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DAVID BOWIE, 69
Music icon Bowie passed on Jan. 10, 2016, after a quiet 18-month battle with cancer. Producer friend Robert Fox opened up to the Telegraph a few days later, saying, "Nobody knew. Nobody even suggested there was anything. And then we woke up on Monday morning and it was on the news. I think that’s the way he wanted it to be." The singer left behind wife Iman and two children; he posthumously won five Grammys at the 2017 awards for his final album, which was released just days before his death.
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CARRIE FISHER, 60
After suffering a heart attack on a flight from London to L.A. four days before, Fisher died on Dec. 27, leaving behind daughter Billie Lourd. Best known for playing Princess Leia in Star Wars, Fisher — daughter of Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher — grew up in the spotlight, and stayed there until her final days, appearing in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Catastrophe, and penning several books and screenplays. One day after her passing, Fisher's mother died at the age of 84.
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CHRISTINA GRIMMIE, 22
After performing in Orlando, Florida, on June 10, 2016, the young Voice alum was shot to death by a deranged fan. Her brother tackled the gunman, who ultimately took his own life, too. Grimmie, a New Jersey native, placed third on The Voice, representing Adam Levine's team. Six months after her death, Republic Records released a lyric video to the rising star's posthumous single, "Invisible."
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ALAN THICKE, 69
The beloved TV dad died suddenly of a ruptured aorta while playing hockey with his teen son Carter in Burbank, California, on Dec. 13, 2016. Tributes poured in from former costars including Kirk Cameron and Leonardo DiCaprio; his son Robin remembered him on Instagram as "the greatest man I ever met." Most recently, he'd been shooting a mockumentary about his life at home with Carter and wife Tanya Callau, Unusually Thicke, and had appeared on This Is Us.
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The world was stunned on April 21, 2016, when news broke that the one-of-a-kind singer was found unresponsive in an elevator in his Minnesota home; it was later discovered he'd overdosed on the pain reliever fentanyl. The musician wrote and performed some of the most memorable songs of the '80s and '90s, and had seven Grammys, one Oscar and one Golden Globe to his name. The entire music world mourned his death, and President Obama even released a statement remembering him, calling Prince "one of the most gifted and prolific musicians of our time."
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CRAIG STRICKLAND, 29
The Backroad Anthem singer went missing on a Dec. 27, 2015, hunting trip at Kaw Lake in Oklahoma with a friend. The two were riding into a winter storm, and neither returned. Authorities found his friend's body first, and searched for Strickland for more than one week before recovering his body in a thick tree and brush area 75 feet from the water on Jan. 4, 2016. His family, including his young widow, laid him to rest one week later.
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ANGELINA 'BIG ANG' RAIOLA, 55
The larger-than-life Mob Wives star lost her battle with stage 4 lung and brain cancer on Feb. 18, 2016. Doctors first found a lemon-sized tumor in her throat in 2015 — she'd been a smoker for 40 years — but 11 months later, her sister revealed the cancer had spread, and chemotherapy wasn't helping. The reality star was survived by her husband, two children and six grandchildren.
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GEORGE MICHAEL, 53
Michael was found unresponsive in bed by his boyfriend on Christmas Day 2016. The Brit rose to fame in the '80s — first as a member of Wham! and later as a solo artist — and had many ups and downs along the way, including battles with drugs. His death, however, was from natural causes, and shocked many, including celebrity friends like Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, Mariah Carey and Paul McCartney, who all publicly expressed condolences. "The sadness today is beyond words," wrote Boy George.
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ALAN RICKMAN, 69
The acclaimed British actor had quietly been battling cancer before he passed away in early 2016. More recently known for his work in Love Actually and the Harry Potter series, many remember him for his villainous turn in Die Hard and his work in theater, too. He'd married his wife in 2012 after 40 years together, and was remembered by stars from Kate Winslet and Emma Thompson to Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson.
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ALEXIS ARQUETTE, 47
The transgender actress, a member of the famed Arquette family, died on Sept. 11, 2016, from complications related to AIDS. Most recently seen in Blended, Arquette began acting at 12, scoring roles in Bride of Chucky, Of Mice and Men and The Wedding Singer, and documented her transition in the 2007 film, Alexis Arquette: She’s My Brother.
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NATALIE COLE, 65
Cole — the Grammy-winning daughter of Nat King Cole — died on Dec. 31, 2015, of heart failure brought on by idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension, a rare lung disease from which she suffered. Despite her success, Cole struggled with demons throughout her life, battling addiction and later, Hepatitis C, which required chemotherapy treatments. This led to kidney problems, and ultimately a life-saving transplant in 2009. "I’ve been to hell and back," she wrote in her autobiography, Angel on My Shoulder. "I have seen the edge. I have seen the dark side of life." Cole left behind one son, Robert Yancy.
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BILL PAXTON, 61
On the morning of the 2017 Oscars, Hollywood was shocked to find out it had lost the beloved star, who died on Feb. 25 when he suffered a stroke after heart surgery. Paxton rose to fame in such films as Aliens and Near Dark, scoring bigger parts in Tombstone and Apollo 13 before his turn on the series Big Love. Paxton was married with two children, and had two films slated to hit theaters after his passing, one that reunited him with his Apollo 13 costar, Tom Hanks.
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ANTON YELCHIN, 27
The Star Trek actor was the victim of a freak accident on June 19, 2016, becoming pinned between his car and his gate at his home in Studio City, California. Born in Russia, he immigrated to the U.S. with his family in 1989, taking up acting in 2000 and studying film at the University of Southern California in 2007. He also had a passion for photography, and months after his death, a series of his shots went on display at the Other gallery in L.A.
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SCOTT WEILAND, 48
Former Stone Temple Pilots frontman Weiland was found on his tour bus in Bloomington, Minnesota, on Dec. 3, 2015, after an accidental overdose of cocaine, alcohol and MDA. The singer struggled for years with drugs; from 1995 to 1997 alone he checked into rehab 13 times. He'd seemingly turned a corner in 2013, remarrying and finding success with his new band The Wildabouts. He had two teenage children from a previous marriage.
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SAWYER SWEETEN, 19
He'd stepped back from the spotlight after appearing as one of the blond Barone twins on Everybody Loves Raymond, but sadly, the child star's name resurfaced in April 2015 after he reportedly shot himself on his family's front porch. His sister Madylin, who co-starred with him on the sitcom (along with his twin brother, Sullivan), posted on Facebook that day, "At this time I would like to encourage everyone to reach out to the ones you love. Let them have no doubt of what they mean to you." His TV parents Ray Romano and Patricia Heaton also expressed their shock and sadness in statements to PEOPLE.
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DIEM BROWN, 32
The MTV reality star, best known for her time on the Real World/Road Rules Challenge, died on Nov. 14, 2014, after a very public and lengthy battle with cancer. She was first diagnosed with ovarian cancer at the age of 23, and ultimately battled the disease three times – yet remained positive with each diagnosis. She chronicled her ups and downs for PEOPLE. "It sounds like a cliché, but I've only got this one life, and I need to live every day to the fullest. I'm a lot more appreciative of things now," she said in October, the same month she confirmed that her cancer had spread to her liver and lymph nodes following a colon cancer diagnosis in August. Even in the final stages of her fight, she stayed strong, telling PEOPLE, "I want people to know that the fight is worth it. And that's something that's so important for me."
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ROBIN WILLIAMS, 63
Whether he was bringing the laughs voicing a genie in Aladdin (1992) or moving audiences to tears playing a therapist in Good Will Hunting (his only Oscar win, in 1997), Williams's talents earned him more than 100 acting credits in a decades-spanning career. "I dread the word 'art,'" Williams, who died in a suicide on Aug. 11, 2014, told the Associated Press in 1989. "That's what we used to do every night before we'd go on with Waiting for Godot.' We'd go, 'No art. Art dies tonight.' We'd try to give it a life."
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MICHAEL JOHNS, 35
The season 7 American Idol contestant wanted to show the world that he had "something to say" – but sadly, he never fully got the chance. Australian-born Johns died on Aug. 1, 2014, from a blood clot in his ankle. "He was a special guy for sure," friend Kevin Haaland told PEOPLE. "He was also just genuinely one of the funniest people … He loved to laugh and to make other people laugh, and people just wanted to be his friend."
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L'WREN SCOTT, 49
Her designs regularly made statements on runways and red carpets alike, whether she was showing at Fashion Week or dressing Nicole Kidman at the Oscars. "It's fun to see the ideas in your head spring to life," Scott, who was found dead March 17, 2014, of an apparent suicide, said in a 2009 interview with The Daily Beast. "Because it all starts in your mind." The model-turned-stylist's legacy also includes a romance with Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger.
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PAUL WALKER, 40
When the first Fast & Furious film arrived in theaters in 2001, it was the blue-eyed star's portrayal of undercover police officer Brian O'Conner that helped drive the franchise to blockbuster success. More than a decade later, Walker was working on the seventh installment of the street-racing action series before he died on Nov. 30, 2013, when a car he was in crashed and exploded in Santa Clarita, California. After his passing, the quiet father was remembered by friends and family alike as a caring guy who didn't care about fame but rather, helping others.
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WHITNEY HOUSTON, 48
Known simply as The Voice, Houston ruled the pop charts with such hits as "The Greatest Love of All" and "I Wanna Dance with Somebody." But the troubled star, whose struggles with addiction and tumultuous marriage to Bobby Brown often overshadowed her talent, will best be remembered for her cover of Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You" – the mega-selling track from her 1992 film debut in The Bodyguard. Fittingly, it was that Houston classic that played nearly 20 years later during her funeral at her childhood church in Newark, New Jersey, where she was laid to rest after being found dead from accidental drowning in the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Feb. 11, 2012.
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JAMES GANDOLFINI, 51
Known most famously for his role as mobster Tony Soprano on the HBO smash The Sopranos, Gandolfini was "a great talent," HBO execs said in a statement following the actor's shocking death on June 19, 2013. "He touched so many of us over the years with his humor, his warmth and his humility." Gandolfini, who also appeared in Zero Dark Thirty, The Mexican and All the King's Men, died of an apparent heart attack while in Sicily for the Taormina Film Fest.
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CORY MONTEITH, 31
"I don't want kids to think it's okay to drop out of school and get high, and they'll be famous actors, too," Monteith once said about being a troubled role model who first entered rehab at age 19. In 2013, the adored Glee star with the swoon-worthy voice and boyish good looks again sought treatment for substance abuse. Just months later, on July 13, 2013, Monteith was found dead in a Vancouver hotel room. "Have no words," Monteith's costar Dot-Marie Jones Tweeted. "My heart is broken."
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NATASHA RICHARDSON, 45
While taking a private ski lesson at the Mont Tremblant resort in Québec, the actress fell down in what appeared to be a minor incident. Two days later, on March 18, 2009, she died from what was later ruled "blunt trauma" to her head, leaving behind her husband of 14 years, actor Liam Neeson, and two sons. "She was an adoring and loving wife and mother," family friend Ralph Fiennes said. "I cannot imagine a world without her wit, her love, her mischief, her great, great talent and her gift for living."
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PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN, 46
Though he completed rehab in spring 2013, the acclaimed actor was found dead of an apparent drug overdose in his New York City apartment on Feb. 2, 2014. Academy Award winner Hoffman was a father of three and known for his work in such movies as Doubt, Boogie Nights, Capote and, most recently, The Hunger Games franchise. In addition to daughters Tallulah and Willa and son Cooper, he's survived by his longtime partner, Mimi O'Donnell.
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BRITTANY MURPHY, 32
Her star-making turn was as the charmingly goofy Tai in the 1995 comedy Clueless – but Murphy had a striking talent for drama, churning out jaw-dropping performances in Girl, Interrupted (as a suicidal mental patient) and Don't Say a Word. But after reportedly battling the flu, the actress died of cardiac arrest after collapsing on Dec. 20, 2009, at her Los Angeles home. Although Murphy was rumored to have battled anorexia and drugs, her husband Simon Monjack – who died somewhat mysteriously in 2010 – dismissed the talk, telling PEOPLE, "We want to know why we lost our baby."
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ADAM YAUCH, 47
One-third of the Beastie Boys, Yauch – simply known as MCA – died May 4, 2012, after a long battle with cancer. Along with Mike "Mike D" Diamond and Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz, Yauch put out groundbreaking albums, including Licensed to Ill (the first-ever rap album to top the charts), Ill Communication and Hello Nasty. "Adam was incredibly sweet and the most sensitive artist who I loved dearly," music mogul Russell Simmons said. "I was always inspired by his work. He will be missed by all of us."
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MICHAEL CLARK DUNCAN, 54
Two months after being treated for a heart attack, Clark Duncan died Sept. 3, 2012, in Los Angeles. The 6 ft., 5-in., 300-lb. actor worked as a bodyguard to stars including Jamie Foxx and Will Smith before his breakout role in The Green Mile, which earned him an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor in 1999. He also appeared in such films as Sin City, Daredevil and Planet of the Apes. "I am terribly saddened at the loss of Big Mike," costar Tom Hanks said. "He was the treasure we all discovered on the set of The Green Mile. He was magic. He was a big love of man and his passing leaves us stunned."
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AMY WINEHOUSE, 27
"A voice that was filled with such power and pain that it was at once entirely human yet laced with the divine" – that's how longtime pal Russell Brand described the British soul icon's undisputed talent. Achieving international fame after sweeping the 2008 Grammys with her breakthrough album Back to Black, Winehouse's musical acclaim was marred by her ongoing battle with drugs and alcohol addiction. The singer was found dead in her London home on July 23, 2011 – the result of accidental alcohol poisoning.
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JENNI RIVERA, 43
The Mexican singing star was known as the Diva of Banda with more than 20 million albums sold worldwide; in 2012, she was named one of People En Español's 25 most powerful women. But her popularity was attained through more than music: Rivera was the star of Telemundo mun2's I Love Jenni, a reality show that documented her life as an entertainer and mother of five. She was even set to appear on small screens in the States: ABC had reportedly tapped Rivera to star in her own comedy, about a middle-class single Latina woman raising her family. Those plans never came to fruition, though: Rivera was killed in a plane crash on Dec. 9, 2012.
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HEATH LEDGER, 28
The rising star and devoted dad was only 28 when he was found dead of an accidental overdose in his Manhattan residence on Jan. 22, 2008. The Australia native left behind his young daughter Matilda (with ex-girlfriend Michelle Williams) and a groundbreaking performance as the Joker in The Dark Knight, for which he won a posthumous Academy Award.
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MICHAEL JACKSON, 50
Just weeks before he was to kick off his London comeback concerts, Jackson was rushed to UCLA Medical Center on June 25, 2009, after he was found unresponsive in his Hombly Hills, California, home. While the coroner and LAPD worked to uncover a cause of death (it was ruled a homicide), Jackson's family, friends and millions of fans were left to mourn the passing of an icon. But it was Jackson's daughter Paris, taking hold of the mic at his public memorial, who reminded the world that the King of Pop was more than a larger-than-life figure: "Daddy has been the best father you can ever imagine. And I just want to say I love him so much."
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