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Famous People Who Died in 2009

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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 2009 was no exception. The most obvious death was that of pop legend Michael Jackon, whose passing resulted in the arrest of one of his physicians. Iconic actress Farrah Fawcett died as well, leaving behind millions of sad fans. Here's our list of the most notable people to die in 2009, 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 2009? Scroll down and see for yourself.
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  • Michael Jackson

    Cardiac arrest, Homicide
    Michael Joseph Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009) was an American singer, songwriter, and dancer. Dubbed the "King of Pop", he is regarded as one of the most significant cultural figures of...  more
  • Farrah Fawcett

    Anal cancer
    Farrah Leni Fawcett (February 2, 1947 – June 25, 2009) was an American actress of stage and screen, model, and artist. A four-time Emmy Award nominee and six-time Golden Globe Award nominee, Fawcett...  more
  • Brittany Murphy

    Cardiac arrest, Anemia
    Brittany Anne Murphy-Monjack (born Brittany Anne Bertolotti; November 10, 1977 – December 20, 2009) was an American actress and singer. A native of Atlanta, Murphy moved to Los Angeles as a teenager...  more
  • Ted Kennedy

    Cancer, Brain Cancer
    Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy (February 22, 1932 – August 25, 2009) was an American politician who served as a U.S. Senator from Massachusetts for almost 47 years, from 1962 until his death in 2009. A...  more
  • Walter Cronkite

    Cerebrovascular disease
    Walter Leland Cronkite Jr. (November 4, 1916 – July 17, 2009) was an American broadcast journalist who served as anchorman for the CBS Evening News for 19 years (1962–1981). During the heyday of CBS...  more
  • Patrick Swayze

    Pancreatic cancer
    Patrick Wayne Swayze (; August 18, 1952 – September 14, 2009), was an American actor, dancer, singer, and songwriter. Gaining fame with appearances in films during the 1980s, he became popular for...  more
  • William Darrell "Billy" Mays Jr. (July 20, 1958 – June 28, 2009) was an American television direct-response advertisement salesperson most notable for promoting Fix-It, OxiClean, Orange Glo, Kaboom,...  more
  • Dom DeLuise

    Renal failure, Cancer
    Dominick DeLuise (August 1, 1933 – May 4, 2009) was an American actor, voice actor, comedian, director, producer, chef and author. He was the husband of actress Carol Arthur and the father of actor,...  more
  • Adam Goldstein

    Drug overdose
    Adam Michael Goldstein (March 30, 1973 – August 28, 2009), known professionally as DJ AM, was an American disc jockey (DJ). Born in Philadelphia, Goldstein became interested in deejaying as a child...  more
  • Test

    Chronic traumatic encephalopathy
    Andrew James Robert Patrick Martin (March 17, 1975 – March 13, 2009) was a Canadian professional wrestler and actor. He was best known for his time with the World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment...  more
  • Ricardo Montalbán

    Heart failure
    Ricardo Gonzalo Pedro Montalbán y Merino, KSG (; Spanish pronunciation: [montalˈβan]; 25 November 1920 – 14 January 2009) was a Mexican actor of Spanish origin. His career spanned seven decades,...  more
  • Ed McMahon

    Bone cancer
    Edward Leo Peter McMahon Jr. (March 6, 1923 – June 23, 2009) was an American announcer, game show host, comedian, trapeze artist, police officer, actor and singer. McMahon and Johnny Carson began...  more
  • Les Paul

    Pneumonia
    Lester William Polsfuss (June 9, 1915 – August 12, 2009), known as Les Paul, was an American jazz, country, and blues guitarist, songwriter, luthier, and inventor. He was one of the pioneers of the...  more
  • Ron Silver

    Esophageal cancer
    Ronald Arthur Silver (July 2, 1946 – March 15, 2009) was an American actor, director, producer, radio host, and political activist. As an actor, he portrayed Henry Kissinger, Alan M. Dershowitz and...  more
  • John Updike

    Lung cancer
    John Hoyer Updike (March 18, 1932 – January 27, 2009) was an American novelist, poet, short-story writer, art critic, and literary critic. One of only three writers to win the Pulitzer Prize for...  more
  • David Carradine

    Erotic asphyxiation, Hanging
    David Carradine (born John Arthur Carradine; December 8, 1936 – June 3, 2009) was an American actor, best known for playing martial arts roles. He is perhaps best known as the star of the 1970s...  more
  • John Hughes

    Myocardial infarction
    John Wilden Hughes, Jr. was an American film director, producer, and screenwriter. He directed or scripted some of the most successful comedy films of the 1980s and early 1990s, including the comedy...  more
  • Naomi Sims

    Cancer, Breast cancer
    Naomi Ruth Sims (March 30, 1948 – August 1, 2009) was an American model, businesswoman and author, She was the first African-American model to appear on the cover of Ladies' Home Journal, which...  more
  • Natasha Richardson

    Skiing accident, Epidural hematoma
    Natasha Jane Richardson (11 May 1963 – 18 March 2009) was an English-American actress of stage and screen. Richardson was a member of the Redgrave family, being the daughter of actress Vanessa...  more
  • Jack Kemp

    Cancer
    Jack French Kemp (July 13, 1935 – May 2, 2009) was an American politician and a professional player in both American football and Canadian football. A member of the Republican Party from New York, he...  more
  • Beatrice Arthur (born Bernice Frankel; May 13, 1922 – April 25, 2009) was an American actress and comedienne. Arthur began her career on stage in 1947 and made her Broadway debut in The Threepenny...  more
  • Stephen Patrick David Gately (17 March 1976 – 10 October 2009) was an Irish pop singer-songwriter, actor, children's writer, and dancer, who, with Ronan Keating, was co-lead singer of the pop group...  more
  • Jim Carroll

    Myocardial infarction
    James Dennis Carroll (August 1, 1949 – September 11, 2009) was an American author, poet, autobiographer, and punk musician. Carroll was best known for his 1978 autobiographical work The Basketball...  more
  • Dominick Dunne

    Bladder cancer
    Dominick John Dunne (October 29, 1925 – August 26, 2009) was an American writer, investigative journalist, and producer. He began his career as a producer in film and television, noted for...  more
  • Jennifer Jones

    Natural causes
    Jennifer Jones (born Phylis Lee Isley; March 2, 1919 – December 17, 2009), also known as Jennifer Jones Simon, was an American actress and mental health advocate. Over the course of her career that...  more