We said goodbye to so many people in 2016, and even though it hasn't technically been more celebrity deaths than any other year, it was just the gravitas of who we lost that made it seem so unfathomable and unending. From musical icons to comedy geniuses to movie stars and authors, the people we lost in 2016 seem all to be of a caliber of authenticity of self that we desperately need right now.
Looking back on the deaths this year, they span generations, and many celebrities who died in 2016 were far, far too young to go. For those of us who grew up in the 1990s, there were some celebrities who passed this year 2who were integral to the fabric of the decade we grew up in and beyond. It's gotten so seemingly out of hand that people are petitioning for their various favorite famouses to be protected. There's even a petition for Betty White to be physically protected to keep her safe from the curse of 2016. But the best thing to do in the face of tragedy is to honor those we have lost, and remember everything they gave us.
Here are seven celebrities who died in 2016 that '90s kids will be mourning into the new year.
1. Alan Rickman
Though Alan Rickman had a long and successful career before a lot of us were even born, he was to us '90s kids, of course, Professor Severus Snape above all. The sinister Slytherin who turned out to be Harry's protector all along is inextricably linked with Rickman's image. ALWAYS.
Rickman passed in January at the age of 69, and so many of his colleagues and fellow actors paid tribute to him, including, of course, the cast of Harry Potter. Daniel Radcliffe wrote on Google Plus, "Alan Rickman is undoubtedly one of the greatest actors I will ever work with. He is also, one of the loyalest and most supportive people I've ever met in the film industry."
2. Phife Dawg
Losing a battle to diabetes at only 45, Malik "Phife Dawg" Taylor was one of the founding members of legendary rap group A Tribe Called Quest. Though they came up in the late '80s through 1998, the group reunited for a tour in 2006, and for some '90s kids, were some of the first and best rap music we'd ever heard. Can you kick it?
3. Alan Thicke
Though Growing Pains wrapped in 1992, it was in syndication throughout the 1990s and 2000s, and so all '90s kids knew Alan Thicke as Dr. Jason Seaver, the smooth-voiced dad of Kirk Cameron. Later, he was also the kind mentor of a very young Leonardo DiCaprio, who played a homeless teen that the Seavers took in on the show. We'll miss this classic TV dad who passed away at 69 in December.
4. Miss Cleo
Born Youree Harris, Miss Cleo was an omnipresence for any kid in 1990s — it's hard to forget those fortune-telling informercials. Sadly, Harris, who played Miss Cleo from 1997 to 2002, passed away in July at just 53 after a battle with cancer. The cards never lie: We'll miss you, Miss Cleo.
5. Anton Yelchin
Anton Yelchin himself grew up in the '90s, and his death was so tragic and a lifetime too soon. The Russian actor who became famous for charmingly playing the role of Pavel in the Star Trek reboot died after a traffic collision over the summer at the age of only 27.
6. Carrie Fisher
With the revival of the Star Wars franchise in 1999 with the prequels, parents began also showing their kids the originals, introducing a whole new adoring audience to the inimitable Carrie Fisher. Seeing her reprise her role as General Leia Organa in The Force Awakens in 2015 was more than movie magic; it was a reminder that women can and should lead rebellions without apology. In her real life, Fisher was even stronger, smarter and tougher. Fisher died in moonlight, strangled by her own bra at the age of 60.
7. Debbie Reynolds
Fisher's mother, the glamorous Debbie Reynolds, had a special meaning to kids in the '90s, too, starring in one of the best Disney Channel Original Movies ever: Halloweentown (and its two sequels). She also played the role of Grace's mom on Will & Grace and did voice work on The Rugrats, Kim Possible, and Family Guy. She was a star for every generation, and died just the day after her daughter at the age of 84 years old.
R.I.P. to all of the stars above.