Is 2016 the year of celebrity deaths?
(CNN) — Enough already, 2016.
So far through the year, there’s a theme: the death of larger-than-life stars. David Bowie, Prince, and Muhammad Ali. How could these giants among us no longer be among us?
We go to social media to mourn. We shake a collective fist at the unfairness of it all.
Comedic actor Chris Rock summed it up when he tweeted a picture of Ali with Prince. “I wish this year would stop already it’s just to much,” he wrote in June.
Death comes for us all, but when it is a beloved celebrity so recognizable, the grief takes on a different significance. Celebs are as deeply woven into our lives as those we can reach out and touch. They inspire us, entertain us, delight us and sometimes infuriate us.
So far this year a number of accomplished artists from various fields have died: Hip hop lost rapper Phife Dawg. Hollywood lost actress and mental health advocate Patty Duke, comedian Garry Shandling and actor Gene Wilder. The literary world said goodbye to Harper Lee and Pat Conroy. Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel died in July.
Music seems to have been especially hard hit.
In addition to Bowie, Prince and Phife Dawg, other deaths include country star Merle Haggard; Grammy winning singer-songwriter Guy Clark; “Me and Mrs. Jones” soul singer Billy Paul; internationally acclaimed Congolese singer Papa Wemba; and record producer George Martin, also known as “the fifth Beatle.”
There has been much discussion about what has been referred to as the “2016 death curse.”
With so many luminaries dying this year, the question has been raised whether more celebrities are dying or are the celebs who are dying such major ones that it seems that way?
BBC’s obituary editor Nick Serpell noted several significant deaths and said it’s because “People who started becoming famous in the 1960s are now entering their 70s and are starting to die.”
He anticipated that the wave of celebrity deaths could be the new normal.