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Celebrity deaths 2019: From Keith Flint to Doris Day, the notable figures who lost their lives this year – Evening Standard

From musicians and actors to sports stars and journalists, 2019 has marked the loss of several notable figures around the world.

Prodigy star Keith Flint was among the most high-profile deaths of the past 12 months, with award-winning actor Albert Finney and Easy Rider’s Peter Fonda also among the stars who lost their lives. 

In the sporting world, we said goodbye to England cricket legend Bob Willis and Gordon Banks, England’s 1966 World Cup-winning goalkeeper, while the world of politics paid tribute to former French President Jacques Chirac and Australian’s longest-serving Prime Minister Bob Hawke. 

Northern Ireland also mourned the loss of Lyra McKee, a journalist who was shot dead by dissident republicans during rioting in Londonderry. 

Here, the Evening Standard looks back at the lives of some of the famous faces who died during 2019.  

In memoriam: Famous faces we lost in 2019


Emiliano Sala

Emiliano Sala (AFP/Getty Images)

The Argentine-born footballer died aged 28 after his plane crashed off the coast of Alderney in the Channel Islands.

The former FC Nantes striker had just signed for Cardiff City for a club record of £15m when the crash took place. 

The aircraft’s pilot David Ibbotson also died and his body has never been found. 

Carol Channing

Carol Channing died aged 97 (Getty Images)

The Hello, Dolly! actress and Broadway icon who mesmerised audiences died aged 97 in her California home.

In her four-decade-long career, Channing, who also had significant success in Hollywood, picked up three Tony Awards, including the Lifetime Achievement gong.

Boo the Pomeranian dog

Boo died aged 12 (Action Press/REX/Shutterstock)

Social media star and described as the “world’s cutest dog”, Boo the Pomeranian dog died at age 12.

His owners claimed Boo died from a “broken heart” after his “best friend” – a dog called Buddy – died in 2017.


Clive Swift

Actor Clive Swift died aged 82

Keeping Up Appearances actor Clive Swift died aged 82.

He became a household name starring as Hyacinth Bucket’s long-suffering husband Richard in the 1990s sitcom.

Albert Finney

Oscar winning actor Albert Finney died aged 82 (AFP/Getty Images)

Albert Finney, a five-time Oscar nominee, was an acclaimed actor known for blockbusters such as Erin Brockovich, Murder On The Orient Express, Annie and Skyfall.

He died in February aged 82 following a short illness, according to his family. 

Gordon Banks

Gordon Banks, England football player, died aged 81 (Getty Images)

Gordon Banks, England’s 1966 World Cup-winning goalkeeper, died aged 81. He had been diagnosed with kidney cancer for a second time. 

The Stoke City player made 73 appearances for England between 1963-72.

Widely regarded as one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time, the England hero was made an OBE in 1970.

Karl Lagerfeld

Karl Lagerfeld died aged 85 (AP)

Karl Lagerfeld, the legendary Chanel fashion designer, died in hospital in Paris, aged 85.

The German-born, who also worked for Chloe and Fendi, had a star-studded funeral and was reported to have left his cat Choupette his fortune.


Keith Flint

The Prodigy’s Keith Flint died aged 49 (EPA)

The Prodigy frontman Keith Flint died aged 49 at his home in Essex.

Famous for hits with the band including Firestarter, Breathe and Out Of Space, he was known for his distinctive tattoos and colourful punk hairstyle.

He died by hanging, although a coroner said there was not enough evidence to conclude that his death was suicide.

Luke Perry

Luke Perry died aged 52 (AP)

The Beverly Hills 90210 actor died after suffering from a stroke. He was 52-years-old.

The actor, who played Dylan McKay in the US television series, died at his home in Los Angeles.

He also starred in Riverdale as Fred, the father of Archie Andrews.  

Mike Thalassitis

Mike Thalassitis, a Love Island contestant, died age 26 (Ian West/PA Archive/PA Images)

The Love Island star, who found fame on the 2017 series of the ITV2 show, died aged 26.

Thalassitis, who was also a former footballer, was found in the woodland near his home in Essex. 

Magenta Devine

Devine’s family hailed her as “a talented writer and stylish on-screen presence” (Rex Features)

British TV presenter Magenta Devine died aged 61 following a short illness.

The broadcaster, real name Kim Taylor, was best known as the host of Channel 4’s Network 7 and BBC Two’s Rough Guides to the World.

Shane Rimmer

Rimmer appeared in a string of James Bond movies (Rex Features)

Canadian actor Shane Rimmer, who voiced Scott Tracy in hit show Thunderbirds, died aged 89.

As well as voicing the puppet pilot in the 1960s TV show, Rimmer also appeared in some of the biggest film franchises of all time including James Bond, Superman, Star Wars and Batman.


Lyra McKee

Lyra McKee was on Forbes’ list of 30 under 30 (AFP/Getty Images)

Described as one of Northern Ireland’s most promising journalists, Lyra McKee was shot dead by dissident republicans during rioting in Londonderry. 

McKee, who was on Forbes’ list of 30 under 30, was shot while covering a police raid on a home that was believed to contain a dissident weapon stash.

Her death sparked an international outcry, and was widely condemned across both nationalist and loyalist communities. 

Tania Mallet

The actress was one of the most recognisable models of the late 1950s (Getty Images)

The actress, best known for playing Tilly Masterson in the 1964 Bond film Goldfinger, died aged 77.

The Blackpool-born star was working as a model when she was cast in the blockbuster alongside Sean Connery.

Billy McNeill

McNeill captained the famous ‘Lisbon Lions’ side who won the European Cup in 1967 (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Former Celtic captain Billy McNeill died aged 79 following a battle with dementia.

McNeill, who played for Celtic his whole career, was captain of the famous ‘Lisbon Lions’ side who won the European Cup in 1967. He later went on to manage the club.


Peter Mayhew

Actor Peter Mayhew, who played Chewbacca in the “Star Wars” movies, died aged 74 (AP)

Star Wars Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew died aged 74.

The British-American actor played the Wookiee warrior in five of the franchise’s firms, including The Force Awakens.

Bob Hawke

Mr Hawke is Australia’s longest serving Labor PM ever (AFP/Getty Images)

Former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke died peacefully in his sleep aged 89.

Described as a “giant” of the country’s Labor Party, the charismatic leader was its longest ever-serving PM, from 1983 to 1991. 

Freddie Starr

Comic Freddie Starr died aged 76 (PA)

Comedian and entertainer Freddie Starr died aged 76.

The Merseyside-born impressionist died at home in Costa Del Sol. He appeared in I’m a Celeb in 2011.

In 1986, the Sun newspaper printed the headline “Freddie Starr Ate My Hamster” – a fabricated story devised by the disgraced publicist Max Clifford.

In his 2001 autobiography Starr, referring to the piece, said: “I have never eaten or even nibbled a live hamster, gerbil, guinea pig, mouse, shrew, vole or any other small mammal.”

Doris Day

Doris Day died aged 97 (Bettmann Archive)

Doris Day, the iconic Hollywood actress and singer, died aged 97 after suffering pneumonia. 

The singer, who famously song Que Sera, Sera in the Hitchcock film The Man Who Knew Too Much, passed away at home in California.

She starred in Calamity Jane, Pillow Talk and Love Me or Leave Me. 

Although she never won an Oscar, she received the presidential medal of freedom in 2004.

Grumpy Cat

Grump Cat died aged 7 (AP)

The famous Instagram feline Grumpy Cat, the star of thousands of memes, died aged 7.

The internet sensation died in the arms of his owner after having complications from an infection.

Judith Kerr

Judith Kerr died aged 95 (AFP/Getty Images)

Much-loved author and illustrator Judith Kerr died aged 95.

The beloved creator of The Tiger Who Came to Tea, whose family moved to Britain from Germany, passed away at her home after a short illness.

Niki Lauda

Niki Lauda at the Spanish Grand Prix in 1976 (Corbis via Getty Images)

Legendary Formula 1 driver Niki Lauda, from Austria, died aged 70, months after undergoing a lung transplant.

The former racing driver narrowly escaped death in 1976 when he was trapped in a fireball inferno after crashing at the German Grand Prix, but he went on to make a miracle recovery and win world championship titles.


Paul Darrow

Paul Darrow as Avon in Blake’s 7 (PA)

The Surrey-born actor, who also appeared in Doctor Who, Emmerdale, Hollyoaks and Little Britain, passed away following a short illness aged 78.

He was best known for playing Avon in the 70s and 80s BBC sci-fi series Blake’s 7, but also appeared in more than 200 other shows.


John McCririck

McCririck was affectionately described as a “one-off” (Getty Images)

Journalist and broadcaster John McCririck died aged 79 after being diagnosesd with lung cancer.

Known as Big Mac to many, McCririck was widely considered the face of British horse racing over his four-decade career, which included regular appearances on reality TV shows in his later years.

Rutger Hauer 

Hauer shot to game for his portrayal of a dangerous but eloquent ‘replicant’ in Blade Runner

The Blade Runner star Rutger Hauer died at his home in the Netherlands, aged 75, following a short illness.

The Dutch actor, who won a Golden Globe for his role in Escape from Sobibor, became a cult icon for his role as the philosophical replicant Roy Batty in Ridley Scott’s 1982 sci-fi blockbuster.


Toni Morrison

Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison died aged 88 (FilmMagic)

Toni Morrison was the first black woman to receive the Nobel Prize for literature, which she was awarded in 1993.

The notable author, who died in New York aged 88 following a short illness, also won the Pulitzer Prize in 1988 for her novel Beloved.

She was awarded the highest civilian award in the US, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, by Barack Obama.

Peter Fonda 

The Easy Rider legend ‘went out laughing’ according to his sister Jane (AP)

Hollywood icon Peter Fonda died aged 79 following a battle with lung cancer.

The younger brother of Jane Fonda and son of movie star Henry Fonda, is most famous for co-writing, producing and starring in the classic 1969 road movie Easy Rider.


Leah Bracknell

Leah Bracknell died in September (Ken McKay/ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

The Emmerdale actress died in September, three years after her stage four lung cancer diagnosis.

Leah Bracknell, who was best known for playing Zoe Tate on the British soap, documented her struggle with the disease and once described how she went from cancer “victim” to “rebel”.

Robert Mugabe

Robert Mugabe died aged 95 (Picture Alliance/DPA/Photoshot)

The former president of Zimbabwe, a hugely controversial figure in global politics, died in hospital in Singapore aged 95. 

He was ousted in a military coup after 37 years in power following his tyrannical rule, which was marked by bloodshed and corruption. 

Ric Ocasek

Musician Ric Ocasek in 2015 (Reuters)

The frontman for American rock band The Cars, Ocasek died aged 75 in his Manhattan apartment.

The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018 for its 1970s and 80s chart-topping hits including ‘Just What I Needed’, ‘Shake It Up’ and ‘Drive’.

Jacques Chirac

The renowned French politician had a career spanning decades and died aged 86 (EPA)

Former French president Jacques Chirac, who led the country between 1995 and 2007, died aged 86. 

The two-time serving president and prime minister also served for 18 years as mayor of Paris.


Peter Sissons

Peter Sissons, a veteran broadcaster, died aged 77 (PA)

The former BBC and ITN newsreader, whose career spanned 40 years, died in hospital in Kent at the age of 77, surrounded by his wife and children.

The Liverpool-born journalist was a veteran broadcaster who presented the BBC Nine O’clock News and BBC Ten O’clock News between 1993 and 2003.

Kim Shattuck

Kim Shattuck died aged 56 (Anna Webber/Getty)

Kim Shuttuck was the co-founder and lead singer of punk band The Muffs. She died aged 56.

The artist also contributed to the Pixies and NOFX.

Ginger Baker

Ginger Baker died aged 80 (Yui Mok/PA Archive/PA Images)

Rock drummer extraordinaire Ginger Baker died aged 80, a few weeks after his family announced to fans that he was ill. 

He was the co-founder of the band Cream with Eric Clapton and has left a lasting music legacy.

Juliette Kaplan 

Juliette Kaplan, who starred in Last of the Summer Wine, died aged 80 (Shutterstock)

Juliette Kaplan was best known for her role as Pearl Sibshaw in the BBC sitcom Last of the Summer Wine.

The actress, who was in the show for 25 years until 2010, died from cancer aged 80.

Marieke Vervoort

Marieke Vervoort died aged 40 (AP)

The Belgian Paralympian won the Gold medal at 2012 London Games, after winning the 100m wheelchair race. She also clinched silver in the 200m, before winning two more medals in the Rio Olympics.

The sportswoman had an incurable, degenerative spinal disease and chose to end her life through legal euthanasia aged 40.

Alexei Leonov

The legendary Soviet cosmonaut staked his place in space history on March 18, 1965 (Getty Images)

Alexei Leonov, the first person to walk in space 54 years ago, died in Moscow aged 85.

The legendary Soviet cosmonaut staked his place in space history on March 18, 1965, when he exited his Voskhod 2 capsule secured by a tether.


Terry O’Neill

Terry O’Neill died aged 81 (Rex Features)

The iconic photographer, famed for his work with the Beatles and Rolling Stones, died at the age of 81 after a long battle with prostate cancer.

Terry O’Neill collected his CBE for services to photography from the Duke of Cambridge at Buckingham Palace in October.

Gary Rhodes

Masterchef and Ready Steady Cook star Gary Rhodes died with his wife at his bedside yesterday (AP)

TV chef Gary Rhodes was one of the most influential figures in British cooking for over 30 years.

Known for his work on Masterchef and Ready Steady Cook, Rhodes, who was made an OBE in 2006, died in hospital with his wife by his bedside.

Clive James

Clive James died aged 80 (PA)

The well-loved poet, critic and broadcaster died at age 80 at his home in Cambridge.

He was known for his humour and commentary on shows such as Clive James On Television.

Jonathan Miller

Jonathan Miller died aged 85 (Graham Burke )

Jonathan Miller, a theatre director, writer and actor, died aged 85.

London-born Miller, who was one of the most renowned figures in the industry and was made a CBE, had an extensive career which included staging regular productions with the English National Opera.

He had Alzheimer’s disease, and was president of the Alzheimer’s Society from 1984 until the early 2000s. 

Lord Bramall

Lord Bramall took part in the Normandy landings in June 1944 (Tony Harris/PA wire)

Former head of the Armed Forces and D-Day veteran Lord Bramall, died aged 95.

The decorated war veteran, known as Dwin – from his first name Edwin – to his friends and family, took part in the Normandy landings in June 1944.

He was awarded the Military Cross and ​went on to become chief of the defence staff in 1982, before a 26-year career in the House of Lords, retiring in 2013.


Shelley Morrison

Shelley Morrison,who played Rosario Salazar in Will and Grace, died aged 83. (WireImage)

Known best for her role as cleaner Rosario Salazar in comedy Will and Grace, Shelley Morrison died aged 83.

She starred on the show from 1999 to 2006 and was described by her co-stars as “a kind soul with a huge heart”.

Bob Willis

Bob Willis died aged 70. (PA Archive/PA Images)

England captain, Ashes hero and broadcaster Bob Willis died aged 70.

A remarkable fast bowler, he remains fourth on the country’s all-time list with 325 wickets from 90 tests. 

He captained England in 18 Tests and 29 one-day internationals before his retirement from all forms of cricket in 1984

Marie Fredriksson

Marie Fredriksson died aged 61 (AP)

Marie Fredriksson, the Roxette singer, died aged 61.

She was best known for performing hits such as It Must Have Been Love – which topped the charts in more than 10 countries – Joyride, Listen To Your Heart, and The Look.

Caroll Spinney

Caroll Spinney died aged 85 (Robin Marchant/Getty Images for SiriusXM)

Sesame Street’s Big Bird puppeteer died aged 85.

Caroll Spinney was also know for his role as Oscar the Grouch and was described as an “artistic genius”.

Ron Saunders

Ron Saunders died aged 87 (PA)

Ron Saunders, the former Aston Villa, Birmingham and West Brom manager, died aged 87.

He is widely regarded to have been one of Villa’s greatest ever managers having taken the club to promotion during his first season in charge. 

His career in football spanned 39 years. 

Juice WRLD

Juice WRLD died aged 21. (Owen Sweeney/Invision/AP)

The Lucid Dreams rapper died aged 21 after suffering a “medical emergency” at a Chicago airport.

Juice WRLD, real name Jarad Higgins, was an award-winning musician, seen as a rising star in the hip hop world. 

David Bellamy

David Bellamy died aged 86 (PA)

The naturalist, scientist and wildlife broadcaster, who spent his life working on conservation, died aged 86.

London-born Bellamy was a household name and TV personality and co-founded the Conservation Foundation.

Claudine Auger

Claudine Auger appeared alongside Sean Connery in 1965’s Thunderball (AFP via Getty Images)

Claudine Auger, the first French actress to play a Bond Girl, died aged 78.

Auger was best known for playing Dominique “Domino” Derval in the 1965 film Thunderball.

Nicky Henson

Nicky Henson married his EastEnders co-star Una Stubbs in 1969 (Getty Images)

British actor Nicky Henson died aged 74 “after a long disagreement with cancer,” his family announced.

During his career, Henson performed as part of the Royal Shakespeare Company and in hit shows including Downton Abbey, The Bill and EastEnders, in which he played Honey Edwards’ father Jack.

He once joked that his tombstone would read: “Here lies Nicky Henson – he was in one episode of Fawlty Towers.” He played a guest who got into trouble with Basil Fawlty after trying to sneak a woman into his room. 

Martin Peters

Peters scored 100 goals in 364 for West Ham(Getty Images)

England World Cup winner Martin Peters “passed away peacefully in his sleep” aged 76, his family said. 

The West Ham United legend was part of Alf Ramsey’s 1966 World Cup-winning side, with Peters scoring the final goal in the 4-2 victory over West Germany.

Asked about the goal, he once said: “The emotion was like being struck by lightning, it was unbelievable.”

Neil Innes

Neil Innes was a frequent collaborator with Monty Python and toured the UK and Canada with them

Musician, comedian and actor Neil Innes died aged 75.

The Essex-born star was best known for playing in The Beatles spoof group The Rutles, as well as The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band. He was also known for his regular Monty Python collaborations, earning him the nickname “The Seventh Python”.

His family said he “died of natural causes quickly without warning”. 


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