2020 was a year of enormous grief. So many loved ones have been lost to the COVID-19 pandemic and its ripple effects across the world, and celebrities were in no way immune, mourning the loss of Nick Cordero, John Prine, Carol Sutton, and more in 2020. With each passing has come new grief, but also a new opportunity to celebrate that person’s life and impact, from family members to friends. With Larry King’s recent 2021 death, hundreds of thousands of viewers have written about the influence he had on them watching him on TV over the years — and so have his two sons, who talk about the influence of their loving, obsessive dad.
“We are heartbroken over our father’s death, and together with our extended family mourn his passing,” they wrote. “The world knew Larry King as a great broadcaster and interviewer, but to us he was ‘dad.’ He was the man who lovingly obsessed over our daily schedules and our well-being, and who took such immense pride in our accomplishments — large, small, or imagined.”
There will be more celebrity deaths in 2021, and many will be painful, as these public figures can loom even larger in our hearts than we realize. But we should take heart in the outpouring of love that comes after such a blow and the sense of community that arises from a moment of shared grief. Stars are just like us in that they live, die, and hope to make an impact. Often, it’s not until their passing that the extent to which they’ve succeeded becomes clear.
Read on for all the stars we’ve lost so far in 2021.
A version of this article was originally published January 2021.