The novel coronavirus outbreak continues to wreak havoc throughout the world: as of March 31st, there have been more than 800,000 confirmed cases, and nearly 40,000 deaths. Additionally, billions more have been forced to shelter in place or self-quarantine in order to reduce the exponential spread of this deadly virus.
This impact has spread to celebrities as well, who are equally affected by COVID-19. The following list details celebrities and other notable people within our society who have unfortunately succumbed to COVID-19, or complications resulting from COVID-19. Although their lives are not inherently more important than the nearly 40,000 other fatalities, we believe that highlighting these notable deaths will help bring more awareness to those who still may not be taking this global pandemic seriously.
Because this pandemic is still a rapidly developing event, this list will be updated twice a week with the latest information.
LAST UPDATED: April 20
Li Wenliang, 33
The Chinese doctor who first attempted to alert the public about the coronavirus, passed on February 7 after contracting COVID-19 while treating patients in Wuhan, China.
Floyd Cardoz, 59
World-renowned chef and winner of “Top Chef Masters,” died of complications on March 25.
Joe Diffie, 61
Grammy-award-winning country singer with multiple hit songs, died of complications on March 29.
Ken Shimura, 71
Japanese comedian died of complications on March 29.
Maria Mercader, 59
CBS News producer and TV journalist died of complications on March 29. She had previously battled cancer for 20 years.
Alan Merrill, 69
The rock-and-roll singer, guitarist, and songwriter best known for writing “I Love Rock and Roll” died of complications on March 29.
Mark Blum, 69
Actor best known for roles in “Crocodile Dundee” and “Desperately Seeking Susan” died of complications on March 25.
Terrence McNally, 81
Tony-award-winning playwright passed away of COVID-19-related complications on March 24.
Andrew Jack, 76
Dialect coach for notable Hollywood actors including Viggo Mortenson and Robert Downey, Jr. passed away on March 31.
Manu Dibango, 86
An influential jazz-funk musician, the Cameroonian saxophonist passed on March 24.
Lucia Bosé, 89
Italian actress in more than 50 films died on March 23 due to pneumonia caused by COVID-19.
Andreas Koutsoudakis, 59
Chef and long-time owner of Tribeca’s Kitchen in NYC, died of COVID-19 complications on March 27.
Michael Sorkin, 71
Noted architect and author based in NYC died on March 26.
Zororo Makamba, 30
A Zimbabwean television host, Makamba is the first recorded coronavirus death in Zimbabwe.
Dave Edwards, 48
Former college basketball player and single-season assist record holder at Texas A&M died of coronavirus complications on March 23rd.
Wallace Roney, 59
American jazz musician, famous for his renditions of Miles Davis’ compositions, died of COVID-19 on March 31st.
Julie Bennett, 88
American voice actress, most known for voicing Cindy Bear in the “Yogi Bear” series of animated cartoons, died on March 31st from coronavirus complications.
Ellis Marsalis Jr., 85
Jazz educator and father of internationally renowned musicians Branford and Wynton, passed from pneumonia brought on by COVID-19 on April 1st.
Adam Schlesinger, 52
The American songwriter and member of the band Fountains of Wayne, responsible for producing and songwriting for numerous movie and TV productions, including “That Thing You Do” and “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” passed from coronavirus complications on April 1st.
Juan Gimenez, 76
Notable Argentinian comic book artist and illustrator died of COVID-19 complications on April 2nd.
Patricia Bosworth, 86
American actress, and author, notable for writing the biographies of a number of celebrities including Marlon Brando and James Fonda, died of complications on April 2nd.
Sergio Rossi, 84
Designer of high-end shoes worn by celebrities such as Ariana Grande and Taylor Swift, passed away on April 3rd.
Forrest Compton, 94
American actor, starring in numerous TV shows from the 60s-80s, passed away from coronavirus on April 4th.
Lee Fierro, 91
American actress best known for playing Mrs. Kinter in the “Jaws” franchise. She died of COVID-19-related complications on April 5th.
Allen Garfield, 80
American actor known for bit roles in numerous films throughout the 70s, 80s, and 90s, passed of COVID-19 complications on April 7.
John Prine, 73
American country-folk singer-songwriter, widely considered one of the most influential songwriters of his generation, passed away of COVID-19 on April 7.
Hal Willner, 64
American music producer known for producing a number of notable artists’ albums, including music duties for “Saturday Night Live.” Passed away on April 7 with symptoms consistent with COVID-19.
Leila Benitez-McCollum, 89
Considered the “first lady of Filipino television,” she was the host of multiple variety television and radio shows, eventually serving as an anchor for the Voice of America. She passed away on April 8 after contracting COVID-19 from a rehabilitation center.
Hilary Dwyer, 74
English actress and businesswoman, best known for acting in classic films such as “Witchfinder General” and “Wuthering Heights.” Her death was announced on April 10, but she actually died much earlier, on March 30 due to COVID-19 complications.
John Conway, 82
Renowned British mathematician, best known for inventing a cellular simulation called “The Game of Life.” Passed on April 11 due to COVID-19 complications.
Tim Brooke-Taylor, 79
English comedian and actor, best known for his work with The Goodies, a sketch comedy trio. He died of coronavirus on April 12.
Gil Bailey, 84
Jamaican radio broadcaster known as “The Godfather of Caribbean Radio” and “The Godfather of Reggae Radio.” Passed on April 13 after contracting coronavirus.
Thomas Kunz, 81
American biologist specializing in the study of bats and inventor of the study known as aeroecology. He died on April 13 due to COVID-19.
Rick May, 79
American voice actor and theatrical performer, best known for his voice work in numerous video games. Although he died of COVID-19 complications on April 8, it was not officially announced until April 13.
Ann Sullivan, 91
American animator with a storied career in Disney animation, she assisted in animating productions such as “The Little Mermaid,” “The Lion King,” and “Hercules.” She died of COVID-19 complications on April 13.
Adam Alsing, 51
A Swedish television host and radio presenter, best known for hosting “Big Brother Sweden” and the Swedish version of “Jeopardy!” He passed from COVID-19 on April 15.
Allen Daviau, 77
American cinematographer best known for his collaboration with Steven Spielberg on the productions E.T., The Color Purple, and Empire of the Sun. He passed on April 15 from COVID-19 at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital, a nursing home facility dedicated to those who previously worked in the entertainment industry.
Lee Konitz, 92
American composer and influential alto saxophonist, notable for working with Miles Davis and having a maintaining a distinct style throughout his career. He died on April 15 due to COVID-19.
Milena Jelinek, 84
A Czech-American screenwriter and playwright, Jelinek was a well-regarded screenwriter, associated with the Czech New Wave movement – the golden generation of Czech filmmakers. She passed on April 16 due to COVID-19 complications.
Matthew Seligman, 64
American bass guitarist known for his contributions to the new wave music scene of the 80s, and a former member of The Soft Boys. He passed on April 17 after suffering from coronavirus.
Bob Lazier, 81
A former American race car driver and father to 1996 Indy 500 winner Buddy Lazier and Indy Racing League driver Jaques Lazier. He passed on April 18 after contracting COVID-19.
It is important to note that there may be more deaths associated with COVID-19 than actually reported – but because of the lack of widespread testing, they are not officially identified as coronavirus deaths. For example, renowned NYC drag icon Mona Foot passed away on March 23rd at the age of 50 from a respiratory illness that bore a similarity to COVID-19 – yet he was not officially tested nor confirmed positive for coronavirus.
In fact, the shortage of tests is so severe that medical providers in some of the country’s hotspots are recommending people who are showing symptoms to simply self-isolate and presume that they are in fact positive.
All of this is to say that the pandemic should be taken with the utmost seriousness. It can have profound implications that we are already seeing at a global scale.