Celebrity deaths of 2016: famous Singaporeans, singers, athletes, writers, world leaders - Alvinology

Celebrity deaths of 2016: famous Singaporeans, singers, athletes, writers, world leaders

Before the age of the internet, the only way we learn about the passing of famous people is through the traditional media channels like television, radio, newspapers and magazines.

Now, we mostly get the news from our social media feed.

Do you know that Wikipedia complies a monthly list of famous people who have died in that month? The list also include other living things like famous racehorses, animals and trees. Here’s the list.

We diligently went through the names from January to December 2016 to filter out all the famous people whom Singaporeans will know or ought to know.

Below are the famous people we lost in 2016 whom Singaporeans should be familiar with:

George Michael, 53


Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou (25 June 1963 – 25 December 2016), known professionally as George Michael, was an English singer, songwriter, and record producer who rose to fame as a member of the music duo Wham!. He was best known in the 1980s and 1990s with his style of post-disco dance-pop, with best-selling songs such as “Last Christmas” and “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”.


Kuo Chin-fa, 72

Kuo Chin-fa (郭金發; 1 March 1944 – 8 October 2016) was a Taiwanese popular Hokkien singer. His best-known work is a rerecording of the song “Hot Rice Dumpling (Siow Ba Zhang)”, released in 1959 and still popular to this date. While performing in Fongshan, Kaohsiung on 8 October 2016, Kuo collapsed on stage while performing his signature song and was taken to Kaohsiung Armed Forces General Hospital, where he was declared dead.


S. R. Nathan, 92


Sellapan Ramanathan, (3 July 1924 – 22 August 2016), usually referred to as S. R. Nathan, was the sixth President of Singapore from 1999 to 2011, having been elected in uncontested elections in 1999 and 2005. In 2009, he surpassed Benjamin Sheares to become Singapore’s longest-serving President.


Mr. Fuji, 82


Harry Fujiwara (May 4, 1935 – August 28, 2016) was an American professional wrestler and manager, known professionally by his ring name Mr. Fuji. He was infamous for often throwing salt in the eyes of fan favourite wrestlers. Although he was billed as Japanese, he was a Japanese American born in Hawaii.


Chyna, 46


Chyna (born Joan Marie Laurer; December 27, 1969 – April 20, 2016) was an American professional wrestler, glamour model, pornographic film actress, and bodybuilder. Chyna first rose to prominence in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE) in 1997, where she was billed as the “Ninth Wonder of the World” (André the Giant was already billed as the eighth).


King Bhumibol Adulyadej, 88


Bhumibol Adulyadej (ภูมิพลอดุลยเดช; 5 December 1927 – 13 October 2016), conferred with the title King Bhumibol the Great in 1987, was the ninth monarch of Thailand from the Chakri Dynasty as Rama IX. Having reigned since 9 June 1946, he was, at the time of his death, the world’s longest-serving head of state and the longest-reigning monarch in Thai history, serving for 70 years, 126 days. During his reign, he was served by a total of 30 prime ministers beginning with Pridi Banomyong and ending with Prayut Chan-o-cha.


Fidel Castro, 90

Fidel Castro, Prime Minister of Cuba, smokes a cigar during his meeting with two U.S. senators, the first to visit Castro's Cuba, in Havana, Cuba, Sept. 29, 1974. (AP Photo)
Fidel Castro, Prime Minister of Cuba, smokes a cigar during his meeting with two U.S. senators, the first to visit Castro’s Cuba, in Havana, Cuba, Sept. 29, 1974. (AP Photo)

Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz (August 13, 1926 – November 25, 2016) was a Cuban revolutionary and politician who governed the Republic of Cuba as Prime Minister from 1959 to 1976 and then as President from 1976 to 2008. Politically a Marxist–Leninist and Cuban nationalist, he also served as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from 1961 until 2011. Under his administration, Cuba became a one-party socialist state; industry and business were nationalised, and state socialist reforms were implemented throughout society.


Said Zahari, 88

Said Zahari (18 May 1928 – 12 April 2016) was a Singaporean editor-in-chief of the Malay language newspaper Utusan Melayu, and an advocate of unbiased freedom of the press. Although he resided in Malaysia with his family, he insisted on retaining his Singapore citizenship. Said was born in Singapore to Javanese parents. He led a journalists’ strike against the takeover of the newspaper by United Malays National Organisation (UMNO). Also known as Pak Said, he was detained by the government of Singapore and subsequently held for 17 years without trial. Allegations against him included being a “Communist”. He now holds the distinction of being the second longest-serving political detainee in Singapore after Chia Thye Poh.


Harper Lee, 89


Nelle Harper Lee (April 28, 1926 – February 19, 2016), better known by her pen name Harper Lee, was an American novelist widely known for To Kill a Mockingbird, published in 1960. Immediately successful, it won the 1961 Pulitzer Prize and has become a classic of modern American literature. Though Lee had only published this single book, in 2007 she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her contribution to literature.


David Bowie, 69


David Robert Jones (8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016), known professionally as David Bowie, was an English singer, songwriter and actor. He was a figure in popular music for over five decades, regarded by critics and musicians as an innovator, particularly for his work in the 1970s. His career was marked by reinvention and visual presentation, his music and stagecraft significantly influencing popular music. During his lifetime, his record sales, estimated at 140 million worldwide, made him one of the world’s best-selling music artists. In the UK, he was awarded nine platinum album certifications, eleven gold and eight silver, releasing eleven number-one albums. In the US, he received five platinum and seven gold certifications. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.


Francis Seow, 87

Seow, Tiang-Siew Francis (萧添寿; 11 October 1928 – 21 January 2016) was a Singapore-born American writer, political dissident and former lawyer. He lived in exile from Singapore after facing lawsuits from Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s first Prime Minister. He was educated at Saint Joseph’s Institution in Singapore and at the Middle Temple in London, and was a Visiting Fellow at Harvard Law School.


Gene Wilder, 83


Jerome Silberman (June 11, 1933 – August 29, 2016), known professionally as Gene Wilder, was an American film and theater comic actor, screenwriter, film director, and author. Wilder is known for his portrayal of Willy Wonka in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)(which is now a popular internet meme) and for his four films with Richard Pryor: Silver Streak (1976), Stir Crazy (1980), See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989), and Another You (1991).


Kenny Baker, 81


Kenneth George “Kenny” Baker (24 August 1934 – 13 August 2016) was an English actor and musician. He is best known for portraying the character R2-D2 in the Star Wars science fiction movie franchise.


Arnold Palmer, 87


Arnold Palmer is not just a clothing brand. Arnold Daniel Palmer (September 10, 1929 – September 25, 2016) was an American professional golfer who is generally regarded as one of the greatest players in the sport’s history. Dating back to 1955, he won numerous events on both the PGA Tour and the circuit now known as PGA Tour Champions. Nicknamed The King, he was one of golf’s most popular stars and its most important trailblazer, the first superstar of the sport’s television age, which began in the 1950s.


Muhammad Ali, 74


Muhammad Ali (born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr.; January 17, 1942 – June 3, 2016) was an American professional boxer and activist. He was widely regarded as one of the most significant and celebrated sports figures of the 20th century. From early in his career, Ali was known as an inspiring, controversial, and polarising figure both inside and outside the ring.


Prince, 57


Prince Rogers Nelson (June 7, 1958 – April 21, 2016) was an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer. He was a musical innovator who was known for his eclectic work, flamboyant stage presence, extravagant dress and makeup, and wide vocal range. His music integrates a wide variety of styles, including funk, rock, R&B, new wave, soul, psychedelia, and pop. He has sold over 100 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling artists of all time. He won seven Grammy Awards, an American Music Award, a Golden Globe Award, and an Academy Award for the film Purple Rain.He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004, his first year of eligibility. Rolling Stone ranked Prince at number 27 on its list of 100 Greatest Artists, “the most influential artists of the rock & roll era”.


Arumugam Vijiaratnam, 95


Arumugam Vijiaratnam (24 August 1921 – 18 February 2016) was the only Singaporean who represented his country in four sports — hockey, cricket, football and rugby — doing so from 1946 to 1956. He also holds the distinction of being the first Singaporean engineer. A top civil servant, Vijiaratnam represented Singapore at the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games in hockey, where he was instrumental in the 6-1 rout of the United States.

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