2009: The year of celebrity deaths - Metro US

2009: The year of celebrity deaths

Headliners in life and death, the many stars who died this past year were a sure hit to the Hollywood community.

While some were shrouded in controversy, and others premature accidents, their deaths permeated international media, marking one last moment in the limelight.

Here, Metro looks back at the names-in-lights that flickered out in 2009.

Michael Jackson

When rumors began to circulate on June 25 that Michael Jackson went into cardiac arrest at his home, the whole world speculated whether the King of Pop was hanging up his crown for good.

It would only be hours before the 50-year-old pop star’s death was confirmed, an event that graced the front pages of newspapers everywhere and brought the Internet to a crawl.

Autopsies concluded homicide prompted by a deadly drug combination caused Jackson’s death, a final puzzling piece in the troubled artist’s life.

Farrah Fawcett

Surely the year’s darkest day for the celebrity world, June 25 also saw the death of actress and sex symbol Farrah Fawcett at 62.

Despite coming to fame as one of the original Charlie’s Angels and winning several Golden Globes and Emmy awards, her cultural influence extended well beyond acting. Fawcett’s flipped-out hairstyle inspired scores of women; her iconic pinup poster, countless men.

Three years after being diagnosed with anal cancer, Fawcett died, leaving behind video documentation of her battle, which was later turned into the documentary Farrah’s Story.

Patrick Swayze

Cancer also claimed celebrated actor Patrick Swayze on Sept. 14, about one month after his 57th birthday. Swayze chasséd his way into the spotlight with his role as a dance instructor in the 1987 film Dirty Dancing, which inspired a stage musical, reality TV show and video game.

His co-starring role in the 1990 film Ghost earned him respect as a serious actor, which influenced his future stage and screen roles. Swayze finally succumbed to pancreatic cancer less than two years after being diagnosed.

Natasha Richardson

After an accidental fall and resulting head injury during a skiing lesson at?a Mont Tremblant, Que., resort, English actress Natasha Richardson died on March 14 at 45. Daughter of famed actress Vanessa Redgrave and British new wave auteur Tony Richardson, and wife of actor Liam Neeson, Richardson was a respected actress in her own right. A performer on stage and screen, she was praised for her roles in Gothic, The Handmaid’s Tale, Nell and Widows’ Peak.

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