15 Celebrities That You May Not Know Passed Away

Anthony Bourdain eating at a street-side stall in Hanoi CNN

It’s always a sad day when our favorite celebrities pass away. Quite often we’re expecting it to happen because of the celebrities age or condition, but more and more frequently these days, popular celebs are passing away unexpectedly from things like drug overdoses, random accidents and heart attacks. When a celebrity has been around a long time, perhaps most of your life, and they pass away, it’s like losing a loved one or a close friend. You feel comfortable knowing they are out there, creating amazing new music, movies and being amazing, but it all ends so suddenly we’re often caught by surprise.

Whether you think about them often or only occasionally, they have made a big impact on your life. Sometimes we’ll mourn the passing of celebrities, only to move on with life and put it behind us. One day we’ll hear mention of said celebrity and you’ll think, didn’t they pass away? Are they still with us? The overwhelming familiar feeling of always having them around is strong and you’ll begin to doubt if they are actually living or not. Here is a list of 15 celebrities that we have lost and how we lost them.

Leonard Nimoy

Leonard Nimoy Died
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Leonard Nimoy died at the age of 83, on February 27th, 2015 in Bel Air, Los Angelas California of complications from COPD. Best known for his role as Spock in the original Star Trek series, Nimoy was loved by fans of all ages. His popular phrase “Live long and prosper”, is a phrase well remembered by an entire generation.

Michael Clarke Duncan

Michael Clarke Duncan Dead
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Michael Clark Duncan died on September 3rd, 2012, at the age of 54. Duncan died from complications due to a heart attack he suffered on July 13th, 2012. Michael was best known for this amazing performance as John Coffey in “The Green Mile”, besides Tom Hanks. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. He appeared in dozens of movies, most notably Armageddon, The Whole Nine Yards, The Scorpion King, Daredevil and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.

Roger Ebert

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Roger Joseph Ebert died at the age of 70 on April 4th, 2013. He died from thyroid cancer but had several health problems during the later part of his life. He was in and out of the hospital for surgeries to remove cancer, repair surgery complications, and attempts to restore his ability to speak. Roger was best known as an American film critic. He won the Pulitzer Prize for criticism and was a screenwriter and author. His most well-known phrase after reviewing a movie was “I’ll see you at the movies”.

James Gandolfini

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James Gandolfini died suddenly on June 19th, 2003 at the age of 51. James died from a heart attack in Rome. He is most well known for his role as Tony Soprano in the HBO television series, The Sopranos. His performance widely spoke of, won him three Emmy Awards, three Screen Actors Guild Awards and one Golden Globe Award. It was said that the Sopranos was so realistic that real-life Mob members thought there was a connected guy on the inside, giving pointers.

James Avery

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James LaRue Avery died on December 31st, 2013 at the age of 68. James died from complications after undergoing open heart surgery. James Avery was best known as Uncle Phil in the sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air next to Will Smith. He appeared in multiple movies and tv appearances. James was voted the 34th Greatest TV Dad of all time.

Anna Nicole Smith

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Anna Nicole Smith died on February 8th, 2007 at the age of 39. After a lengthy investigation, it was announced that Smith died from a combination of drug intoxication and a sleeping medication. Anna Nicole Smith first gained popularity after becoming Playmate of the Year in Playboy magazine. She became a popular fashion model and made some tv and film appearances.  She married 89-year-old oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall at the age of 26. This caused her to be the topic of great speculation and fascination.

Paul Walker

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Paul Walker died on November 30th, 2013 at the age of 40. Walker died as a passenger in a single car crash alongside his friend Roger Rodas. Paul was an American actor most well known for his role as Brian O’Conner in the Fast and the Furious collection of films. Walker was a car enthusiast, held a brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and held an interest in marine biology. Paul Walker left his entire $25 million estate to his daughter.

Shirley Temple

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Shirley Temple Black died on February 10th, 2014 at the age of 85. Temple’s death certificate listed the cause of death as COPD. She was a lifelong smoker but believed it set a bad example for her fans, so she avoided smoking in public. Shirley was an actress, singer, dancer, business owner and diplomat. She was most popular from 1935 to 1938 as a child actor. She had the ever popular drink, the Shirley Temple, named after her. She sat on the boards of Disney, Del Monte and the National Wildlife Federation. As an adult, she was named the US ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia. She also served as the Chief of Protocol for the United States.

Carrie Fisher

Carrie Fisher Dead
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Carrie Fisher died on December 27th, 2016 at the age of 60. She stopped breathing on a flight from London to Los Angeles. Later her cause of death was released as cardiac arrest. After further investigation, it was found that she had cocaine, heroin, MDMA and other opiates in her system. They were unable to determine when the drugs were taken or if they contributed to her death. Fisher was most well known for her part in the Star Wars movies. She acted in several films and television. She also wrote several novels. Her mother, Debbie Reynolds suffered a stroke and died the day after Fisher’s death.

Bill Paxton

Bill Paxton Dead

William Paxton died on February 25th, 2017 at the age of 61. The cause of death on the death certificate was a stroke, brought on by complications from a heart valve surgery. Bill Paxton acted in many popular films and television. He also directed several films and started a musical band called Martini Ranch. His best-known films were Twister, True Lies, Aliens, The Terminator and Apollo 13.

Stan Lee

Stan Lee Dead
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Stan Lee died on November 12th, 2018 at the age of 95. Lee was rushed to the hospital earlier in the day for a medical emergency and had been battling pneumonia earlier in the year.  No official cause of death has been released. Stan Lee was originally a comic book writer, editor and publisher who eventually became Marvel Comics primary creative leader. He co-created several well-known superheroes including Spider-Man, the X-men, Iron Man, Thor , the Hulk and many more. Stan Lee was known for his cameos in Marvel movies.

Burt Reynolds

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Burt Reynolds died on September 6th, 2018 at the age of 82. He died of a heart attack in Jupiter, Florida. Reynolds was a well-known actor, director and producer. Reynolds breakout role was in Deliverance in 1972. He went on to appear in dozens of film over his lifetime but experienced a decline in his career starting in 1983. Reynolds received much acclaim for his role in Boogie Nights but refused to appear in the sequel because he stated he hated working on the film and hated Anderson, the writer/director.  Burt Reynolds turned down some really major roles during his career, including Han Solo, James Bond and Garrett Breedlove in Terms of Endearment.

Robin Leach


Robin Leach died on August 24th, 2018 at the age of 76. Leach died from complications of a stroke. Best known for hosting the popular series Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, Leach began his career as a print journalist, writing for Daily Mail, New York Daily News, Ladies Home Journal and helped launch GO Magazine. He is fondly remembered by his signature phrase, “champagne wishes and caviar dreams”.

Anthony Bourdain

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Anthony Bourdain died on June 8th, 2018 at the age of 61. Bourdain was found dead, presumably by suicide in his hotel room in Le Chambard hotel, Kayserberg France.  Bourdain was a celebrity chef who travelled around the world to experience new food and culture which he shared with his audience. He was widely seen as one of the most influential chefs in the world. Bourdain authored several books and hosted many different shows across several networks. He was best known for his shows, A Cook’s Tour, Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations and The Layover. He won an Emmy for Outstanding Informational Series for Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unkown from 2013-2016.  He had a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, loved tattoos and said the worst thing he ever ate was Namibian Food, warthog rectum.

Kate Spade

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Kate Spade died on June 5th, 2018 at the age of 55. She was found by a housekeeper in her apartment in Manhattan. The death was ruled a suicide by hanging. She left a note for her daughter but the contents have not been released. Spades husband Andy, released a statement that spoke of her depression and anxiety. Spade was a fashion designer who founded the handbag company Kate Spade New York. Earlier in her life, she worked in the accessories department for the fashion magazine Mademoiselle and later senior fashion editor.  After selling her ownership in Kate Spade, she founded Frances Valentine, a luxury footwear and handbag company.  Kate Spade married Andy spade, the brother of the actor David Spade.

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