Bowie, Prince, Carrie Fisher, Rick Parfitt, George Michael and more: Shocking number of stars taken in 2016

From David Bowie to Prince, and from Sir Terry Wogan to Carrie Fisher, Victoria Wood and George Michael, the entertainment world has lost many of household names this year.

Bowie, Prince, Carrie Fisher, Rick Parfitt, George Michael and more: Shocking number of stars taken in 2016

The death of Bowie aged 69 in January was a total shock – coming as it did just two days after the release of his 25th studio album Blackstar.

It later emerged that the star had been suffering from liver cancer for 18 months before his death. Makeshift memorials were erected in London, New York City, Berlin, and other cities in which the singer-songwriter had lived, while sales of his albums and singles spiked.

And at the other end of the year, on Christmas Eve we lost Status Quo's Rick Parfitt aged 68, and Liz Smith, 95, who was described by her Royle Family co-star Ricky Tomlinson as an 'absolutely lovely' actress.

The following day Wham's George Michael died aged 53 from suspected heart failure, prompting contemporaries Duran Duran to reference the so-called 'curse of 2016' posting on their official Twitter account: '2016 – loss of another talented soul'.

Midway through the year multi-instrumentalist Prince died of an accidental overdose of a strong painkiller in June, at the age of 57.

His death led the US Senate to pass a resolution praising his achievements 'as a musician, composer, innovator, and cultural icon'.

On this side of the Atlantic tributes flooded in for veteran broadcaster Sir Terry Wogan, who died in January aged 77.

Sir Terry had a 50-year career on radio and television, including presenting Wake up to Wogan on BBC Radio 2 and the Wogan chat show on BBC1.

He was the voice of the Eurovision Song Contest in the UK and involved with Children in Need from its beginning in 1980.

BBC Radio 2 controller Bob Shennan said he was 'one of the greatest and most popular radio hosts this country has ever heard,' adding: "His millions of listeners adored him, as did his whole Radio 2 family. We will miss him enormously."

Alan Rickman died from cancer aged just 69 in January. The actor – best known for playing Severus Snape in the Harry Potter franchise as well as appearing in films such as Die Hard and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves – was mourned by scores of his fellow stars. Emma Thompson wrote a heartfelt tribute to her friend and Love Actually co-star, calling him the 'ultimate ally' and a 'rare and unique human being'.

Sir Michael Gambon, who starred alongside Rickman when he portrayed Professor Dumbledore, said: "He was intelligent, he wrote plays, he directed a play. So he was a real man of the theatre and the stage and that's how I think of Alan."

Much-loved comedians Ronnie Corbett, Victoria Wood and Caroline Aherne all passed away this year. Corbett died in March, aged 85, Wood in April, aged 62, and Aherne in July, aged 52. Sir Bruce Forsyth said Corbett's death was one of the 'saddest days of his life'. He said: "Ronnie was a friend, someone I admired so much.

"It's a very, very sad day. I'm going to miss him like crazy, I really will."

Wood's regular collaborator Julie Walters said 'heart was too sore to comment' after her friend's death from cancer. After Aherne's death, Sir Lenny Henry tweeted: "Very sad to hear about the death of the very talented and funny Caroline Aherne. Condolences to her family."

Other celebrity deaths in the last year included Fawlty Towers actor Andrew Sachs aged 86, Eagles vocalist Glenn Frey aged 67, novelist Harper Lee aged 89 and magician Paul Daniels in March aged 77.

Tributes were also paid to Father Ted actor Frank Kelly who died aged 77, Sherlock Holmes actor Douglas Wilmer, 96, Agony aunt Denise Robertson, 83 and The Beatles' producer Sir George Martin who died aged 90.

Two Coronation Street stalwarts also died this year – the show's creator Tony Warren, aged 79, and Jean Alexander, who played Hilda Ogden, at 90.

Among others to die this year were former drug smuggler and author Howard Marks, 70, music producer David Gest aged 62, Dead or Alive singer Pete Burns aged 57 and R2-D2 actor Kenny Baker aged 81. Willy Wonka star Gene Wilder died aged 83, singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, 82 and The Liver Birds writer Carla Lane who was aged 87.

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