In Memoriam: 2020 Deaths
We're taking a look at the music, movies and cultural figures who passed away during 2020 in the gallery below.
The year had barely begun when we learned that Neil Peart, the drummer and lyricist for Rush, had died from a brain tumor that had been diagnosed more than three years prior, but hadn't been made public until after he was gone. Over the next few months, we lost Left Banke frontman Steve Martin Caro, the father of Metallica bassist Cliff Burton, Gang of Four leader Andy Gill and country legend Kenny Rogers.
By the middle of March, the deadly coronavirus pandemic had caused a global lockdown. Among the 1.7 million people who perished as a result of the disease were musicians like songwriter John Prine, Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne, Dave Greenfield of the Stranglers, Soft Boys bassist Matthew Seligman, producer Hal Willner and Alan Merrill of the Arrows, who co-wrote "I Love Rock N' Roll").
Others who passed away during the spring and summer of 2020 included rock pioneer Little Richard, Frankie Banali of Quiet Riot, soul singer Bill Withers, Kiss collaborator Bob Kulick, Fleetwood Mac co-founder Peter Green, Ministry and R.E.M. drummer Bill Reiflin and folk guitarist Eric Weissberg.
One of the most crushing blows for rock came in early October when Eddie Van Halen passed away. The innovative and influential guitarist had been known to have cancer, and it had been rumored that a recurrence of the disease prevented a Van Halen tour from taking place in 2019. In mid-December, it was reported that the official cause of death was a stroke, with lung and skin cancer, pneumonia and a blood disorder also contributing.
In addition to the musicians, we lost producers Keith Olsen, Rupert Hine and Martin Birch. From the entertainment industry, we said goodbye to such notables as Sean Connery, Terry Jones of Monty Python, writer-actor Buck Henry, director Alan Parker and Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek.
Read about their lives and more in the gallery below.