Saying goodbye is never easy, especially when it comes to icons and stars fans have grown to love. This year, we’ve sadly said goodbye to many such notable celebrities.
This is my tribute to the famous souls that we lost in this eventful year. May they rest in peace.
January — Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant was born on August 23, 1978, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is an American professional basketball player, who helped lead the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA) to five championships (2000–02 and 2009–10).
He is also a two-time Olympic gold medalist with the dominant U.S. team. It’s hard to believe this superstar, whose prodigious talent and win-at-all-costs spirit made him one of the most famous and decorated athletes in history, passed away in 2020 at such a young age(41 years) in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26, 2020.
February — Hosni Mubarak
Hosni served as the fourth president of Egypt from 1981 to 2011.
Before he entered politics, Mubarak was a career officer in the Egyptian Air Force. He served as its commander from 1972 to 1975 and rose to the rank of air chief marshal in 1973. He assumed the presidency after President Anwar Sadat’s assassination in 1981. Mubarak’s presidency lasted almost thirty years, making him Egypt’s longest-serving ruler since Muhammad Ali Pasha
During his 29 years in power, Mubarak survived would-be assassins and ill health, crushed a rising Islamist radical movement, and maintained the peace pact with neighboring Israel that got his predecessor killed.
Bill was an American singer-songwriter and musician. He recorded several major hits, including the very famous “Ain’t No Sunshine” (1971), “Grandma’s Hands” (1971), “Use Me” (1972), “Lean on Me” (1972), “Lovely Day” (1977), and “Just the Two of Us” (1981).
Withers won three Grammy Awards and was nominated for six more. His life was the subject of the 2009 documentary film Still Bill. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005 and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015. Two of his songs were inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
April — Irrfan Khan
Irrfan Khan is an Indian actor, known internationally for his roles in The Amazing Spider-Man (2012), Life of Pi (2012), Jurassic World (2015), and Inferno (2016). Khan was one of India’s best-known and most beloved actors.
In 2018, Khan was diagnosed with a neuroendocrine tumor. He died at the young age of 53 on 29 April 2020 due to a colon infection. Khan was described by Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian as “a distinguished and charismatic star in Hindi and English-language movies whose hardworking career was an enormously valuable bridge between South Asia and Hollywood cinema”.
Khan’s career spanned over 30 years and earned him numerous accolades, including a National Film Award, an Asian Film Award, and four Filmfare Awards. In 2011, he was awarded the Padma Shri, India’s fourth-highest civilian honor.
May — Fred Williard
Fred Willard was an American actor, comedian, and writer. He was known for his roles in movies including “Best in Show” and “This is Spinal Tap” and TV sitcoms like “Everybody Loves Raymond” and “Modern Family”
His death comes nearly two years after the passing of his wife of 50 years, Mary Willard, who died in 2018 when she was 71 years old. The four-time Emmy nominee, who grew up in Ohio, spread joy through his talent for making people laugh. “There was no man sweeter or funnier. We were so lucky to know Fred Willard and will miss his many visits”, Jimmy Kimmel tweeted. Willard had appeared on Kimmel’s late-night talk show after the death of his wife.
June — Carl Reiner
Carl had a legendary career as a comedy writer, director, and performer stretched across more than six decades, died of natural causes on June 29 at the age of 98.
Reiner’s work spanned television, film, and the stage, earning him nine Emmy Awards, a Grammy Award, and the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor
July — Regis Philbin
Regis is a Legendary broadcaster, famous for a host of numerous television shows, including the morning talk show “Live with Regis and Kathie Lee”. Over the years, Philbin also hosted Miss America pageants and game shows like ABC’s “Who Wants to be a Millionaire”.
Philbin was nominated for 37 Daytime Emmy Awards throughout his career and won six, and he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008. In 2006, Philbin was inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame and the Television Academy Hall of Fame.
Philbin holds the world record for most hours on US television, according to Guinness World Records, with more than 16,700 hours on air.
August — Chadwick Boseman
Chadwick is an actor very famous for his role in Marvel superhero as T’Challa aka “Black Panther”. He died on August 28 at the age of 43. Boseman had been battling colon cancer since 2016, according to a statement posted on his Twitter account.
The charismatic actor built his career playing historic Black icons, including barrier-breaking baseball player Jackie Robinson in 42, music icon James Brown in ‘Get on Up’, and Thurgood Marshall in ‘Marshall’. Boseman most recently starred in the crime drama ‘21 Bridges’ and Spike Lee’s war drama ‘Da 5 Bloods’.
September — Donald Kendall
Former PepsiCo CEO Donald Kendall died September 19 at the age of 99. He served as the CEO of both Pepsi-Cola and PepsiCo for 23 years.
Under Kendall’s direction, PepsiCo became one of the world’s largest consumer products companies and elevated some of the world’s best-selling food and beverage brands to iconic status. During his tenure as CEO, revenues increased almost 40-fold, from $200 million to $7.6 billion.
“Don was the architect of the PepsiCo family. He was relentless about growing our business, a fearless leader, and the ultimate salesman”, said PepsiCo Chairman and CEO Ramon L. Laguarta in a statement
October — Sean Connery
Sean Connery, the Scotland-born actor who was the first star to play James Bond and became one of the franchise's most iconic stars.
He wasn’t just Bond, of course. Connery starred in an Alfred Hitchcock film, 1964’s “Marnie,” opposite Tippi Hedren; was part of the all-star cast in 1974’s “Murder on the Orient Express”; played Indiana Jones’ father, in 1989’s “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”; and won an Academy Award for the best supporting actor for his performance as Chicago cop Jim Malone in the 1987 film “The Untouchables”.
November — Deigo Maradona
Diego Maradona was a soccer legend who died on Nov. 25 from a stroke at the age of 60. Maradona is regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of the game and became a household name after inspiring his country to World Cup glory in 1986
He was one of the two joint winners of the FIFA Player of the 20th Century award. He also had a troubled off-field life and was banned in both 1991 and 1994 for abusing drugs. Maradona’s extreme highs and lows were documented in an eponymous documentary released in 2019 by Academy Award-winning director Asif Kapadia.
December — Armando Manzanero
Manzanero was a prolific composer, with more than 600 songs to his name, according to Mexico’s Society for Authors and Composers. His songs were interpreted by artists from around the world, including Elvis Presley, Dionne Warwick, Perry Como, Spanish singer Raphael and fellow Mexican star Luis Miguel.
He received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in the United States in 2014. He was the president of the Mexican Society of Authors and Composers