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2016 celebrity deaths: A year of great loss

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Prince and Glen Frey, Harper Lee and Elie Wiesel, John Glenn and too many others — 2016 was savage in its taking of talented people.

From the music industry to screen stars and sports legends, if it feels like a large number of celebrities died in 2016, it’s true.

Linnea Crowther is the author of celebrity obituaries for the site Legacy.com.

In October, Crowther offered her analysis of celebrity deaths.

“As of September 30, the total number of celebrity deaths so far in 2016 is 71,” she wrote. “That’s more than the total number of celebrity deaths for the full year in any of the other years I looked at for this study. We’re already outpacing previous years by 5 to 20 deaths, and we still have three months to go.”

Since then, more stars have been added to the list including beloved TV parents Florence Henderson and Alan Thicke, veteran newscaster Gwen Ifill and singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen.

The scope of celebrity deaths in 2016 seems especially heartbreaking, perhaps, because we have lost people who contributed so much — musicians David Bowie and Merle Haggard, rapper Phife Dawg, actors Gene Wilder, Alan Rickman and Garry Shandling, women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt, boxing champion Muhammad Ali.

Memes, laments and the suggestion that Time’s Person of the Year should be “Death” have circulated in recent months.

The New Yorker ran a cartoon showing an angel at heaven’s gate telling death, “Maybe cool it on the beloved celebrities for a bit.”

From the tragic deaths of promising young stars Anton Yelchin and Christina Grimmie to the loss accomplished greats Garry Marshall and Arnold Palmer, we’ve done a lot of collective mourning in 2016.

And while most of us didn’t know these celebrities, the loss of them, somehow, feels personal — we cheered their victories, enjoyed their films and danced to their music.

We remember them.