It’s been a long year full of uncertainty and frustration, but it’s almost over. As 2021 draws to a close and 2022 looms on the horizon, CELEB is taking a look back at the celebrities who left us this year. Remembering the impact they had and the legacy they leave behind is one way to make sure we never forget. Here’s looking back at some bigger-than-life celebs who won’t join us in 2022. 

Celebs Who Left Us

Virgil Abloh Off-White

It was a tough year for everyone, but when things are challenging, we always have movies and television to turn to. Some turn to sports. Others turn to video games. But entertainment can be a lifeline when the world makes no sense, and we need something comforting to escape to. That may be why it’s especially difficult when our favorite celebrities die; we aren’t just losing someone whose name we’ve become acquainted with, we’re losing the comfort they bring us when times are hard. As we look back at those we lost this year, it’s good to remember how much joy and escapism they brought us with their talent. Here are some of the biggest names to die in 2021:

  • Ed Asner: (1929-2021) Asner was beloved by all generations from his portrayal of Lou Grant in the Mary Tyler Moore Show all the way up to his voice acting in the beloved animated film Up. His rosy smile and faux-gruff demeanor will be missed. 
  • Virgil Abloh: (1980-2021) The legendary designer and visionary died at 41 after a very private battle with cancer. His creative spark and ability to use fashion to inspire thought was unparalleled in his life and leaves a mammoth legacy behind for other designers to build on. 
  • Sonny Chiba:(1939-2021) This actor and martial arts master was best known for his role in Kill Bill but martial art movie lovers recognize him from a myriad of other films. Chiba had a blunt style and flawless form, making him an artist to aspire to be like. 
  • Willie Garson: (1964-2021) Best known for his roles in Sex and The City, Garson also appeared in a number of science fiction cult classic TV series such as Stargate: SG-1, making him a familiar face that will be dearly missed. 
  • Michael K Williams: (1966-2021) Williams was known for his role in The Wire, but also appeared in Lovecraft Country, Boardwalk Empire and 12 Years a Slave among others. 
  • Rush Limbaugh: (1951-2021) The conservative darling and radio talk show personality was best known for jabs at the Left and being the voice of a generation of Republican Baby Boomers who liked his gruff, no-nonsense persona. 
  • Dustin Diamond: (1977-2021) The Saved By the Bell star died after a protracted battle with stage 4 cancer. Diamond was an oft-controversial figure who was nonetheless recognizable. 
  • Cloris Leachman: (1926-2021) Leachman was a titan in the acting world, appearing in The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Young Frankenstein, The Beverly Hillbillies and many, many more. Her apple-cheeked smile and indomitable acting skills set a high bar for those coming after her. 
  • Larry King: (1933-2021) King was a tv talk show host known for his moderate voice and head-on approach to interviews. 
  • Prince Philip: (1921-2021) The consort of Queen Elizabeth II, Philip has been in the hearts and minds of subjects of the British Empire for nearly a century. His death just two months shy of his 100th birthday leaves the Queen a widow. 
  • Eric Carle: (1929-2021) Carle is best known for his children’s book The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Generations of children have been raised on his books and illustrations. 
  • Bob Dole and Harry Reid: Two Senate titans, Dole and Reid were both known for being movers and shakers. Reid especially, as former Majority Leader, leaves behind a legacy of leadership. 
  • Colin Powell: (1937-2021) Powell was the first Black Secretary of State and served as a politician, statesman, diplomat and veteran of the US Army. 

The Sports World Took a Hit This Year

John Madden

  • John Madden: (1936-2021) This former football coach and sportscaster was a titan in the sports world. His death just before the end of the year leaves a legend-sized hole. Madden guided his team to a Super Bowl win and won 16 Sports Emmy Awards of his own. 
  • Bobby Bowden: (1929-2021) The former Florida State University football coach was one of the most winning coaches in college football history. He guided his team to two national championships and left big shoes to fill. 
  • Elgin Baylor: (1934-2021) Baylor was a successful pro basketball player, coach and later NBA executive. 
  • Hank Aaron: (1934-2021) Few names are as instantly recognizable in the sports world as Hank Aaron. The former MLB superstar is widely accepted as one of the greatest baseball players of all time. 

2021 Took These Music Stars

Young Dolph

  • DMX: (1970-2021) The rapper, whose real name is Earl Simmons, was a controversial figure who openly rapped about his struggles with drugs and life in general. His signature bark and growling voice became the sound of a jaded generation. 
  • Young Dolph: (1985-2021) Adolph Robert Thornton Jr released his first album in 2016 and quickly gained popularity. His death cut short a promising career. 
  • Charlie Watts: (1941-2021) Famous for his signature beats as the drummer of The Rolling Stones, Watts was respected for his skill behind the set and graphic design talents. 
  • Drakeo the Ruler: (1993-2021) Darrell Wayne Caldwell died at just 28 years, and the LA rapper left behind a legacy of a unique flow and style. 
  • Mick Rock: (1948-2021) While Rock isn’t strictly a musician, his name in the music world left ripples that will be felt for generations to come. As photographer to the rock stars of the world, Rock photographed Queen, David Bowie and other legends. 

There are still two and a half days left in 2021 and we hope it doesn’t take more stars from us. But for now, we look back fondly and remember those who touched our lives. Maybe their art made us feel or remember something – or maybe it helped us transform and inspired us. No matter how these stars impacted our lives, their memory will live on.