Last year was a tumultuous year, with the demise of many stars, some of whom succumbed to the deadly coronavirus. The much-loved Canadian-American game show host Alex Trebek and Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman’s deaths shook the world, bringing us all to tears.
Now, 2021 has brought with it another array of celebrity deaths. From Charlie Watts, the legendary drummer of Rolling Stones, to Oscar-winning actress Olympia Dukakis, we look back at the celebrities we have lost this year and remember their contributions in film, television, and music.
Sarah Harding, singer of Girls Aloud, one of Britain’s most famous female bands, passed away on September 5, aged 39. Harding had been fighting breast cancer, and the announcement of her death was made by her mom Marie. The devastating news was shared on the singer’s Instagram page where Marie wrote, “Many of you will know of Sarah’s battle with cancer and that she fought so strongly from her diagnosis until her last day. She slipped away peacefully this morning.”
Michael K. Williams
Michael K. Williams, famously known for his role in The Wire, was found dead in his Brooklyn penthouse on September 6. The cause of death is allegedly heroin overdose, according to information from law-enforcement sources. The 54-year-old was found unconscious in the dining room with what seemed to be heroin on the kitchen table, sources told The Post. A police source also added that there was no evidence of foul play or forced entry.
Television personality NeNe Leakes of Real Housewives of Atlanta lost her husband Gregg to cancer on September 1. The businessman was 66 years old and had been diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer in 2018. After six months of chemotherapy, Gregg was declared cancer-free, but NeNe revealed that her husband’s cancer had surfaced again in June this year.
On August 24, the iconic drummer of Rolling Stones, Charlie Watts, passed away. The 80-year-old breathed his last in a London hospital. In a statement, a spokesperson said, “Charlie was a cherished husband, father, and grandfather,” as well as “one of the greatest drummers of his generation.”
Chick VenneraEmbed from Getty Images
Following a battle with cancer, Chick Vennera died on July 7. The multi-talented actor was 74 and passed away in his home in Burbank, California. Vennera was famous for his recurring role in The Golden Girls, where he played Enrique/Pepe. He also delivered a memorable disco performance in the 1970s musical Thank God It’s Friday.
Suzzanne DouglasEmbed from Getty Images
Suzzanne Douglas made a name for herself both on the Broadway circuit and beyond it. She was most famously known for her role in the WB sitcom The Parent ‘Hood. On July 6, she died at her home in Martha’s Vineyard following complications from cancer. In January this year, she had announced that her life had changed because of “two life-threatening cancers.”
Hollywood’s much-loved late bloomer Olympia Dukakis died on May 1. The 89-year-old was best known for her role in the 1987 film Moonstruck for which she won an Academy Award. The actress died at her home in New York City and was also a cousin of Michael Dukakis, former governor of Massachusetts.