The list of musicians we have lost in 2016 includes some of the biggest names on the music scene for decades. George Michael, Leonard Cohen, Prince and David Bowie have been prominent names in the industry for over 50 years. Their deaths range from natural causes to overdoses, to lost battles with cancer.

George Michael – the iconic musician apparently died in his sleep, on December 25. He was only 53. He left behind a remarkable legacy, in music, but also in the fight for LBGT rights.

George Michael


Leonard Cohen – “My Secret Life” singer passed away on November 7, at age 82. According to his manager, he fell at his home sometime during the evening and then passed away in his sleep. One month before his death, Cohen said in an interview to The New Yorker: “I am ready to die. I hope it’s not too uncomfortable. That’s about it for me.”

Leonard Cohen


Prince – Prince Roger Nelson was a musical innovator and a legend, with a career integrating a multitude of styles, from rock to soul, to pop, to funk. He was a multi-Grammy Award winner, to which he added one Golden Globe, one Academy Award and one American Music Award. He died at age 57, on April 21, from an opioid overdose, which is thought to have been accidental.

Prince Roger Nelson


David Bowie – The British music legend’s career has spread over five decades. He won two Grammy Awards, four Brit Awards and turned down knighthood in 2003, explaining that the title of “Knight” is not part of his professional aspiration and he doesn’t see the need for it. He lost the battle with liver cancer on January 10, two days after his 69th birthday.

David Bowie


Other names in the music industry that we said goodbye to this year are: producer Lou Pearlman, singer Sharon Jones, songwriter Leon Russell, country legend Merle Haggard, rapper Phife Dawg, musician Frank Sinatra, Jr., country singer Joey Feek, Prince protégée Vanity, singer Maurice White, rocker Paul Kantner, Eagles co-founder Glenn Frey, musician Dale Griffin and guitarist Pete Huttlinger.