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Death is always a shock. Even when we know its coming, the moment we face it is still surreal. And it is of course natural to mourn the death of a loved one, but often we find ourselves surprised by our reactions over the death of celebrities. Maybe because through their work they've been there for us in the worst of times and the best. And they help measure our own lives and mortality in time.

Redditor u/ClutteredSmoke wanted to discuss our feelings when we hear about the passing of an artist that has left an impression on us by asking..... Which celebrity's death really stunned you?


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All of the big ones already mentioned here of course - Phil Hartman, Robin Williams... but I rarely see John Ritter in these lists, and that was a huge shocker. He was so young, it was sudden and unexpected, and by all accounts he was a great guy. And he died on his young daughter's birthday.


Farewell Stephen....

There was that one time when a Redditor made a post asking why Stephen Hawking wasn't dead yet and he was reported dead the next morning.

I think OP and everyone reading that post was stunned.



Anthony Bourdain.


As a non westerner what I loved about him was his humility, he was never cocky "I can cook your food better than you" or picky "ew look at what these people eat/how they make their food", he was always willing to go to the little places, to eat the street food, to talk to people and in the end he saw all the things that make us human, the shared and universal experience of breaking bread.

It was so sad when I heard the news, every once in a while I see an episode of one of his shows, God bless you Anthony Bourdain.


Far Too Soon

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Heath Ledger.


I just rewatched Knight's Tale. My teenage self loved that movie and him. 10 things I hate about you was my theme movie.


Within a Day

Carrie Fisher and then subsequently her mother. Despite her known battle with addiction, it still took me by surprise.


Died within a day of each other. I can't imagine how Billie Lourd felt when that all went down.


Debbie Reynolds. A beautiful and talented woman in her own right.

And while double checking this to make sure I was spelling her name right. I now know why there haven't been any Halloweentown movies for a few years.


For Anton

Anton Yelchin. I always forget that the universe randomly and unceremoniously snuffed him out.

Same for a lot of the names on this list.


When I heard the news back in 2016 I was just completely at a loss for words. Still don't know why--I wasn't a huge fan or anything, but I was really into the reboot Star Trek series at the time, and the incomprehensible thought that someone I "knew" was dead really messed me up. I watched Star Trek Beyond when it came out later, and at the very end they had the "In Loving Memory of Leonard Nimoy", and then the next words were "For Anton" and I just started crying in the middle of a nearly-empty theater.



Scrolled this entire thing, and while I agree with the majority of these I was shocked that no one mentioned Bernie Mac. While Michael Jackson's death hit me hardest, I still vividly remember hearing and not believing that Bernie Mac was dead.


XO Robbie

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Robin William's death hit me pretty hard, he was a legend to me, and all the problems he must have dealt with without anyone to help, it makes me feel guilty and depressed, but i believe that he's happier now and in a much better place, RIP Robbie xx...



Alan Rickman for me.


This one. It really threw me for a loop because everyone in high school kept saying "I can't believe Snape's actor is dead!" Never having watched Harry Potter, it didn't click until someone explained to me that was Alan Rickman. To me, he was the Sheriff of Nottingham and Hans Gruber, but mostly Elliott Marston. It really made me sad to hear of his passing.


Sweet Girl

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Brittany Murphy.


Her death is so strange, especially since her husband died the same way 6 months later. I don't know if they found a cause for their pneumonia but some have speculated black mold or some other air quality issue with their house.



Eddie Van Halen.


I was driving home from work that day, had the local afternoon FM sports guy on the radio. This guy is an extremely obnoxious blowhard, but was choking up on live radio as he announced the news of Eddie's passing. He spoke for a few minutes about the man, his music, and his influence on our world over the years. It was very different hearing such sadness and reverence from that host.


Hey Neighbor

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Mr. Rogers.


The only time I've ever cried after the death of a celebrity. I was pumping gas when I heard it over the radio and I just broke down crying.


Only 22

Christina Grimmie, she wasn't the biggest celebrity but at the time I was just getting into her music and listening to her covers on Youtube a lot. I don't watch The Voice but her covers on that show were really great. When I found out she had been shot and killed by a deranged fan it was truly shocking. She was so young, only 22 with her whole life ahead of her. I still can't believe it.


Part of Me

Chris Cornell.


I miss him. He was such a huge part of my angsty teens, he (and Eddie Vedder) got me through some dark times in my life. It was the first celebrity death that truly hurt. Like I lost someone very close to me.


He's Just Gone

Cameron Boyce. I watched him on Disney shows throughout my childhood and knowing that he was fine one minute and dead the next was hard.


Was looking for this comment. Part of why his hit me so hard was his age. I mean he was only a few years older than me, I grew up watching him, and then suddenly he's just.... gone. I had'd kept up with him after I stopped watching Jessie but his death fully made me realize that death can happen to anyone at any age.


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John Candy. I know he was a big guy, but he was also just such a genuine teddybear, and his movies are comedy gold.



Terry Pratchett. I actually cried at my desk at work that day, I didn't even try to hide it. That one is like a triple whammy for me, because he was my favorite author, he wasn't young but he wasn't super old so I wasn't ready for it yet, and because when I told my dad (who also loved him) he said "He was so young though! He's my age!" And it kind of rattled me to realize that people my dad's age were already dying, because I kind of lowkey thought my dad would outlive everyone and suddenly I had to realize that he wouldn't.


Good Phil

Philip Seymour Hofmann.


Yes! So stunning and upsetting. He was The actor that, no matter what he was in, you knew he would be amazing in it. And he was in the middle of filming the Hunger Games, then just gone. Totally shocking.


When Phillip Seymour Hoffman died I stopped doing dope. His death literally saved my life.


Safe Skiing

Natasha Richardson. My HS science teacher died the same week and in the same way.


Her death is why I started wearing a helmet skiing. I grew up skiing, when people didn't wear helmets, and certainly as an adult felt comfortable in my ability for the runs I would take... but accidents happen and a little plastic & styrofoam can really save your life.



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Patrick Swayze. Really sad to see his body just waste away.


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