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Celebrity deaths 2019 – Freddie Starr, Doris Day, Gary Rhodes and other legends gone too soon – Liverpool Echo

Some familiar faces and hugely popular figures are among the well-known people we lost in 2019.

From showbiz legends to sporting stars many of the celebrities we’ve lost, have been mourned by their fans and the public in general.

The year had a tragic start as popular north west weather woman Dianne Oxberry passed away following a short battle with ovarian cancer.

Liverpool FC legend Tommy Smith was another local and national figure who was lost. He died in April.

And lots of other famous names have died in 2019 – here we look at some of the best-known and at the legacy they will leave.

January

Dianne Oxberry



Dianne Oxberry
Dianne Oxberry

BBC weather presenter Dianne Oxberry died on January 10 2019 at the Christie Hospital in Manchester aged 51.

Her husband, Ian Hindle, revealed she died after a short battle with ovarian cancer.

He plans on honouring her memory by starting a charity in her name.

Dianne joined North West Tonight in 1995 and became a household name reporting the weather.

Alongside her forecasting work, she has also previously co-presented the weekday breakfast show on BBC Radio Manchester and has worked as a relief newsreader & presenter for North West Tonight.

February

Clive Swift



Clive Swift and Patricia Routledge.
Clive Swift and Patricia Routledge.

Keeping Up Appearances star Clive Swift died aged 82 on February 1 2019.

A statement from his family said: “After a short illness Clive died peacefully at home this morning surrounded by his family.”

Liverpool-born Clive was most famous for playing Richard Bucket (pronounced Bouquet), the long suffering husband of Hyacinth.

He had worked in the industry since 1965, appearing in The Liver Bird in the 70s and Doctor Who in the 1980s.

 

 

Albert Finney



Albert Finney who has died at the age of 82 after a short illness.

Oscar-nominated actor Albert Finney died aged 82 on February 8 2019.

He had been in London’s Royal Marsden Hospital for the past month and died from a chest infection with his wife Penelope Delmage and son Simon at his bedside.

The star, was best known for appearing in Erin Brockovich, Murder On The Orient Express and Annie.

Finney was nominated for an Oscar five times – with Julia Roberts sharing her Best Actress Oscar with him in 2000 after she won it for Erin Brockovich, thanking Albert in her acceptance speech.

Gordon Banks



Goalkeeping legend Gordon Banks holds up the silver plate presented to him by Liverpool Football Club after his premature injury following a car accident before the August 1973 fixture - the last match he ever played was the previous season's corresponding fixture
Goalkeeping legend Gordon Banks holds up the silver plate presented to him by Liverpool Football Club after his premature injury following a car accident before the August 1973 fixture – the last match he ever played was the previous season’s corresponding fixture

Famous English footballer Gordon Banks died after a long illness, aged 81 on February 12 2019.

Banks was between the sticks when England won the World Cup in 1966 and was regarded as one of the game’s greatest.

He also enjoyed an illustrious domestic career, with long spells playing for Leicester City and Stoke City.

Banks passed away with family at his bedside after his health deteriorated rapidly in recent weeks before his death.

He had lived in the shadow of cancer for many years and had been undergoing spells of chemotherapy.

 

 

Karl Lagerfeld



Karl Lagerfeld walks the runway during the Chanel Haute Couture Fall Winter show as part of Paris Fashion Week on July 3, 2018 in Paris, France. Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Iconic fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld died at the age of 85 on February 19 2019.

The Chanel artistic director had suffered a period of ill health that forced him to miss the fashion house’s catwalk shows for the first time.

His period of poor health is reported to have lasted a number of weeks, with Chanel putting his notable absence at the shows down to ‘tiredness’.

Lagerfeld presided over the prestigious fashion house for three decades, producing some of the brand’s most iconic collections.


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March

Keith Flint



Keith Flint from The Prodigy performs on the Radio One stage at the Park music festival at Strathallan in Perthshire.

The Prodigy’s Keith Flint was found dead at his Essex mansion aged 49 on March 4 2019.

Confirming his death in an emotional statement on the band’s Instagram page, current members Liam Howlett and Leeroy Thornhill revealed he had taken his own life.

The star and his band are most famous for the song Firestarter, which gained worldwide acclaim in the 1990s.

Luke Perry



Luke Perry from “Riverdale” has died aged 52

Luke Perry died aged 52 on March 4 2019.

On Wednesday, February 27, Luke was rushed to the hospital after suffering a stroke while at his home in California.

The actor was best known for his roles in Beverley Hills 90210 and Riverdale.

He recently made a successful return to TV with a role on Riverdale, where he played Fred Andrews, the father of the show’s lead Archie Andrews.

Mike Thalassitis



Former Love Island contestant Mike Thalassitis who has died aged 26

Love Island star Mike Thalassitis was found dead in woods near his Essex home on March 16.

The 26-year-old was a former League Two footballer who found fame on the ITV2 dating show in 2017.

The tragic news of his death came just days after his beloved grandmother passed away.

Hers



Liverpool band Her’s, comprised of Stephen Fitzpatrick and Audun Laading who died while on tour in the US

 

Stephen Fitzpatrick and Audun Laading, who made up Liverpool duo Her’s, died in a road crash while travelling to their penultimate show in California on March 27.

Their tour manager Trevor Engelbrektson also died in the accident.

Record label Heist or Hit announced the tragic news in a brief statement on Facebook , stating they were “heartbroken”.

It said: “It is with overwhelming sadness that we regretfully inform you that Liverpool band Her’s, Stephen Fitzpatrick and Audun Laading and their tour manager Trevor Engelbrektson tragically passed away in a road accident in the early hours of Wednesday, 27th March whilst travelling to a show in Santa Ana, California.

“We are all heartbroken.

“Having recently released their debut album “Invitation to Her’s”, Stephen and Audun were on their second tour of North America playing 19 dates of sold-out shows to a fanbase that adored them.

“The pair were one of the UK’s most loved up and coming bands.”

April

Mya-Lecia Naylor



BBC children's TV star Mya-Lecia Naylor
BBC children’s TV star Mya-Lecia Naylor

BBC children’s TV star Mya-Lecia Naylor, who appeared in shows Millie Inbetween and Almost Never, died aged 16 on April 7.

A statement posted on the CBBC website said: “We are so sorry to have to tell you that Mya-Lecia, who you will know from ‘Millie Inbetween’ and ‘Almost Never’ has, very sadly, died.

“Mya-Lecia was a much loved part of the BBC Children’s family, and a hugely talented actress, singer and dancer.”

No cause of death has been revealed.

Tommy Smith



Tommy Smith in his Liverpool days
Tommy Smith in his Liverpool days

Liverpool legend Tommy Smith died at the age of 74 on April 12.

Tommy – who was famously nicknamed the ‘Anfield Iron’ during a decorated career – passed away following a courageous and dignified battle with dementia.

Tommy was the rock at the heart of some of Liverpool’s greatest triumphs and appeared 638 times for the club, he had been suffering from ill health in recent years.

Bradley Welsh



Welsh and Danny Dyer in an episode of Danny Dyer’s Deadliest Men

Bradley Welsh, who appeared in Trainspotting 2 was shot dead in Scotland, according to reports.

Welsh, who also appeared in an episode of Danny Dyer’s Deadliest Men, was reportedly killed in Edinburgh on April 17, aged 42.

Armed officers were sent to the city’s West End at around 8pm on Wednesday and found a man with serious injuries.

Police later confirmed that a seriously injured man had died at the scene.

May

Freddie Starr



Comedian and entertainer Freddie Starr.

 

Comedian and Merseyside born singer Freddie Starr died aged 76 on May 9.

The lead singer of the Merseybeat pop group Midniters was found dead at his Spanish home in the Costa Del Sol.

Mr Starr rose to fame in the 1970s after appearing on the Opportunity Knocks TV show before winning over fans at the Royal Variety Performance.

Later, in the 1990s, Freddie also starred in several television shows including An Audience with Freddie Starr before presenting game show, Beat the Crusher.

He was laid to rest at Prescot Parish Church.

Doris Day



Doris Day

 

Hollywood legend Doris Day died at the age of 97 on May 13.

Doris died at her home in Carmel Valley, California, the Doris Day Animal Foundation confirmed.

The foundation said The Calamity Jane star was surrounded by close friends and “had been in excellent physical health for her age, until recently contracting a serious case of pneumonia”.

She was known as a honey-voiced singer and actress whose film dramas, musicals and innocent sex comedies made her a top star in the 1950s and 1960s and among the most popular screen actresses in history.

Andrew Hall



Andrew Hall playing Audrey Roberts’ love interest Marc in 2011

Butterflies star Andrew Hall died aged 65.

Andrew passed away on May 20, with the news confirmed by his management.

A tweet from his management said: “It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of our client and friend Andrew Hall who sadly passed away on Monday after a short illness.

“Andrew was loved by audiences for his many roles, most notably Butterflies, Coronation Street and, more recently, Syfy’s Blood Drive.”

He also starred in Corrie in 2011 as the cross-dressing interest of Audrey Roberts.

Judith Kerr



Children’s book author and illustrator Judith Kerr, who has died at the age of 95.

Author Judith Kerr, who wrote the famous children’s book The Tiger Who Came To Tea, died on May 22.

Judith died aged 95 after a short illness.

Judith made Britain her home after fleeing Nazi persecution with her family in her native Germany, she wrote about her experience in the book When Hitler stole Pink Rabbit.

Charlie Redmayne, HarperCollins CEO said: “Judith Kerr was a wonderful and inspiring person who was much loved by everyone at HarperCollins. She was a brilliantly talented artist and storyteller who has left us an extraordinary body of work.

“Always understated and very, very funny, Judith loved life and loved people – and particularly she loved a party.

“Beautifully dressed and with a smile on her face she would light up the room and would always be one of the last to leave. Time spent in her company was one of life’s great privileges and I am so grateful to have known her.”

June

Beth Chapman



Beth and Dog Chapman

Beth Chapman – the wife of Dog The Bounty Hunter -died after a battle with cancer on June 26.

Beth, 51, had been placed in a medically induced coma, but failed to wake up.

Dog, whose real name is Duane Chapman, had been keeping a bedside vigil at his wife’s side and asked fans to keep her in their prayers.

He took to Twitter to share the bad news that his wife of 13 years had passed away.

Dog wrote: “It’s 5:32 in Hawaii, this is the time she would wake up to go hike Koko Head mountain. Only today, she hiked the stairway to heaven. We all love you, Beth. See you on the other side.”

July

John McCririck



John McCririck watches The Investec Epsom Derby at Epsom Racecourse on June 6, 2009 in Epsom, England. (Photo by John Gichigi/Getty Images)

Racing pundit John McCririck died aged 79 on July 5.

McCririck was the face of Channel 4 Racing, and one of the sport’s most recognisable figures.

He was also an award-winning journalist for The Sporting Life.

The former Channel 4 racing pundit’s death was reported by the Racing Post: “Sad to report that legendary racing broadcaster John McCririck has died at the age of 79.”

Cameron Boyce




Disney actor Cameron Boyce was found dead on July 6.

The 20-year-old Descendants star reportedly died in his sleep after suffering a seizure as a result of an “ongoing medical condition”, his devastated family have confirmed.

A family spokesperson told ABC : “It is with a profoundly heavy heart that we report that this morning we lost Cameron.

“He passed away in his sleep due to a seizure which was a result of an ongoing medical condition for which he was being treated.

“The world is now undoubtedly without one of its brightest lights, but his spirit will live on through the kindness and compassion of all who knew and loved him.

“We are utterly heartbroken and ask for privacy during this immensely difficult time as we grieve the loss of our precious son and brother.”

Tanya Jones




Tanya Jones, wife of film star Vinnie Jones died after a six year battle with cancer on July 6.  

The 53-year-old reportedly died at her home in Los Angeles, with her former footballer husband and surrounded by her loved ones. 

Tanya fought both skin cancer and cervical cancer during her long battle with the illness before her condition worsened over the last few weeks. 

A statement from Jones’s management said: “At 8.46am local time in Los Angeles on Saturday July 6, Vinnie Jones’s wife, Tanya Jones, passed away after a long illness. 

“Tanya passed peacefully at the Jones family home surrounded by Vinnie, their daughter and other family members. 

“Vinnie and the family ask for privacy while they go through an understandable period of mourning during this devastating time.”

George Kay



Former Warrington Wolves player George Kay

 

Kerry Katona’s ex-husband and former Warrington Wolves player George Kay died aged 39 on July 7.

George, who is the father of Kerry’s youngest daughter Dylan-George, aged five, was pronounced dead on arrival at hospital after a suspected overdose.

Kerry was said to be heartbroken after being told about his death.

Married to the Atomic Kitten star between 2014 and 2017 George had a history of mental health issues and drug use.

They met as teenagers while pupils at Padgate High School in Warrington.

Freddie Jones



Freddie Jones Emmerdale

Veteran actor Freddie Jones, who is best known for playing Sandy Thomas in Emmerdale, died at the age of 91 on July 9.

He starred in the soap from 2005 until 2018.

Lesley Duff told PA: “It is with great sadness that I can confirm the death of Freddie Jones.

“He passed away on the evening of July 9 after a short illness.

“Freddie was a much loved and admired actor, known for his triumphs in classical theatre, film and television. He will be greatly missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him and most especially his family.”

Emily Hartridge



Emily Hartridge

Youtube star and TV presenter Emily Hartridge died aged 35 in a devastating crash.

Emily was killed on July 12 as her electric scooter collided with a lorry near her home.

The accident is believed to be the first time an electric scooter has been involved in a fatal road collision.

A statement on Instagram read: “Hi everyone. This is a horrible thing to have to say over Instagram but we know many of you were expecting to see Emily today and this is the only way to contact you all at once.

“Emily was involved in an accident yesterday and passed away. We all loved her to bits and she will never be forgotten.

“She has touched so many lives it’s hard to imagine things without her. She was a very special person xxx.”

Jimmy Paton



Jimmy Patton (far right of photo) has passed away

Jimmy Patton – the third Chuckle brother – has died just a year after his younger brother Barry Chuckle.

The 87-year-old comedian, who was a regular on their hit BBC show the Chuckle Brothers, died in July with a  Facebook  post on the official Chuckle Brothers page confirming the news.

The post said: “I just thought I’d let you know that the Chuckle Brothers older brother Jimmy Patton has sadly passed away.

“Jimmy was a big part of chucklevision and the stage shows where he played the character No Slacking. RIP Jim Lad. And No Slacking.”

He was married to much-younger wife Amy, who herself was a fan of the show as a child.

Paula Williamson



Paula Williamson
Paula Williamson

Former Coronation Street actress Paula Williamson who married Charles Bronson was found dead on July 29.

Paula, 38, was found dead at a home in her native Stoke-On-Trent.

Staffordshire Police confirmed Paula had died and her body had been found at a house in Gordon Avenue, Sneyd Green.

A statement from the force read: “A woman from Stoke-on-Trent who was found dead this morning (July 29) has been named as Paula Williamson, aged 38. 

“Paula’s body was found in a house on Gordon Avenue, Sneyd Green, at around 7am.

“A post mortem will take place to establish the cause of death but the death is not being treated as suspicious. A report is now being prepared for the Coroners.

August

Toni Morrison



Toni Morrison

Nobel laureate Toni Morrison, one of the most influential American authors, died on August 6, aged 88.

She was the first black woman to receive the Nobel Prize in literature – and won a Pulitzer Prize for her novel Beloved.

President Barack Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.

Anna Quayle



‘A Hard Day’s Night’, actress Anna Quayle stands behind John Lennon

Anna Quayle, best known for her role in Grange Hill, died at the age of 86.

The actress, who played Ms Monroe in the children’s drama, passed away after suffering from Lewy body dementia.

Her family confirmed she died on August 16.

Born in Warwickshire to actor Douglas Quayle in 1932, Anna was diagnosed with the condition in 2012.

Many will also remember Anna for her role in a Hard Day’s Night with The Beatles.

She played Millie, a woman who recognises John Lennon when he is undercover.

September

Jacques Chirac



Former French President Jacques Chirac

 

Former French president Jacques Chirac died on September 26 aged 86.

Nicknamed ‘Le Bulldozer’, Chirac was in office as president from 1995 until 2007.

He had previously served as France’s Prime Minister twice, and was Mayor of Paris between 1977 and 1995.

Leah Bracknell




 

Emmerdale star Leah Bracknell died in September after a battle with lung cancer, aged 55.

Leah announced she was suffering from cancer in 2016, but said she was determined to stay positive.

A statement from her manager, on behalf of the family, said: “They would like to thank all the public for their support and generosity which contributed to the extension and quality of her life over the past three years.

“Leah continued to embrace life and faced her illness with positivity. Many aspects of her journey can be found on her blog – somethingbeginningwithc.com.

“Leah was best known and much loved as Zoe Tate in Emmerdale. She also had roles in Judge John Deed, A Touch of Frost, The Royal Today and DCI Banks to name just a few, as well as numerous appearances on stage and in pantomime. As well as acting, Leah was also an accomplished yoga teacher and shamanic healer.

“Leah had an energy and enthusiasm for life, a kind heart and much love to give to those around her.

“Her family have asked for privacy at this very sad time.”

October

Peter Sissons




Former BBC and ITN newsreader Peter Sissons died at the age of 77 on October 1.

The Liverpool-born journalist started his career at ITN in the 60s and worked his way up to cover some of the biggest stories of the time.

A statement from Knight Ayton management said: “We are sad to announce that Peter Sissons, the former presenter on ITN, Channel 4 and the BBC, died peacefully last night in Maidstone Hospital, Kent.

“His wife and three children were with him and wish to pass on their thanks to the hospital staff who were so caring and fought gallantly to save him to the end.”

November

Jane Galloway Heitz



Big Bang Theory and Glee actress Jane Galloway Heitz has died aged 78 on November 22.

The star played the founder of the William McKinley Glee Club Lillian Adler in Glee and also appeared in the hit science-sitcom as the character Mildred.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the 78-year-old died from congestive heart failure at a hospital in Illinois.

Before working as an actress herself, she had a successful casting agency business, helping to launch the careers of chat show host Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell and Modern Family star Eric Stonestreet, who paid tribute to his former mentor with a touching post on social media.

Eric said: “Jane was the first casting director to ever call me in for an audition, she became a great friend and mentor.

“She put me on the path I’m on. I wish I could have said thank you one more time.”

Gary Rhodes



Chef Gary Rhodes prepares to cook his dishes for a St Davids Day 2017 reception at the British Embassy in Dubai.

Gary Rhodes died aged 59 on November 26.

The TV chef died after he was suddenly taken ill at his Dubai home.

The family revealed that the former Masterchef star suffered a fatal bleed on the brain after collapsing at home.

He was known for shows like MasterChef, Ready Steady Cook and Hell’s Kitchen and was working on a new TV series when he died, on Tuesday.

He was suddenly taken ill, while at home, during a break in filming, the TV production company said.

His family said he died “with his beloved wife Jennie by his side”.

December

Marie Fredrikkson



Roxette

Roxette singer Marie Fredriksson died at the age of 61 on December 9.

The Swedish popstar, who co-created Roxette with Per Gessie in 1986, died after suffering from a long-term illness.

Roxette are best known for their hits It Must Have Been Love, Joyride, Listen To Your Heart and The Look.

Swedish newspaper the Express broke the news of Marie’s death.

Her family released a statement to the newspaper that said: “Marie Fredriksson is most mourned by her husband Mikael Bolyos and their two children.

“It is with great sadness that we have to announce that one of our biggest and most beloved artists is gone. Marie Fredriksson died on the morning of December 9 in the suites of her previous illness.”

Shelia Mercier



Sheila Mercier

Legendary Emmerdale star Sheila Mercier died aged 100 on December 13.

Sheila, known to millions as Annie Sugden,died peacefully in her sleep according to former Yorkshire Television co-star Frederick Pyne, who played Matt Skilbeck in Emmerdale Farm from its launch in 1972 until 1989.

Before starring in the ITV soap Sheila had a long career on the stage – touring with a Shakespeare company.

During the Second World War she joined the WAAF division of the Royal Air Force, serving in fighter command, eventually becoming adjutant.

After the war, she worked in repertory theatre until 1951.

In 1972, she was cast in the role she is best known for, the matriarch Annie Sugden, one of the principal characters in the new British soap opera Emmerdale Farm.

She appeared as a main cast member until 1994 with rare occasional appearances since, notably for on-screen son Joe’s funeral in June 1995.

Nicky Henson



Nicky Henson as Jack Edwards

Fawlty Towers star Nicky Henson died at the age of 74 on December 16.

He was best known for playing Mr. Johnson in The Psychiatrist episode of the popular comedy.

Henson once joked that despite his 50 years of professional acting experience, his tombstone will probably read “Here lies Nicky Henson – he was in one episode of Fawlty Towers “.

The actor also joined the cast of EastEnders in 2006, playing Honey Edwards’ dad Jack but left towards the end of the year to health problems.

He also appeared in Downton Abbey, Coronation Street, The Bill, Boon and Heartbeat.

Kenny Lynch



Kenny Lynch at Cilla’s funeral.

Kenny Lynch died at the age of 81 on December 18.

The actor and singer is best known for his song Up On The Roof.

The sad news was shared by his children, who shared a string of photos of him on Twitter .

The family said in a statement: “Saddened to share this news with you all. Sadly our dad passed away in the early hours this morning. He will be remembered & missed by many.

“We would like to say a massive thank you to the NHS & the people at Sue Ryder for all their support. Bye Dad, we will love you always!”

Kenny, who was awarded an OBE, was born in Stepney, London in 1938 and went on to become a much loved entertainer, actor, singer and songwriter after building his career by performing in variety shows in the 1960s.

Kenny was on the same bill as The Beatles in 1963, and ended up working with them on a song.

John Lennon and Paul McCartney had penned Misery that year in the hopes that Helen Shapiro would record it, but when she turned it down, Kenny took the composition and made it more pop orientated, leading to the Beatles recorded it themselves for their debut album.

Source: liverpoolecho.co.uk

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