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In memoriam: the celebrities who have passed away in 2020

Fans have sadly bid farewell to these famous faces

celeb deaths 2020
1 October 2020
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This year has seen fans say goodbye to a number of stars. From Kobe Bryant and his teenage daughter Gigi, to one of the world's most beloved actors, Chadwick Boseman.

Derek Acorah - 3 January

Derek Acorah, the TV psychic and former Celebrity Big Brother star, died aged 69 in January. Derek, best remembered for his appearances on Most Haunted, died in hospital from sepsis and pneumonia.

In a Facebook tribute, his wife of 24 years Gwen said: "Farewell my love! I will miss you forever! I'm devastated to announce that my beloved husband Derek has passed away after a very brief illness. Thank you so much to everybody who has supported me - I can never thank you enough."

MORE: Naya Rivera's family release heartbreaking statement after actress' tragic death

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Silvio Horta - 7 January

Silvio Horta, the creator of hit show Ugly Betty, died aged 45. According to reports, the writer and director died by suicide. Actress America Ferrera, who played lead character Betty on the show, shared a message about Silvio on Instagram, writing: "I'm stunned and heartbroken to hear the devastating news of Ugly Betty creator, Silvio Horta's death. His talent and creativity brought me and so many others such joy and light. I'm thinking of his family and loved ones who must be in so much pain right now - and of the whole Ugly Betty family who feel this loss so deeply."

MORE: Hollywood pays tribute to Chadwick Boseman following tragic death

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Harry Hains - 7 January

American Horror Story actor Harry Hains died at the age of 27 in January. Harry, who had been acting since 2013, was best known for appearing as Boy in season 5 of American Horror Story's Hotel. He also starred in Netflix's The OA drama. The sad news was confirmed by his mother, fellow actress and Neighbours and V star Jane Badler, who wrote on Instagram: "He was 27 and had the world at his feet. But sadly he struggled with mental illness and addiction. A brilliant spark shone bright too short a time… I will miss you, Harry, every day of my life."

MORE: All Creatures Great and Small pays tribute to the late Diana Rigg 

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Edd Byrnes - 8 January

Actor Edd Byrnes died of natural causes aged 87 at his home in Santa Monica, California in January. Grease fans will fondly remember Edd as Vince Fontaine in the hit 1978 movie. He also starred in Charlie's Angels, Married With Children and in 77 Sunset Strip as Kookie.

His son Logan, 54, announced the news on Twitter, writing: "He was an amazing man and one of my best friends. His is the story of an ambitious young kid who, in his 20s drove out to Hollywood from New York City with a few hundred dollars and a dream of making it big in the entertainment business."

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Terry Jones - 21 January

The British comedy world mourned the loss of Terry Jones, who died aged 77 in January, having suffered from dementia. The Welsh actor and director was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia in 2016. Terry was a founding member of the comedy group Monty Python, starring in many of their popular television sketches and directing the infamous 1979 film Life of Brian.

Fellow Python Sir Michael Palin said: "Terry was one of my closest, most valued friends. He was kind, generous, supportive and passionate about living life to the full. He was far more than one of the funniest writer-performers of his generation, he was the complete Renaissance comedian - writer, director, presenter, historian, brilliant children's author, and the warmest, most wonderful company you could wish to have."

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Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna - 26 January

The tragic deaths of basketball icon Kobe Bryant, 41 and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna shocked sport fans and celebrities alike across the globe in January. The LA Lakers player died alongside his daughter and seven others in a helicopter crash in California, whilst travelling to a basketball training session. Kobe, who had retired from basketball in 2016, is considered one of the greatest NBA players of all time, winning All-Star NBA champion 18 times.

He leaves behind wife Vanessa and their three other daughters Capri, Natalia and Bianka. Outpourings of love and disbelief at their sudden deaths were shared online, including tributes from former President Barack Obama, Leonardo DiCaprio, John Legend and Usain Bolt. Close friend and fellow basketball star LeBron James said: "I'm not ready but here I go. Man I sitting here trying to write something for this post but every time I try I begin crying again just thinking about you, niece Gigi and the friendship/bond/brotherhood we had!"

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Nicholas Parsons - 28 January

Broadcaster Nicholas Parsons died aged 96 in hospital following a short illness. An actor and presenter, Nicholas is best remembered for hosting television game show Sale of the Century and radio programme Just A Minute. In 2004 he received an OBE for his services to drama and broadcasting, before receiving a CBE in 2014 for charitable services.

Graham Norton mourned the loss of the show business legend on Twitter, tweeting: "The sound of the final whistle. Nicholas Parsons was truly the kindest and most generous person I've ever worked with. His continued delight at being a part of show business should be an inspiration to us all! Huge love to his wife Annie and his whole family."

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Kirk Douglas - 5 February

In February, Michael Douglas sadly announced the passing of his father Kirk Douglas, who died aged 103. The Fatal Attraction star took to Instagram to write: "It is with tremendous sadness that my brothers and I announce that Kirk Douglas left us today at the age of 103. 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.

"But to me and my brothers Joel and Peter he was simply Dad, to Catherine, a wonderful father-in-law, to his grandchildren and great-grandchild their loving grandfather, and to his wife Anne, a wonderful husband. Kirk's life was well lived, and he leaves a legacy in film that will endure for generations to come, and a history as a renowned philanthropist who worked to aid the public and bring peace to the planet.

"Let me end with the words I told him on his last birthday and which will always remain true. Dad- I love you so much and I am so proud to be your son. #KirkDouglas."

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Caroline Flack - 15 February

The Love Island host tragically passed away in February at the age of 40. Her family confirmed the sad news in a statement that read: "We can confirm that our Caroline passed away today on the 15th February. We would ask that the press both respect the privacy of the family at this difficult time." Caroline's lawyer confirmed she died by suicide in her London flat.

Celebrities and fans alike rushed to share tributes to the popular presenter, with many echoing Caroline's motto to 'Be Kind.' On Instagram, she had famously written: "In a world where you can be absolutely anything, be kind."

Caroline's boyfriend Lewis Burton shared his own tribute, writing: "My heart is broken we had something so special. I am so lost for words I am in so much pain I miss you so much I know you felt safe with me you always said I don't think about anything else when I am with you and I was not allowed to be there this time I kept asking and asking. I will be your voice baby I promise I will ask all the questions you wanted and I will get all the answers nothing will bring you back but I will try make you proud every day. I love you with all my heart." 

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Naya Rivera, 8 July

Glee actress Naya Rivera drowned at Lake Piru on 8 July, whilst enjoying a day out with her son Josey.

Naya and her little boy had rented a pontoon boat and were swimming together. 

After the boat was overdue for return, staff found Josey on board, but not Naya. According to the Ventura Sheriff's Department, Naya's son was wearing a life vest, but she was not. 

The star's body was recovered five days later, on the 13 July by a search and rescue dive team, with the 33-year-old's death certificate confirming she drowned to death "in minutes". 

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Dame Vera Lynn, 10 July

Dame Vera Lynn died at the age of 103 in July. 

The singer, who was known as "the forces' sweetheart" for performing to troops during the Second World War, produced hits songs such as We'll Meet Again, There'll Always Be An England and (There'll Be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover.

Dame Vera's family confirmed she died surrounded by her close relatives. 

In a statement, they said: "The family are deeply saddened to announce the passing of one of Britain's best-loved entertainers at the age of 103."

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Kelly Preston, 12 July

Kelly Preston, the beloved wife of actor John Travolta, passed away at the age of 57 over the summer.

She had been battling breast cancer in secret. 

A family representative confirmed to People: "On the morning of July 12, 2020, Kelly Preston, adored wife and mother, passed away following a two-year battle with breast cancer.

"Choosing to keep her fight private, she had been undergoing medical treatment for some time, supported by her closest family and friends. She was a bright, beautiful and loving soul who cared deeply about others and who brought life to everything she touched. Her family asks for your understanding of their need for privacy at this time."

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Chadwick Boseman – 28 August

The Black Panther actor's shocking death from cancer was announced in August on his social media pages.

A section of his family's statement read: "It is with immeasurable grief that we confirm the passing of Chadwick Boseman.

"Chadwick was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2016 and battled with it these last 4 years as it progressed to stage IV. A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much.

"It was the honour of his career to bring King T’Challa to life in Black Panther. He died in his home, with his wife and family by his side. The family thanks you for your love and prayers, and asks that you continue to respect their privacy during this difficult time."

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Dame Diana Rigg – 10 September

The world-renowned actress lost her battle with cancer at the age of 82 in September.

The sad news was confirmed by her agent and daughter, actress Rachael Stirling.

Rachel wrote: "My Beloved Ma died peacefully in her sleep early this morning, at home, surrounded by family."

archie with family © Photo: Getty Images

Archie Lyndhurst, 1 October

The son of Only Fools and Horses actor Nicholas Lyndhurst tragically passed away in October at the age of 19.

The teenager was also an actor, and best known for playing Ollie Coulton in the CBBC show, So Awkward

It is understood that he passed away after a short illness. Speaking about the awful loss, CBBC's head of content Cheryl Taylor said: "He will be greatly missed by us all and our deepest condolences go out to his family and friends at this time." She added that he was "such a talented young actor". 

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