Gone But Never Forgotten: The Celebrities We Lost In 2017

This year has been a rollercoaster of emotions with unpredictable twists and turns, particularly when it comes to losing some of our most beloved celebrities. The world lost icons in journalism, sports, entertainment and politics that impacted the Black community especially. 

From Della Reese to JIm Vance, here’s a list of famous people who passed away in 2017.


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The legendary actress, jazz and gospel singer, and ordained minister passed away on Nov. 19.

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Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

Earle Hyman was known for several popular roles, especially that of Cliff Huxtable’s pops! His final sunset on Nov. 17.

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Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

We lost one of the iconic pioneer of rock and roll on Oct. 24. He was 89-years-old.

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M. Phillips/Getty Images

Guillaume, who passed away in October, played King in 1985's Prince Jack.

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Michael Buckner

Ellis was only 39 when he died of complications from heart failure.

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Gabe Ginsberg

Big Black was best known for starring in MTV’s Rob & Big with his buddy, skateboarder Rob Ryrdek. He died in the spring at 45.

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Hip-Hop lost a legend the day Prodigy died.

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Stephen Lovekin/Getty

This actor and singer lived a full life and gave us equally talented sons, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Omar Gooding. His legacy will live on through them.

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Michael Schwartz

CHARLIE MURPHY! His stories were epic and will be missed.

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Daniel Zuchnik/Getty Images

Without Q there would be no “Wooooorld Staaaar!” Rest in Peace.

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Brent N. Clarke

Our favorite comedian, civil rights activist, social critic, writer, entrepreneur and conspiracy theorist uncle is kicking that knowledge in the afterlife.


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The Washington Post—The Washington Post/Getty Images

The veteran producer and reporter for WRC-TV spent 45 years serving the Washington DC area before losing his battle to cancer.

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Kris Connor/Getty

Fresh Kid Ice was a founding member of 2 Live Crew. Hip-hop lost another legend.

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Ebet Roberts

Another rock and roll pioneer has transitioned from Earth.

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Mauricio Santana/WireImage

Add the seven-time Grammy Award winner to the long list of musicians who passed away in 2017.

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Long died in January at age 63.

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Rick Diamond/Getty Images

We lost the man who brought us “Everlasting Love” passed on Nov. 5.

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Jason Miller—Getty Images

The former Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle was just 48 when he died.

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The Project Runway finalist died at age 39 of unknown causes.

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Wilder was best known as the lead singer of 70s funk band Heatwave.

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Ryan Miller—Invision/AP

The beloved actor, poet and football player died of a stroke.

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The Broadway legend died of cancer in September.

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Rick Madonik/Getty Images

Bradley joined the big jam session in the sky in September.

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Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

Sledge was best known as a founding member of Sister Sledge, the group who blessed the world with “We Are Family” and “He’s the Greatest Dancer.”

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The beloved-Atlanta-news anchor died days after Christmas while traveling to her step-father's funeral.