Review of the year: The famous people who died during 2019

Posted by on January 1, 2020 6:47 am
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Celebrity deaths 2019: A look back at the actors, sports stars, politicians and other figures who died in 2019

People who passed away came from a wide range of different disciplines


Tuesday, 31st December 2019, 9:20 am


Tuesday, 31st December 2019, 9:21 am

Gary Rhodes, Toni Morrison and Jacques Chirac were among those who passed away (Photo: Georgie Gillard/PA/Evan Agostini/Getty/Philippe Wojazer/Reuters)

As another year draws to a close, i takes a moment to look back at the artists, actors, sports stars, politicians and other notable figures who we said goodbye to in 2019.

From actress Doris Day to chef Gary Rhodes and i columnist and journalist Deborah Orr, many well known and well loved people passed in the last 12 months.

These are some of the famous faces who passed away over the course of the year.

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The transgender activist, who was the subject of the pioneering TV series A Change of Sex, remained active in the LGBT community throughout her life and championed Manchester’s gay village. She died aged 64.

One of the last two surviving airmen who took part in the Dambusters raid, the Canadian veteran stayed in the Royal Canadian Airforce until 1957. He died aged 95.

Emiliano Sala died in a plane crash over the English Channel (Photo: Loic Venance/AFP/Getty)

Known for her sense of style, the racehorse owner whose colt Nathaniel enjoyed a string of wins died aged 84.


A charismatic pianist and conductor, he served as principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra and was regarded as one of the most versatile musicians of his generation. He died aged 89.

Andrea Levy passed away aged 62 (Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty)

The actor, whose films include Erin Brockovich and Skyfall, also enjoyed a successful stage career. He has been credited with helping transform British film and theatre in the 1960s. He died aged 82.

Instantly recognisable from his signature white ponytail, dark glasses and high-collared white shirts, the fashion designer was creative director at Chanel for more than 30 years. He died aged 85.

Karl Lagerfeld was creative director at Chanel for more than 30 years (Photo: Adam Pretty/Getty for Chanel)


The reality star shot to fame in 2017 after appearing on ITV’s Love Island. Describing himself as “tall, dark and handsome”, the semi-pro footballer entered the show in week two. He died aged 26.

The television presenter – real name Kim Taylor – was known for her sunglasses and stylish looks and appeared on youth culture programmes such as Network 7 and Rough Guide. She died aged 61.

The Prodigy frontman became one of the most recognisable musicians in the industry thanks to his high energy performances and signature look of spiky hair, piercings and tattoos. He died aged 49.

The Prodigy singer Keith Flint died aged 49 (Photo: Ed Jones/AFP/Getty)


The first woman to work as a staff photographer on a Fleet Street newspaper, she was a pioneering photographer who snapped the royal family and paved a way forward in a largely man’s world. She died 91.

An order of service from the funeral for journalist Lyra McKee (Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty)

Known for her roles in the films of Ingmar Bergman, the Swedish actress featured in films such as The Seventh Seal and Wild Strawberries. She died aged 83.

The Scottish footballing legend, who died aged 79, was the first British footballer to lift the European Cup after winning the trophy with Celtic in 1967. He later managed the side, with other leadership stints including Aston Villa and Manchester City.

The Serbian politician and academic, who was married to former Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milošević, was a significant figure during the collapse of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. She died in Moscow aged 76.

The Oxford-based journalist hit the headlines thanks to the 25ft fibreglass shark which he installed through the roof of his home in Headington. He died aged 74.


The much-loved author and illustrator, who continued working well into her 90s, was one of the UK’s most successful children’s authors thanks to her tales of Mog the cat and The Tiger Who Came to Tea. She died 95.

Judith Kerr continued working well into her 90s (Photo: Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty)

The actor and singer, who became one of Hollywood’s top stars during the 40s and 50s, starred in several hit films including Calamity Jane. She died aged 97.

The political eccentric was the leader of the Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire branch of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party until his expulsion in 2014, after which he founded the Eccentric Party. He died aged 53.

The Golden Globe winning actress, who died aged 72, was known for her roles in the TV dramas Twin Peaks and The Mod Squad.

Freddie Starr at the British Comedy Awards in 2011 (Photo: Stuart Wilson/Getty)


The Eygyptian politician who served as the nation’s fifth president before being overthrown by the military and being held in prison on a number of charges. He died aged 67 after collapsing in court.

The heiress and socialite, who later turned her hand to fashion design, was the subject of a high profile child custody trial in which her mother and aunt sought custody of her and control of her trust fund. She died aged 95.

The American author was best known for her “sex and shopping” novels such as Scruples and I’ll Take Manhattan. The writer, who was also a successful magazine journalist, died aged 91.


Racing pundit John McCririck died aged 79 (Photo: Tim Ireland/PA)

The hardline Chinese leader, whose role in the suppression of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protesters drew widespread condemnation, died aged 90.

The American professional boxer secured a gold medal at the 1984 Olympics and won world boxing titles at four different weights over the course of his career. He died in a road accident aged 55.

The actress, who started her career as gum-chewing Violet Beauregarde in the 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, died aged 62.

Eva Mozes Kor, a twin who survived pseudo-medical experiments at the Nazi Auschwitz death camp by Dr Josef Mengele (Photo: Janek Skarzynski/AFP/Getty)


The jazz trumpeter, who performed with the likes of Billie Holiday and Dizzy Gillespie, was admired for being one of just a few women during her time to play professionally. She died aged 92.

The Swedish billionaire, who was the head of the Tetra Pak empire, amassed a vast fortune through his drinks pack enterprise and was at one point richer than the Queen. He died aged 93.

The Chitty Chitty Bang Bang star was also known for playing the kind-hearted teacher Mrs Monroe in the children’s television programme Grange Hill from 1990 until 1994. She died aged 86.

Nobel-winning US novelist Toni Morrison passed away aged 88 (Photo: Franck Fife/AFP/Getty)

The American novelist who chronicled African American life and whose 1959 debut novel Brown Girl, Brownstones was a landmark in US literature. She died aged 90.

The Cambodian politician and leading figure in the Khmer Rouge regime, who was later found guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity, died aged 93.


The American soprano faced down racism and became a towering figure in the world of opera. The singer, who died aged 74, won five Grammy awards and sang at the second-term inaugurations of Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.

The French politician, who served two terms as the country’s president, had one of the longest continuous political careers in Europe. He died aged 86.

Jacques Chirac served two terms as France’s president (Photo: Philippe Wojazer/Reuters)

The actress, who starred as Zoe Tate in Emmerdale, played the first lesbian character in a British soap opera. She died aged 55.

The illustrator, who won acclaim for her studies of wild flowers, was widely admired for her work on children’s and reference books. She died aged 101.

The politician, who served as president of Zimbabwe from 1987 until 2017, died aged 95 in Singapore. A controversial figure, he was held up by some as a hero of African liberation and condemned by others for his brutal treatment of opponents and economic mismanagement.

Robert Mugabe died aged 95 (Photo: Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty)

The anti-apartheid campaigner, who was the mother of Lord Hain, was jailed for her activism in the 1960s. A supporter of Nelson Mandela, she was forced into exile in Britain by the South African government. She died aged 92.


The US actress, who became the first black woman to win the Tony for best actress in 1962, starred as the scheming Dominique Deveraux in TV hit Dynasty. She died aged 84.

Diahann Carroll starred as Dominique Deveraux in the TV show Dynasty (Photo: Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

The American politician and civil rights advocate was a senior Democratic congressman who played a key role in the impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump. He died aged 68.

The Soviet cosmonaut, who died aged 85, became the first person to walk in space in 1965 but almost lost his life in the struggle to return to the spacecraft.

The Soviet dissident and human rights activist played a key role in undermining communism in eastern Europe after he exposed the Soviet use of psychiatry against political prisoners. He died aged 76.

The actress, who died aged 80, was known for playing Pearl Sibshaw, the domineering wife of Howard, in the TV sitcom Last of the Summer Wine.


The celebrity chef, recognisable from his trademark spiky hair, was working on a new television show in Dubai when he died suddenly during a break in filming aged 59.

Gary Rhodes died during a break in filming aged 59 (Photo: Georgie Gillard/PA)

The Labour former health secretary, who was also a candidate in the 2000 London mayoral election, was MP for Holborn and St Pancras for 36 years. He died aged 79.

The Australian writer, critic and broadcaster, who also wrote poetry, was known all over the world for his wry wit and humour. He died aged 80.

The US composer, who co-wrote the hit Day-O with Harry Belafonte, is credited with helping to popularise Caribbean music in the 1950s. He died aged 95.

The Last of the Summer Wine actress, who played the television sitcom’s character Marina for 25 years, died aged 74.

Jean Fergusson died aged 74 (Photo: Michael Stephens/PA)


Best known for her role as maid Rosario Salazar in the US sitcom Will and Grace, Morrison starred in 68 episodes from 1999 to 2006. She died aged 83.

The puppeteer, who played Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on Sesame Street for nearly 50 years, died at home in Connecticut aged 85.

The singer with the Swedish pop duo Roxette was one of the most recognisable voices in pop music in the 1980s and 90s. She died aged 61.

The naturalist and television presenter, who co-founded the Conservation Foundation, became a household name and is credited with inspiring a “whole generation”. He died aged 86.

Naturalist and TV presenter David Bellamy died aged 86 (Photo: Ian Waldie/Reuters)

The French new wave star, who appeared in films including A Woman Is a Woman and Pierrot le Fou, died aged 79.

The stage and screen actor, who played the matriarch Annie Sugden in the ITV soap Emmerdale for more than 20 years, died aged 100.

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