The list of famous people who’ve come forward to reveal they’ve tested positive for COVID-19 includes Hollywood A-lister Tom Hanks, pop superstar Pink and England’s Prince Charles, among other public figures. While we’ve cheered as each has successfully healed from the virus, others haven’t been so lucky.
Many musicians, actors and other talented celebrities have died of coronavirus complications in 2020. Let’s take a moment to remember them.
Singer-songwriter John Prine died April 7 from complications related to COVID-19 at age 73. With his raspy voice and poignant lyrics, the country-folk musician was championed by peers including Bob Dylan, Kris Kristofferson and Bonnie Raitt. The one-time mailman wrote his way into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and had already been selected to receive a 2020 Grammy Award for lifetime achievement.
Prine underwent cancer surgery in 1998 to remove a tumor in his neck identified as squamous cell cancer, and in 2013, he had part of one lung removed to treat lung cancer.
Download the TODAY app for the latest coverage on the coronavirus outbreak.
Four-time Tony Award-winning playwright Terrance McNally died March 24 at age 81 of complications of the coronavirus, a spokesperson said. McNally, who was a lung cancer survivor with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, was frequently described as the “bard of American theater.”
McNally’s plays included “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” “Ragtime,” “Love! Valor! Compassion!” and “Master Class.”
Adam Schlesinger, a musician and songwriter best know for his work as a member of the band Fountains of Wayne — who scored a 2003 hit with “Stacy’s Mom” — and as an Emmy-winning songwriter for TV’s “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” died April 1 as a result of coronavirus complications. He was 52.
An EGOT contender, Schlesinger had been nominated for Oscars, Tonys, Grammys and Emmys and won the latter two awards. One of Schlesinger’s first forays into writing for the screen happened when he co-wrote the theme song for the Tom Hanks-directed film “That Thing You Do!”
Ellis Marsalis, the patriarch of the Marsalis family of jazz musicians, died April 1 of complications from the coronavirus at the age of 85. Marsalis, whose sons included trumpeter Wynton, saxophonist Branford, trombonist Delfeayo, and drummer Jason, was a talented pianist and an educator who helped usher in jazz’s late-20th-century resurgence.
Floyd Cardoz, the groundbreaking Indian chef who won Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters,” died March 25 from complications of the coronavirus. He was 59. Cardoz, who recently appeared on the Netflix series “Ugly Delicious,” was a co-owner of two restaurants, The Bombay Canteen and O Pedro, in Mumbai, India.
On March 18, he admitted himself to a New York-area hospital after reportedly feeling feverish. He’d recently returned from a trip to Mumbai, where he was set to open a third restaurant, Bombay Sweet Shop.
Actor Mark Blum, who starred opposite Madonna in 1985’s “Desperately Seeking Susan,” died March 25 as a result of complications from the coronavirus at age 61. Madonna paid tribute to Blum in a heartfelt Instagram post after learning of his passing.
“I Want to Acknowledge the Passing of a remarkable Human, fellow actor and friend Mark Blum, who succumbed to Coronavirus,” she wrote. “This is really tragic and my heart goes out to him, his family and his loved ones. I remember him as funny warm, loving and professional when we made Desperately Seeking Susan in 1985!!”
Josh Wallwork, a longtime costumer for the NBC series “Law & Order: SVU,” died after experiencing complications from the coronavirus. He was 45. Mariska Hargitay, one of the show’s stars, honored Wallwork on Twitter, writing, “Heartbroken we are. I don’t think I ever saw him without a smile on his face. He brought love and kindness everywhere he went. Always ready with the joke. The SVU Corredor will never be the same. We will miss you Josh. #ForeverInOurHearts”
Country star Joe Diffie died March 29 of complications from the coronavirus. He was 61. Diffie scored more than a dozen Top 10 hits in the 1990s including “Pickup Man,” “Third Rock from the Sun,” “Bigger Than the Beatles” and “If the Devil Danced (In Empty Pockets).”
Hal Willner, a music producer and longtime “Saturday Night Live” music supervisor, died April 7 due to complications of the coronavirus. He was 64. Willner was remembered on social media by several former “SNL” stars, including Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who tweeted, “Absolutely devastated to get this news about my weird and lovely pal, Hal. We are heartbroken.” Current “SNL” cast members and alums of the show also paid tribute to Willner on its April 11 episode.
Actor Jay Benedict, who appeared James Cameron’s “Aliens” and Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Rises,” among other major movies, died on April 4 after contracting coronavirus. He was 68.
Andrew Jack, a longtime Hollywood dialect coach who had a supporting role as Major Ematt in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” died March 31 of complications from the coronavirus. He was 76.
Musician Alan Merrill died March 29 as a result of the coronavirus. He was 69. Merrill was a member of the band The Arrows when he wrote and recorded the single “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” in 1975. The song later went on to become a chart-topping hit for Joan Jett & The Blackhearts in 1982.