Here, we honor the celebrities who died in 2021: their legacies, their careers, and their impact. We can only hope their loved ones find peace during this difficult time.
Saved by the Bell actor Dustin Diamond passed away after his battle with cancer. He was 44 years old.
“We are saddened to confirm of Dustin Diamond’s passing on Monday, February 1st, 2021, due to carcinoma,” his rep said in a statement to People. “He was diagnosed with this brutal, relentless form of malignant cancer only three weeks ago. In that time, it managed to spread rapidly throughout his system; the only mercy it exhibited was its sharp and swift execution. Dustin did not suffer. He did not have to lie submerged in pain. For that, we are grateful.”
The statement continued, “Dustin Diamond’s name was synonymous with Screech, his character on the hit show Saved by the Bell. He portrayed Samuel ‘Screech’ Powers for 13 years as the cast of the show grew up together in all its series: Good Morning, Miss Bell, Saved by the Bell: The New Class, and Saved By the Bell: The College Years. He starred in a handful of reality television series including the fifth season of Celebrity Fit Club, The Weakest Link, and Celebrity Boxing 2. He made cameo appearances in films such as Made (2001), Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star (2003), and American Pie Presents: The Book of Love.(2009). In December 2013, Dustin appeared on an episode of OWN’s Where Are They Now? and became a house member in the 12th season of Celebrity Big Brother.”
It ended with, “We please ask that you give room for privacy to our team and Mr. Diamond’s family during this tragic time, as we grieve and remember the memories spent together. This loss is as much stinging as it is sudden.”
The legendary actor passed on January 28. She was 96. “I have managed Miss Tyson’s career for over 40 years, and each year was a privilege and blessing,” her manager, Larry Thompson, said in a statement to Variety. “Cicely thought of her new memoir as a Christmas tree decorated with all the ornaments of her personal and professional life. Today she placed the last ornament, a star, on top of the tree.” (Her memoir Just as I Am was released in 2021.)
Tributes to Tyson from celebrities soon flooded the internet:
King passed in late January 2021 at 87 years old; he had been hospitalized with COVID-19 over the holidays. Ora Media, the media company cofounded by King, announced the news on January 23. “For 63 years and across the platforms of radio, television, and digital media, Larry’s many thousands of interviews, awards, and global acclaim stand as a testament to his unique and lasting talent as a broadcaster,” a statement read.
Journalists in particular took to social media to talk about how King influenced them:
The Young Frankenstein and Mary Tyler Moore Show actor passed away at 94 years old from natural causes. “There was no one like Cloris,” her manager, Juliet Green, told Page Six. “With a single look she had the ability to break your heart or make you laugh ’till the tears ran down your face. You never knew what Cloris was going to say or do, and that unpredictable quality was part of her unparalleled magic.”
Rogers, a pianist and widow of TV legend Fred Rogers, passed at 92 years old. “Fred Rogers Productions is deeply saddened by the passing of Joanne Rogers,” the organization said in a statement, per People. “The loving partner of Fred Rogers for more than 50 years, she continued their shared commitment to supporting children and families after his death as chair of the board of Fred Rogers Productions.”
Known for playing Malik McGrath on ER, Deezer D passed away January 7 at 55 years old.
The actor, famous for her roles on Broadway and the film Police Academy, passed on January 7 at 73 years old.
On January 8, the country music legend passed away from natural causes.
The General Hospital and Beverly Hills, 90210 star died on January 10 at 84 years old.
The New York Dolls guitarist died at 69 years old. “As most of you know, Sylvain battled cancer for the past two and 1/2 years,” his wife, Wanda O’Kelley Mizrahi, wrote in a Facebook post. “Though he fought it valiantly, yesterday he passed away from this disease. While we grieve his loss, we know that he is finally at peace and out of pain.”
The 24-year-old son of model and actor Stephanie Seymour and magazine publisher Peter Brant passed away at 24 years old from an accidental overdose. “We will forever be saddened that his life was cut short by this devastating disease,” the family said in a statement to The New York Times. “He achieved a lot in his 24 years, but we will never get the chance to see how much more Harry could have done.”
The beloved host of Wonderama, a popular 1960s children’s show, died at 95 from coronavirus complications. “It is with sadness that we share the news of Sonny’s passing in Los Angeles on Sunday, January 24th, of Covid Related Pneumonia,” a statement reads. “We will post more as we learn more of where to send your condolences.”
The South Korean actor and model died at 26. “Actress Song Yoo-jung has left us,” Sublime Artist Agency wrote in the caption, translated by CNN. “Yoo-jung was a friend who always gave us happiness with a bright smile, and an awesome actress who acted with a passion bigger than anyone.”
Rest in peace to all the celebrities who died in 2021.