We sadly lost some of our most beloved famous faces over the past 12 months.
People were heartbroken to find out stars from the stage, screen, music, sport and more had passed away in 2022. However, fans can remember their finest work, lasting legacies and greatest achievements to provide some comfort.
As we enter a new year, the ECHO has taken a look back at some of those we have lost and the legacy they will leave.
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Sir Sidney Poitier
Hollywood icon Sir Sidney Poitier died on January 7 aged 94. Sir Sidney had an incredible 71-year career, and became the first black man to win the Best Actor Oscar in 1964 for his role in Lilies of the Field.
The beloved actor's death was confirmed by Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell, according to Eyewitness News Bahamas. Speaking about his death, Mitchell said: "We've lost a great Bahamian and I've lost a personal friend."
The iconic musician died on January 21 at the age of 74. A statement was released on the Bat Out of Hell singer's Facebook page to confirm he died with his wife by his side.
Real name Michael Lee Aday, the singer was a familiar face on the silver screen, starring in films including Fight Club.
The statement said: “Our hearts are broken to announce that the incomparable Meat Loaf passed away tonight with his wife Deborah by his side. Daughters Pearl and Amanda and close friends have been with him throughout the last 24 hours."
It added: "We know how much he meant to so many of you and we truly appreciate all of the love and support as we move through this time of grief in losing such an inspiring artist and beautiful man."
The legendary comedian died aged 86 on January 27. The Leeds-born comic wrote for some of the biggest names in show business including The Two Ronnies and Morecambe and Wise.
His family released a statement to confirm the comedy star "died peacefully, in good spirits and with his family around him".
The actor died aged 95 on January 31. He was best known for his role as Doctor Harold Legg on EastEnders and had an acting career that spanned 60 years including on TV and stage.
He was best know for appearing on the BBC soap from its inception in 1985 until 1997, returning for brief stints in 2000, 2004, 2007 and 2018 until 2019 when his character was killed off.
Andy Devine died at Southport Hospital on January 27 aged 79. The soap star, whose real name was Peter Devine, was renowned for his role as Shadrach Dingle in Emmerdale.
A coroner confirmed in May that the soap star died from "hospital-acquired pneumonia" after an accidental fall.
The son of Loose Women star, Brenda Edwards, died on February 20 aged 31. The founder of the online music platform SB.TV was a pioneer in the music industry with many of his celebrity friends paying tribute following his death.
An inquest on June 7 confirmed the music entrepreneur died from a cardiac arrhythmia caused by taking recreational drugs. Brenda issued a statement on Twitter after the cause of death was revealed as she added it is “so important” to have more conversations about the “unpredictability of recreational drugs and the impact they can have”.
She continued: “It takes just one bad reaction to destroy lives. I would do anything to have my son back, but that is just not possible. So, if I can help save one life, then we will have achieved something.”
Bamber Gascoigne died on February 8 at the age of 87. The original host of BBC's University Challenge died at home after a short illness, according to his representative.
Gascoigne was the original quizmaster, and fronted the show for 25 years, until the end of its initial run in 1987.
The EastEnders star died in a house fire on February 23 at the age of 85. The comedy actress died in the blaze as firefighters were called to the scene on Windsor Road, Ilford.
Fire crews got the fire on the ground floor of a terraced house under control in less than an hour but the actress had died by then. The actress was known for her role as Olive in 70s comedy On The Buses.
She also appeared in EastEnders as Aunt Sal and the sister of Peggy Mitchell, played by Barbara Windsor.
The Procol Harum lead singer died on February 22 after receiving treatment for cancer. The psychedelic rock band were best known for their 1967 hit A Whiter Shade Of Pale.
A statement on the group's website said: "With the deepest regret we must announce the death on 19 February 2022 of Gary Brooker MBE, singer, pianist and composer of Procol Harum, and a brightly-shining, irreplaceable light in the music industry."
Shane Warne died of natural causes on March 4 aged 52. The Australian cricket star was found unresponsive in his hotel room in the Thailand resort of Koh Samui Island - and could not be revived at a nearby hospital.
Mr Warne’s parents released a statement and said the day of his death was the beginning of “a never-ending nightmare”. Keith and Brigitte said: “Looking to a future without Shane is inconceivable, hopefully the mountain of happy memories we all have will help us cope with our ongoing grief.”
Tom Parker died on March 30 at the age of 33. The singer, from Bolton, was diagnosed with stage four glioblastoma in 2020. He had been receiving treatment at a specialist clinic in Spain.
Paying tribute to Tom, his wife Kelsey cited his 'infectious smile and energetic presence'. She said: "It is with the heaviest of hearts that we confirm Tom passed away peacefully earlier today with all of his family by his side.
"Our hearts are broken, Tom was the centre of our world and we can’t imagine life without his infectious smile and energetic presence. We are truly thankful for the outpouring of love and support and ask that we all unite to ensure Tom’s light continues to shine for his beautiful children. Thank you to everyone who has supported in his care throughout, he fought until the very end. I’m forever proud of you."
The Foo Fighter drummer died on March 26 aged 50. The drummer starred in the world famous band alongside singer Dave Grohl, Nate Mendel, Pat Smear, Chris Shiflett and Rami Jaffee.
The band said it was devastated as they announced the heartbreaking news: A statement added: "Our hearts go out to his wife, children and family, and we ask that their privacy be treated with the utmost respect in this unimaginably difficult time.”
The Oscar-winning actor died at the age of 71 on March 14. He died peacefully and of natural causes, according to a statement shared online by his son Will.
Marvel has led tributes to the "an amazing talent" following his death a week before his 72nd birthday. The official account tweeted: "Rest In Peace to an amazing talent William Hurt, beloved Thaddeus 'Thunderbolt' Ross in our Marvel Cinematic Universe."
Hurt first played Ross opposite Edward Norton in the 2008 movie Incredible Hulk, then later reprised the role for performances in Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame and Black Widow.
The iconic actress died aged 82 on March 7. The star was renowned for her roles as Linda Clarke in EastEnders and Nurse Gladys Emmanuel in Open All Hours.
She also played Aunt Mabel in popular children's show Come Outside. A statement released by her agent and longtime friend, Donna French, confirmed the sad news.
The EastEnders' legend died at the age of 95 on April 4. The soap stalwart played Dot Cotton for more than thirty years in the BBC soap.
June was made an OBE in the Queen's honours at the age of 94, on January 1 2022. EastEnders' official Twitter account paid a touching tribute to the late star.
An EastEnders spokesperson said: "We are deeply saddened to announce that our beloved June Brown, OBE, MBE, sadly passed away last night. There are not enough words to describe how much June was loved and adored by everyone at EastEnders, her loving warmth, wit and great humour will never be forgotten.
"June created one of the most iconic characters in Dot Cotton, not just in soap but in British television, and having appeared in 2884 episodes, June's remarkable performances created some of EastEnders' finest moments. We send all our love and deepest sympathies to June's family and friends. A very bright light has gone out at EastEnders today but we shall all be raising a sweet sherry in June's memory. Rest in peace, our dearest June. You will never be forgotten."
Jordan Mooney died on April 4 aged 66. The punk icon's real name was Pamela Rooke and she is best known for her work with the Sex Pistols. Her family released a statement to confirm she died after a short battle with cancer.
It added: "Jordan (Pamela Rooke) has left her mark on this planet, whether it be as 'The Queen of Punk', or for her veterinary work and countless prize winning cats. She lived life to the full and was true to herself and others throughout the whole of her life.
She was totally trusted and respected by all those who knew her. Jordan was a wonderful woman and will be remembered for countless decades to come."
The iconic comedian died on April 12 at the age of 67. The star was renowned for voicing the parrot on Aladdin and was a legendary figure on the US comedy scene.
The star's family said they were "heartbroken" to lose him in a statement issued on Twitter. It said: "We are heartbroken to announce the passing of our beloved Gilbert Gottfried after a long illness. In addition to being the most iconic voice in comedy, Gilbert was a wonderful husband, brother, friend and father to his two young children.
"Although today is a sad day for all of us, please keep laughing as loud as possible in Gilbert’s honour, Love the Gottfried family."
Hollywood legend Ray Liotta died aged 67 on May 26. The Goodfellas actor died in the Dominican Republic, where he was shooting the film, Dangerous Waters.
Ray leaves behind daughter, Karsen and he was also engaged to be married to Jacy Nittolo. In a heartfelt tribute, Jacy said: "Ray and I share a deep love that I will cherish in my heart forever. We laughed daily and we were inseparable. The chemistry was wild in the best way. He was everything in the world to me and we couldn’t get enough of each other."
Jacy concluded the emotional post: "The kind of real love that one dreams of. He was the most beautiful person inside and out that I’ve ever known…and even that is an understatement."
Dennis Waterman died aged 74 on May 8. The actor, best known for his roles in New Tricks and The Sweeney, passed away at his home in Spain with his wife at his side.
A statement from his family said at the time: "We are deeply saddened to announce that our beloved Dennis, passed away very peacefully at his home in Spain. The family kindly ask that our privacy is respected at this very difficult time."
Those who had worked alongside Dennis took to social media to pay tribute to the actor, with Matt Lucas writing: "I grew up watching Dennis Waterman's iconic performances in The Sweeney and Minder. His guest appearance in our Little Britain Live show at Hammersmith Apollo - in which he hilariously duetted with David's absurd impersonation of him - remains the absolute highlight of my career."
Lester Keith Piggott was an English professional jockey and trainer. With 4,493 career flat racing wins in Britain, including a record nine Epsom Derby victories, he is widely regarded as one of the greatest flat racing jockeys of all time.
Lester died aged 86 on May 29 in Switzerland. Daughter Tracy posted on her Instagram following her dad's death and said: “It’s a sad, sad day. Daddy, I will miss you so much.”
Dame Deborah James
Dame Deborah James died aged 40 on June 28 after a battle with cancer. The former deputy headteacher was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2016 and subsequently kept her nearly one million Instagram followers up to date with her treatments.
Her candid posts about her progress and diagnosis, including videos of her dancing her way through treatment, won praise from the public and media alike.
Her family took to Instagram to announce the sad news as she left behind her husband Sebastien and their two children. A statement said: "We are deeply saddened to announce the death of Dame Deborah James; the most amazing wife, daughter, sister, mummy. Deborah passed away peacefully today, surrounded by her family.
"Deborah, who many of you will know as Bowelbabe, was an inspiration and we are incredibly proud of her and her work and commitment to charitable campaigning, fundraising and her endless efforts to raise awareness of cancer that touched so many lives. Deborah shared her experience with the world to raise awareness, break down barriers, challenge taboos and change the conversation around cancer. Even in her most challenging moments, her determination to raise money and awareness was inspiring.
"We thank you for giving us time in private as a family, and we look forward to continuing Deborah's legacy long into the future through the @bowelbabefund. Thank you for playing your part in her journey, you are all incredible.
"And a few final things from Deborah...'find a life worth enjoying; take risks; love deeply; have no regrets; and always, always have rebellious hope. And finally, check your poo - it could just save your life.'"
Phillip Baker Hall
The Seinfeld and Modern Family star died aged 90 on June 13. The news was announced by Los Angeles Times sports writer Sam Farmer who was his friend and neighbour, on Monday.
Sam said: "My neighbour, friend, and one of the wisest, most talented and kindest people I’ve ever met, Philip Baker Hall, died peacefully last night. He was surrounded by loved ones. The world has an empty space in it."
The legendary actor died on July 7 at the age of 82. The iconic star's career spanned seven decades and he was renowned for his roles in The Godfather and Thief.
A statement on Twitter said: “It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of Jimmy on the evening of July 6. The family appreciates the outpouring of love and heartfelt condolences and asks that you continue to respect their privacy during this difficult time.”
The former Liverpool FC owner died aged 76 on July 22. Moores, who was chairman of the Reds for 16 years, became honorary life president after selling his majority stake in the club in 2007.
A statement from Liverpool read: "Liverpool FC is deeply saddened by the passing of former chairman and owner David Moores. The thoughts of everyone at Liverpool FC are with David’s family and friends at this difficult time."
Bernard Cribbins died on July 28 aged 93. The veteran actor starred in the Carry On films, Doctor Who and the 1970 film The Railway Children. A statement from Gavin Barker Associates said: "Beloved actor Bernard Cribbins OBE has passed away at the age of 93.
"His career spanned seven decades with such diverse work ranging from films like The Railway Children and the Carry On series, hit 60s song Right Said Fred, a notorious guest on Fawlty Towers and narrating The Wombles. He worked well into his 90s, recently appearing in Doctor Who and the CBeebies series Old Jack's Boat.
"He lost his wife of 66 years, Gill, last year. Bernard's contribution to British entertainment is without question. He was unique, typifying the best of his generation, and will be greatly missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing and working with him."
The legendary Sopranos star died on July 9 at the age 79. The actor was renowned for his role as Paulie Walnuts on the groundbreaking HBO show.
His brother, Robert Sirico, led tributes as he confirmed the sad news. He said: "It is with great sadness, but with incredible pride, love and a whole lot of fond memories, that the family of Gennaro Anthony “Tony” Sirico wishes to inform you of his death on the morning of July 8, 2022.
"Tony is survived by his two beloved children, Joanne Sirico Bello and Richard Sirico, grandchildren, siblings, nieces, nephews and many other relatives."
Dame Olivia Newton John
Dame Olivia Newton-John died aged 73 on August 9 after a 30 year battle with breast cancer. The singer and actress, who was born in Cambridge and raised in Australia, died "peacefully" at her Ranch in Southern Californi, surrounded by family and friends.
Dame Olivia is best known for her starring role in the 1978 film Grease, in which she starred opposite John Travolta as Sandy. A post on her official Facebook page said: "Olivia has been a symbol of triumphs and hope for over 30 years sharing her journey with breast cancer. Her healing inspiration and pioneering experience with plant medicine continues with the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund, dedicated to researching plant medicine and cancer."
Darius Campbell Danesh was found dead in his US apartment at the age of 41. A statement said: "It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Darius Campbell Danesh. Darius was found unresponsive in bed in his apartment room in Rochester, Minnesota, on August 11 and was pronounced dead in the afternoon by the local medical examiners' office."
The Southern Minnesota Regional Medical Examiner's Office later confirmed he died from “inhalation of chloroethane”. Autopsy documents obtained by the PA news agency listed “toxic effects of chloroethane” as well as “suffocation” as having contributed to his death.
Fellow Pop Idol contestants Will Young and Gareth Gates paid tribute to the singer after his death was announced, describing him as “driven, courageous and gentle”.
Anne Heche died on August 18 due to smoke inhalation and thermal injuries. The actress was “peacefully taken off life support” nine days after the car crash in which she suffered a “severe anoxic brain injury”. Her vehicle collided with a residence in the Mar Vista area of Los Angeles and became “engulfed in flames”.
Announcing her death, Heche’s family shared a statement praising her “extraordinary talent” and “generous spirit”.
Bill Turnbull died aged 66 on August 31 after a battle with prostate cancer. A statement from his family said: "Following a challenging and committed fight against prostate cancer, Bill passed away peacefully at his home in Suffolk surrounded by his family on Wednesday, 31st August.
"Bill was diagnosed in 2017 and has had outstanding medical care from the Royal Marsden and Ipswich Hospitals, St Elizabeth Hospice and his GP. He was resolutely positive and was hugely buoyed by the support he received from friends, colleagues, and messages from people wishing him luck.
"It was a great comfort to Bill that so many more men are now testing earlier for this disease. Bill will be remembered by many as a remarkable broadcaster who brought warmth and humour into people's homes on BBC Breakfast and Classic FM.
"He was also a devoted Wycombe Wanderers fan and an ever-aspiring beekeeper. Bill was a wonderful husband and father to his three children; his family and friends will miss how he always made them laugh, and the generosity and love he shared with those around him.
"Bill was a wonderful husband and father to his three children; his family and friends will miss how he always made them laugh, and the generosity and love he shared with those around him."
Queen Elizabeth II
The nation entered a period of mourning after Her Majesty died aged 96. Buckingham Palace released a statement on September 8 confirming the Monarch had died at Balmoral.
ECHO readers paid tribute to the Queen after her death. Writing on the ECHO's Facebook page, Carol Nichol said: "Rest In Peace Your Majesty, thank you for your service to this country. I hope you see your beloved Philip again. My thoughts are with the Royal Family."
Sue Duddle added: "With her beloved husband now. So sad, such a beautiful lady RIP." Kathy Poulson also said: "God bless her and thank you for all you have done for the country."
Dame Hilary Mantel
The acclaimed author died on September 23 aged 70. The writer was renowned for her novel, Wolf Hall.
Publisher HarperCollins said the author died 'suddenly yet peacefully' surrounded by close family and friends. Paying tribute, they described her as 'one of the greatest English novelists of this century'.
Coolio died on September 29 aged 59. The acclaimed rapper is renowned for his hit song Gangsta's Paradise. He was found unresponsive on the bathroom floor of a friend’s house in Los Angeles, according to TMZ.
Coolio came third in the sixth series of UK Celebrity Big Brother in 2009, losing out to broadcaster Terry Christian, who was the runner up, and presenter and model Ulrika Jonsson, who won.
Dame Angela Lansbury
Dame Angela Lansbury died on October 12 aged 96. The actress won acclaim as the star of US TV show Murder, She Wrote.
A statement from the family said: "The children of Dame Angela Lansbury are sad to announce that their mother died peacefully in her sleep at home in Los Angeles."
Robbie Coltrane died on October 14 at the age of 72. The actor and comedian was best known for his roles as Hagrid in the film adaptations of JK Rowling's books, and for playing Dr Edward "Fitz" Fitzgerald in Cracker.
His agent released an emotional tribute as she said: "My client and friend Robbie Coltrane OBE passed away on Friday, October 14. Robbie was a unique talent, sharing the Guinness Book of Records' Award for winning three consecutive Best Actor Baftas for his portrayal of Fitz in Granada TV's series Cracker in 1994, 1995 and 1996 with Sir Michael Gambon.
"He will probably be best remembered for decades to come as Hagrid in the Harry Potter films, a role which brought joy to children and adults alike all over the world, prompting a stream of fan letters every week for over 20 years. James Bond fans write too to applaud his role in GoldenEye and The World Is Not Enough.
"For me personally I shall remember him as an abidingly loyal client. As well as being a wonderful actor, he was forensically intelligent, brilliantly witty and after 40 years of being proud to be called his agent, I shall miss him.
"He is survived by his sister Annie Rae, his children Spencer and Alice and their mother Rhona Gemmell. They would like to thank the medical staff at Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert for their care and diplomacy."
The prominent Merseyside businessman died suddenly on October 23 aged 36. The Wirral-based entrepreneur was the owner of vegan fragrance brand Owen Drew, and triumphed on Dragons' Den last year after scooping a £50,000 investment for his business from "Dragon" Touker Suleyman.
His mum Kate confirmed the news in a Facebook post and said: "We are truly, utterly heartbroken to have to tell you that our beloved Drew Peter George Cockton (my gorgeous boy) died peacefully at home yesterday. We are devastated beyond belief. Life is never, ever going to be the same again. Rest Peacefully darling boy."
The Fleetwood Mac member died aged 79 on November 30. The singer-songwriter was responsible for hits such as Songbird, Don't Stop, and Little Lies.
Her family released an emotional tribute after she died after a short illness as they said she was a “revered musician who was loved universally”.
Bill Treacher died on November 5 at the age of 92. The soap star was renowned for his role as Arthur Fowler in EastEnders. The late actor played the head of the Fowler family in the long-running soap from 1985 to 1996. He died after suffering declining health for some time.
A statement from the family said: "He was much loved by his wife, Kate, his son, Jamie and his daughter, Sophie. Bill was a brilliant actor and a wonderful husband and father, plus a very fine human being. He will be hugely missed."
The Clash guitarist died aged 65 on November 11. The BBC and the Guardian reported that Mr Levene had been living with liver cancer and he died at his home in Norfolk.
Paying tribute to Mr Levene, Author Adam Hammond said he was one of the most "innovative, audacious and influential guitarists of all time."
The former Liverpool FC and Everton FC striker died on November 23 at the age of 71. Johnson, who was from Halewood, had been ill for some time having been diagnosed with throat cancer in recent years.
Tributes were made on social media by several Merseyside football legends including Peter Reid, Ian Rush and John Aldridge. Former Reds team-mate David Fairclough wrote: “So sad to hear my great friend and Liverpool legend David Johnson has passed away today. Shared so many great moments and memories. Today is a very sad day.”
The Faithless singer died at the age of 65 on December 24. Sister Bliss announced the sad news on Twitter as she paid tribute to the late singer. She said: "Maxi Jazz 1957 - 2022. We are heartbroken to share that Maxi died peacefully in his sleep last night.
"Sending love to all of you who shared our musical journey. Look after each other y’hear" [sic]
US actress Kirstie Alley died from cancer at the age of 71 on December 6. She was best known for her breakout role as Rebecca Howe in the NBC sitcom Cheers from 1987 to 1993, and received both an Emmy Award and a Golden Globe for the role in 1991.
A statement posted on social media through her official accounts described her as a “incredible, fierce and loving mother”. It added: "She was surrounded by her closest family and fought with great strength, leaving us with a certainty of her never-ending joy of living and whatever adventures lie ahead. As iconic as she was on screen, she was an even more amazing mother and grandmother.”
The Specials singer died at the age of 63 on December 19. The band announced the news on their official Twitter page.
The first of a string of tweets read: "It is with great sadness that we announce the passing, following a brief illness, of Terry, our beautiful friend, brother and one of the most brilliant singers, songwriters and lyricists this country has ever produced."
Terry was a wonderful husband and father and one of the kindest, funniest, and most genuine of souls. His music and his performances encapsulated the very essence of life… the joy, the pain, the humour, the fight for justice, but mostly the love."
The band continued to say: "He will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved him and leaves behind the gift of his remarkable music and profound humanity. "Terry often left the stage at the end of The Specials’ life-affirming shows with three words…'Love Love Love'."
The Hi-de-Hi! actress died on December 10 at the age of 79. She died just one day after she assured fans she was "well" following an accident that saw the star rushed into hospital.
A statement posted to Ruth's Instagram page on December 9, read: "Following an accident earlier this week, and after medical assessment, regretfully Ruth Madoc is no longer able to appear in this year's pantomime of Aladdin at the Princess Theatre in Torquay"
Tributes to the actress were posted on social media after her agent confirmed the sad news. Opera singer Paul Potts said: "So sad. I’ve sat with her at many charity functions. Lovely person."
Carol Challis, wife of late Only Fools and Horses actor John Challis, said: "Sad news indeed. John and I did a panto season with Ruth and we enjoyed her company very much .Rest easy ‘cariad Bach’."
A spokesman for British comedy channel Gold said: "We are all deeply saddened at Gold to learn that the wonderful Ruth Madoc has passed away at 79. Audiences adored her as Gladys Pugh in Hi-De-Hi! Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this difficult and sad time."
World-class and legendary fashion designer, Vivienne Westwood died on December 29.
Sharing a message on their social media accounts, a representative said: "29th December 2022. Vivienne Westwood died today, peacefully and surrounded by her family, in Clapham, South London. The world needs people like Vivienne to make a change for the better."
The death of Brazil legend Pele, arguably the most famous and greatest footballer in the history of the game, was announced on December 29.
He died at the age of 82, having suffered from a series of health issues in recent years, most recently after being diagnosed with cancer in September 2021.
Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI died at the age of 95, the Vatican announced on December 31.
The former pontiff had died after a battle with illness. Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said: “With pain I inform that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI died today at 9:34 in the Mater Ecclesia Monastery in the Vatican. Further information will be released as soon as possible.”
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