25 Popular Celebrities We’ve Lost So Far in 2020

11 min read
Celebrity Deaths

Here’s a look back at some of the most popular celebrities we’ve lost so far this year.

25. Regis Philbin

Regis Philbin
Source: Wikimedia Commons By John Mathew Smith & www.celebrity-photos.com from Laurel Maryland, USA / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)

TV legend, talk show host and game show host Regis Philbin died on July 24 at the age of 88. According to a USA Today article, Linda Silvia of the chief medical examiner’s office in Farmington, Connecticut, confirmed that Philbin died from myocardial infarction due to coronary artery disease and hypertension. He passed just one month shy of his 89th birthday.

Philbin is survived by his wife, Joy, and their two two children, J.J. and Joanna Philbin, plus Amy Philbin, a child from his first marriage. His son Daniel Philbin, also from his first marriage, died in 2014 at the age of 49.

24. Jerry Sloan

Jerry Sloan
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Former Utah Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan died on May 22 from complications from Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia. He was 78 years old.

“Jerry Sloan will always be synonymous with the Utah Jazz,” the team said in a statement, according to Us Weekly magazine. “He will forever be a part of the Utah Jazz organization and we join his family, friends and fans in mourning his loss. We are so thankful for what he accomplished here in Utah and the decades of dedication, loyalty and tenacity he brought to our franchise.”

23. Hugh Downs

Hugh Downs
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Former television broadcaster Hugh Downs passed away at his home in Scottsdale, Arizona, on July 1. He was 99 years old. According to a USA Today article, Downs’ great-niece, Molly Shaheen, told the Associated Press that he died of natural causes.

Downs, whose broadcast career spanned more than a half-century, once held the record for most hours –10,000 to be exact– in front of a television camera. Regis Philbin, who also appears on this list, eventually broke Downs’ record.

22. Peter Green

Peter Green
Source: Wikimedia Commons By Tony Hisgett from Birmingham, UK / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)

According to a statement from his family’s solicitors, Peter Allen Greenbaum, co-founder and guitarist of Fleetwood Mac, died in his sleep on July 25 at the age of 73. The statement didn’t mention where he died nor the cause of death.

The news of his death came just days after Fleetwood Mac announced they were going to release a retrospective box set documenting the band’s early years between 1969 and 1974.

Green is survived by a daughter, Rosebud Samuels-Greenbaum, and son, Liam Firlej.

21. Wilford Brimley

Wilford Brimley
Source: Wikimedia Commons By Marc Majcher / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)

Wilford Brimley, the actor from television shows such as “Our House” and “Walker, Texas Ranger,” died in a hospital in St. George, Utah, on August 1 at the age of 85. According to an article published by The New York Times, Brimley’s agent, Lynda Bensky, revealed that the actor had been sick for two months with a kidney ailment. He is survived by his wife, Beverly and his three sons from his first marriage to the former Lynne Bagley.

20. Herman Cain

Herman Cain
Source: Wikimedia Commons By Gage Skidmore / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

The former Republican presidential candidate in the 2012 election died on July 30 at the age of 74 after being hospitalized with COVID-19. Although employees of Herman Cain said they do not know where he contracted the virus, many speculate that he contracted it after attending President Trump’s indoor rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in late June. He was not wearing a mask at the rally, nor did he practice social distancing at the event.

“You’re never ready for the kind of news we are grappling with this morning,” Dan Calabrese, the editor of Cain’s website, wrote in a statement the morning Cain passed. “Herman Cain — our boss, our friend, like a father to so many of us — has passed away.”

19. Naya Rivera

Naya Rivera
Source: Wikimedia Commons By File:Naya Rivera at 2012 ALMA Awards.jpg: Hispanic Lifestylederivative work: Minerva97 / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)

Glee star Naya Rivera went missing during a boat trip on July 8 to Lake Piru in Ventura County, California. Rivera had rented the boat with her 4-year-old son, who was found alone on the drifting boat. He had told investigators that he and his mom had gone swimming together but that she never got back into the boat. Rivera was found dead just a few days later. She was 33 years old.

According to an article published by CNN, Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub said that Rivera had “mustered enough energy to get her son back onto the boat, but not enough to save herself.”

18. Kelly Preston

Kelly Preston
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Actress Kelly Preston died on July 12 after a 2-year battle with breast cancer. She was 57 years old.

Preston was known for her roles in films such as “Jerry Maguire,” “For Love of the Game,” “Twins,” and “What a Girl Wants.” She is survived by her husband, actor John Travolta, and their children, daughter Ella, who is 20 years old, and son Benjamin, who is just 9 years old. She was predeceased by her son Jett, who died in January 2009 at the age of 16.

17. Rep. John Lewis

Rep John Lewis
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Longtime Congressman and renowned civil rights activist, John Lewis, passed away on July 17 at the ripe old age of 80.

“The world has lost a legend, the civil rights movement has lost an icon, the City of Atlanta has lost one of its most fearless leaders, and the Congressional Black Caucus has lost our longest serving member. The Congressional Black Caucus is known as the Conscience of the Congress. John Lewis was known as the conscience of our caucus,” the Congressional Black Caucus said in a statement, according to People magazine.

16. Bonnie Pointer

Bonnie Pointer
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Singer Bonnie Pointer, of the R&B group The Pointer Sisters, died on June 8 at the age of 69. Although the cause of death was not announced initially, it was later determined that the singer died after going into cardiopulmonary arrest. According to a report, the singer also suffered from liver disease and cirrhosis of the liver (alcohol-related) for nearly a decade.

“It is with great sadness that I have to announce to the fans of The Pointer Sisters that my sister, Bonnie died this morning,” Anita, 72, said in a statement to PEOPLE magazine. “Our family is devastated, on behalf of my siblings and I and the entire Pointer family, we ask for your prayers at this time.”

15. Howard Finkel

Howard Finkel
Source: Wikimedia Commons By Miguel Discart / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)

Legendary WWE wrestling announcer, Howard Finkel, passed away on April 16 at the age of 69. No cause of death was announced.

Finkel did suffer a stroke in 2018 and has battled health issues for several years. It’s possible that his death could be attributed to these issues, but as of now no one knows for sure. According to New York Daily News, WWE extended its condolences to Finkel’s family, friends and fans in a statement issued by the company.

14. Little Richard

Little Richard
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Little Richard, rock music legend, died of unknown causes on May 9 at the age of 87. According to People magazine, Dick Alen, the singer’s agent of 40 years, confirmed his death, noting that he died from bone cancer in Nashville, where he was living with his brother.

“He was battling for a good while, many years,” Alen said. “I last spoke to him about two or three weeks ago. I knew he wasn’t well but he never really got into it, he just would say ‘I’m not well.’ He’s been suffering for many years with various aches and pains. He just wouldn’t talk about it much.”

13. Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Retired Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, 41, died January 26 in a helicopter crash near Calabasas, California, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna. Bryant and his daughter were on their way to the Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, California, where he was going to coach Gianna’s basketball team.

In the final exchange of radio transmissions between the pilot and air traffic control, the pilot got permission to “fly visually, hugging the ground to avoid a layer of fog above him, and using a freeway below to navigate,” an article published by USA Today reads. A few minutes later, they lost communication with the pilot. The helicopter then descended steeply and crashed, killing all nine passengers aboard.

12. Ja’Net DuBois

Janet Dubois
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Actress Ja’Net DuBois, best known for her role as Willona Woods, the vivacious, gossiping neighbor on the television sitcom “Good Times,” died peacefully in her sleep at her home in Glendale, California, on February 17. She was 74 years old. Because DuBois had no underlying health issues, her death came as a surprise to many.

She is survived by three children — Provat Gupta, Rani Gupta and Kesha Gupta-Fields — as well as many grandchildren. A fourth child, Raj Kristo Gupta, died of cancer in 1987 at the age of 36.

11. Brian Dennehy

Brian Dennehy
Source: Wikimedia Commons By Justin Hoch / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)

Tony Award winner Brian Dennehy passed away from natural causes on April 15. He was 81 years old. The actor’s daughter, Elizabeth Dennehy, made the announcement on Twitter.

“My dad was larger than life,” his daughter tweeted. “He was such a generous guy, and he was a wonderful father and grandfather. Our family and his many friends will miss him dearly.”

FUN FACT: Dennehy’s career included on-stage roles as well as television and film appearances, which included both comedic and dramatic roles.

10. Olivia de Havilland

Olivia De Havilland
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Olivia de Havilland died peacefully in her sleep at her home in Paris on July 26 at the ripe old age of 104. The Academy Award-winning actress is best known for her portrayal of Melanie in “Gone With the Wind.”

FUN FACT: Olivia had a sister who was also an Oscar-winning actress. Joan Fontaine, born Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland, starred opposite Cary Grant and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., in “Gunga Din” (1939), and opposite Joan Crawford and Norma Shearer in George Cukor’s The Women (1939). She appeared in a number of other films as well.

9. Zindzi Mandela

Zindzi Mandela
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Zindzi Mandela, South Africa’s ambassador to Denmark and daughter of anti-apartheid leaders Nelson and Winnie Mandela, died on July 13. She was 59.

According to an article published by CNN, Zindzi Mandela tested positive for COVID-19 on the day she died. “This doesn’t mean that she died from COVID complications, but simply that she tested positive for it,” her son, Zondwa Mandela, told South African public broadcaster SABC. In the meantime, the family is waiting for the full autopsy results.

8. Jerry Stiller

Jerry Stiller
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Actor and comedian Jerry Stiller died of natural causes on May 11. He was 92. His son, actor Ben Stiller, made the announcement on Twitter.

“My dad was a wonderful and loyal husband, father and grandfather,” Ben tweeted. “He will certainly be missed,”.

Jerry Stiller was perhaps most known for his roles as Frank Costanza on the hit TV show “Seinfeld” and as Arthur Spooner on the sitcom “The King of Queens.”

7. Betty Wright

Betty Wright
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Grammy Award-winning R&B singer Betty Wright died on May 10 at the age of 66.
Her niece made the announcement on Twitter.

She wrote, “I just lost my aunt this morning…. and now my mood has changed…. sleep in peace aunty Betty Wright. Fly high angel.”

“My auntie was a legend…. she helped me get my first paychecks singing background….. and I didn’t make it to see you this past week and that’s going to haunt me …. R.I.P. Betty Wright” she added.

6. Roy Horn

Roy Horn
Source: Wikimedia Commons

The name Roy Horn may not sound familiar to you, but the name of the magic act he was a part of will definitely ring a bell. That’s right, Roy Horn is half of the duo Siegfried & Roy. Unfortunately, on May 8, Horn died of complications caused by the coronavirus.

“Today, the world has lost one of the greats of magic, but I have lost my best friend,” Siegfried Fischbacher told E! News. “From the moment we met, I knew Roy and I, together, would change the world. There could be no Siegfried without Roy, and no Roy without Siegfried.”

5. C.T. Vivian

C T Vivian
Source: Wikimedia Commons By HowardMorlandThis is a retouched picture, which means that it has been digitally altered from its original version. Modifications: Cleaned background. The original can be found here: File:CTVivian.png. / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

The Rev. C.T. Vivian, a civil rights organizer and a field general for Martin Luther King Jr., died at his home in Atlanta on July 17. He was 95 years old.

According to an article published by The New York Times, two of his daughters confirmed his death, noting that Mr. Vivian had been in hospice care, although the cause of death was not immediately reported.

Mr. Vivian is survived by his daughters Kira Vivian, Denise Morse, Jo Anna Walker and Anita Charisse Thornton; two sons, Mark Evans Vivian and Albert Louis Vivian; nine grandchildren and many great grandchildren.

4. Bill Withers

Bill Withers
Source: Wikimedia Commons By annulla / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)

Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter Bill Withers died from heart complications on March 30 in Los Angeles, according to a family statement issued to the Associated Press on April 3. He was 81.

Withers was responsible for many hits, including such songs such as “Lean on Me,” “Ain’t No Sunshine,” “Just the Two of Us” and “Lovely Day.” Withers, who took a break from the music industry in the 1980s, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015.

3. Kenny Rogers

Kenny Rogers
Source: Wikimedia Commons By John Mathew Smith & www.celebrity-photos.com from Laurel Maryland, USA / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)

Country music legend Kenny Rogers died of natural causes on March 20. He was 81 years old.

According to an article published by NBC News, a statement from SKH Music, Rogers’ management firm, said that the musician died peacefully at home under hospice care and surrounded by his family. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the family planned a small private service for Rogers.

FUN FACT: Rogers spent more than 50 years in the music business. He announced his retirement in 2015.

2. Katherine Johnson

Katherine Johnson
Source: Wikimedia Commons

If you’ve seen the movie “Hidden Figures,” then you know who Katherine Johnson is. For those of you who haven’t seen it, Katherine Johnson was a NASA research mathematician whose work helped send astronauts to the moon. She passed away on February 24 at the age of 101.

In a tribute to Johnson, NASA stated that they were saddened by the news of Katherine’s death. “She was an American hero and her pioneering legacy will never be forgotten,” NASA stated, according to E! News.

1. Kirk Douglas

Kirk Douglas
Source: Wikimedia Commons By KirkDouglasZubinMehtaMar11.jpg: Angela George at https://www.flickr.com/photos/sharongraphics/derivative work: César / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

Kirk Douglas, actor and Hollywood icon, passed away on February 5 at the age of 103. Not only was he a beloved actor, he was a renowned philanthropist as well, who “worked to aid the public and bring peace to the planet,” his son Michael Douglas told PEOPLE magazine. He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Anne and three sons Michael, Joel and Peter.

FUN FACTS: Douglas has over 92 acting credits. And, his son Michael is also a well-known actor. He has over 50 years in the industry.