Iconic Deaths of The Century

Muhammad Ali: Born Cassius Clay in 1942, Ali was a figure larger than life. From the 1960 Rome Olympics, which he attended shortly after his high school graduation, to the end of his career, Ali won an incredible 56 matches. He was a conscientious objector and a civil rights advocate who famously threw his Olympic medal in the Ohio River after he was denied service because of his race. In 2016, Ali lost his long battle with Parkinson’s Disease, a battle he fought like all the others he fought, with unbreakable determination and a desire to be the greatest.

“I know where I’m going and I know the truth, and I don’t have to be what you want me to be,” Ali once said. “I’m free to be what I want.”


David Bowie: Some musicians are changed by the scene, some musicians change it forever. David Bowie was one of those musicians. In his career, which lasted over 50 years, Bowie altered both the way music was written and how it was performed. He sold over 140 million records during his life and was inducted into the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. Just before his death last year, he released his last album “Blackstar”, an album he intended as a final gift to his fans before his passing.

“As you get older, the questions come down to about two or three,” Bowie once said. “How long? And what do I do with the time I’ve got left?”


John Glenn: There are some people who push the boundaries of human knowledge and pioneer new and daring ideas and John Glenn was one such person. As a fighter pilot, he was highly decorated. As an astronaut, Glenn was the first American to orbit the Earth as part of the Mercury space missions. He helped keep up the nation’s confidence as the Soviet Union seemed to be winning the space race. After his death last year, Glenn was buried in Arlington National Cemetery; he was 95 years old.

“I’m not interested in my legacy,” Glenn once said. “I made up a word: ‘live-acy.’ I’m more interested in living.”


Harper Lee: There are some books that change the lives and hearts of those who read them. The work of “Nelle” Harper Lee has touched millions of people in profound ways. “To Kill a Mockingbird”, her most famous work, has been considered one of the greatest novels ever produced by an American author. In 2007, she was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work.

“Before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself,” Lee once said. “The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”


Elie Wiesel: Some people endure more than their fair share of suffering, but emerge from that same suffering with a will to better the world. Elie Wiesel was once such man. He was born in Romania in 1928 to a Jewish family. A victim of the Holocaust, Wiesel saw firsthand the unparalleled horror of the Buchenwald and Auschwitz-Birkenau (Oświęcim) concentration camps. He was the only survivor of his family. In 1986, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work speaking out against genocide throughout the world and for his many books, including “Night”, a memoir of his experiences. Wiesel lost so much, but he gave the world so much more.

“I believe that this is what we must do: never to sleep well when people suffer anywhere in the world, not to sleep well when people are persecuted, not to sleep well when people are hungry anywhere,” Wiesel said in his Nobel acceptance speech.”


Alan Rickman: Actors have the special ability to move us through their performances. Alan Rickman’s work moved millions and inspired millions more. Rickman started his career as a member of Royal Shakespeare Company where he performed classical and modern plays. In the 1980s Rickman got his big break playing Hans Gruber in the action classic “Die Hard”. He was perhaps best known for his role as Severus Snape in the Harry Potter series. His work will be remembered, always.

“I think there should be laughs in everything,” he said in an interview. “Sometimes, it’s a slammed door, a pie in the face or just a recognition of our frailties.”


Prince: The famous pop singer Prince Rogers Nelson died at the age of 51 in Chanhassen, Mich., on April 26, 2016. Prince died after an overdose from an opioid known as fentanyl. The singer had struggled with prescription drugs, according to cnn.com. In his life, Prince sold over 4.41 million copies and had many albums top the Billboard 200 chart ranks. He leaves behind a legacy of changing the way many view masculinity in musicians and having a definitive style that was capitalized by his symbol.


George Michael: Former member of the 80s pop band Wham!, British singer George Michael died on Christmas Day in his home. Michael had died peacefully in his sleep when his partner found him in his bed, according to the mirror.co.uk. Famous songs of his include “Careless Whisper” and “One More Try”. George Michael is remembered by his fans for his dance moves and dazzling performances in his career.


Debbie Reynolds: Headline actress of the famous musical “Singin’ in the Rain”, Debbie Reynolds died shortly after the death of her daughter and fellow famous actress Carrie Fisher. Reynolds died as a result of a stroke on Dec. 28, 2016, according to usmagazine.com. Fisher starred in films while also maintaining businesses and being a film historian. Reynolds will remain famous in film for her roles and love for the arts.


Carrie Fisher: Known for being Princess Leia in the “Star Wars” original trilogy, Fisher died after having a heart attack on Dec. 27, 2016. Fisher is remembered for her role in “Star Wars” while also being very outspoken about mental illness, suffering from depression herself. Fisher will always be remembered by fans of her famous time in a classic science fiction movie series.

“Everything is negotiable,” Fisher said in an interview. “Whether or not the negotiation is easy is another thing.”
Mary Tyler Moore: The actress is known for her show “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and her nomination for best actress in the movie “Ordinary People”. She died from cardiac arrest stemming from pneumonia, according to Vanity Fair. Her death, on Jan. 25, 2017, brought an end to a career that began as a model and became the well known actress of the 60s and 70s.