Four months in to 2016 and it’s already been a pretty bleak year.
Our newsfeed has been littered with celebrity deaths in the first four months of this year, from David Bowie, Alan Rickman and Terry Wogan in January to comedian Victoria Wood and Prince in this week alone.
We’ve all had enough of 2016 already, but you’ve got to wonder, is this just a really horrible, unfortunate year for our celebs? Or is this going to become the new norm in years to come?
Well according to BBC’s obituary editor Nick Serpell, this is sadly going to become 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 increasing 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 (75) than 2014 (38) and 2015 (30) 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 fact that the likes of Kim Kardashian and Dan Bilzerian can build massively on their Instagram fame, it shows a real shift in what ‘celebrity’ even means anymore.
Therefore, the impression that more celebrities are dying is probably down to the fact that we have 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’- who were 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% 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) and now Prince (57).
So, will this continue? Sadly, it probably will. Nick added:
Over the next 10 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.