2016 really hasn’t been a great year for our pop culture icons has it.
In fact it’s been positively littered with celebrity deaths. From David Bowie to Alan Rickman, Terry Wogan to Victoria Wood and Prince to Carrie Fisher and her mum Debbie Reynolds within a day of each other.
This poses the question: Is this just a really horrible, unfortunate year for our celebs, or is it going to become the new norm in years to come?
Well, according to the BBC’s obituary editor Nick Serpell, sadly it looks like it’s going to become a more and more regular occurence.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s More or Less programme, he described the amount of significant deaths this year as ‘phenomenal’.
But if you look back, there’s a very clear upward trend, with Nick adding that the number of obituaries he’s used across BBC outlets in recent years is has increased significantly.
The BBC reports that the number of obituaries they’ve used has had a five-fold increase since 2012, jumping from five to 24 in the same period.
And it isn’t just them either. The Daily Telegraph – who maintain a gallery of famous people’s deaths – have recorded more deaths in 2016 than 2014 and 2015 combined.
But why though? Well, Nick explained to the BBC:
People who started becoming famous in the 1960s are now entering their 70s and are starting to die. There are also more famous people than there used to be. In my father or grandfather’s generation, the only famous people really were from cinema – there was no television. Then, if anybody wasn’t on TV, they weren’t famous.
Very true to be fair. The impression that more celebrities are dying is probably down to the fact that we’ve heard of more celebrities than ever before.
What also makes a big difference is the fact that many of those who have died were from the so-called ‘baby-boom generation’- born between 1946 and 1964.
With more babies born into this generation, it meant more went on to become famous and now those famous former babies – aged between 52 and 70 – are dying.
And for those who are in their mid to late sixties, in the UK in particular, death rates really start to increase. By almost 50 per cent in fact from your early sixties to your late sixties.
And among those famous faces we saw pass away this year, many of them were baby-boomers, including: David Bowie (69), Alan Rickman (69), Victoria Wood (62), Prince (57) and Carrie Fisher (60).
So, will this continue? Sadly, it probably will. Nick added:
Over the next ten years, these people will get into their 80s and it is going to continue at this level. And that doesn’t count the surprise deaths, when people die that shouldn’t.
Maybe it’s about time we all start appreciating these people’s excellent careers more in life and not just in death. Just a thought.