Celebrities We Lost to Coronavirus in 2020

Remembering the stars who died from COVID-19, including Herman Cain, Nick Cordero, and more… As the coronavirus pandemic spreads globally, claiming thousands of lives, notable names are among those taken by the deadly virus.

Joe Diffie
Diffie, one of the most celebrated country artists of the ’90s, died on March 29, He was 61.
The Grammy-winning artist posted about his positive diagnosis two days before his death.
“I am under the care of medical professionals and currently receiving treatment after testing positive for coronavirus,” Diffie wrote on social media. “We want to remind the public and all my fans to be vigilant, cautious and careful during this pandemic.”
Among the country stars to pay tribute to the late musician were Carrie Underwood, Travis Tritt and Jason Aldean.

Alan Merrill
The singer-songwriter, who wrote the hit song “I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll,” died on March 29 following a battle with COVID-19. He was 69.
His daughter, Lauren Merrill, announced his passing on Facebook. “The Coronavirus took my father this morning. I was given 2 minutes to say my goodbyes before I was rushed out,” she wrote.
She added, “We probably won’t be able to mourn him properly with a funeral. I just lost the greatest love of my life and won’t be able to hug anyone because I’ve been exposed and need to self-quarantine for two weeks….alone.”
Joan Jett, who sang Merrill’s 1982 hit, paid tribute to the songwriter on Twitter, writing, “I’ve just learned of the awful news that Alan Merrill has passed.”
“My thoughts and love go to his family, friends and music community as a whole,” she wrote. “I can still remember watching the Arrows on TV in London and being blown away by the song that screamed hit to me. With deep gratitude and sadness, wishing him a safe journey to the other side.”

Ken Shimura
The popular comedian, known as the Robin Williams of Japan, died at age 70 on March 30 in a Tokyo hospital from COVID-19 complications.
He rose to fame on the ’70s variety show Hachijidayo Zeninshugo! (It’s 8 O’clock, Assemble Everyone!) and was known for his slapstick comedy. Before the Tokyo Olympics were postponed, Shimura was slated to run in the Olympic torch relay to represent Higashimurayama, a neighborhood located in Tokyo’s suburbs.

Orlando McDaniel
Former NFL player McDaniel died on March 27 from complications of coronavirus. He was 59.
McDaniel, who got his start as a two-sport athlete during his time at Louisiana State University, recently displayed symptoms of the coronavirus after returning home to Texas following a trip to Washington, according to The Advocate. It is unclear where he may have contracted the virus.
McDaniel played briefly for the Denver Broncos after being selected in the second round of the 1982 NFL Draft. The athlete would later become executive director and founder of the North Texas Cheetahs girls’ track club, a position he held until his death.

Andrew Jack
The Star Wars actor and dialect coach for the Lord of The Rings films died at age 76.
Jill McCullough, his representative, said in a statement to the Evening Standard that Jack died on March 31 at a hospital outside of London as a result of complications he’d developed from COVID-19.
“Andrew lived on one of the oldest working houseboats on the Thames, he was fiercely independent but madly in love with his wife; also a dialect coach: Gabrielle Rogers,” said McCullough. “Tragically she is stuck in quarantine in Australia having just flown in from NZ last week. She was unable to see or talk to him at the end of his life and there is a chance a funeral may not be held.”
Rogers said in a tweet on Tuesday, “We lost a man today. Andrew Jack was diagnosed with Coronavirus 2 days ago. He was in no pain, and he slipped away peacefully knowing that his family were all ‘with’ him.”
Jack had a long and impressive résumé, and was most recently hired to work on The Batman starring Robert Pattinson.
He also worked as a dialect coach on many of the Marvel films, including Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America: The First Avenger, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. He is survived by his wife and two children.

Wallace Roney
Jazz trumpeter Roney died of complications from the novel coronavirus. He was 59.
The legendary musician — and protégé of the late Miles Davis — died around noon on March 31 at St. Joseph’s University Medical Center in Paterson, New Jersey, said his publicist, Lydia Liebman. It is unknown if Roney had any underlying health conditions.
In a statement, Roney’s collaborator, pianist Herbie Hancock, that even though his “journey has ended in this lifetime … his impact lives on.” “He carved out his own voice on the trumpet even with the initial strong influence from Miles Davis,” Hancock said.
Adam Schlesinger
The Emmy and Grammy Award-winning songwriter and Fountains of Wayne co-founder died on April 1 at 52 years old after testing positive for coronavirus (COVID-19).
The Fountains of Wayne musician’s lawyer, Josh Grier, confirmed his death to Rolling Stone.
Schlesinger won three Emmys during his career: one for writing lyrics for Rachel Bloom‘s hit musical series Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and two for his lyrical contributions to the 2011 and 2012 Tony Awards telecasts.
In a tribute posted to Twitter, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend co-creator Aline Brosh McKenna remembered the musician as “so funny, so kind, so opinionated, so clever, so passionate.”
Schlesinger is survived by his partner, Alexis Morley; his daughters, Sadie and Claire Schlesinger; his sister, Laurie Rose; and their parents, Bobbi and Stephen Schlesinger.

Bucky Pizzarelli
Bucky Pizzarelli, famed jazz guitarist and former member of the Tonight Show orchestra, died on April 1 after testing positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). He was 94.
His son, John Pizzarelli — also a jazz artist who toured and performed alongside his father — confirmed the news on Instagram, highlighting Bucky’s career highlights. John called Bucky a “wonderful dad.”
“My father was a mentor to so many guitarists both professional and amateur,” wrote John. “Always doling out advice, always encouraging, always in tune and always ready for a record date.”
Bucky is also survived by his wife Ruth, daughters Anne Hymes and Mary Pizzarelli, another son, bassist Martin Pizzarelli, and four grandchildren, according to The New York Times.

Sergio Rossi
Sergio Rossi, one of Italy’s most celebrated footwear designers, died in Cesena from complications related to the coronavirus, the brand confirmed on April 3. He was 84.
Rossi was responsible for building one of Italy’s largest luxury shoe brands, launching his company in 1968 after learning how to make shoes from his father.
His designs were worn by celebrities around the globe and used by major designers.
“Today everyone at Sergio Rossi joins me in remembering our dear Sergio, the inspiring founder of our dream,” Riccardo Sciutto, CEO of the Sergio Rossi Group, shared on the brand’s Instagram page.
“Sergio Rossi was a master, and it is my great honor to have met him and gotten to present him the archive earlier this year. His vision and approach will remain our guide in the growth of the brand and the business,” Sciutto continued.
He closed his tribute by saying, “Our long and glorious history started from his incredible vision and we’ll remember his creativity forever.”
The designer was also involved in the fight against coronavirus, donating €100,000 to the Sacco hospital in Milan.

Julie Bennett
Julie Bennett, the actress who famously voiced Cindy Bear in The Yogi Bear Show cartoons, passed away from complications related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) on March 31. She was 88 years old.
Bennett was at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles at the time of her passing.
Bennett is survived by what she called her “mutually adopted family” — close friends Carol, Nick, and Mark Scroggs.
Donations can be made in her name to The Actors’ Fund.

Ellis Marsalis
The world-renowned jazz pianist and beloved member of the New Orleans music scene passed away from complications of coronavirus at a local hospital on April 1, his son Brandford Marsalis told PEOPLE. He was 85.
“It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of my father, Ellis Marsalis Jr., as a result of complications from the Coronavirus,” the statement read. “My dad was a giant of a musician and teacher, but an even greater father. He poured everything he had into making us the best of what we could be.”
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell also paid tribute to the late musician after news of his death broke, writing on Twitter, “Ellis Marsalis was a legend. He was the prototype of what we mean when we talk about New Orleans jazz.”
Marsalis Jr. was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 2008.
Donations can be made in his memory to the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music, which provides music education, academic support and food security to children from the 9th Ward.

Fred The Godson
The rapper is known as Fred the Godson died on April 23, according to several reports. He was 35.
Thomas revealed that he had been diagnosed with coronavirus on Instagram on April 6, writing, “I’m in here wit this Corvus 19 s—! Please keep me in y’all prayers!!!! #godisgreat,” he wrote.
Fellow artists Pusha T and E-40 were among the first few musicians to respond with words of support.
“Pull thru my brother…,” Pusha-T wrote.
“Prayers up ,” E-40 added.
Since his death, many have offered their condolences, including Fat Joe, who shared a heartbreaking post in honor of his late friend.
“My little brother ooooh how sad am I,” Fat Joe captioned his Instagram tribute. “I prayed and prayed and prayed for you all night long. So many dreams, so many conversations, so many great times we had. I am in shock to say the least. I love you soooooooo much little brother, it’s been years since I felt this pain.”
“I always wanted the best for you, I played you all my important songs to get your feedback [because] I respect you so much as an artist. Why the GOOD die young?” he wrote. “I was soooooooo proud of you little brother. Maybe now the world will pay attention to your greatness, you was always my favorite.”
Thomas is survived by his wife LeeAnn Jemmott, who had been providing updates regarding his health, as well as their children.

Herman Cain The TV and radio host, former business executive and 2012 Republican presidential candidate, died about a month after he became sick with the novel coronavirus disease, his team announced on July 30. He was 74 years old.
“We’re heartbroken, and the world is poorer: Herman Cain has gone to be with the Lord,” reads an update posted to his official website.
“We knew when he was first hospitalized with COVID-19 that this was going to be a rough fight,” Cain’s friend Dan Calabrese wrote in the same update. “He had trouble breathing and was taken to the hospital by ambulance. We all prayed that the initial meds they gave him would get his breathing back to normal, but it became clear pretty quickly that he was in for a battle.”
Calabrese continued: “We all prayed so hard every day. We knew the time would come when the Lord would call him home, but we really liked having him here with us, and we held out hope he’d have a full recovery.”
Cain had spent most of July getting treated for COVID-19 in an Atlanta-area hospital. His team said early this month that he tested positive on June 29.
Cain is survived by his wife, Gloria, children Vincent and Melanie and their three grandchildren.

Brandis Kemp
Kemp, the actress is best known for her appearances on the television shows Fridays and AfterMASH, has died after battling brain cancer and complications from COVID-19. She was 76.
Kemp died July 4 at her home in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Los Feliz, according to The Hollywood Reporter. She was surrounded by family and friends, actress and acting coach Myra Turley told the outlet.
Kemp was diagnosed with glioblastoma — an aggressive type of cancer that can occur in the brain or spinal cord — last December at age 75, and it is unclear how long ago she contracted COVID-19.

Chris Trousdale
Chris Trousdale, a member of the late ’90s and early 2000s boy band Dream Street, died on June 2. He was 34.
News of his death was confirmed by a statement shared to his Instagram, which read, “It is with a heavy heart that we confirm the passing of Chris Trousdale on June, 2, 2020 from an undisclosed illness. He was a light to so many and will be missed dearly by his family, friends and fans all over the world.”
A woman named Jane Gagle, who appears to have worked with Trousdale at the Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre, added in the comments section that “Chris was in a coma, on life support when he passed.” She continued, “The outpouring of love has been tremendous. I am comforted by the hundreds of kind words and wishes. Chris was one of a kind and always the brightest light on any stage he stood on. Thank you for the love you gave him. He felt it to the end and I’m sure still as he watches from heaven.”
Former Dream Street bandmate Jesse McCartney paid tribute to his friend on Instagram as well, noting in his caption that Trousdale “passed away due to complications from COVID-19.”

Roy Horn
The famous illusionist died at age 75 due to complications from the novel coronavirus in a Las Vegas Hospital on May 15, his publicist confirmed in a statement to ABC.
The entertainer, who became a household name as part of the duo Siegfried & Roy, tested positive for the respiratory virus in April. At the time, his publicist announced that he was “responding well to treatment.”
“Today, the world has lost one of the greats of magic, but I have lost my best friend,” Horn’s partner, Siegfried Fischbacher, said in a statement. “From the moment we met, I knew Roy and I, together, would change the world. There could be no Siegfried without Roy, and no Roy without Siegfried.”
“Roy was a fighter his whole life including during these final days,” Fischbacher continued. “I give my heartfelt appreciation to the team of doctors, nurses and staff at Mountain View Hospital who worked heroically against this insidious virus that ultimately took Roy’s life.”
The duo are best known for their Las Vegas show at the Mirage Resort and Casino that ran from 1990 until 2003, when Horn was mauled on stage by one of the tigers used in their act, which ultimately left him partially paralyzed

Nick Cordero
Broadway star Nick Cordero died on July 5, 2020, after a months-long battle with the coronavirus. He was 41.
Cordero, whose Broadway credits include Waitress and Rock of Ages, died at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, where he had been hospitalized for over 90 days after falling ill in early March 2020.
He is survived by his wife Amanda Kloots, whom he wed in September 2017, and their 1-year-old son Elvis Eduardo.
In a touching Instagram post following his passing, Cordero’s wife wrote, “God has another angel in heaven now. My darling husband passed away this morning. He was surrounded in love by his family, singing, and praying as he gently left this earth. ⠀ I am in disbelief and hurting everywhere. My heart is broken as I cannot imagine our lives without him. Nick was such a bright light. He was everyone’s friend, loved to listen, help, and especially talk. He was an incredible actor and musician. He loved his family and loved being a father and husband. Elvis and I will miss him in everything we do, every day.”


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