Looking back at the year that was and remembering the long list of people that were famous, known nationally, and recognized; 2016 saw the deaths of an unusually long list of political titans and sports icons, famous musicians and Hollywood greats. There was the boxer nicknamed The Greatest, the musician known as Prince, the revolutionary leader Fidel Castro.
– Muhammad Ali, the heavyweight boxing champion who transformed himself into a global hero, died June 3 at 74. Ali, who fought a high-profile battle with Parkinson’s disease, died of septic shock.
– George Michael musician, front man for the group Wham.
– Natalie Cole, musician, daughter of the great Nat King Cole.
– Maurice White, songwriter, producer and founder of Earth, Wind, and Fire.
– The death of Fidel Castro, the cigar-chomping despot who ruled Communist Cuba for nearly half a century, sent shock waves around the world. Castro died Nov. 25 at 90.
– Prince, the 57-year-old singer, songwriter, hit maker was found dead in his Paisley Park, Minn., home on April 21.
– David Bowie, the British rocker whose sound and style defied categorization, died Jan. 10 after a secret battle with cancer. He was 69.
– John Glenn, who in 1962 was the first U.S. astronaut to orbit the Earth, and senator for 24 years, was 95.
– Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez died Sept. 25 when his speedboat slammed into a jetty near South Beach.
– Former First Lady Nancy Reagan died March 6 of congestive heart failure. She was 94.
– Janet Reno, the first woman to serve as U.S. attorney general, died Nov. 7 at age 78.
– Arnold Palmer, the gentleman golfer hailed as the King, died Sept. 25 at age 87.
– Gordie Howe, the 23-time NHL All-Star known as Mr. Hockey, died June 10 at 88.
– Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was found dead at a Texas resort on Feb. 13.
– Former Israeli President and Prime Minister Shimon Peres, a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating with the Palestinians, died Sept. 28 at 93.
– Keith Emerson, the keyboardist who founded Emerson, Lake and Palmer, died March 11.
– Greg Lake, 69, who was also a founding member of King Crimson, died Dec. 7.
– Actor Alan Thicke, 69, who played the father in the ’80s sitcom “Growing Pains,” died Dec. 13
– Florence Henderson, best known as quintessential TV mom Carol Brady in “The Brady Bunch,” died Nov. 24. She was 82.
– Comedian Garry Shandling died March 24, apparently of a heart attack. He was 66.
– Gene Wilder, whose four-decade acting career included unforgettable comic roles in “Blazing Saddles” and “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory,” was 83 when he died Aug. 29.
– Patty Duke, who won an Oscar for “The Miracle Worker” and later played “identical cousins” on her own TV show, died March 29 at 69.
– Edward Albee, the playwright who penned “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” died Sept. 16 at age 88.
– Harper Lee, an author who shunned the spotlight and who penned “To Kill a Mockingbird,” died in her sleep Feb. 19 at age 89.
– Joe Garagiola, the baseball catcher and colorful TV announcer, died March 23 at 90.
– John McLaughlin, the political commentator and prickly host of TV’s “The McLaughlin Group,” died Aug. 16 at 89.
– Abe Vigoda, best known for playing mob capo Sal Tessio in “The Godfather” and as Detective Fish on “Barney Miller,” died Jan. 26 at 94.
– George Kennedy, who co-starred in “Cool Hand Luke,” “Airport” and “Naked Gun,” died Feb. 28 at 91.
– Garry Marshall, creator of TV’s “Happy Days” and “The Odd Couple,” died July 19 at 81.
– Robert Vaughn, who played a spy in the cult ’60s series “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,” died Nov. 11 at age 83.
– Doris Roberts, a five-time Emmy-winner best known as the grandmother on TV’s “Everybody Loves Raymond,” died April 17 at 90.
– Ron Glass, the 71-year-old actor best known for his role in the TV sitcom “Barney Miller,” died Nov. 25.
– Phyllis Schlafly, an activist who fueled modern social conservativism by denouncing feminism, died Sept. 5 at 92.
– Harper Lee, author of “To Kill a Mockingbird”.
– Tom Hayden, the 1960s radical who was once married to Jane Fonda, died Oct. 23 at 76.
– Kenny Baker, the diminutive 81-year-old British actor who played the droid R2-D2 in six “Star Wars” films, died Aug. 13 after a long illness.
– Leonard Cohen, the legendary singer-songwriter, died Nov. 7 at 82.
– Singer Maurice White, songwriter, producer, and founder of Earth, Wind & Fire, died Feb. 3 at 74.
– Merle Haggard Country music outlaw died April 6 on his 79th birthday.
– Malik Taylor, the rapper with A Tribe Called Quest known as Phife Dawg, died March 22 due to complications from diabetes. He was 45.
– Glenn Frey, the rocker who co-founded the Eagles, died Jan. 18 at 67.
– Sharon Jones, lead singer of the Dap-Kings, died Nov. 18 at age 60.
– Attrell Cordes, known as Prince Be of the ’90s R&B duo P.M. Dawn, died June 17. He was 46.
– Pat Summitt, the former coach of the University of Tennessee’s Lady Volunteers who notched the most wins in NCAA basketball history, died June 28. She was 64.
– Craig Sager, the NBA sideline reporter known as much for his outrageous suits as his deep knowledge of the game, died Dec. 15. He was 65.
– ESPN broadcaster John Saunders, 61, passed away Aug. 10 after his wife found him unresponsive at their Westchester County home.
– Morley Safer, CBS journalist who filed more than 900 reports for “60 Minutes,” died May 19. He was 84.
– Gwen Ifill, the pioneering journalist who died Nov. 14. The 61-year-old co-anchor of “The PBS NewsHour”.
– Rob Ford, the ex-Toronto mayor died March 22 at 46.
– Elie Wiesel, the Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner, who died July 2 at 87.
– Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Egyptian statesman who became the United Nations’ sixth secretary general in the early 1990s, died Feb. 16. He was 93.
– Henry Heimlich, the surgeon who created the eponymous anti-choking technique, died Dec. 17 at 96.
– Alan Rickman, 69, the British actor, “Die Hard” and the Harry Potter movies, died Jan. 14
– Anton Yelchin, best known for playing a young Chekov in the reboot “Star Trek” films, died on June 19. He was 27.
– Zsa Zsa Gabor, a Hungarian model-turned-Hollywood socialite whose turbulent romances titillated the public long before the rise of celebrity reality shows, died Dec. 18 of a heart attack. Gabor, who wed nine times, was 99.
It was not my intention to leave out the many unarmed black men, women, and children for these horrible killings are far too many to list (shame); may they all rest in peace. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…