These artists are now resting, and will be missed.
We’re reaching the end of 2016. With it comes the hopes a new year, new artists, new songs, and almost new everything. Today, we’ve compiled a list of top artists who have passed away this year.
1. David Bowie (aged 69)
It’s difficult to truly ignore David Bowie in this list. Born in January 8, 1947, Bowie’s career was marked by constant reinvention. Howevere, there’s no denying that David Bowie stood out among other artists, thanks to his unique visual presentation, music, as well as stagecraft. He passed away from liver cancer on January 10.
2. Joey Feek (aged 40)
Joey Feek composed one-half of the popular country duo Joey + Rory. Joined by her husband, she originally moved to Nashville to become a veterinarian. However, she met her future husband, songwriter Rory Lee Feek, and started singing. Joey Feek relapsed into cancer, and after entering into hospice care, passed away on March 4.
3. Glenn Frey (aged 67)
Better known as the founding member of the popular The Eagles, Frey was the group’s lead singer. Popular songs include Take It Easy, Tequila Sunrise, New Kid in Town, and Already Gone, among others. Frey had 24 Top 40 singles on the Billboard Hot 100. He passed away on January 18 from complications of rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis, and pneumonia.
4. Prince (aged 57)
What can you say about Prince? He’s better known as a music innovator, and sold over 100 million records worldwide. He also inspired countless artists. Prince passed away on April 21 at his estate from a fentanyl overdose after struggling with a prolonged sickness. The exact circumstances of his death are still controversial, with people blaming the pharmaceutical industry.
5. Merle Haggard (aged 79)
After facing a difficult childhood, including several incarcerations, Merle Haggard turned his life around. He dedicated his life to music and launched a successful music career. Haggard touched on working class topics, making him a successful country star. He passed away on April 6 from complications from pneumonia.
6. Maurice “Moe” White (aged 74)
Maurice White was a successful singer-songwriter, a musician, and a bandleader. He also won seven Grammys. With Earth, Wind & Fire, he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. However, as a solo artist, he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Due to Parkinson’s Disease, he left the group in 1994. He died in his sleep on February 3 from the effects of Parkinson’s.
7. Leonard Cohen (aged 82)
Born in Quebec, Canada, Leonard Cohen first pursued a career in poetry and novel-writing. However, he launched his music career in 1967. He dealt with topics ranging from religion to sexuality, isolation, and even political and social unrest. He passed away in Los Angeles on November 7. Since then, his records have spiked on both sales charts and piracy networks.
8. Christina Grimmie (aged 22)
An up-and-coming YouTube and The Voice star, Christina Victoria Grimmie had it made. She toured with Selena Gomez for six weeks, and Maroon 5’s Adam Levine took her under his wing. However, an enraged, obsessed, psychotic stalker shot her three times outside of a concert on June 10. He traveled from his hometown to the concert just to shoot her down. Her death revived calls for increased security for performing artists.
9. Frank Sinatra Jr. (aged 72)
Frank Sinatra Jr. had it made from birth. Technically, Frank Sinatra wasn’t a Jr., however. At 19, three men kidnapped him, and released him after his father, Frank Sinatra, paid the $240,000 ransom. Sinatra unexpectedly passed away of cardiac arrest on March 16.
10. Denise Katrina Matthews (aged 57)
Better known as Vanity, Denise Katrina Matthews was considered by icon Prince to be the female form of himself. In 1994, she overdosed on crack cocaine, but said that Jesus Christ appeared to her while on life support. He promised to save her if she gave up the Vanity persona. In a 1995 interview, he said,
“When I came to the Lord Jesus Christ, I threw out about 1,000 tapes of mine—interview, every tape, every video. Everything.”
She then dedicated her life to evangelism, and passed away on February 15 from renal failure.
11. Paul Kantner (aged 74)
Paul Kantner co-founded psychedelic rock band Jefferson Airplane, as well as Jefferson Starship. One of his sons, Alexander Kantner, occasionally played with Jefferson Starship. Kantner passed away from multiple organ failure and septic shock on January 28.
12. Leon Russell (aged 74)
Leon Russell didn’t like to stick to just one genre. He produced and wrote several pop music, blues, rock, standards, bluegrass, and even gospel records. Russell also had six Gold Records to his credit. He played on Beach Boys and Jan and Dean albums. In his first album, Ringo Starr, George Harrison, and Eric Clapton joined in. Elton John considered Russell to be his mentor and inspiration. He passed away in his sleep on November 13.
13. Pete Burns (aged 57)
English singer-songwriter and TV personality Pete Burns founded Dead or Alive in 1980. Later in his life, he appeared on Celebrity Big Brother 4 in the UK. He passed away on October 23 from a sudden cardiac arrest.
14. Bankroll Fresh (aged 28)
Bankroll Fresh, or Yung Fresh, appeared with Gucci Mane on multiple albums. He later branched out on his own, with successful singles and mixtapes. However, Bankroll Fresh was shot and killed outside Street Execs studio on March 4. Atlanta rapper, and childhood friend, No Plug, explained why he shot the rapper in a YouTube video, calling it self-defense.
15. Sir George Martin (aged 90)
Better known as the “Fifth Beatle,” Sir George Martin extensively worked with The Beatles on many records. Later, he launched a successful career as a composer. He passed away in his home on March 8. Ringo Starr announced his death on his Twitter account.
16. Shawty Lo (aged 40)
Atlanta hip-hop artists Shawty Lo founded D4L as well as D4L Records. He’s better known for his debut single, Dey Know. He passed away from a solo car-crash on September 21. People widely speculated that another car struck his vehicle, and fled the scene, but evidence points to his car going over a guardrail, ejecting the rapper from the vehicle.