The Tragic Death Of Ann Reinking

Ann Reinking — the 71-year-old Broadway legend best known for playing Roxie Hart in Chicago — passed away peacefully in her sleep in a Seattle hotel on Dec. 12, 2020, her sister-in-law Dahrla King confirmed to Variety. Reinking is survived by her husband, Peter Talbert, and her son Chris, per the outlet.

In a statement, her family told Variety, "The world and our family have lost a vibrant, amazing talent and beautiful soul. Ann was the heart of our family and the life of the party. She was visiting our brother in Washington state when she went to sleep and never woke up. We will miss her more than we can say. Heaven has the best choreographer available now. I'm sure they are dancing up a storm up there! Annie, we will love and miss you always!!!"

According to Today, Christopher Dean, a dancer and choreographer who teaches Reinking's niece, first broke the news. Dean posted this message on Facebook: "The lights on Broadway are forever more dim this morning and there is one less star in the sky. The good news is that heaven has the very best choreographer on earth now. Thank you Ann for having the most profound impact on my career."

Let's take a look back at the career of that "very best choreographer on earth."

Ann Reinking's impressive career on Broadway and beyond is being honored by fellow stars

In 1977, Ann Reinking replaced Gwen Verdon as Roxie Hart in Chicago, what she was arguably best known for. When the production came back to Broadway in 1996, the dancer and choreographer revived her role of Hart, who was most recently played by RHOBH star Erika Girardi. Reinking choreographed the musical as well, which won her a Tony Award in 1997 (via Playbill). She was first nominated for her roles in Goodtime Charley and Dancin' in 1975 and 1978, respectively, and then again in Fosse for best direction of a musical, per Playbill.

The Broadway star also appeared in the 1979 film All That Jazz about Bob Fosse, playing a fictionalized version of herself as she dated the famous choreographer for many years. She also appeared in Annie in 1982 as Daddy Warbucks' secretary, Grace Farrell (via CNN).

Many stars paid tribute to Reinking on social media. Billy Eichner tweeted, "So grateful I got to see Ann Reinking dance in the revival of Chicago. One of the most mesmerizing people I've ever seen on stage. A singular genius. RIP." Ariana DeBose tweeted, "Oh, this is devastating Now SHE was an icon. A titan of the dance world. RIP sweet lady."

Reinking isn't the only Broadway star we lost this year, Nick Cordero — known for his stage roles in Bullets Over Broadway, A Bronx Tale, and Waitress — passed away in early July 2020 after a battle with COVID-19.