81.9k readers

Famous People Who Died In 2021

Updated October 25, 2021 81.9k views143 items

Recent celebrity deaths can be a bit dark to search on Google. However, when it comes to pop culture fanatics seeking information about celebrities that died today, inquiring minds want to know! So this list will serve as your reference for celebrities who died in 2021. If you’re wondering about a famous actor who just died, or what famous person died this year, you’ll certainly get the full story on recent Hollywood deaths here. 

This list will cover actors who recently passed away, such as That '70s Show actress Tanya Roberts. She was sadly one of the first celebrities who died in 2021. 

You can continue to check back throughout the year to keep tabs on what famous people died this year. You may be surprised by the celebs who died, and maybe even a little broken-hearted if you were a big fan. 

Check back for most recent famous deaths, and all of the other celebrity deaths of 2021. 

  • Photo: Friends / NBC

    James Michael Tyler, best known for playing coffee shop manager Gunther on Friends, passed away on October 24, 2021, his representative Toni Benson confirmed. He was 59.

    Tyler had been diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2018. He shared the diagnosis with NBC's Today Show in June 2021, which explained why he was not able to attend the widely publicized Friends reunion in person. (He was shown via video call.) Tyler said that the cancer was discovered by his doctors in a routine physical. It then spread to his bones, leaving him unable to walk. 

    Benson said in a statement: "The world knew him as Gunther (the seventh "Friend"), from the hit series Friends, but Michael's loved ones knew him as an actor, musician, cancer-awareness advocate, and loving husband. Michael loved live music, cheering on his Clemson Tigers, and would often find himself in fun and unplanned adventures. If you met him once you made a friend for life."

    Tyler also appeared on other series, such as ScrubsModern Music, and Sabrina the Teenage Witch

    Read more:

    CNN, The New York Times

    • Age: Dec. at 59 (1962-2021)
    • Birthplace: Winona, Mississippi, USA
    • Nationality: United States of America
  • Photo: Girls / HBO

    Peter Scolari died Octobber 22, 2021, after having been ill for two years due to cancer, his manager Ellen Lubin Sanitsky confirmed to CNN. He was 66. 

    Scolari rose to fame starring alongside Tom Hanks in the TV series Bosom Buddies. He also appeared in Newhart, Murphy Brown, and The Good Fight, and won an Emmy for his portrayal of Hannah's father on Girls in 2016. He also appeared in the TV adaptation of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and Gotham, as well as in HBO's Madoff

    He also starred on Broadway, in productions of Hairspray, Sly Fox, Wicked, Magic/Bird, and Lucky Guy

    Read more:

    CNN, Deadline

    • Age: Dec. at 66 (1955-2021)
    • Birthplace: New Rochelle, New York, USA
    • Nationality: United States of America
  • Photo: Department of State of the United States of America / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain

    Colin Powell, the first Black US secretary of state, passed away from complications from COVID-19 on October 18, 2021, his family said on Facebook. He was 84.

    His family, noting that he was fully vaccinated, said: "General Colin L. Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, passed away this morning due to complications from Covid 19... We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American."

    Powell had multiple myeloma, a cancer of plasma cells that suppresses the body's immune response, as well as Parkinson's disease. Even when fully vaccinated against COVID-19, those who are immunocompromised are at greater risk from the virus.

    Powell's career took him from combat duty in Vietnam to becoming the first Black national security adviser during the end of Ronald Reagan's presidency. He was then the youngest and first Black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President George H.W. Bush. After his national popularity following the Gulf War, he was initially thought to be a leading contender to become the first Black president of the United States. However, as George W. Bush's first secretary of state, he pushed faulty intelligence before the United Nations to advocate for the Iraq War, which tarnished his reputation. Powell himself called the statement a "blot" on his record. 

    He became the highest-ranking Black public official to date in the country, standing fourth in the presidential line of succession, when he was sworn in as Bush's secretary of state in 2001. Later, after becoming disillusioned with the Republican Party, Powell used his influence to help elect Democrats to the White House, including Barack Obama, the first Black president, whom Powell endorsed in the final weeks of the 2008 campaign.

    Read more:

    CNN, The New York Times

    • Age: Dec. at 84 (1937-2021)
    • Birthplace: New York City, USA, New York, Harlem
    • Nationality: United States of America

    #1203 of 2,753 The Most Influential People of All Time#35 of 61 The Most Important Military Leaders In US History#54 of 101 The Most Beloved US Veterans

  • Chris Ayres, best known for voicing Dragon Ball villain Frieza, passed away on October 18, 2021. He was 56. No cause of death was reported, but Ayres had been open about his diagnosis of end-stage cardiac obstructive pulmonary disease since 2017. 

    "On October 18th at 8:40pm, my world went dark," his girlfriend Krystal LaPorte wrote in a statement shared to Twitter. "Christopher Owen Ayres passed away peacefully, held close by his mother, brother, and girlfriend, and his arm wrapped around his Atticus pillow... Please be more like Chris. Please, if you learned anything from him, put it in this world. It needs him. Please fill it with love and laughter, always."

    Ayres first appeared in the Dragon Ball universe on Funimation’s dub of Dragon Ball Z Kai. He went on to voice Frieza in Dragon Ball and the movie spinoff Dragon Ball Super: Broly, as well as several DB video games.

    Ayres also voiced characters in a myriad of other anime projects, including Maburaho, Black Butler, Sengoku Basara, Gantz, Tears to Tiara, and Fairy Tail.

    Read more:

    New York Post, Entertainment Weekly

    • Age: Dec. at 56 (1965-2021)
    • Birthplace: Richmond, Virginia, United States of America
    • Nationality: United States of America