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Famous People Who Died in 2008

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For one reason or another, we as human beings seem to be fascinated by celebrity deaths. Every year we mourn the loss of famous people who pass away, and 2008 was no exception. The world saw the passing of one of comedy's finest, Mr. George Carlin. There was also the tragedy surrounding Heath Ledger, after he was found dead from a drug overdose.  Here's our list of the most notable people to die in 2008, ordered by how well-known they were.

All walks of famous people are on this list, including actors, athletes, musicians, politicians and more.Although the rich and famous are just like the rest of us, it's alarming how many of them have their lives cut short because of drug overdoses or other accidents. Still others live out many long years only to succumb to diseases like cancer late in life. Which celebrities died in 2008? Scroll down and see for yourself.
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  • George Carlin

    Heart failure, Cardiovascular disease
    George Denis Patrick Carlin (May 12, 1937 – June 22, 2008) was an American stand-up comedian, actor, author, and social critic. He was known for his black comedy and reflections on politics, the...  more
  • Heath Ledger

    Drug overdose, Combined drug intoxication
    Heath Andrew Ledger (4 April 1979 – 22 January 2008) was an Australian actor and music video director. After performing roles in several Australian television and film productions during the 1990s,...  more
  • Paul Newman

    Lung cancer
    Paul Leonard Newman (January 26, 1925 – September 26, 2008) was an American actor, film director, producer, race car driver, IndyCar owner, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. He won and was nominated...  more
  • Bernie Mac

    Complications from pneumonia, Sarcoidosis
    Bernard Jeffrey McCullough (October 5, 1957 – August 9, 2008), better known by his stage name Bernie Mac, was an American comedian, actor, and voice actor. Born and raised on Chicago's South Side,...  more
  • Bettie Page

    Myocardial infarction
    Betty Mae Page (April 22, 1923 – December 11, 2008), known professionally as Bettie Page, was an American model who gained a significant profile in the 1950s for her pin-up photos. Often referred to...  more
  • Charlton Heston

    Complications from pneumonia
    Charlton Heston (born John Charles Carter; October 4, 1923 – April 5, 2008) was an American actor and political activist.As a Hollywood star, he appeared in almost 100 films over the course of 60...  more
  • Eartha Kitt

    Colorectal cancer
    Eartha Kitt (born Eartha Mae Keith, January 17, 1927 – December 25, 2008) was an American singer, actress, dancer, comedian, activist, author, and songwriter known for her highly distinctive singing...  more
  • Michael Crichton

    Cancer, Cancer of the larynx
    John Michael Crichton (; October 23, 1942 – November 4, 2008) was an American author, screenwriter, and film director and producer best known for his work in the science fiction, thriller, and...  more
  • Yves Henri Donat Mathieu-Saint-Laurent (French: [iv sɛ̃ lɔʁɑ̃]; 1 August 1936 – 1 June 2008), professionally known as Yves Saint-Laurent, was a French fashion designer who, in 1961, founded his...  more
  • Cyd Charisse

    Myocardial infarction
    Tula Ellice Charisse (née Finklea; March 8, 1922 – June 17, 2008), known professionally as Cyd Charisse, was an American dancer and actress. After recovering from polio as a child and studying...  more
  • Isaac Lee Hayes Jr. (August 20, 1942 – August 10, 2008) was an American singer, songwriter, actor, and producer. Hayes was one of the creative forces behind the Southern soul music label Stax...  more
  • Arthur C. Clarke

    Respiratory failure
    Sir Arthur Charles Clarke (16 December 1917 – 19 March 2008) was a British science fiction writer, science writer and futurist, inventor, undersea explorer, and television series host. He co-wrote...  more
  • James Robert Stewart (6 March 1931 – 3 January 2008) was a British racing driver from Scotland who participated in a single Formula One World Championship Grand Prix, driving for Ecurie Ecosse. He...  more
  • Harvey Korman

    Abdominal aortic aneurysm
    Harvey Herschel Korman (February 15, 1927 – May 29, 2008) was an American actor and comedian, who performed in television and film productions. His big break was being a featured performer on CBS'...  more
  • Bo Diddley

    Myocardial infarction
    Ellas McDaniel (born Ellas Otha Bates, December 30, 1928 – June 2, 2008), known as Bo Diddley, was an American singer, guitarist, songwriter and music producer who played a key role in the transition...  more
  • Arthur Shawcross

    Cardiac arrest
    Arthur John Shawcross (June 6, 1945 – November 10, 2008), also known as the Genesee River Killer, was an American serial killer active in Rochester, New York. His first known murders were in 1972...  more
  • Katoucha Niane (23 October 1960 – 2 February 2008) was a Guinean model. Nicknamed "The Peul Princess" (in reference to her ethnic Fula background), she worked, and later wrote, under the single name...  more
  • Mel Ferrer

    Heart failure
    Melchior Gastón Ferrer (August 25, 1917 – June 2, 2008) was an American actor and director of stage and screen, film producer and the first husband of Audrey Hepburn. ...  more
  • Suharto

    Heart failure, Cardiovascular disease
    Suharto (, Indonesian pronunciation ; 8 June 1921 – 27 January 2008) was an Indonesian military leader and politician who served as the second President of Indonesia, holding the office for 31 years,...  more
  • Brad Renfro

    Drug overdose, Heroin overdose
    Brad Barron Renfro (July 25, 1982 – January 15, 2008) was an American actor. He made his film debut at the age of 11 in the lead role in The Client, and went on to star in 21 feature films. His...  more
  • Julie Ege

    Breast cancer
    Julie Ege (Norwegian pronunciation: [jʉːliə ˈeːɡə]; 12 November 1943 – 29 April 2008) was a Norwegian actress and model, who appeared in many British films of the 1960s and 1970s....  more
  • Christopher Hyatt, born Alan Ronald Miller, was an American occultist, author, and founder of the Extreme Individual Institute. He is best known as president of New Falcon Publications....  more
  • Estelle Getty

    Dementia with Lewy bodies
    Estelle Getty (née Scher; also known as Estelle Gettleman; July 25, 1923 – July 22, 2008) was an American actress and comedian, who appeared in film, television, and theatre. She was best known for...  more
  • Georgia Frontiere

    Breast cancer
    Georgia Frontiere (born Violet Frances Irwin; November 21, 1927 – January 18, 2008) was an American businesswoman and entertainer. She was the majority owner and chairperson of the Los Angeles/St....  more
  • Bobby Fischer

    Renal failure
    Robert James Fischer (March 9, 1943 – January 17, 2008) was an American chess grandmaster and the eleventh World Chess Champion. Many consider him to be the greatest chess player of all time.Fischer...  more