In Memoriam 2017: People We Lost This Year
2017 was a painful year for many reasons, for many people: Trump, politics and almost everything happening in Washington, D.C. Natural disasters. Acts of terrorism. Gun violence. An unearthed pandemic of sexual misconduct. Amid all of this cacophony were sobering, destabilizing losses – the deaths of artists, creators and heroes in music and beyond. The passing of greats like Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Glen Campbell and Gregg Allman marked the sad but inevitable fading of older, culture-defining generations. Others felt like a gut-punch: especially the sudden, shocking departures of Chris Cornell, Chester Bennington and Tom Petty, masters who performed days before they left us. Regardless of the circumstances, the names here leave behind legacies and bodies of work to pore over and examine over the years to come – here’s how they’ll be remembered.
The dynamic and iconoclastic frontman for his band The Heartbreakers died October 2nd in Los Angeles following cardiac arrest; he was 66.
“To me, Tom Petty represented a kind of songwriting I idolized: complex simplicity,” Taylor Swift said to Rolling Stone. “It said so much in the lyrics, the concepts, the stories, the message, the nuances … but always brought you back to a hook that got stuck in everyone’s head. He motivated thousands of guitarists to learn to play just because they wanted to be able to play ‘Free Fallin.’ Count me as one of them.”
Chuck Berry, whose rollicking songs, springy guitar riffs and onstage duck walk defined rock & roll during its early years and for decades to come, died of cardiac arrest on March 18th. He was 90.
“It started with Chuck Berry,” Rod Stewart, one of many musicians to pay tribute, said in a statement. “The first album I ever bought was Chuck’s ‘Live at the Tivoli’ and I was never the same. He was more than a legend; he was a founding father. You can hear his influence in every rock & roll band from my generation on. I’ve been performing his ‘Sweet Little Rock & Roller’ since 1974 and tonight, when my band and I perform it at Caesars Palace’s Colosseum, it’ll be for Chuck Berry – your sound lives on.”
Chris Cornell, the dynamic vocalist, guitarist and songwriter whose versatile showmanship as Soundgarden and Temple of the Dog’s frontman helped define the grunge era, hung himself in his hotel room at the MGM Grand Detroit on May 17th. He was 52.
“People say, ‘What was it about Chris Cornell’s voice that was so amazing?’ And it was that it didn’t have any element of trying to show off or trying to impress or trying to keep up with any particular trends,” his friend and fellow Seattle-born artist Ann Wilson told Rolling Stone. “He was a brilliant storyteller. And he played it real all the time.”
Gregg Allman, the singer, musician and songwriter who played an essential role in the invention of Southern rock, died at the age of 69 of complications from liver cancer in his Savannah, Georgia home May 26th.
“Gregg’s voice definitely influenced the way I sing,” the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach told Rolling Stone. “When you think about it, he was as great with his vocals as his brother was on the guitar. ‘Midnight Rider,’ in particular, had this mystical quality, that type of rolling rhythm with Gregg’s voice on top. Everything I’ve ever done is based on that – a funky groove with soulful singing. It’s the foundation of what I do … Gregg was an old soul from the git-go. I don’t know how he did it.”
Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington died of an apparent suicide by hanging July 20th. The singer was 41.
“Your absence leaves a void that can never be filled – a boisterous, funny, ambitious, creative, kind, generous voice in the room is missing,” Linkin Park’s surviving members said in a statement. “We’re trying to remind ourselves that the demons who took you away from us were always part of the deal. After all, it was the way you sang about those demons that made everyone fall in love with you in the first place. You fearlessly put them on display, and in doing so, brought us together and taught us to be more human. You had the biggest heart, and managed to wear it on your sleeve.”
Glen Campbell, the legendary singer who defied genre by fusing country and pop sounds on hits such as “Rhinestone Cowboy” and “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” in the Sixties, died following a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease on August 8th. He was 81.
“He had a beautiful singing voice,” Bruce Springsteen said in 2014. “Pure tone. And it was never fancy. Wasn’t singing all over the place. It was simple on the surface but there was a world of emotion underneath.”
David Cassidy, the musician, actor and Partridge Family teen idol, died November 21st after being hospitalized for kidney and liver failure. He was 67.
“David had a wonderful sense of humor,” his longtime friend, singer Kim Carnes, wrote in a Rolling Stone piece after his death. “He had the best laugh, the best smile and the biggest heart. His best friends were his friends he went to school with, and he always stayed close to the people that had been friends with him for years and years.”
“He had a lot of really, really difficult times in his life, tragedies to deal with. Not just in being David Cassidy, teen star, and trying to make people believe he’s more than that, but on a human level, on a family level. I think he was always searching for love.”
Walter Becker, guitarist, bassist and co-founder of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-inducted band Steely Dan, died September 3rd at the age of 67.
“Walter Becker was my friend, my writing partner and my bandmate since we met as students at Bard College in 1967,” Donald Fagen wrote in a tribute to Becker. “He was smart as a whip, an excellent guitarist and a great songwriter. He was cynical about human nature, including his own, and hysterically funny.”
Fats Domino, the genial, good-natured symbol of the dawn of rock and roll and the voice and piano behind enduring hits like “Blueberry Hill” and “Ain’t That a Shame,” died October 25th at the age of 89 in Louisiana.
A contemporary of Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis, Domino was among the first acts inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
“Rest in peace Fats Domino, the great rock ‘n’ roll pianist and singer who thrilled us in our early days in Liverpool,” Paul McCartney wrote on his website. “His hit records like ‘Ain’t That a Shame,’ ‘Blueberry Hill,’ ‘I’m in Love Again’ and many others introduced us to the sounds of New Orleans rock ‘n’ roll.
“His voice, piano playing and musical style was a huge influence on us,” McCartney added, “and his appearance in the film The Girl Can’t Help It was truly magnificent.”
“As one of my favorite rock ‘n’ roll singers, I will remember him fondly and always think of him with that twinkle in his eye.”
Comedy legend Jerry Lewis, celebrated for his perfect comedic timing in decades of film and TV – and a long-running charitable telethon – died of a heart condition in his Las Vegas home on August 20th. He was 91.
“Jerry Lewis was a master. He was a great entertainer. He was a great artist. And he was a remarkable man,” director Martin Scorsese said in a statement. “I had the honor of working with him, and it was an experience I’ll always treasure. He was, truly, one of our greats.”
Don Williams, nicknamed the “Gentle Giant” for his tall stature and reassuring voice, died following a short illness of emphysema on September 8th. He was 78.
“In giving voice to songs like ‘Good Ole Boys Like Me,’ ‘Lord, I Hope This Day Is Good’ and ‘Amanda,’ Don Williams offered calm, beauty, and a sense of wistful peace that is in short supply these days,” Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum CEO Kyle Young said in a statement. “His music will forever be a balm in troublesome times. Everyone who makes country music with grace, intelligence, and ageless intent will do so while standing on the shoulders of this gentle giant.”
Prodigy, one half of the seminal hip-hop duo Mobb Deep, died following complications caused by sickle cell anemia on June 20th. He was 42.
Prodigy’s old label boss, Steve Rifkind, who co-founded Loud Records, remembered the rapper with a pair of posts on Instagram. “When I say Loud was a family, Loud was a family,” he wrote. “We might have yelled and screamed at each other, but we always wanted what was best for the act … Mobb Deep was the second group to go platinum right after Wu. We not only talked music we talked about everything but all I can say right now is RIP.”
Malcolm Young, guitarist and co-founder of AC/DC, died November 18th at age 64 from complications of dementia.
“Malcolm gave rock and roll a fist. He’d give it a kick in the ass,” AC/DC lead singer Brian Johnson told Rolling Stone. “People always used to ask Mal, ‘How do you get that sound, man?’ Malcolm either wouldn’t tell them or just really couldn’t explain it. He would just go, ‘We just play.’ I used to stand next to him at the end of ‘Let There Be Rock,’ where there is a big huge build at the end and it builds and builds. Malcolm would go through two guitar picks during that one song. He would wear them down. He was the most precise guitarist.”
Adam West, known as TV’s Batman for his portrayal of DC Comics’ masked superhero in the Sixties, died June 9th following a short battle with leukemia. He was 88.
“People always asked Adam if he felt like he’d been typecast, if Batman had hurt his career. But I know he loved it. He loved being a star,” West’s costar Burt Ward wrote in a remembrance piece for Variety. “After the show became such a hit, he got offered everything. They offered him Bond but he turned it down. He thought Bond should be played by a Brit. I got offered a little movie called The Graduate – 20th Century Fox wouldn’t let me do it – but that’s another story. We both looked at it this way: You take a glass and you fill it to the top. You can either fill it with a bunch of different movies or fill it with one huge success that makes people around the world love you and want to shake your hand. Adam filled his glass with the adoration of the world.”
Lil Peep (real name Gustav Åhr), the New York rapper who mixed guitar-driven emo and rap production on mixtapes that gained millions of plays on SoundCloud, died November 15th following an overdose of fentanyl and generic Xanax. He was 21.
“Gus understood that many good people suffered injustice because of what they looked like or how much money they had,” his mother, Liza Womack, said at his memorial service. “He saw how the cool kids who lived in the fancy neighborhoods looked down on his friends who lived in the projects – and looked down on his own family who lived in an apartment and drove an old Nissan. Gus got fed up with that world. He rejected it.”
Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, who helped to usher in the post-war sexual revolution via the racy publication, died of natural causes on September 27th. He was 91.
“My father lived an exceptional and impactful life as a media and cultural pioneer and a leading voice behind some of the most significant social and cultural movements of our time in advocating free speech, civil rights and sexual freedom,” Cooper Hefner, Playboy Enterprises’ chief creative officer and Hugh’s son, said in the statement. “He defined a lifestyle and ethos that lie at the heart of the Playboy brand, one of the most recognizable and enduring in history.”
Jonathan Demme, best known as the Oscar-winning director of Silence of the Lambs and Philadelphia, died of esophageal cancer at his Manhattan apartment on April 26th. He was 73.
“I am heartbroken to lose a friend, a mentor, a guy so singular and dynamic you’d have to design a hurricane to contain him,” Silence of the Lambs star Jodie Foster said in a statement. “Jonathan was as quirky as his comedies and as deep as his dramas. He was pure energy; the unstoppable cheerleader for anyone creative. Just as passionate about music as he was about art, he was and will always be a champion of the soul. JD, most beloved, something wild, brother of love, director of the lambs. Love that guy. Love him so much.”
Sam Shepard, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and Oscar-nominated actor, died following complications from ALS at his home in Kentucky on July 30th. He was 73.
“I wouldn’t call Sammy easygoing and funny, but everybody has their dark side, and he always does it with a sense of humor,” Jessica Lange, Shepard’s partner for nearly 30 years, told AARP earlier that month. Lange and Shepard had two children together.
Mel Tillis, the Country Music Hall of Famer who was as famous for his songwriting as he was for his lifelong stutter, died at Munroe Regional Medical Center in Ocala, Florida, on November 19th, following a lengthy illness. He was 85.
“He once spent an entire day at his place in Tennessee showing me all the memorabilia he’d gathered over the years where he gave me a pair of his stage boots,” Blake Shelton tweeted after his death. “He even took time to talk me through some hard times in my life on a couple phone calls.”
Harry Dean Stanton
Harry Dean Stanton, the beloved character actor who starred in over 200 films such as Repo Man, Paris, Texas, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, Big Love and Pretty in Pink, died of natural causes in Los Angeles on September 15th. He was 91.
“The great Harry Dean Stanton has left us,” Twin Peaks director David Lynch said in a statement. “There went a great one. There’s nobody like Harry Dean. Everyone loved him. And with good reason. He was a great actor (actually beyond great) – and a great human being – so great to be around him!!! You are really going to be missed Harry Dean!!! Loads of love to where you are now!!”
Grant Hart, drummer and singer of the seminal alternative rock band Hüsker Dü, died at 56 in September after being diagnosed with liver cancer.
“His drumming alone is enough to secure Grant Hart a place in the alt-rock history books, but that’s only part of his story,” Bob Mould Band drummer Jon Wurster wrote. “Grant was a top-shelf songwriter, penning and handling lead vocals on Hüsker Dü classics like ‘Terms of Psychic Warfare,’ ‘Diane,’ ‘Green Eyes’ and ‘The Girl Who Lives on Heaven Hill.'”
And what a voice. His was arguably the best to come out of the post-punk/hardcore/alternative scene: sweet and angelic one minute, menacing the next.
Oscar-winning Ed Wood actor Martin Landau, who appeared in films by Woody Allen and Alfred Hitchcock, died following an unexpected complication during a brief hospitalization on July 15th. He was 89.
“I had the honor & joy of working/playing with Marty Landau. What a wonderful actor, what a wonderful soul,” Jeff Bridges wrote on Twitter. “He loved acting so much, and that love, that excitement was contagious. Thank you, Marty, for all you gave us.”
John Warren Geils Jr., better known as guitarist J. Geils of the J. Geils Band, was found unresponsive at his Groton, Massachusetts, home on April 11th; police later determined that he had died of natural causes. He was 71.
“Thinking of all the times we kicked it high and rocked down the house! R.I.P. Jay Geils,” vocalist Peter Wolf wrote in a post to Facebook shortly afterward.
George A. Romero, the director who helped put zombies on the pop culture map with 1968 horror classic Night of the Living Dead, died following a brief battle with lung cancer on July 16th. He was 77.
“We always sort of refer to Night of the Living Dead as the Holy Grail of zombie movies,” The Walking Dead executive producer Greg Nicotero told Rolling Stone in 2013. “All of the rules – you’ve gotta shoot it in the head to kill it – before 1969, that little piece of folklore didn’t exist. Now it’s part of popular culture. So we owe a lot to George’s vision and the world he set up.”
Charles Bradley, an acclaimed soul singer and former James Brown impersonator, died following a bout of stomach and liver cancer on September 23rd. He was 68.
“The world lost a ton of heart today,” Gabriel Roth, co-founder of Bradley’s label Daptone Records, said in a statement. “Charles was somehow one of the meekest and strongest people I’ve ever known. His pain was a cry for universal love and humanity. His soulful moans and screams will echo forever on records and in the ears and hearts of those who were fortunate enough to share time with him. I find some solace knowing that he will continue to inspire love and music in this world for generations to come. I told him as much a few days ago. He smiled and told me, ‘I tried.’ It was probably the simplest and most inspiring thing he ever told me. I think he wanted to hug each person on this planet individually. I mean that literally, and anyone that ever saw him knows that he honestly tried.”
Trucks, one of the founding drummers of the Allman Brothers Band, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on January 24th. He was 69.
“He put 110 percent of himself into every song he played. He was the Lou Gehrig of rock drummers. …He would play with the utmost intensity till he was about to fall over with no regrets,” Allman Brother Band guitarist Warren Haynes said. “His mission in life was to serve the music. And serve the music he did.”
Charlie Murphy, Eddie Murphy’s older brother and an accomplished comedian in his own right, died of leukemia in New York City on April 12th. He was 57.
“He was the best storyteller I ever heard,” fellow comic D.L. Hughley said, reflecting on the many comedy gigs he did with Murphy on his radio program. “I’m sad that he’s gone, but I’m also happy that I got to know him. He rushed home to be with his family after every gig, he did comedy his way and he died with gigs on the books.”
Veteran Hollywood villain Powers Boothe, who had memorable roles in films like Sin City and TV shows like Deadwood, died of natural causes in his sleep on May 14th. He was 68.
“Powers Boothe was an unbelievably talented actor and sweet sweet man,” tweeted Lonely Island’s Jorma Taccone, who directed Booth as Colonel Faith in the comedy MacGruber. “He will be sorely missed. There will never be another Colonel Faith.”
Erin Moran, the actress who played Joanie Cunningham on Happy Days and on its spinoff, Joanie Loves Chachi, died of complications with stage four cancer on April 22nd. She was 56.
Former Happy Days costar Ron Howard tweeted: “I’ll always choose to remember you on our show making scenes better, getting laughs and lighting up tv screens.”
Roger Moore, who portrayed dapper big screen hero James Bond in seven different films, died following a long battle with cancer on May 23rd. He was 89.
“The love with which he was surrounded in his final days was so great it cannot be quantified in words alone,” his family said in a statement. We know our love and admiration will be magnified many times over, across the world, by the people who knew him for his films, his television shows and his passionate work for UNICEF which he considered to be his greatest achievement. Thank you Pops for being you, and for being so very special to so many people.”
Gay rights pioneer Edith Windsor died of unspecified causes on September 12th, leading to an outpouring of remembrances from politicians and celebrities spanning several decades. She was 88.
“I lost my beloved spouse Edie, and the world lost a tiny but tough as nails fighter for freedom, justice and equality. Edie was the light of my life,” her wife, Judith Kasen-Windsor, said in a statement. “She will always be the light for the LGBTQ community which she loved so much and which loved her right back.”
French actress and New Wave icon Jeanne Moreau, known best for her roles in Jules & Jim and Elevator to the Gallows, died of natural causes at her Paris apartment on July 31st. She was 89.
“A legend of cinema and theater … an actress engaged in the whirlwind of life with an absolute freedom,” French president Emmanuel Macron tweeted of Moreau. Pierre Lescure, president of the Cannes Film Festival, added in a statement, “She was strong and she didn’t like to see people pour their hearts out. Sorry, Jeanne, but this is beyond us. We are crying.”
Dick Gregory, the pioneering comedian, civil rights activist and author, died in Washington, D.C., after complications during a hospitalization for a urinary tract infection on August 19th. He was 84.
“From comedy to civil rights to a life dedicated to equality, he never waned. Immeasurable generational sacrifice. A transformative blockbuster comedian who obliterated the color line,” Christian Gregory wrote of his father the day after his death. “He quickly realized that the inequities and travesties of life were no laughing matter. There is no question humanity is better for it, we will allow his legendary history to stand for itself. Generations will delve into his sacrifice, comedic genius, focus and aptitude. For now, we simply want to reflect on his Service and Grace. Civil Rights, Women’s Rights, children’s Rights, Human Rights, Disabled Rights, Animal Rights. Dick Gregory’s DNA is virtually on every movement for fairness and equality for all livings things on this planet. He was rarely one to rest and never one to stop championing for peace. Hopefully now he may find some semblance of them both.”
Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Poltergeist director Tobe Hooper died of reportedly natural causes on August 26th at his home in Sherman Oaks, California. He was 74.
“To call The Texas Chainsaw Massacre a ‘slasher film’ or ‘just’ a horror movie is an insult at best. It is a film that stands side by side with some of the best films of its time – one every bit as powerful as Taxi Driver, Jaws, A Clockwork Orange and The Godfather. It is a true classic,” Rob Zombie wrote in a piece for Rolling Stone remembering Hooper. “Some people say that you’re only as good as your last project. That’s complete nonsense: Art has no timeline or expiration date. And for that reason, Tobe Hooper now resides along side the greats of cinema history.”
Character actor Jay Thomas, who had memorable roles on Cheers and Murphy Brown, died following a battle with cancer on August 24th. He was 69.
“Jay Thomas was one of the funniest and kindest men I have had the honor to call both client and friend for 25 years-plus,” his publicist Thomas Estey told Variety at the time. “He will be dearly missed by so many.” Added his friend and agent Don Buchwald, “Jay was one of a kind, never at a loss for words and filled with so much fun and wonderfully wacky thoughts and behavior.”
Robert Guillaume, who played the quick-witted and sarcastic Benson DuBois on Soap and the spinoff Benson, died at his Los Angeles home on October 24th after a battle with prostate cancer. He was 89.
“St. Louis’ finest. He may not have called himself the HNIC (see ‘Lean on Me’), so I’ll have to do it for him. RIP, sir,” actor Sterling K. Brown wrote. “Thank you for paving the way.” Added Sports Night costar Josh Malina, “R.I.P. Robert Guillaume. Saw him play Nathan Detroit on Broadway in 1976. Made me want to be an actor. It was a thrill to work w him on SN.”
Troy Gentry, one half of the popular country duo Montgomery Gentry, was killed in a helicopter crash in Medford, New Jersey, on September 8th. He was 50.
“Our world was turned upside down in an instant and nothing could have prepared us for this,” his longtime singing partner Eddie Montgomery said in a statement a few days later. “Over the past few months T-Roy and I have been working on what I think is the best record of our career. In the last few weeks we had been talking about what our first single would be. Then on September 8th, none of that mattered.”
Gord Downie, the lead singer of beloved Canadian alt-rock band Tragically Hip, died on October 17th following a battle with terminal brain cancer. He was 53.
“Gord Downie is definitely in the tradition of great Canadian poets,” former MCA president Bruce Dickinson told the National Post in 2016. “There can be a certain darkness in the lyrics, in some ways that reminded me of reading and listening to Leonard Cohen or Robertson Davies. I think that’s all part of what appeals to Canadian fans. They’re five Canadian guys who go up on stage and they look like their audience. I think that everyman quality matters.”
Ralphie May, who parlayed a second-place finish on 2003’s Last Comic Standing into a successful comedy career – with several Comedy Central and Netflix specials – died October 6th in Las Vegas from hypertensive cardiovascular disease. He was 45.
Marc Maron called him a “comic warrior,” while Chris Rock recalled, “such a funny guy. My fellow comics, the road is rough. Don’t let it get the best of you.” Added Larry the Cable Guy: “You my friend were one of the nicest and kindest out there. Ralphie was one of the first people to congratulate me when I started filming blue collar tv. I’ll miss knowing he’s not out there anymore. Thanks for your kindness Ralphie.”
John Heard, the actor perhaps best known for portraying Kevin McCallister’s dad in the Home Alone series, died of a heart attack in his Palo Alto, California, hotel room on July 21st. He was 72.
“John Heard was the coolest cat in New York City for about 10 straight years, 1974-1984. Ask anybody who was there then,” his longtime friend Daniel Stern wrote in remembrance of the late actor. “Every actor wanted to be as intense as him, every woman wanted to sleep with him. He lived life at 110 mph — Plato’s Retreat, Cafe Central, crazy, crazy drink and drug stamina. He was defiant, he was poetic, he was ridiculously generous and he was charismatic as hell.”
Chuck Mosley, vocalist for 80s alt-metal band Faith No More, died following a long struggle with substance abuse on November 9th. He was 57.
“He was a reckless and caterwauling force of energy who delivered with conviction and helped set us on a track of uniqueness and originality that would not have developed the way it had had he not been a part,” the band said in a statement. “How fortunate we are to have been able to perform with him last year in a reunion style when we re-released our very first record. His enthusiasm, his sense of humor, his style and his bravado will be missed by so many. We were a family, an odd and dysfunctional family, and we’ll be forever grateful for the time we shared with Chuck.”
Daisy Berkowitz, nee Scott Putesky, the founding guitarist of Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Kids, died following a years-long battle with stage four colon cancer on October 22nd. He was 49.
“Scott Putesky and I made great music together,” Manson wrote on Instagram following Putesky’s death. “We had our differences over the years, but I will always remember the good times more. Everyone should listen to ‘Man That You Fear’ in his honor. That was our favorite.”
Glenne Headly, star of films like Dick Tracy, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Mr. Holland’s Opus, died June 9th at the age of 62 from complications of a pulmonary embolism.
Her Mr. Holland’s Opus costar Richard Dreyfuss told The Hollywood Reporter she was “this fantastically talented actress, who buried her personality beneath the character she was playing. And it is very rare that you run into that. And at the same time, she was sweet and funny and happy on the set… She was a person who did not insist that her personality take over the character.”
He added: “Glenne let it all out, and it was so emotionally enormous and truthful. It was so loaded with love and loss and anguish. It was incredible to see her do that.”
Anita Pallenberg, the actress, model and former partner of Rolling Stones guitarists Brian Jones and Keith Richards, died at age 75 on June 13th after a long illness at St. Richard’s Hospital, Chicheste.
“She was a rock & roll legend in herself, a style icon, a crucial part of the Stones’ mystique,” Rolling Stone’s Rob Sheffield wrote. “She taught Keith her sinister glare, taught Mick Jagger her wiggle, taught Brian Jones how to wear floppy hats.
“A most remarkable woman. Always in my heart,” Richards said in a statement.
Following complications from heart failure and alcohol addiction, Nelsan Ellis, the actor who portrayed Lafayette on all seven seasons of the HBO horror-drama series True Blood – with film roles in Lee Daniels’ The Butler (as Martin Luther King, Jr.), Secretariat, The Help, The Stanford Prison Experiment and James Brown biopic Get On Up, died at the age of 39 in July.
“Nelsan was a singular talent whose creativity never ceased to amaze me,” True Blood series creator Alan Ball said.
Added costar Anna Paquin: “It was an utter privilege to work with the phenomenally talented and deeply kind soul. I’m devastated by his untimely death.”
Jessi Zazu, the co-founder of Those Darlins and innovative singer who bridged country and indie rock sounds, died following a very public battle with cervical cancer in Nashville on September 12th. She was 28.
“Yesterday I said goodbye to my best friend, longtime partner in crime and hero, Jessi Zazu Wariner,” Those Darlins drummer Linwood Regensburg said in a statement. “She maintained a sense of humor and a commanding presence up until and through her final moments. She was in the company of those who cared deeply about her and who she cared deeply about.”
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