The year 2020 was overwhelming, and 2021 has already come with its own set of challenges. With all the healing that we need to undergo as individuals and as a society, it is also important to remember all those who have been dear and special to us but are no longer among us due to unfortunate circumstances.
We lost several celebrities in recent months — celebs who were gone too soon and left everyone grieving and in shock. Here, we look at the life and death of these celebs who the world remembers fondly for their persona and talents.
Scroll down to our gallery for more on celebrities who were gone too soon.
After a quiet two-year battle with breast cancer, Preston passed away at the age of 57 on July 13.
"She fought a courageous fight with the love and support of so many," husband John Travolta wrote in a moving tribute. Though the actress is known for her work in Mischief, Twins and Jerry Maguire, her favorite role was being mom to Ella, Benjamin and Jett, who died in 2009 following a seizure. (The devastating loss inspired Preston and the Grease star to establish the Jett Travolta Foundation.) "I absolutely adore my kids," Preston gushed in 2013. "I've always wanted to be a mother."
On July 24, one month before turning 89, Philbin passed away from natural causes, leaving behind Joy — his wife of nearly 30 years — and four adult children. The beloved TV personality kicked off his career with 1961's The Regis Philbin Show before making his mark on The Joey Bishop Show as the comedian's sidekick. But it was his cheery morning-show presence that made him a household name. In 1983, he began cohosting the syndicated Live! With Regis & Kathie Lee (in 2001, it became Live with Regis and Kelly). The Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? host — who holds the Guinness World Record for spending the most hours (16,700!) on TV — once said of his storied career: "I had my years of struggling ... But I never stopped, I kept going for it."
Laker Nation and many more grieved together when Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash on January 26 en route to his Black Mamba Academy. The MVP left behind wife Vanessa and three daughters, Natalia, Bianka and Capri. Upon his passing at age 41, there was no shortage of tributes celebrating Bryant's accomplishments on and off the court — but the most touching one came from a fellow NBA legend. "In the game of basketball, in life, as a parent, Kobe left nothing in the tank," Michael Jordan said at the Philadelphia-native's moving memorial service, held at L.A.'s Staples Center. "He left it all on the floor."
The man responsible for making Black Panther a revered superhero died at the age of 43 on August 28. Only those closest to him knew that Boseman had been battling colon cancer for four years. The 21 Bridges star remained a true fighter until the end, filming projects despite his diagnosis. Boseman's legacy doesn't end with acting: The philanthropist worked with cancer foundations, donated to charitable causes and visited fans in treatment centers. One of his last good deeds? Donating $4.2 million worth of PPE equipment to hospitals serving Black communities during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Debonair and quickly witty, Trebek was a weeknight fixture for many, who tuned in to Jeopardy! to test their knowledge. He passed away at age 86 on November 8, following a battle with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. The Emmy winner — who shared two adult children with wife Jean — hosted dozens of game shows, including High Rollers, before landing on Jeopardy! which he presided over for three decades. (His last episode aired on January 8.)
In July, the Canada native opened up about his "tough moments," but said Jeopardy! inspired him to keep moving forward. "I'm able to perform and handle the show because I like it," he said. "It's a good job." And one that will never be the same without him.
Socialite Harry Brant, the son of supermodel Stephanie Seymour and high-profile businessman Peter Brant, died at 24 on January 17. The family explained in a statement that the rising socialite died of an accidental overdose. "We will forever be saddened that his life was cut short by this devastating disease," the statement read. "He achieved a lot in his 24 years, but we will never get the chance to see how much more Harry could have done.
"Harry was not just our son," the family's statement continued, describing him also as "a wonderful brother, loving grandson, favorite uncle and a caring friend."
"He was a creative, loving and powerful soul that brought light into so many people's hearts," the statement said. "He was truly a beautiful person inside and out."