In 2016, the world lost what seemed like an unusually high number of talented and larger-than-life characters. Here are some of the well-known figures whose deaths hit us hardest this year:
- Carrie Fisher & Debbie Reynolds — Fisher was iconic to those both young and old, known for her work on-screen and off. As Princess Leia, she captured the hearts of many as she inspired women to break barriers, setting the example that women could be both beautiful and strong. She was also admired by many in her personal life for attempting to de-stigmatize mental illness, as she spoke out about her own struggles with bipolar disorder and addiction. Her mother Debbie Reynolds, who was also an accomplished actress, tragically suffered a severe stroke after her daughter's untimely death. Adding more heartbreak to the tragedy, Reynolds died only one day after Fisher, shortly after telling her son that she wanted to be with her daughter.
- Prince — Prince was one of several extremely unique and talented musicians the world lost this year. Though some did not appreciate his eccentric nature, his musical ingenuity was unparalleled. He won seven Grammys, along with an Academy Award for his movie Purple Rain, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
- Gene Wilder — Actor Gene Wilder made an imprint on all movie lovers' hearts whether he was playing the whimsical Willy Wonka or the mad scientist in Young Frankenstein. After his late wife Gilda Radner passed away from ovarian cancer in 1989, Wilder became actively involved in promoting cancer awareness and treatment, and even founded several non-profit organizations relating to the cause.
- Alan Rickman — Whether Die Hard is a Christmas movie is something that will be disputed for years to come (for the record, it is), but something we can all agree on is that Alan Rickman played one of the greatest fictional villains ever, Hans Gruber. His performance as Severus Snape in Harry Potter won him many unlikely millennial fans as well.
- David Bowie — Another innovative musician gone too soon. Bowie was one of the world's best selling musicians in his lifetime, earning international acclaim and managing to release 11 number one albums in the United Kingdom. Bowie was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Many of his songs like "Life on Mars," and "Under Pressure" remain timeless.
- Glenn Frey — Another rock and roll icon, Frey was a member of the rock band The Eagles, and co-wrote some of the greatest classic rock songs in history. He won six Grammy Awards and five American Music Awards with the Eagles, and also went on to have a successful solo career. Frey was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Berklee College of Music along with his bandmates.