessions was best known for his part in comedy improv-show Whose Line Is It Anyway?.

He was openly gay and would share details of his personal life in interviews and columns.

John Sessions sadly died after suffering from a heart attack on November 2.

Geoffrey Palmer, 93 – 06/11/2020

Geoffrey Palmer was a stalwart British actor, starring in As Time Goes By, Butterflies and Doctor Who, as well as the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies.

Palmer was born in London in 1927, and served in the Royal Marines before turning to the stage and screen.

He was known for his world-weary demeanour but he said it did not reflect his true personality.

He insisted: "I'm not grumpy, I just look this way.”

Palmer died at home and is survived by his wife Sally and their children Harriet and Charles.

Heavy D, 47 – death announced on 25/11/2020

Heavy D was well known on the reality TV circuit, after appearing on high profile shows including Celebrity Big Brother.

The star’s real name was Colin Newell.

Heavy D shot to fame after appearing as a main buyer on the UK version of Storage Hunters, which airs on the digital channel Dave.

Before finding fame, he was a cab driver and had been working the markets from the age of eight, buying and selling women’s clothes.

His exact cause of death is yet to be revealed, however his family fears he may have died of Covid.

Diego Maradona, 60 – 25/11/2020 

Football legend Diego Maradona, who is notorious for his infamous "hand of god" goal, is regarded as one of the game's greatest ever players.

Maradona himself coined the iconic phrase following the 1986 World Cup where he lunged forward and knocked the ball into the back of England's net in a clear handball.

But during the same game the Argentine forward also scored what is widely considered to be one of the best goals of all time.

It became known as the "goal of the century".

Gary Lineker, who played in the England side beaten by Maradona in 86, tweeted: "By some distance the best player of my generation and arguably the greatest of all time.

"After a blessed but troubled life, hopefully he'll finally find some comfort in the hands of God."

Maradona died of a heart attack at his home on the outskirts of Buenos Aires.

His death came two weeks after surgery following a bleed on the brain.

Dave Prowse, 85 – 28/11/2020 

Actor Dave Prowse, famous for his turn as Star Wars’ villain Darth Vader, died at the age of 85 after a short illness. 

The 6ft 6ins tall actor, from Bristol, wore the iconic black suit in the original trilogy from 1977 to 1983 – although it was James Earl Jones who ultimately did the character’s voice.

Dave Prowse was also well known for his role as the Green Cross Code Man in a 1970’s British road safety campaign.

The actor received an MBE for his part in the campaign in 2000, when he said it was the “best job” he’d ever had.

Prowse's Star Wars co-star Mark Hamill paid tribute to the actor and bodybuilder, calling him an "Actor-Husband-Father-Member of the Order of the British Empire-3 time British Weightlifting Champion & Safety Icon the Green Cross Code Man”.

Barbara Windsor, 83 – 10/12/2020

Barbara Windsor had a colourful life – she was married three times, became a hugely successful actress both in EastEnders and the Carry On films, had befriended the Krays, and fought a long batter with Alzheimer's.

She first appeared on stage at 13 after her mother put her savings into a performance school.

Her father walked out at 15 and her family relationships frayed, leading her to find comfort in casual romances.

After the Carry On films she struggled to find suitable roles, but that changed when she was casted in EastEnders.

In 2014 she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and went public with the news in 2018.

She was married to Scott Mitchell from 2000 until she died.

John le Carré, 89 – 12/12/2020

John le Carré is a legendary spy novelist who is best known for Tinker, Tailor, Soldier and The Spy.

The author died of pneumonia while at his home in Cornwall.

Following his death, Le Carré's agent John Geller described him as "an undisputed giant of English literature [who] for six decades, dominated the bestseller lists and review pages with his monumental body of work."

During the 50s and 60s, he worked for both the Security Service and the Secret Intelligence Service.

More than 60million copies of the author's books have been sold worldwide.

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