It can feel like the end of an era, when the death is announced of someone we’ve spent our lives watching on stage or screen.
Although we may not have personally known them, psychologist Annie Broadbent – who helps the bereaved in her regular Funeral Guide advice column – says grief over a famous person’s death can be sincerely felt. She explains that celebrity deaths can be a catalyst through which people release deeper-held emotions over more personal losses or experiences in their lives.
“Celebrities are essentially our modern-day mentors – we all need to look up to someone and they offer us that,” says Annie.
“Celebrity deaths can be a trigger for other losses in people’s lives, whether they are aware of it or not. It’s a way of processing.”
These 10 famous people who died in 2017 will be greatly missed by many.
AC/DC’s co-founder and guitarist, Malcolm Young, died on November 18, aged 64. The Scotland-born rock legend’s life was honoured with pipers leading his funeral cortege past crowds of fans to St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney.
His funeral was attended by many friends and family including his brother and fellow AC/DC founder Angus Young, singer Brian Johnson, bassists Mark Evans and Cliff Williams and drummer Phil Rudd.
Guitar picks engraved with Malcolm's dates of birth and death were handed to every mourner in the congregation in tribute to the legendary rhythm guitarist and songwriter. Angus Young carried Malcolm’s guitar, known as ‘The Beast’ to the hearse, while the pipers played Watzing Matilda as mourners left the church and it’s said, even snuck in a few bars of AC/DC hit It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock ’n’ Roll).
Malcolm’s death came just a month after the death of his brother George Young’s death aged 70. The songwriter and former Easybeats member penned hits including disco anthem Love is in the Air.
Dr G Yunupingu
Internationally acclaimed Indigenous Australian music artist, Dr G Yunupingu died on July 25, aged 46. The singer from the remote community of Galiwin'ku on Elcho Island, was hailed by Rolling Stone magazine as Australia’s most important voice. His first, self-titled album, hit triple platinum in Australia, silver in the UK and sold over half a million copies worldwide.
Australian R&B singer, Jessica Mauboy, paid tribute to the musician by singing at his funeral, which was also acknowledged by The Queen who said she had “fond memories” of his 2012 performance at her Diamond Jubilee.
His family and friends are mourning him as a “genius and wonderful human being.”
All Saints soap star, Judy McGrath, died on October 20, aged 70, surrounded by her friends and family in hometown, Brisbane. Judy, who spent 12 seasons playing nurse Yvonne ‘Von’ Ryan , was one of Australia’s most respected soap stars, and will be remembered by those who knew her for her generosity, kindness and wit.
The actress also appeared In Prisoner, Neighbours, A Country Practice and Winners and Losers during her decades-long career.
Fans were devastated when Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington took his own life following a struggle with depression, on July 20, aged 41. The talented artist will be remembered for his huge talent, big heart and caring soul.
Father of six Chester’s funeral took place a week later at Palos Verdes in California, where around 200 mourners attended. At the funeral service, friends and family were given yellow Chester Bennington wristbands, and memorial cards designed to resemble backstage passes. During the service, musical tributes were performed live on stage in his memory.
Australian fans attended public memorials sanctioned by Linkin Park, at Adelaide’s Entertainment Centre and in Brisbane and Perth.
Solomon ‘Sol’ Bellear
More than a thousand mourners paid their respects at the Sydney state funeral held to honour Aboriginal rights and welfare activist Sol Bellear who died aged 66 on November 29. A family funeral was also held for him in his home town, Mullumbimby.
The former rugby league player and team manager became the first chairman of the Aboriginal Legal Service in the 1970s, also playing a key part in the formation of the NSW Aboriginal Land Council and the Aboriginal Medical Service in Redfern.
Welcoming everyone who wished to pay their respects to Sol’s sate funeral, his family requested donations in lieu of flowers, to the Aboriginal Medical Service.
Senator Pat Dodson described Bundjalung man Sol as a “true justice warrior for First Nations People,” while the Land Rights Network remembered a remarkable man who was “courageous, determined, respected, trusted and generous, with a great sense of humour.”
Sir Roger Moore
Best known for his role as 007 in seven Bond films Live and Let Die and A View to a Kill Sir Roger Moore was also a tireless and long-serving goodwill ambassador for international children’s humanitarian charity, Unicef.
He died in Switzerland on May 23, aged 89, after a short battle with cancer. Much like the character he played, Sir Roger was known as a charmer – smooth, suave and wonderful company. Before he began his movie career, Sir Roger served as a second lieutenant in the Royal Army Service Corps, shortly after the end of the Second World War.
Sir Roger’s private funeral service was held in Monaco, with a memorial service held for him in Monte Carlo.
Celebrity chef and restaurateur Darren Simpson was born and raised in Northern Ireland, but became a household name on Australian TV’s My Restaurant Rules and Ready Steady Cook. Acclaimed fellow-chefs and foodies from around the world expressed great sadness, when his sudden death was announced in June.
The much-loved father of two had called Sydney home since 1999. Chef Michael Moore, who pursuaded Darren to leave London to head the kitchen at the now-famous Aqua Luna Bar and Restaurant, said: “He cooked real food, loved life, and was a chef's chef.”
Australian sprint champion and Olympic golden girl Betty Cuthbert was laid to rest in a private funeral service in Mandurah in August, after her family politely declined the offer of a state funeral in Western Australia. She died aged 79, after a long and spirited struggle against multiple sclerosis, which was diagnosed just five years after she retired from the track.
A four-time Olympic gold medallist, winning three at the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games, Betty did Australia proud all over again in 1964, when she won gold in the 400m at the Tokyo Olympics.
Kathy Freeman was among those to pay tribute to Betty, tweeting: “Thanks for the inspirational memories.”
Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull described Betty as “an inspiration and a champion on and off the track.”
Actress Val Jellay began her enduring career as a four-year old tap dancer in vaudeville comedies, with TV roles in shows including The Flying Doctors, Neighbours and Blue Heelers making her a much-loved household name all over again.
Val was widowed in 1995, shortly after she and beloved husband Maurie Fields, had celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary. Together, the pair were known as the king and queen of vaudeville and performed together for more than 40 years, touring virtually every town in Australia.
Breaking the news of his 89-year old mum’s death following a short battle with pneumonia in May, stand up comedian Marty Fields said: “She's back with her beloved Maurie now. I will miss her very much.”
Marty expressed the hope that his mother’s ashes would buried in Melbourne heritage area St Vincent’s Place in Albert Park alongside those of her husband.
Best known for his country songs, Rhinestone Cowboy and Wichita Lineman, Glen Campbell died on August 8, aged 81, following a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. The American singer-songwriter was the voice behind 21 Top 40 hits and sold 45 million records.
It’s said that Campbell polished his song Rhinestone Cowboy while on tour in Australia, due to an airline strike. With no choice but to hit the road, he learnt the lyrics written by Larry Weiss during the long journeys between gigs .
Glen, who had eight children and ten grandchildren, as well as great and great-great-grandchildren, was buried in a private family ceremony in his hometown, Delight, the day after he died.
Just two months before his death, he released an album, Adios. It featured songs from his Goodbye Tour, which followed his Alzheimer’s diagnosis in 2011.