Tuesday 18 June, 2019

Year in Review: Celebs we lost in 2017

The end of 2016 left us pretty traumatized, with what seemed like almost daily news of notable and prolific celebrities dying. 

While the number of celebrity deaths was significantly less, 2017 was no less devastating, with many deaths representing the end of an era. 

Here's a list of celebrities who left us in 2017. 


Bill Paxton 

The actor and filmmaker starred a number of box office hit movies such as The Terminator, Aliens, Predator, Apollo 13, Twister, Titanic, and HBO's Big Love. He died on February 25 at the age of 61 from complications following heart surgery. 


Chuck Berry

Chuck Berry was one of the pioneers of rock and roll music. With songs such as "Maybellene", "Roll Over Beethoven", "Rock and Roll Music" and "Johnny B. Goode", he refined and developed rhythm and blues into the major elements that made rock and roll distinctive. He was a major influence on subsequent rock music was among the first musicians to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on its opening in 1986; he was cited for having "laid the groundwork for not only a rock and roll sound but a rock and roll stance." He made of Rolling Stone magazine's "greatest of all time" lists several times and was ranked fifth on its 2004 and 2011 list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. He died on March 18 from cardiac arrest at the age of 90. 


Charlie Murphy

The older brother of Eddie Murphy, Charlie Murphy was an actor, comedian, and writer, starring in a number of movies and television over the course of his career. He was best known as a castmate on the sketch comedy series, The Chappelle Show. He died of Leukemia on April 2. 


Christopher "Big Black" Boykin 

American television personality and musician best known for his role on the MTV reality television series Rob & Big, in which he co-starred with professional skateboarder Rob Dyrdek. He died on May 9 of a heart attack.



The rapper, who was one-half of the 1990s hip-hop duo Mobb Deep, hit it big with The Infamous in 1995. He died in June at 42 after choking to death in the hospital while being treated for sickle cell anemia.


Adam West

The actor, whose career spanned 63 years, was widely known for his role as Batman in the 1960's, as well as several of its spinoffs. Later in his career he became a voice actor, appearing in multiple series including “The Simpsons”, “Futurama”, “Rugrats”, “Histeria!”, “Kim Possible”, and “Johnny Bravo”. He was most notably known for voicing Mayor Adam West on Family Guy. After a brief battle with Leukemia, he died on June 9. He was 88. 

Chris Cornell

The Audioslave and Soundgarden frontman committed suicide in June. He was 52.


Nelsan Ellis 

The film and television actor and playwright shot to fame for his portrayal of Lafayette Reynolds in the HBO series True Blood. He also starred as and Bobby Byrd in the 2014 James Brown biopic "Get on Up", Martin Luther King in "The Butler" and numerous other films. He died at 39 on July 8 after complications from heart failure. It was later revealed that he was trying to quit drinking alcohol and alcohol withdrawal syndrome led to his heart failure. 


Chester Bennington

The Linkin Park frontman committed suicide in July, two months to the day of fellow rocker and close friend Chris Cornell's death. He was 41. Linkin Park rose to international fame with their debut album Hybrid Theory which was certified Diamond in 2005 and multi-Platinum in several other countries. Their following studio album Meteora continued the band's success, topping the Billboard 200 album chart in 2003.


John Heard

John Heard enjoyed an illustrious film and television career, but most of us remember him best as Kevin's father in the Christmas classic Home Alone. He died of a heart attack on July 21 at the age of 71. His body was found by staff in a hotel, where he was reportedly recovering after minor back surgery. 


Dick Gregory

Gregory was a comedian, civil rights activist, social critic, writer, entrepreneur, conspiracy theorist, and occasional actor. He died at the age of 84 on August 19 from heart failure. 


Hugh Hefner

The Playboy founder, mogul, and advocate of sexual liberation and freedom of expression died at the age of 91 on September 27 as a result of a combination of cardiac arrest, respiratory failure, sepsis and an E. coli infection. 


Tom Petty

Petty served as the lead singer of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and had a massive band and solo career with hit singles such as 'Free Fallin'", "American Girl" and "I Won't Back Down".  He died, aged 66, of cardiac arrest on October 2. 


Ralphie May

The stand-up comic and actor was known for his extensive touring and comedy specials on Netflix and TV specials. He died on October 6 of cardiac arrest. He had been battling pneumonia for several weeks prior to his death. He was 45.

Robert Guillaume 

The 89-year-old died of prostate cancer on October 24. Guilaume's career spanned over 50 years on stage, television and film and he was known for his roles on 'Sports Night', 'Benson' as well as for voicing the mandrill Rafiki in 'The Lion King'. 


Fats Domino 

One of the pioneers of rock and roll music, Domino sold more than 65 million records. During his career, he had 35 records in the U.S. Billboard Top 40, and his 1949 release "The Fat Man" is widely regarded as the first million-selling Rock 'n Roll record. He died on October 24 from natural causes. 


Lil Peep

The 21-year-old rapper's career was just about to take off with the recent release of his debut album in August, so the news of his death on November 15 sent shockwaves throughout the music industry. He died of an accidental fentanyl overdose.


Earle Hyman

A stage, television and film actor, Earle Hyman was best known for his role as Russell Huxtable, Cliff's father on The Cosby Show. He was also known for voicing the character Panthro on ThunderCats. He died on November 17 at the age of 91.


Della Reese 

Della Reese was a jazz and gospel singer, actress, and ordained minister whose career spanned over seven decades. She was famously known for her roles in 'Harlem Nights', 'A Thin Line Between Love and Hate' and 'Touched by an Angel'. She died on November 19 at her home at the age of 86. While no cause of death was given, she had suffered from Type 2-diabetes. 


David Cassidy

David Cassidy shot to fame as Keith Partidge on the  in the 1970s musical-sitcom The Partridge Family, becoming one of pop culture teen idol and pop singers of the '70s. He died from liver failure on November 21 at the age of 67.  



Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: