In Memoriam: Stars We've Lost in 2018

Stars We've Lost in 2018
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From screen icons to music superstars, some truly incredible talents were lost this year.

As 2018 comes to a close, ET is paying tribute to all the performers, politicians, writers and creators who died this year, and celebrating the legacies and memories they left behind.

From classic sitcom stars to iconic music superstars to fashion titans and Oscar-winning filmmakers, the world lost a lot of hugely talented stars. Take a look back at just some of the celebrities who we said goodbye to over the last 12 months.

Stephen Hawking

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The British theoretical physicist died at his home in Cambridge, England, on March 14. He was 76. Hawking was born in Oxford, England on Jan. 8, 1942, and was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) when he was 21. Doctors told Hawking that he had only a year or two to live. However, he didn't let that deter him from his ambition and he continued on to become one of history's most famous minds, even as his body deteriorated due to his illness. 

In 1988, Hawking penned A Brief History of Time, which went on to become an international hit, selling over 10 million copies in 20 years and was translated into more than 35 languages. In 2009, Hawking was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and in 2014, he was the subject of the 2014 biographical drama The Theory of Everything, in which he was played by Eddie Redmayne, who won an Oscar for his performance.

Kate Spade

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The iconic fashion designer died on June 5 in New York City. She was 55. The NYPD confirms to ET that Spade was found dead in her Manhattan apartment of an apparent suicide, and she had left a suicide note. Her body was discovered by an individual that was employed by her. Spade is survived by her husband, Andy Spade, the brother of actor-comedian David Spade, and their 13-year-old daughter, Frances Beatrix Spade.

Married in 1994, the Spades launched Kate Spade handbags in 1993, which later launched into a beloved clothing store and jewelry line. The first boutique was opened in Manhattan's SoHo neighborhood in 1996, and there are currently over 140 Kate Spade retail shops and outlet stores across the United States and more than 175 internationally. Spade sold the Kate Spade brand in 2006 but launched a new brand, Frances Valentine, in 2016.

Anthony Bourdain


The famed food critic, chef, author and TV personality died of an apparent suicide on June 8. He was 61. Bourdain was in France working on his CNN series, Parts Unknown, at the time of his death. He was found by his close friend, French chef Eric Ripert, in his hotel room, CNN reported. 

"It is with extraordinary sadness we can confirm the death of our friend and colleague, Anthony Bourdain," CNN said in a statement to ET. "His love of great adventure, new friends, fine food and drink and the remarkable stories of the world made him a unique storyteller. His talents never ceased to amaze us and we will miss him very much. Our thoughts and prayers are with his daughter and family at this incredibly difficult time." Bourdain is survived by his 12-year-old daughter, Ariane, his estranged wife, Ottavia, and his girlfriend, Asia Argento. 

Aretha Franklin

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The Queen of Soul died surrounded by loved ones at her home in Detroit, Michigan, on Aug. 16, ET confirmed in a statement issued by Franklin's family through her longtime publicist, Gwendolyn Quinn. She was 76. Franklin's oncologist, Dr. Philip Phillips of Karmanos Cancer Institute, says the singer's official cause of death was due to advanced pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type.

The legendary singer leaves behind a legacy few artists will ever match, including being the first female artist to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, taking home 18 GRAMMYs over the course of her five-decade career thanks to iconic songs like "Respect" and "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)," selling more than 75 million records, and undoubtedly influencing some of music's biggest stars.

Burt Reynolds

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The iconic movie star died of a heart attack at Jupiter Medical Center in Florida on Sept. 6, ET confirmed. He was 82. The actor went into cardiac arrest the day before and his family was by his side. In a statement to ET, Reynolds' niece, Nancy Lee Hess, said his death was a shock to their family. 

"My uncle was not just a movie icon; he was a generous, passionate and sensitive man, who was dedicated to his family, friends, fans and acting students," she said. "He has had health issues, however, this was totally unexpected. He was tough. Anyone who breaks their tailbone on a river and finishes the movie is tough. And that’s who he was."

Reynolds rose to fame in the ‘70s and had a prolific career, starring in films like Deliverance, Smokey and the Bandit and The Longest Yard and earning an Oscar nomination for his role in 1997's Boogie Nights. At the time of his death, the actor was set to start filming Once Upon a Time in Hollywood alongside Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio.

Mac Miller

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The 26-year-old rapper died of an apparent overdose on Sept. 7. Law enforcement sources told the outlet that Miller, real name Malcolm McCormick, was found around noon at his San Fernando Valley home and was pronounced dead at the scene. The news came just weeks after he was charged with a DUI and months after his breakup with Ariana Grande.

Tributes and heartfelt memorials to Miller flooded in on social media following the news of his death, with hundreds of fellow artists and celebrities praising his work, his legacy and his memory. 

Grande later honored her ex with a heartbreaking tribute on Instagram, writing, "I adored you from the day i met you when i was nineteen and i always will. i can’t believe you aren’t here anymore. i really can’t wrap my head around it. we talked about this. so many times. i’m so mad, i’m so sad i don’t know what to do. you were my dearest friend. for so long. above anything else. i’m so sorry i couldn’t fix or take your pain away. i really wanted to. the kindest, sweetest soul with demons he never deserved. i hope you’re okay now. Rest."

Stan Lee

Stan Lee

The man behind comic book creations like The Avengers, Fantastic Four, Spider-Man and The X-Men died on Nov. 12. He was 95. "Paramedics responded to Stan Lee's house in the Hollywood Hills early Monday morning for a medical emergency. He was transported to Cedar-Sinai Medical Center where he passed away shortly after," Family Attorney Kirk E. Schenck said in a statement. 

Lee was a writer and editor and, at various points, both the publisher and vice president of Marvel Comics. He spent more than three-quarters of a century working in the comic book business, for which he was inducted into the Will Eisner Hall of Fame in 1994 and Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1995, and received a National Medal of Arts in 2008. 

In Hollywood, where Lee received his own star on the Walk of Fame in 2011, he was awarded the Producers Guild of America's Vanguard Award and was declared an official Disney Legend during the studio's D23 Expo in 2017. Over the course of his career, especially in the most recent era of successful screen adaptations of his creations, Lee became the face of Marvel and perhaps the most iconic persona in all of comics, with his silver hair and bushy white mustache, signature tinted shades, a broad grin and near omnipresent thumbs-up.

Lee's death came months after the passing of famed comic book artist Steve Ditko, who was a longtime collaborator with Lee, and co-creator of arguably their most iconic character, Spider-Man. Ditko died on June 29 at the age of 90.

Penny Marshall

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A rep for Marshall told ET that the actress died at her home in Los Angeles, California, on Dec. 17. Her cause of death was complications from diabetes. She was 75. "Our family is heartbroken over the passing of Penny Marshall," Marshall's family said in a statement to TMZ, who was first to report the news. "Penny was a tomboy who loved sports, doing puzzles of any kind, drinking milk and Pepsi together and being with her family."

Marshall shot to fame playing Laverne DeFazio on the sitcom Laverne & Shirley, a spinoff of Happy Days. At the encouragement of her brother, late director Garry Marshall, she later went on to direct such classics as 1988's Big and 1992's A League of Their Own, both starring Tom Hanks. Big was the first film directed by a woman to gross over $100 million. She was previously married to Rob Reiner and also dated singer Art Garfunkel. She is survived by daughter Tracy from her first marriage to Michael Henry.

For a complete retrospective of the Hollywood icons and globally beloved celebrities we've lost this year, click through to the gallery below.