Celebrities That 2020 Took Away From Us Far Too Soon

Between the global pandemic and civil unrest unlike anything America has seen in decades, 2020 will be regarded as a difficult year by any measure. And as with all difficult times, the loss of loved ones is always a possibility that can add an unexpected shot of sorrow into the mix. 

Of course, it's always sad when a beloved figure dies, which can often be compounded by re-runs and airplay that remind fans of their loss. But, in the case of the fallen stars on this list, their passing was perhaps even more tragic due to the circumstances of their deaths. Whether it was a horrific accident, fatal illness, or mysterious circumstances, the lights of these famous folk burned out long before their time was due. These are the celebrities that 2020 took away from us far too soon. 

Nick Gordon

Nick Gordon, Bobbi Kristina Brown's boyfriend at the time of her own untimely death, died on Jan. 1, 2020. He was 30 years old. Audio from a 911 call (obtained by TMZ) described a black discharge emitting from Gordon's mouth, which the site reported is a possible symptom of opioid overdose. The caller said Gordon wasn't breathing; no official cause of death has been reported pending toxicology results. People reported that Gordon overdosed on heroin, while the Daily Mail claimed that Gordon suffered heart attacks in the hours leading up to his death.

Gordon had a troubled life. He moved in with Whitney Houston and Bobbi Kristina Brown after what he claimed were disagreements with his mother and stepfather. Though he and Brown reportedly lived like siblings while Houston was alive, their relationship became romantic; Gordon told the Daily Mail that he and Brown almost married at a courthouse before her passing. Brown drowned in a bathtub and fell into a coma in January 2015 after an argument with Gordon. Brown was placed in hospice care before her death in July 2015. A month later, Brown's estate sued Gordon for wrongful death, E! News reported, alleging that Gordon placed an unconscious Brown in the tub after injecting her with a "toxic mixture." People reported Gordon was also accused of physically assaulting Brown. Gordon, who denied the claims, was found legally responsible for Brown's death after failing to meet court deadlines in the case. He struggled with addiction following Brown's death.

Lexii Alijai

Rapper Lexii Alijai died at just 21 years old on Jan. 1, 2020. Born Alexis Alijai Lynch, Lexii had amassed nearly 90,000 Instagram followers and millions of SoundCloud streams. Her debut, Feel Less, dropped in 2014. Weeks after her passing, E! News reported that her death was "accidental," and was "as a result of mixed fentanyl and ethanol toxicity." Emergency services were called to check on an unconscious Lynch; she was suspected of possibly suffering cardiac arrest before EMTs arrived and was "cold to the touch," according to the Star Tribune. Though revival techniques were attempted, Lynch was pronounced dead at the scene.

Singer Kehlani, who featured Lynch on her song "Jealous," expressed her sorrow at Lynch's passing, tweeting, "Weakest saddest way to start a new year. I'm off this 'happy new year;' please please please please be safe out here. Love on your people please." Lynch's mother, Jessica Owen, told the Star Tribune that Lynch was working on a new album and was supposed to head to the studio the day of her passing. Her completed music will now likely be released posthumously, possibly in February 2020.

Neil Peart

Neil Peart, drummer and lyricist of the Canadian progressive rock band Rush, died on Jan. 7, 2020. He was 67 years old. "It is with broken hearts and the deepest sadness that we must share the terrible news that on Tuesday our friend, soul brother and bandmate of over 45 years, Neil, has lost his incredibly brave three-and-a-half-year battle with brain cancer," Rush told the CBC in a statement.

Peart famously performed with a drum kit that completely surrounded him. He and Rush last toured in 2015, at the conclusion of which he revealed he'd suffered from pain throughout. Peart suffered from two major tragedies in 1997: His 19-year-old daughter Selena died in a car accident, and he lost his wife to cancer just 10 months later. He remarried and is survived by his wife, Carrie, and daughter Olivia. Stars including Slash, Metallica's Kirk Hammett, Bryan Adams, Kiss' Paul Stanley, the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson and even Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau all paid their respects to Peart on social media, with Trudeau writing, "We've lost a legend. But his influence and legacy will live on forever in the hearts of music lovers in Canada and around the world. RIP Neil Peart."

Alexis Eddy

Alexis Eddy, who appeared in MTV reality series Are You The One?, was found dead in her West Virginia home on Jan. 9, 2020. She was just 23 years old. TMZ obtained audio of a 911 dispatcher who said that Eddy wasn't breathing and was "cold to the touch." Emergency personnel attempted CPR to revive her but failed. It's suspected Eddy suffered cardiac arrest before her death, but no official cause has yet been revealed, as of this writing. 

Eddy was called "The Petty Queen" and "Man Eater" on the dating show, and was notorious for her dramatics as well as for revealing she was related to convicted murderer Sheila Eddy. Alexis was open about her struggles with substance abuse and revealed on Twitter in September 2019 that she and her father were both sober. According to TMZ, the family member who found Eddy believed she was still sober as of the night before her death. She was reportedly engaged to Nate Lee in October 2019, Us Weekly reported, but the pair appeared to have split by December 2019.

Stan Kirsch

Stan Kirsch died on Jan. 11, 2020. He was 51 years old. TMZ reported that Kirsch took his own life. He was discovered by his wife, but paramedics could not revive him.

Kirsch was most famous for starring as Richie Ryan on the original Highlander TV series for six seasons. The TV show's official Facebook account honored Kirsch, writing, in part, that he was "nothing but kind, thoughtful and sincere," adding, "Although Richie Ryan's life was cut short on the show, there was little more to see; Richie Ryan had evolved into his own man, and it was Stan's performance that made it true."

Kirsch, who also starred in JAG and had memorable roles on General HospitalInvincible, and Friends, got his first acting role at just four years old in a Campbell's soup commercial. He was working as an esteemed acting coach in Los Angeles, Calif. at the time of his passing. 

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant died at 41 on Jan. 26, 2020 in a helicopter crash over Calabasas, Calif., TMZ reported. The crash also killed his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, who Kobe was reportedly taking to basketball practice at the time of the tragic crash.

Bryant, who joined the NBA right out of high school, was widely regarded as one of the greatest basketball players of all time, winning five NBA championships and being named NBA Finals MVP twice and league MVP in 2008 throughout his celebrated 20-year career. The Los Angeles Lakers retired both of Bryant's jersey numbers 8 and 24. In addition to being one of the most decorated NBA stars of all time, he was also an Oscar winner for his 2018 short animated film Dear Basketball.

In addition to his illustrious career, Kobe was also known for his sometimes tumultuous life off the court. In 2003, Kobe was arrested and charged with the alleged sexual assault of a 19-year-old Colorado hotel employee. The charges were later dropped after the accuser refused to testify against him, and Kobe issued a public apology to the woman for the alleged incident. In 2018, he was removed from a film festival jury over the sexual assault allegation, according to The Washington Post.

Kobe Bryant is survived by wife Vanessa, who he married in 2001 after six months of dating. In 2012, Vanessa filed for divorce, but they reconciled in January 2013, per ESPN. Kobe and Gianna are also survived by his other daughters (Gianna's sisters), Natalia, Bianca and Capri.

Raphael Coleman

Nanny McPhee star Raphael Coleman died on Feb. 6, 2020, at just 25 years old. Coleman's stepfather, Carsten Jensen, wrote on Facebook that the former child star passed away after collapsing during a jog. Per People, Coleman studied zoology at the University of Manchester, became a biologist, and was an activist for the Extinction Rebellion organization under the moniker Iggy Fox, once writing for The Hourglass, "I realized that as an activist my voice could be far more influential than it had been as a scientist."

His stepfather noted how, at 18, Coleman traveled solo around the world, getting his diving certification in Indonesia, studying at a Buddhist monastery in Thailand, and spending a year in the Costa Rican jungle. As revealed in a Wilderlost Media YouTube video posted shortly before his untimely death, Coleman also worked as an independent photographer, director, wilderness medic, and photojournalist. Jensen wrote of Coleman, "He was a child actor in the popular British comedy Nanny McPhee, where he played himself with great talent, a little redhead boy who was always mixing explosive chemical ingredients. He had several roles, was rewarded and could have chosen a career as an actor. But he wanted to be a scientist ... to save the planet."

Liz Jensen, Coleman's mother, wrote on Twitter, "He died doing what he loved, working for the noblest cause of all. His family could not be prouder. Let's celebrate all he achieved in his short life and cherish his legacy."

A$AP Snacks

DJ, music manager, and producer A$AP Snacks — real name J. Scott — died on Feb. 2, 2020, according to People. However, no cause of, or circumstances surrounding, his death has been reported. Per Complex, Scott was a member of the A$AP Mob hip-hop collective and served as a DJ for its most famous member, A$AP Rocky, as well as one half of the duo Cozy Boys with A$AP Lou. Scott, an Atlanta native, moved to New York City and began DJing at parties before officially joining the A$AP Mob.

Scott previously told Vibe of his nickname, "I snack a lot, probably more than anybody because I'm pescatarian so I can't just stop at McDonald's. But you got to come correct with the snacks around me because I don't f**k with the foo foo s**t, you feel me? No high fructose corn syrup ... I like getting the very rare snacks that each city has to offer. I like cashews and fruit but I'm not that into chocolate."

A number of celebs in the music industry paid their respects on social media, including A$AP Rocky, who wrote on Instagram that he was "lost for words" at Scott's passing. Meanwhile, A$AP Ferg concurred in a post captured by Celebrity Access, "Man, words can't even describe how I feel right now. Rest In Peace to my brother @jscottands**t This was one of the healthiest guys I knew but I guess God needed him. Gone too young 'cozy boy' for life love u bro."

Jacob Thiele

Musician Jacob Thiele, who played keyboards for indie dance-rock outfit The Faint, died on Feb. 13, 2020. He was just 40 years old. No cause of death has yet been revealed, the Omaha World-Herald reported. However, his former bandmates said in part in a statement on Instagram, "We are devastated to lose our dear friend Jacob Thiele. He was a true synthesizer pioneer, and the Faint would not have sounded the same without him. We were incredibly lucky to have had the time we did with him."

Thiele joined the Omaha, Neb. band in late 1998, replacing Matt Bowen, and remained a member of The Faint — both in the studio and on tour — until 2016. Some of the group's most popular works, including 2003's Danse Macabre, featured his contributions. Thiele also was a member of a side project called The Depressed Buttons with The Faint bandmates Clark Baechle and Todd Fink, according to Pitchfork. He is survived by his parents, brother, sister, aunts, uncles, and nieces.

Caroline Flack

British television personality Caroline Flack died of an apparent suicide on Feb. 15, 2020. She was 40 years old. The former host of U.K. reality shows The X Factor, I'm A Celebrity! Get Me Out Of Here! Now! and, most recently, Love Island, Flack was as famous for scandals surrounding her personal life as she was for her work. In addition to facing backlash over dating then-One Direction crooner Harry Styles — when he was just 17 years old to her 31 — from late 2011 to early 2012, she also claimed to have had a brief fling with Prince Harry in 2009, which she said ended once the press got wind of the affair.

Flack's most recent relationship with Lewis Burton made headlines when she was arrested in December 2019 after allegedly assaulting Burton with a lamp while he slept. Burton declined to press charges, but Crown Prosecution Services moved forward with the case, The Sun reported. Breaking his silence on the matter, Burton vowed to be Flack's "voice" moving forward on Instagram, writing in part, "My heart is broken. We had something so special. I am so lost for words I am in so much pain I miss you so much ... I love you with all my heart."

If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.

Nikita Pearl Waligwa

Nikita Pearl Waligwa, who starred in Disney's Queen Of Katwe, died on Feb. 15, 2020, after suffering from a brain tumor, BBC News reported. The Ugandan actress was just 15 years old. Waligwa had previously been diagnosed with brain cancer in 2016. After Queen of Katwe director Mira Nair crowdfunded to pay for Waligwa to receive treatment in India, the actress was reportedly declared cancer-free in 2017. In 2019, however, another tumor was discovered.

Waligwa was famous for her role of Gloria in the Disney film, a friend of the protagonist Phiona who teaches the film's hero about chess. Lupita Nyong'o, who co-starred in Queen of Katwe, wrote on Instagram in part, "It is with great sadness that I post about the passing of Nikita Waligwa, the sweet, warm, talented girl whom I worked with on the film, Queen Of Katwe. She played Gloria with such vibrancy. In her real life she had the enormous challenge of battling brain cancer. My thoughts and prayers are with her family and community as they come to terms with having to say goodbye so soon." Co-star David Oyelowo wrote, "We mourn the loss of our beautiful Nikita Pearl Waligwa. She was a ball of light in @queenofkatwemovie and in life. Her battle with a brain tumor was humbling to witness. Her light will live on."

Jason Davis

Jason Davis, who voiced the gentle Mikey Blumberg on Disney's Recess for years, died on Feb. 16, 2020, a rep for his family confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter. He was 35 years old. Davis was the grandson of billionaire oil heir Marvin Davis and the son of winemaker Nebil Zarif and wife Nancy Davis Rickel. Rickel said in a statement, "I am so heartbroken to share the saddest news of my life that my son Jason Davis passed away this morning in Los Angeles. Jason had a true heart of gold with such a zest for life. He was such a caring soul to everybody who ever knew him. He loved his friends and his family above all else. We ask for privacy as we take time to grieve this most devastating loss."

Davis' acting credits included Recess, as well as Beverly Hills Ninja, Rush Hour, 7th Heaven, and Roseanne. He publicly struggled with substance abuse for years, appearing on Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew from 2010 to 2011. He was later arrested and charged with drug possession, though the charges were dropped after Davis completed a rehabilitation program. 

Davis worked to eliminate the stigmas associated with addiction and co-founded the Cure Addiction Noe charity, which funded research to curb and cure substance abuse and aid ongoing recovery efforts for patients. TMZ reports that no cause of death has yet been officially named, but claimed that Davis may have suffered an overdose.

Nicholas Tucci

Actor Nicholas Tucci died on March 3, 2020, at the Smilow Cancer Hospital in New Haven, Conn., his father announced on Facebook. He was 38 years old. 

"Nick chose to keep his illness private so that he could continue to pursue his professional and artistic dreams for as long as possible," Tucci's father wrote in part. And pursue them he did: Tucci was born in Middletown, Conn., and attended Yale University, where he studied theater and was a member of a sketch comedy group on campus. He performed in theatrical productions throughout his life and had an illustrious television and film career, with appearances in series like Pose, Quantico, Homeland, Daredevil, The Blacklist, and Person of Interest, among others. Tucci also had a big screen turn as Felix in 2011's You're Next, and had three movies in post-production at the time of his passing.

Tucci's father noted, "In the last year, he was able to audition, go on location, and continue the work he loved so much. To those of you in the film, television, and theater communities ... thank you for guiding, encouraging, and supporting Nick. To those of you who enjoyed Nick's work on the screen and stage...thank you for recognizing his talent and appreciating his efforts. To all ... thank you for your gift of friendship to my son."

Danny Tidwell

Renowned dancer and So You Think You Can Dance star Danny Tidwell died on March 6, 2020. He was just 35 years old. After the tragic news broke, Tidwell's husband, news reporter David Benaym, wrote in part on Instagram, "I'm devastated that my Danny, the love of my life, my beloved friend, the artist, the talented angel, fierce mind, legendary dancer, my now late husband ... died last night in a car crash while his friend was driving him home from work."

Tidwell's younger brother, the Emmy-nominated dancer and choreographer Travis Wall, initially announced Tidwell's passing: "Yesterday I lost a brother. And we all lost a gift. I'm not ready. But I never think I will be. Because I can't believe this is real. I can't believe you're gone. You were more than my brother. You were my inspiration. I idolized you growing up ... I wish I could jump in your arms again like we used to when we were kids and onstage dancing."

The New York Times reports that Tidwell was adopted into Wall's family when he was 12 (though Tidwell himself said he was 10). Tidwell, who finished in second place during the third season of SYTYCD, credited dance with keeping him out of trouble. Among the several celeb reactions to his passing was legendary choreographer Debbie Allen's tribute: "Danny Tidwell, our beautiful dancing genius 'Prince amongst Paupers,' you are in God's Ensemble. We will always speak your name with love and respect. See you on the other side."

Lorenzo Brino

Actor Lorenzo Brino died in a car accident on March 9, 2020, in which his Toyota Camry hit a pole after he lost control of the vehicle in San Bernadino, Calif., according to TMZ. He was just 21 years old. Brino's only acting credit was one he shared with his quadruplet siblings between 1999 and 2007: he and his brothers rotated in their roles as the Camden family's young twins on 7th Heaven, with Lorenzo playing Sam. 

His aunt, Janet Brino, reportedly wrote in a statement to the media outlet, "To my dear sweet nephew, your loss left a hole in my heart. God needed another Angel and he took you. Please watch over your mom and dad. You sister Mimi, brothers, Antonio, Zachary and Nicholas ... You got a big job up there." Brino's friends similarly made a tribute video for him and called him a "beautiful soul" while showcasing his love for fitness. Meanwhile, his sister honored his memory in an Instagram post, writing in part, "To my amazing and crazy brother. You might be gone but it's true when people say 'gone but never forgotten.' Saying that you were a blessing is an understatement. You brought light to so many lives and you did so much with the too short of a life that you had."

Mark Blum

Mark Blum, star of Desperately Seeking Susan, died on March 25, 2020 from "complications of the coronavirus," according to a friend who spoke with The New York Times. He was 69 years old. Blum was a New York City theater regular both on and off Broadway. He's also known for his roles in Crocodile Dundee, Shattered Glass, 12 Angry Men, The Good Wife, The Good Fight, and Netflix's You.

"With love and heavy hearts, Playwrights Horizons pays tribute to Mark Blum, a dear longtime friend and a consummate artist who passed this week," his theater company, Playwright Horizons, tweeted. "Thank you, Mark, for all you brought to our theater, and to theaters and audiences across the world. We will miss you."

Blum was born in Newark, N.J., and despite a love of theater and acting, he was surprised to be able to pursue the craft for a living. "I never for a minute at that age considered it for a career," he told the The New York Times in the 1980s. "I was raised in one of those basic, middle-class Jewish families in the suburbs and that just wasn't something somebody thought about."

John Callahan

Actor John Callahan died on March 27, 2020 after suffering "a massive stroke," People reported. He was 66 years old. Callahan starred as Edmund Grey on All My Children from 1992 to 2005 as well as playing several roles on Days Of Our Lives, Falcon Crest, Santa Barbara, a guest starring role in Desperate Housewives, and numerous other TV credits. Callahan's ex-wife and former All My Children co-star, Eva LaRue, paid homage to the late star on Instagram, writing in part, "May Flights of Angels Wing You to Your Rest my Dear Friend. Your bigger than life, gregarious personality will leave a hole in our hearts forever. We are devastated-My great friend, co parent partner, and loving father to Kaya." She added, "Kaya and I are beyond broken hearted, so stunned, sorry that my thoughts are a mess. You gave the most beautifully written tributes, and I am at a complete loss right now for you." LaRue and Callahan were married from 1996 until 2004.

Sarah Michelle Gellar, who also starred on All My Children before her Buffy The Vampire Slayer fame, also honored Callahan. "He stepped into a lot of moments in my life because I didn't have a father to be there," Gellar wrote on Instagram. "Johns [sic] greatest joy in his life was when he had a daughter of his own ... I promise you GP just as you were there for me, I will always be there for smoosh (Kaya) and @evalarue as well."

Matthew Faber

Actor Matthew Faber was pronounced dead on March 28, 2020. He was 47 years old, TMZ reported. Faber's death appeared to be natural, sources told the site, although the official cause is not yet known as of this writing. After Faber's friends and family hadn't heard from him in several days, they got his landlord to open his apartment in Van Nuys, Calif., where his body was found.

Faber appeared in several cult classic films throughout his career, including his best known role of Mark Weiner in Welcome To The Dollhouse and its sequel Palindromes, as well as Natural Born Killers, Sue, and Ride With The Devil. His most recent project was The Devil You Know with Rosamund Pike and Jennifer Lawrence in 2013.

Faber's brother, Mark, remembered the star to TMZ as no less than a genius. "A beautiful man. Incredibly talented. Wise beyond his years, quick-witted," he said. "Abundantly aware. He could really pay attention more than most. He had such incredible focus and ability to sustain concentration—brilliant man, very aware, very smart."

Joe Diffie

Joe Diffie, a country singer best known for his song "John Deere Green," died on March 29, 2020, from coronavirus complications, TMZ reported. Just days earlier, Diffie revealed his diagnosis on Facebook, writing, "I am under the care of medical professionals and currently receiving treatment after testing positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). My family and I are asking for privacy at this time. We want to remind the public and all my fans to be vigilant, cautious and careful during this pandemic."

Diffie had 18 country top 10 singles and five No. 1 country hits, including "Home," "If the Devil Danced (In Empty Pockets)," "Third Rock from the Sun," "Bigger Than the Beatles," and "Pickup Man." He won a Grammy for "Same Old Train" in 1998. Known for his honky tonk style and down-home, working man sensibility, the Oklahoma native released a new track, "As Long As There's A Bar," in July 2019 and his first vinyl LP Joe, Joe, Joe Diffie! that November. He told Rolling Stone of his artistic process, "I just like the songs themselves. I went that route — finding songs I really liked and that I related to. Really, it's not any more complicated than that."

Diffie is survived by wife Tara Terpening Diffie and several children from his numerous marriages.

Pop Smoke

Rapper Pop Smoke was murdered in a home invasion on Feb. 19, 2020. He was just 20 years old. Pop Smoke, real name Bashar Barakah Jackson, was possibly renting the home owned by The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Teddi Mellencamp and her husband Edwin Arroyave, TMZ reported. According to The New York Times, four suspects in hoodies (and at least one in a mask) made their way into the property after a party in the home, although it's unclear what the burglars' motives were. Jackson was shot and rushed by ambulance to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in West Hollywood, Calif., where he was pronounced dead.

TMZ pointed out that Jackson may have unfortunately given away his location to his murderers: He posted a photo on Instagram of a gift bag he received with his address on it, and the same day was in a photo with a friend holding a huge stack of dollar bills in the driveway of the property.

Just days before his slaying, Pop Smoke's mixtape hit No. 7 on the Billboard 200, largely thanks to his summer 2018 smash "Welcome to the Party." His family said in a statement, "Every prayer, call, and act of kindness is deeply appreciated as we mourn the loss of our son, brother, and friend. Brooklyn knew him as Bashar. He was educated and nurtured in Brooklyn and his rise to fame all developed from the place he proudly represented. Within the last year, his extraordinary giftedness was revealed to the world, introducing Pop Smoke."

Adam Schlesinger

Musician and songwriter Adam Schlesinger died on April 1, 2020, from COVID-19 complications, Variety reported. He was 52 years old.

Schlesinger released his first album with Fountains of Wayne in 1996. Seven years later, the band nabbed its first Grammy nominations — Best Pop Performance by a Group and Best New Artist — with the smash hit "Stacy's Mom," which was accompanied by a viral video starring Rachel Hunter. Throughout his illustrious music career, Schlesinger was also a member of the bands Ivy and Tinted Windows, the latter a supergroup consisting of himself, James Iha of the Smashing Pumpkins, Bun E. Carlos of Cheap Trick, and Taylor Hanson. Schlesinger won his sole Grammy in 2008 for the comedy album A Colbert Christmas.

Schlesinger was also acclaimed for his scores and soundtracks. He earned his first Best Original Song Golden Globe and Oscar nominations in 1997 for writing the music for fictional band The Wonders in That Thing You Do. He also landed two Tony nominations for the musical adaptation of John Waters' Cry-Baby. His most recent completed project at the time of his death was a score to The Bedwetter with Sarah Silverman based on her memoir; the production was slated to hit the stage in spring 2020 before the coronavirus pandemic shut down theaters. He won two Emmys as well, one for his work on the hit CW show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, for which he wrote over 150 songs, and one for his original song for the 2012 Tony Awards, "It's Not Just for the Gays Anymore."

Wallace Roney

Wallace Roney died on March 31, 2020 from coronavirus complications, The New York Times reported. The jazz trumpeter was 59.

Born in Philadelphia, Pa. to a family of jazz enthusiasts, Roney taught himself trumpet and became the youngest member of the professional Philadelphia Brass when he was just 12 years old. As a teen, he lived in Washington, D.C. with his father and studied at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts. He made his New York City performance debut in 1976 — when he was just 16 years old. He studied at Howard University and Berklee College of Music before moving to the Big Apple to pursue his music career full time. According to Jazz Times, Roney recorded 22 albums as a bandleader and more than 100 as a performer.

Roney was tutored by none other than the legendary Miles Davis, the first trumpeter Davis agreed to mentor, after watching Roney perform in a Davis tribute at Radio City Music Hall in 1983. The pair remained close and performed together in 1991 just months before Davis' own passing. Roney's relationship to Davis paralleled Davis' relationship with his own mentor, Dizzy Gillespie. "A lot of people like to say, 'Yeah, well, I hung with Miles, but we never talked about music.' Well, guess what? I did," Roney said in a 2016 interview. "I loved him because of his music, and he talked to me about music all the time. ... You definitely had to earn Miles Davis' respect, and not everybody could do that."

Logan Williams

Actor Logan Williams died on April 2, 2020 at just 16 years old, exactly a week shy of his 17th birthday. No cause of death has yet been reported. His mother, Marlyse, told Tri-City News that his family was understandably "devastated" by the loss, especially due to the coronavirus pandemic, because she could not be with her own parents because of social distancing restrictions. "I am not able to hug my parents who lost their only grandchild," she said. "It's hard."

Williams played a young Barry Allen on The CW hit The Flash and also appeared in Whispers, Supernatural, and When Calls The Heart on the Hallmark Channel alongside Lori Loughlin. The young star enjoyed playing guitar, soccer and listening to hip-hop. The Flash star Grant Gustin posted a sweet photo from the set with Williams on Instagram, writing in part, "Just hearing the devastating news that Logan Williams has passed away suddenly ... I was so impressed by not only Logan's talent but his professionalism on set. My thoughts and prayers will be with him and his family during what is I'm sure an unimaginably difficult time for them. Please keep Logan and his family in your thoughts and prayers during what has been a strange and trying time for us all. Sending love to everyone."

James King

My 600-Lb. Life star James King died on April 3, 2020. He was 49 years old. While it was initially speculated that King may have passed away from coronavirus complications, his family told TMZ that King's "heart gave out" after he fell ill in early February 2020, and that his liver and kidneys were failing due to his weight. King previously battled other health issues, including cirrhosis of the liver and sepsis. He lived in Kentucky but was transferred to a hospital in Nashville, Tenn., that was better equipped to care for him.

King first appeared on My 600-Lb. Life in 2017, clocking in at 791 pounds. After his time on the series, King actually gained weight, and in his final followup appearance on the TLC reality series in summer 2018, he weighed 840 pounds. His weight left him bedridden and unable to care for his ailing father. The Daily Mail reported that Dr. Nowzaradan, who treated King on the show, "called adult protective services on [King's] wife," Lisa, after he gained weight following treatment, accusing her of "sneaking him food" when he was supposed to be losing weight to prepare for gastric bypass surgery. After the incident, Dr. Nowzaradan refused to continue treating King.

King is survived by Lisa, as well as two sons, four daughters, and a whopping 19 grandchildren.


Model and rapper Chynna died on April 8, 2020 from an accidental drug overdose, People reported. She was just 25 years old. Chynna, born Chynna Rogers, began modeling at age 14 when she got signed to the elite Ford Models agency. As she got older, she developed a passion for hip-hop and told Pitchfork that A$AP Yams, a rapper-producer from the A$AP Mob, mentored her until his own death from a drug overdose in 2015. By 2016, Chynna was struggling with opiate addiction, though she got clean for a time in secret. She explained to Pitchfork that she hid her struggle from her fans for a reason before getting help.

"'I need to handle it myself first, and then, when I've figured out how I want to word it, we can talk about it — y'all not about to go through it with me,'" she recalled thinking at the time. "I did end up talking about it, because there are a lot more people dealing with this s**t than you think, and they should know that someone who looks like me or does this could have the same problem as the fiend on the corner. And it was partially because of the s**t that happened with Yams, or just how many friends I have lost to different stuff. And I just — I didn't want to lie."

Vic Henley

Comedian Vic Henley died on April 6, 2020 at 57 years old after suffering a pulmonary embolism days earlier, his niece announced on Facebook. Henley was a regular on television, with credits including The Tonight Show, a Comedy Central special and Gotham Comedy Live. Numerous other comedians expressed their sadness at the sudden loss of the funnyman, including Adam Sandler, Jim Gaffigan, Leslie Jones, and Mike Birbiglia. One moving tribute came from Larry the Cable Guy, who tweeted, "Vic Henley was one of the good guys. A smiling happy face in our world. For you that got to see him live you're lucky."

"The world loved Vic for the smile and laughter he brought to us all. The amount of venues he performed in around the country and being nominated 8 times for Comedian of the Year tells you a small amount of the respect he had in his industry of work," Henley's niece wrote. "And he loved his work because it brought him so many of his friends. His friends were also a part of his and our family. Last week, he was just telling me how much he loved his life. He showed us all how much he loved us by how he showed up for each one of us every single day."

Tarvaris Jackson

Tarvaris Jackson, a former quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks and Minnesota Vikings, died on April 12, 2020, when he lost control of his 2012 Camaro and struck a tree near Montgomery, Ala., ESPN reported. He was just 36 years old, and is survived by wife Lakitta, sons Tyson and Tarvaris and daughter Takayla.

Jackson was a Montgomery native. He attended Tennessee State University, where he made a big impact for the Tigers before going pro in 2006, signing with the Minnesota Vikings and helping the team win the NFC North Title in 2008. He played alongside Brett Favre, who said in a statement, "My time with the Vikings was very special because the team embraced and welcomed me as one of their own. Tarvaris could have been anything but welcoming, but [instead he] was pure class and as good a teammate as any I've played with. [I'm] proud to call him friend!! Such sad news."

Jackson signed with the Seattle Seahawks as a free agent in 2011, then went to the Buffalo Bills in 2012 before returning to the Seahawks in 2013.

Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll tweeted, "Tavaris Jackson was a beloved teammate, competitor, and Seahawk. He will be deeply missed. So heartbroken by the news of his passing and sending our condolences to his family and friends. We love you forever." Teammate Chad Greenway also tweeted that Jackson "was one of the best teammates and friends," adding that "he will be missed."

Ashley Mattingly

Playboy model Ashley Mattingly died by an apparent suicide on April 15, 2020 at just 33 years old, TMZ reported. Mattingly was found after her loved ones called in a wellness check because they hadn't heard from her. As of this writing, officials have yet to determine Mattingly's cause of death, however, her siblings confirmed to the tab that she left a suicide note.

Mattingly struggled with alcohol abuse for years but was reportedly trying to get back on the right path, even moving to Austin, Texas, to be closer to her family. Unfortunately, she was still several hours away from her closest family members, and the social distancing rules for coronavirus reportedly took a toll on her mental health. Days before her death, Mattingly posted a video on Instagram (via The Mirror) from a hospital bed claiming that she'd vomited blood after drinking too much.

Mattingly's sister, Christy Deweese, told Fox News that the model will be remembered for her "infectious spirit" and love of traveling, adding, "Anything she put her mind to, she conquered it all. This got the best of her. It's hard because this isn't something we planned for. She was a good person and addiction can take down anything, so I ask for people to just be mindful."

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.

Ashley 'Ms. Minnie' Ross

Ashley "Ms. Minnie" Ross died on April 27, 2020 after a hit and run accident. The Little Women Atlanta star was just 34 years old. Ross, who was born with dwarfism, had appeared on the Lifetime reality series since 2016. Entertainment Weekly reported that Ross was hospitalized late April 26, 2020 after a crash in South Fulton, Ga., and ultimately succumbed to her injuries. A rep for Ross said in a statement to CNN that the star would be remembered for her "contagious smile" and that she was an advocate for women as well at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

Ross' co-star and friend, Amanda Salinas, paid a heartbreaking tribute to her late pal on Instagram, writing, "As I'm writing this I'm in tears I can't believe it my Minnie !!!! Why did they take you away from us !!!! WHY!!!!! It always seems like we have all the time in the world, only to realize how fleeting it really is. I wish we had more time to do and say the things we saved for later which, along with you, is gone forever." She added, "I promise to keep you alive in my memories and be there for your mama ... and your aunt. ... You were more than our best friend you were our big sister and still is !!! I still can't believe this man why man why!!!! , I love you so much !!!! My heart is broken. Rest In Peace my love."

Derek Jones

Falling In Reverse guitarist Derek Jones' death was reported on April 21, 2020. According to People, he was 35; a cause of death has not yet been revealed, as of this writing. Jones' bandmate, Ronnie Radke, announced the news on social media in a series of tributes to his late friend.

Jones was lead guitarist of A Smile From the Trenches in 2008 before he and Radke started Falling in Reverse the same year, releasing their first album, The Drug In Me Is You, in 2011. Jones was in both bands simultaneously until 2010. The metalcore band recorded seven albums since their inception. Jones' bandmate Tyler Burgess wrote on Instagram, "You introduced me to metal bands I've never heard of. You always had a special food spot every city we were in saved in your phone. I'm gonna miss all of it."

Jones became engaged to longtime love Christina Cetta in 2015. She tragically lost her own battle to cancer in November 2019, after which Falling in Reverse canceled their remaining tour dates at the time. Jones' final Instagram post from December 2019 was a throwback photo with Cetta, captioned, "The early days ... I miss you beyond belief. You were my best friend and everything more."

McKenzie Bell

Former He Is Legend and Bloodjinn guitarist McKenzie Bell died on April 26, 2020 at 35 years old. Bloodjinn said in a statement, "We are extremely saddened today to find out that our great friend and former guitarist, Mckenzie Bell, has passed away," the band wrote in a statement on Facebook. "He was always a blast to hang out with and one incredible riff writer. He was the king of all of the hot sauces. Seriously, his collection was insane."

According to an obituary published by Wilmington Funeral & Cremation, Bell's death was an "indirect result of his snowboarding accident in 2018." North Carolina native Bell previously used Instagram to document his gradual and arduous recovery from the accident.

Bell was a member of He Is Legend before joining Bloodjinn. His former bandmates wrote on Facebook, "Learning of McKenzie Bell's passing has left us all with heavy hearts. He truly was a one of a kind person. ... We know that he touched many people's lives in the 35 years he was with us on this planet, and everyone's memories of him will live on forever. Our hearts go out to his friends and family, especially his loving mother. He had a very long, hard road to go down after his accident. We're hoping you finally have some peace, McKenzie. Pour it out, boys."

Nancy and Marty Smith

Motocross legend Marty Smith and his wife Nancy died in a tragic dune buggy accident on April 28, 2020. Marty was 63 years old. The couple were at the Imperial Sand Dunes in Imperial County, Calif., when the accident occurred; TMZ reports that Marty "was not wearing a safety harness" and that Nancy only wore a lap belt when the accident occurred. Marty was pronounced dead at the scene, while Nancy was flown to a hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries from the accident.

Smith's best friend, Lee Ramage, wrote on Facebook that he and his wife Tammi were in the buggy with the Smiths at the time of the crash. The Ramages suffered no injuries, and tried desperately to save the Smiths while awaiting first responders.

Pert TMZ, Marty went pro in 1974 when he was just 17 years old, winning the first-ever American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) 125cc National Motocross Championship, then retaining his title in 1975, and winning the 500cc championship in 1977. He retired from racing in 1981 but continued to work as a coach. In 2000, Smith was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Museum Hall of Fame.

Troy Sneed

Grammy winning gospel singer Troy Sneed died from coronavirus complications at a Jacksonville, Fla., hospital on April 28, 2020, the AP reported. He was 52 years old.

The Florida native studied music and education at Florida A&M University and became assistant minister of music at the Georgia Mass Choir when he graduated and co-created the Youth for Christ subsidiary gospel choir, composed of singers ages 12to 18. He traveled throughout the country performing with the former and appeared in the Whitney Houston and Denzel Washington film The Preacher's Wife with the group. He released numerous solo albums, seven of which hit the Billboard Top Gospel Albums Chart, and two singles, "Work It Out" and "My Heart Says Yes," which each peaked at No. 2, according to People.

Sneed was also a prolific songwriter and producer in the gospel music community. Gospel artist Brian Carn wrote on Instagram, "What a mixer is to a microphone, and a microphone is to a voice, Troy Sneed was to my music career and so many others. Troy has been the mastermind, producer, and ink pen behind so many of the gospel community's favorite and most popular songs. We will miss him in the earth, but we are strengthened in the word of God." Another fellow gospel star, Kurt Carr, tweeted, "The Gospel community has lost a superb talent in Troy Sneed. Keep his wife, family, friends and everyone who was blessed by his music in prayer!"

Matt Keough

Former Oakland Athletics pitcher and Real Housewives of Orange County star Matt Keough died on May 1, 2020. He was 64 years old. Keough's ex-wife, RHOC star Jeana Keough, told Hollywood Life that the baseball great passed away from a pulmonary embolism while having lunch at home with his girlfriend. Jeana said Matt's death came as a shock, because there was "no family history" of the condition and he was otherwise healthy and active. Matt and Jeana were married from 1984 to 2007, but still filmed RHOC while living together despite not being a couple anymore.

Matt had baseball in his blood — his father was Major League Baseball star Marty Keough. Matt pitched for the Oakland A's for seven seasons and also played for the St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs, Houston Astros, and New York Yankees. He was named 1978 All-Star Rookie of the Year, 1980 American League Comeback Player of the Year, and covered Sports Illustrated with three of his Oakland teammates in 1981.

Matt's personal life was at times troubled. He had two DUIs, one for which he was charged with two felonies. His second DUI saw him sentenced with a year in jail; TMZ reports that Jeana testified on his behalf to seek leniency and request probation instead even though the couple was no longer together at the time. Tragically, Matt's death came just weeks after his and Jeana's daughter Kara lost a son during childbirth. Matt is survived by girlfriend Claudia, daughter Kara, and sons Shane and Colton.

Cady Groves

Singer Cady Groves died on May 2, 2020 at just 30 years old. Her cause of death hasn't been reported, as of this writing, but her brother Cody posted on social media that Cady had been struggling with medical problems leading up to her passing and that she likely died from natural causes pending an autopsy. Two of Groves' older brothers, Kelly and Casey, each died at 28 from prescription drug abuse, The Oklahoman previously reported.

Kansas native Cady graduated with a culinary arts degree before pursuing a music career, releasing her first EP, A Month of Sundays, in 2009, followed by The Life of a Pirate a year later. She released her first major label album, This Little Girl, on RCA Records in 2012 (with Blake Shelton making a cameo in the title track's music video). According to Radar Online, "she was released from her contract with RCA" (which Cody alleged was due to a rumored affair with Shelton while he was married to Miranda Lambert) and continued to release work independently, including "Oil & Water," which dropped in 2017. Cady toured with the likes of Good Charlotte, LMFAO, All Time Low, and Third Eye Blind. A rep for Cady told People that the late songwriter would "want people to know she loved music, laughter, cooking, tacos and, especially, her family."

Andre Harrell

Music executive Andre Harrell, died from heart failure on May 7, 2020 at 59 years old, The New York Times reported.

Harrell began his career as one half of rap duo Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde in the 1980s before pursuing the business leg of music, working with Russell Simmons at Def Jam Records. After three years at Def Jam, Harrell founded his own label, Uptown Records, signing acts including Heavy D and the Boyz, Jodeci, Al B. Sure, and Mary J. Blige. Diddy interned for Harrell and was eventually promoted to A&R before Harrell fired him, leading Diddy to start Bad Boy Records. In 1995, Harrell left Uptown Records to be named CEO of Motown Records. Within two decades, Harrell and Diddy reconciled and Diddy named Harrell vice chairman of Revolt TV.

Harrell also dabbled in TV and film, producing Strictly Business (featuring Halle Berry), Honey (starring Jessica Alba) and Fox's New York Undercover. He was slated to produce a mini-series on BET about the rise of Uptown Records before his passing.

Diddy wrote, in part, on Instagram of his late friend and business partner, "I honestly still can't believe it. I've got to give myself the reality of this in doses. Because I can't even handle this. I hope to God that you are all blessed to have someone in your life that loves you and believes in you like this man believed in me.... I'm going to miss him so much."

Betty Wright

Betty Wright, "the R&B singer who popularized the phrase 'no pain, no gain,'" died on May 10, 2020 following a battle with cancer, TMZ reported. She was 66 years old.

Born Bessie Regina Morris in Miami in 1953, Wright had her biggest hit in 1971 when she was just 18 years old (and recorded when she was just 17) with "Clean Up Woman," a hit that would later be sampled by Afrika Bambaataa and Sublime. Known for her whistle register vocals, Wright's other chart successes included "Shoorah Shoorah," "Where Is the Love," "Tonight Is the Night" and "Let Me Be Your Lovemaker." In 1985, Wright became the first female artist ever to launch her own independent record label, Miss B Records. Her 1988 hit "Mother Wit" went gold, making it the first time a female African American artist achieved the certification on her own record label; "No Pain" from the same album cemented the saying that's so common today.

Wright's legacy continued into the 2000s and 2010s, with a recorded collaboration with Lil Wayne (that was unfortunately scrapped for legal reasons) and a stint as a vocal coach on Making The Band. Wright also had a prolific vocal production career, working with artists including Jennifer Lopez, Gloria Estefan, and Joss Stone (earning a Grammy nod for her work with Stone).

Corey La Barrie

YouTube star Corey La Barrie died in a car crash on May 10, 2020 — his 25th birthday. He was a passenger in a car with Ink Master star Daniel Silva, who was hospitalized for non-life-threatening injuries. Silva was later arrested for murder in connection with La Barrie's death, TMZ reported: Law enforcement sources reportedly told the site that Silva "somehow crashed into a street sign and tree" with the passenger side of his McLaren "taking the brunt" of the damage. La Barrie's parents sued Silva for wrongful death, alleging that he was drinking before the crash. Silva vehemently denied the allegations through his attorney, who told TMZ, "This is a horrible tragedy and our hearts go out to Corey's family and friends. We are reviewing all of the evidence and will reserve comment for a later time. For now, it is most important that everyone involved is given time and space to grieve."

La Barrie's brother, Jarrad, wrote on Instagram, "Corey passed away last night in a car accident with his drunk friend driving. This is the hardest thing I've ever had to do. I don't know how I'm supposed to do this without you. I miss you so much already this isn't fair thank you for always being the best big brother I could ask for. I love you so f**king much life's never gonna be the same without you."

Gregory Tyree Boyce

Gregory Tyree Boyce and his girlfriend Natalie Adepoju, were found dead in Las Vegas on May 13, 2020. He was 30 years old; she was 27. People reports that Boyce and Adepoju both died of accidental drug overdoses from cocaine and fentanyl. Boyce was most famous for his role of Tyler Crowley in Twilight. His only other acting credit is a short from 2018 called Apocalypse, but he had other plans besides acting: His mother, Lisa Wayne, wrote on Facebook that he was a gifted chef and was planning to start a wings business with Adepoju called West Wings before his passing, with special flavors including Tequila Lime Agave and Hennessy Maple, with each named after his favorite rappers (including Roddy Rich, Snoop Dogg, and The Game). He is survived by his 10-year-old daugther Alaya; Adepoju left behind a son named Egypt.

Eerily, Boyce wrote on Instagram in December on his 30th birthday (via People), "At one point I didn't think I would make it to see 30 years old. Over the years like everyone else I have made mistakes along the way, but today is one of those days I only reflect on the great ones. What a time to be alive. Happy Dirty 30 self! Let's make the rest of these years your best!!"

Hana Kimura

Hana Kimura died on May 23, 2020. The professional wrestler and reality star was only 22 years old when she took her own life, The Japan Times reported. Kimura was a second-generation pro wrestler, daughter of Kyoko Kimura, and wrestled for World Wonder Ring Stardom, winning the 2019 Fighting Spirit Award. Kimura starred in Fuji Television reality series Terrace House, where she furiously confronted her male roommate, Kai Kobayashi, for ruining her custom-made wrestling outfit in the laundry. Kobayashi was contrite and the pair made amends, but the editing and production, per the Daily Beast, made Kimura essentially into a heel to many viewers — the worst of which responded by incessantly sending hateful messages.

Just as the furor began to die down, Fuji Television re-aired the episode on May 18, 2020, and uploaded extra footage of the altercation to YouTube, all while Kimura was self-isolating due to the coronavirus pandemic. This re-ignited the hateful online commentary toward Kimura, who, according to the Daily Beast, ended her own life several days later. On May 23, 2020, she was found in her condominium in a state of cardiac arrest and declared dead at a local hospital. She left a note behind for her mother. Her tragic death sparked conversations over how much the role sexism and cyberbullying may have played in it.

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.

Chris Trousdale

Chris Trousdale, a former member of boy band Dream Street, died on June 2, 2020 in a Burbank, Calif., hospital from coronavirus complications, TMZ reported. Trousdale began his career in theater, the Daily News reported, appearing in a touring production of Les Miserables with High School Musical star Ashley Tisdale before starring in a Broadway run of the legendary musical alongside Glee star Lea Michele.

He was just 34 years old. Trousdale was just 14 years old when he joined Dream Street, alongside Jesse McCartney, Matt Ballinger, Frankie Galasso, and Greg Raposo, all of whom were scouted from their work on Broadway and New York City theater. The group peaked at No. 48 on the Billboard Hot 100 with their song "It Happens Every Time" before disbanding in 2002 over contract disputes between the members' parents and their management.

Though Dream Street broke up, Trousdale kept working in music and acting, appearing in shows including Austin & Ally, Lucifer, Shake It Up, and Days Of Our Live. He also featured on songs by Play and Nikki Cleary. In 2012, he auditioned for The Voice but unfortunately didn't make it far. He said during his audition (via Us Weekly), "It's kind of hard to go from all that success and doing what you love every day, to doing absolutely nothing. It's hard to be serving somebody and she's like, 'What are you doing here? You were my idol, I had you on my bedroom wall.'"

Sebastián Athié

Disney Latin America star Sebastián Athié died on July 4, 2020, at just 24 years old, with his rep telling People that he suffered a sudden heart attack.

For three seasons, Athié starred as Lorenzo Guevara in the Disney Channel Latin America series O11CE, which centered around teenagers attending an elite soccer academy. Disney Channel Latin America said in a statement on Instagram translated from Spanish, "Rest in peace, Sebas. Your art and your smile stay forever. We regret the departure of Sebastián Athié and we will always remember him for his talent, companionship, professionalism and above all enormous heart. We accompany his family, friends and fans in his farewell."

His first acting roles were two different characters in separate episodes of the Mexican telenovela La Rosa de Guadalupe. Us Weekly reports that in addition to acting, Athié also had a budding music career and loved traveling. Athié's O11CE co-star Daniel Panitio wrote in tribute to the late star, "Noble souls do not die and your light will be eternal, passion, discipline and love, so I will remember you, my roomie, my friend, my brother. God have your holy glory. I do not understand many times his plans, and for the first time it makes you feel to lose a brother, life I owe you a lot, I will miss you."

Ethan Is Supreme

Rising beauty influencer Ethan "Ethan Is Supreme" Peters died on Sept. 6, 2020. Peters was heartbreakingly young at just 17 years old.

The Texas native had a rapidly growing following of more than 500,000 Instagram followers and 140,000 YouTube subscribers and was known for his makeup tutorials and transformations, People reported. Prior to his cosmetic and style influencing, he created the "Betch" meme Instagram account, racking up 1.3 million followers before selling it for $25,000 when he was only 13 years old.

Tragically, Peters' father Gerald and best friend Ava Louise each claim that Peters succumbed to a drug overdose. Louise claimed that Peters was addicted to opioids after turning to drugs to cope with his social media fame. She added that Peters reached out about getting help shortly before his death, also noting that it was just two Percoset pain relief pills that ultimately ended his life. Gerald told Fox News of his beloved son, "He wanted nothing but to inspire, make people laugh and push the boundaries of what is acceptable in our world for all young people. He was a kind soul, who accepted everyone for who they were."