We’re paying our respects to all the prolific musicians, actors, comedians, and cultural icons who died in 2022. This month, we lost famed R&B singer Anita Pointer, award-winning journalist Barbara Walters, fashion icon Vivienne Westwood, soccer star Pelé, musician Joseph “Jo Mersa” Marley, “General Hospital” star Sonya Eddy, Broadway star and choreographer Stephanie Bissonnette, famed DJ and dancer Stephen “tWitch” Boss, two-time Emmy-winning actor Kirstie Alley, “Sesame Street” legend Bob McGrath, singer-songwriter Georgia Holt, and “Green Book” actor Frank Vallelonga Jr. The previous month, Fleetwood Mac musician Christine McVie, Grammy Award-winning ’80s singer Irene Cara, ’90s pop star Aaron Carter, and Migos rapper Takeoff all died.
In October, beloved comedian Leslie Jordan, Harry Potter alum Robbie Coltrane, and Broadway icon Angela Lansbury also died. The death of the UK’s longest-reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, at 96 rocked the world in early September, followed by the shocking deaths of PnB Rock, Louise Fletcher, and Jesse Powell.
This year, we’ve also lost Hollywood icon Sidney Poitier, Miss USA 2019 winner Cheslie Kryst, “Bat Out of Hell” rocker Meat Loaf, funk pioneer Betty Davis, and “Full House” comedian Bob Saget. They all made lasting marks on their respective industries. Ahead, we pay homage to all the celebrities we’ve lost in 2022.
1. Anita Pointer
Anita Pointer, member of the famed ’70s R&B group the Pointer Sisters, died Dec. 31 at age 74. No cause of death was given.
“While we are deeply saddened by the loss of Anita, we are comforted in knowing she is now with her daughter, Jada, and her sisters June and Bonnie, and at peace,” her family said in statement, per Variety. “She was the one that kept all of us close and together for so long. Her love of our family will live on in each of us. Please respect our privacy during this period of grief and loss. Heaven is a more loving beautiful place with Anita there.”
As a group, the Pointer Sisters won three Grammys across multiple categories, including country, showing just how much range they possessed. In 1994, they received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
2. Jeremiah Green
Modest Mouse cofounder and drummer Jeremiah Green died on Dec. 31 after a battle with cancer at the age of 45. The group announced the news on their official Facebook page.
“I don’t know a way to ease into this: Today we lost our dear friend Jeremiah,” the band wrote. “He laid down to rest and simply faded out. I’d like to say a bunch of pretty words right now, but it just isn’t the time. These will come later, and from many people. Please appreciate all the love you give, get, have given, and will get. Above all, Jeremiah was about love. We love you.”
3. Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI died at the age of 95 at his Vatican residence on Dec. 31, The Holy See confirmed in a statement. “With sorrow I inform you that the Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, passed away today at 9:34 in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican,” the statement read.
Benedict was 78 when he was named pope in 2005 after the death of Pope John Paul II, making him one of the oldest individuals to accept the position. In 2013, he stepped down from his role as pope, making him the first person to do so in almost 600 years.
4. Barbara Walters
Award-winning journalist Barbara Walters died at the age of 93 on Dec. 30. The news was confirmed by her representative, Cindi Berger, who shared a statement with People. “Barbara Walters passed away peacefully in her home surrounded by loved ones,” Berger said. “She lived a big life. She lived her life with no regrets. She was a trailblazer not only for female journalists, but for all women.”
Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger tweeted about the trailblazing broadcaster’s passing. “Barbara was a true legend, a pioneer not just for women in journalism but for journalism itself,” he wrote. “She was a one-of-a-kind reporter who landed many of the most important interviews of our time, from heads of state and leaders of regimes to the biggest celebrities and sports icons. I had the pleasure of calling Barbara a colleague for more than three decades, but more importantly, I was able to call her a dear friend.”
Her many accomplishments include cohosting “20/20,” moderating presidential debates, receiving three Emmys, cohosting “The View,” and receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She’s survived by her daughter, Jacqueline Danforth.
5. Keenan Cahill
YouTube star Keenan Cahill died at age 27 on Dec. 29. His family announced his death, which was due from open-heart surgery complications, on Facebook.
“Keenan is an inspiration and let’s celebrate by remembering all the content he created, artists he collaborated with, music he produced and the love he had for everyone who supported him over the years,” the family wrote.
During his career, Cahill collaborated with a number of big name stars for his popular lip-sync videos on YouTube. Artists he worked with include Katy Perry, Ariana Grande, Britney Spears, Justin Bieber, and Tyra Banks.
6. Vivienne Westwood
Vivienne Westwood died at the age of 81 on Dec. 29, her company announced on social media. “Vivienne continued to do the things she loved, up until the last moment, designing, working on her art, writing her book, and changing the world for the better,” the statement read. “She led an amazing life. Her innovation and impact over the last 60 years has been immense and will continue into the future.”
The fashion designer and style icon played an important role in shaping the styles of the punk movement, and her work has been shown in museums around the world. In her later years, she was an environmental activist.
World-famous soccer player Pelé died of cancer at the age of 82 on Dec. 29, his manager confirmed to The New York Times. The legendary athlete — sometimes called the greatest soccer player ever — won three World Cups with Brazil and played a significant role in making soccer beloved around the world.
“We love you endlessly,” his daughter Kely Nascimento wrote on Instagram. “Rest in peace.”
8. Joseph “Jo Mersa” Marley
Joseph “Jo Mersa” Marley, Bob Marley’s grandson and the son of Stephen Marley, died at the age of 31, a rep confirmed to Rolling Stone on Dec. 27. A cause of death has not yet been confirmed. Marley followed in his grandfather’s footsteps, pursuing music from a young age. His second EP, “Eternal,” was released in 2021.
“My father calls my grandfather a magician because he was the only man who could bring peace to his country (during Jamaica’s deadly political skirmishes of the 1970s) and that’s a lot of power, influence, it’s magic, but I don’t let it get to my head,” Marley told The Pier in 2014 of the responsibility he felt to his family’s legacy. “[Bob Marley] made a big step for Jamaican music and it is time for me to add my works to it, to build on it.”
9. Sonya Eddy
“General Hospital” star Eddy died at the age of 55 on Dec. 19, per CNN. In addition to “General Hospital,” Eddy appeared on shows including “ER,” “Felicity,” “Fresh Off the Boat” and “PEN15.” A cause of death has not yet been confirmed.
The news was shared by Octavia Spencer, who announced Eddy’s death on Instagram on Dec. 20. “The world lost another creative angel. Her legions of @generalhospitalabc fans will miss her,” Spencer wrote in her commemorative post. “My thoughts and prayers are with her loved ones, friends, and fans!”
“I am heartbroken about the loss of the incredible Sonya Eddy. I truly loved her not only as an actress, but as a friend,” executive producer Frank Valentini wrote in a tribute post shared by the “General Hospital” account. “The lights in the hub of the nurse’s station will now be a little dimmer, but her spirit and light will live on in both the show and our set. On behalf of the entire GH cast and crew, we send our deepest sympathy to her family, friends, and fans. She will be very missed.”
10. Stephanie Bissonnette
Stephanie Bissonnette, who starred in Broadway’s “Mean Girls” as Dawn Schweitzer, died at the age of 32 on Dec. 17 following a battle with brain cancer, per Deadline.
“Our hearts are broken as the Mean Girls community mourns the loss of Stephanie Bissonnette,” the official “Mean Girls” on Broadway Twitter account wrote following her death. “Our original Dawn Sweitzer, Stephanie was part of our company from our first performance to our last. She filled our theater with her laughter and friendship, inspired us with her fighting spirit and bravery, and graced our stage with the fiercest talent Broadway has ever known,” the post continues. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Stephanie’s family, friends, and the entire Mean Girls community during this time. We will miss her profoundly and encourage everyone to do something they love today in Stephanie’s honor.”
11. Stephen “tWitch” Boss
The “So You Think You Can Dance” alum and former DJ on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” died by suicide on Dec. 13, People confirmed (TMZ was the first to report). He was 40 years old.
In a statement to People, Boss’s wife, Allison Holker, said, “It is with the heaviest of hearts that I have to share my husband Stephen has left us. Stephen lit up every room he stepped into. He valued family, friends and community above all else and leading with love and light was everything to him. He was the backbone of our family, the best husband and father, and an inspiration to his fans . . . I am certain there won’t be a day that goes by that we won’t honor his memory.”
Boss is survived by his wife and their three children, Weslie, 14, Maddox, 6, and Zaia, 3.
12. Georgia Holt
Holt, the mother of Grammy-winning artist Cher, died at age 96, her daughter confirmed on Twitter on Dec. 11. Cher tweeted, “Mom is gone😔.” A cause of death has not been disclosed, but Holt was previously hospitalized in September with pneumonia. While she may be best known for being Cher’s mother, Holt was a star in her own right. Early in her career, she guest-starred on classic TV series like “I Love Lucy” and “The Merv Griffin” show. In 2013, she released her debut album, “Honky Tonk Woman.”
13. Helen Slayton-Hughes
The actor, best known for her performance of Ethel Beavers on “Parks and Recreation,” died at age 92 in December. Her family announced the news on her Facebook page on Dec. 8, writing, “To the friends and fans of our beloved Helen, Helen passed away last night. Her pain has ended but her fierce spirit lives on. Thank you for the love and support of her and her work. Rest sweet one.”
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