Celebrity deaths in 2020: Paying tribute to the stars we've lost this year

22 July 2020, 15:22 | Updated: 22 July 2020, 15:26

Kenny Rogers, Bill Withers and Caroline Flack passed away in 2020
Kenny Rogers, Bill Withers and Caroline Flack passed away in 2020. Picture: Getty

By Tom Eames

We look back at the famous faces we've sadly said goodbye to in 2020.

From actors to musicians to athletes, here are some of the most high-profile and inspirational stars who have passed away this year so far.

  1. Derek Acorah

    Derek Acorah
    Derek Acorah. Picture: Getty

    Medium Derek Acorah died on January 3, aged 69, after falling into a septic coma.

    The self-styled spiritual medium found fame on the the TV show Most Haunted, and continued to appear on TV ever since, including when he finished fourth in 2017's Celebrity Big Brother.

  2. Edd Byrnes

    Edd Byrnes
    Edd Byrnes. Picture: Getty

    Actor Edd Byrnes died on January 8 from natural causes, aged 87.

    He famously appeared in the 1979 musical Grease as Vince Fontaine, and also played Kookie on TV series 77 Sunset Strip.

  3. Terry Jones

    Terry Jones
    Terry Jones. Picture: Getty

    Monty Python star Terry Jones died on January 21, aged 77. He had been battling a rare form of dementia for a number of years.

    He was an original member of the legendary comedy group, and was also in the director's chair for their films Life Of Brian and The Holy Grail.

  4. Kobe Bryant

    Kobe Bryant
    Kobe Bryant. Picture: Getty

    Retired LA Lakers basketball legend Kobe Bryant passed away on February 26, aged 41.

    The five-time NBA Champion was tragically killed alongside his daughter and several others following a helicopter crash.

  5. Nicholas Parsons

    Nicholas Parsons
    Nicholas Parsons. Picture: Getty

    Just a Minute host Nicholas Parsons died on January 28, aged 96.

    He had hosted the famous radio comedy show since its inception in 1967. He also was known for his many years of TV work, including shows such as Sale of the Century.

  6. Kirk Douglas

    Kirk Douglas
    Kirk Douglas. Picture: Getty

    Hollywood icon Kirk Douglas died on February 5, aged 103.

    One of the last surviving legends of classic Hollywood, he was known for many films including Spartacus.

    His actor son Michael said: "To the world, he was a legend, an actor from the golden age of movies who lived well into his golden years, a humanitarian whose commitment to justice and the causes he believed in set a standard for all of us to aspire to.”

  7. Caroline Flack

    Caroline Flack
    Caroline Flack. Picture: Getty

    TV presenter Caroline Flack died on February 15 aged 40, after taking her own life.

    A lawyer for the Flack family confirmed that Caroline was found in her east London flat.

    Caroline hosted a number of shows including Love Island, The X Factor, and I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here Now. She also won Strictly Come Dancing.

  8. Max von Sydow

    Max von Sydow
    Max von Sydow. Picture: Getty

    Actor Max von Sydow passed away on March 8, aged 90.

    His career spanned many decades, and he appeared in many cult films and TV shows, including Star Wars, Game of Thrones, The Exorcist, Dune and Flash Gordon.

  9. Roy Hudd

    Roy Hudd
    Roy Hudd. Picture: Getty

    Comedian Roy Hudd died on March 16, aged 83.

    The entertainer starred in Coronation Street, and was known for his many TV and film roles for decades.

    His agent added: "The family would ask you to respect their privacy at this very sad time."

  10. Kenny Rogers

    Kenny Rogers
    Kenny Rogers. Picture: Getty

    Read more: Dolly Parton's heartbreaking tribute to Kenny Rogers

    Kenny Rogers died on March 20, aged 81.

    The country music legend was one of the biggest music stars of the 1970s and '80s, and was known for hits like 'The Gambler' and 'Islands in the Stream'.

  11. Eddie Large

    Eddie Large
    Eddie Large. Picture: Getty

    Comedian Eddie Large died on April 2, after contracting coronavirus.

    Alongside Syd Little, Eddie Large made up one of Britain's most beloved comedy duos in the '70s and '80s, and were known as Little And Large.

  12. Bill Withers

    Bill Withers
    Bill Withers. Picture: Getty

    Read more: The Story of... 'Ain't No Sunshine'

    Singer Bill Withers died on April 3, aged 81. The American soul icon was battling a heart condition.

    He was most famous for his hits 'Ain't No Sunshine', 'Lean on Me' and 'Lovely Day'.

  13. Honor Blackman

    Honor Blackman
    Honor Blackman. Picture: Getty

    Actor Honor Blackman died aged 94, on April 6.

    The actress was best known for her role as Pussy Galore in Goldfinger, as well as starring in The Avengers.

    Her family said: "She died peacefully of natural causes at her home in Lewes, Sussex, surrounded by her family."

  14. John Prine

    John Prine
    John Prine. Picture: Getty

    Country and folk singer John Prine died on April 8, after contracting coronavirus.

    Prine was an American country and folk singer-songwriter, who was recognised as one of the most influential songwriters of his generation.

  15. Stirling Moss

    Stirling Moss
    Stirling Moss. Picture: Getty

    Sir Stirling Moss died on April 12, at the age of 90.

    The motor-racing legend won 212 of his 529 races, and came ever so close to being Britain's first Formula One champion in 1958, when he lost to Mike Hawthorn by one point.

  16. Tim Brooke-Taylor

    Tim Brooke-Taylor
    Tim Brooke-Taylor. Picture: Getty

    Comedian Tim Brooke-Taylor died on April 12, aged 79.

    The Goodies and I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue star died after contracting coronavirus.

  17. Irrfan Khan

    Irrfan Khan
    Picture: Getty

    Actor Irrfan Khan died on April 29 aged 53, after battling a colon infection.

    He was best known for his many Bollywood movies, and for his success in Hollywood films Jurassic World, Life of Pi and The Amazing Spider-Man.

  18. June Bernicoff

    June Bernicoff
    Picture: Getty

    Gogglebox star June Bernicoff died on May 5, aged 82 after a short illness.

    June and her late husband Leon were among the first people to join the show when it started back in 2013. She left the show when Leon passed away in December 2017.

  19. Florian Schneider

    Florian Schneider
    Picture: Getty

    Musician Florian Schneider died on May 6, aged 73.

    Schneider was a founding member of legendary electronic group Kraftwerk. He launched the German band alongisde Ralf Hutter in 1970, and they inspired countless artists such as David Bowie.

  20. Millie Small

    Millie Small
    Picture: Getty

    'My Boy Lollipop' singer Millie Small died on May 5, after a stroke.

    The Jamaican star was one of the first singers to score an international hit from the Caribbean, but largely stayed out of the limelight since the 1970s.

  21. Little Richard

    Little Richard
    Picture: Getty

    Rock and roll pioneer Little Richard passed away on May 9, aged 87.

    He was one of the best known stars of the 1950s, inspiring many artists with his brand of fast-paced rock music, and hits such as 'Tutti Frutti' and 'Good Golly Miss Molly'.

  22. Willie Thorne

    Willie Thorne
    Picture: Getty

    Snooker legend Willie Thorne died on June 17, aged 66, after a short battle with leukaemia.

    Known as Mr Maximum, he became known as one of the best snooker commentators in his later career.

  23. Bonnie Pointer

    Bonnie Pointer
    Bonnie Pointer. Picture: Getty

    Singer Bonnie Pointer died on June 8, aged 69, after a heart attack.

    She was one of the members of famous group The Pointer Sisters alongside her siblings, and also scored solo success after leaving the band.

  24. Dame Vera Lynn

    Vera Lynn
    Vera Lynn. Picture: Getty

    Forces' sweetheart Dame Vera Lynn died on June 18, aged 103.

    She was best remembered for her songs 'We'll Meet Again' and 'The White Cliffs of Dover', and entertained the nation during its toughest period.

  25. Ian Holm

    Ian Holm
    Picture: Getty

    Actor Ian Holm died on June 19, aged 88.

    He was a prolific actor on stage and screen, appearing in many films such as Chariots of Fire, Brazil, The Fifth Element, Aliens and the Lord of the Rings series.

  26. Ennio Morricone

    Ennio Morricone
    Picture: Getty

    Italian composer Ennio Morricone died aged 91 on July 6, due to injuries sustained during a fall.

    Morricone composed over 400 scores for film and TV, as well as over 100 classical works. His score to The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is considered one of the most influential soundtracks in history.

  27. Naya Rivera

    Naya Rivera
    Picture: Getty

    Glee star Naya Rivera died aged 33 on July 8, after accidentally drowning during a swim with her son in California.

    The singer and actress was best known for playing cheerleader Santana in the popular musical TV show.

  28. Jack Charlton

    Jack Charlton
    Jack Charlton. Picture: Getty

    England's World Cup winner Jack Charlton died aged 85 on July 11.

    The Leeds United legend had been diagnosed with lymphoma and was also battling dementia. Bobby Charlton's older brother, he was part of the 1966 England World Cup winning squad.

  29. Kelly Preston

    Kelly Preston
    Kelly Preston. Picture: Getty

    Kelly Preston passed away on June 12, aged 57, two years after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

    She was married to John Travolta, and appeared in various films including Twins and Jerry Maguire.