Tribute 2018: A President, a PM, a CM and one luminous star

From political legends to movie stars, we have lost quite a few great personages this year. Here are a few souls whose death made a huge impact on our lives.

Published: 27th December 2018 03:40 PM  |   Last Updated: 28th December 2018 08:00 PM   |  A+A-

From L to R: Atal Bihari Vajpayee, M Karunanidhi, Sridevi, George H.W. Bush. (File photos)

Online Desk

From political stalwarts to movie stars, we lost quite a few greats this year -- some who lived a full life and others who died way too early. Though they may have passed on, they've left a deep imprint in our memories and will always be remembered. Here's a salute to those whose deaths created a huge void. 


In a shock to the film industry and her countless fans, actress Sridevi died of cardiac arrest at the age of 54 on 24th February. Reports stated that Sridevi's death occurred due to accidental drowning in her hotel apartment bathtub following a loss of consciousness. With expressive eyes and graceful dance moves, she started her acting career at the age of four and ruled Indian cinema for decades. 

With expressive eyes and graceful dance moves, she started her acting career at the age of four and ruled the Indian cinema.

Stephen Hawking

The father of physics passed away on March 14th. Even though Hawking's body was attacked by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis when he was 21, he stunned doctors by living with the normally fatal illness for more than 50 years. He has never won a Nobel Prize because his theories about the black hole and the big bang - though accepted in theoretical physics - were never verified. Time stood still that day, as our favourite scientist was sucked into the black hole oblivion.  


It was a black day for the music industry as 28-year-old DJ, Avicii, was found dead on April 21. He used broken glass to cut himself to death. The 'Le7els' hit producer battled alcohol problems for years, and his friends worried those issues would eventually kill him.


XXXTentacion was shot dead by two armed suspects at Florida's Deerfield Beach on June 18. The controversial American rapper had a dozen felony charges from a domestic violence case, involving his pregnant girlfriend. The rapper apparently foreshadowed his death through a live video on Instagram. He said,"“Worst thing comes to worst, I f—in die a tragic death or some s—, and I’m not able to see out my dreams, I at least want to know that the kids perceived my message and were able to make something of themselves and able to take my message and use it and turn it into something positive, and at least have a good life". 

M. Karunanidhi

Normal life in Chennai came to a standstill, as Kalaignar Karunanidhi's death was announced on August 7th. The 94-year-old political stalwart was suffering from various ailments for a long time. The five-time TN CM's demise marked the end of an era. Known for his contributions to the Tamil literature, he was also a screenwriter before entering the political field. It would require more than a few lines to write about the legend, but as he said, "Kavilndhuvidamaten" (I will not drown). His works will always uplift Tamil culture and he will forever be remembered as the man who never gave up.  

Atal Bihari Vajpayee

The former Prime Minister passed away on August 16 after a prolonged illness. He entered politics as an 18-year-old during the 1942 Quit India movement. He was known as "ajaat shatru", the man with no enemies, for softening the edge of his party's politics. He remained a member of parliament for 47 years. Vajpayee's speeches were so riveting, it earned him legions of admirers. He was awarded India's highest civilian award Bharat Ratna in March 2015.

Aretha Franklin

Widely known as the "Queen of Soul"  Aretha Franklin moved our souls with her unforgettable hits including "Respect", "Natural Woman" and "I Say a Little Prayer". The multiple Grammy winner passed away on August 16 at the age of 76 from advanced pancreatic cancer. She inspired multiple singers and was the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll hall of fame in 1987. 

Mac Miller

On 7th September, the music world was left heartbroken by the unexpected passing of the hip-hop star due to a drug overdose. Miller's songs conveyed more about depression and drug use. Soon after his death was announced, his fans started blaming his ex-girlfriend and "Thank u, next' singer Ariana Grande. Her social media account was flooded with abusive messages and she even disabled the comments on her Instagram account.   

Burt Reynolds

Known as a leading male sex symbol of the 1970s, Burt Reynolds passed away at the age of 82 on 7th September. Reynolds had a history of health issues and underwent quintuple heart bypass surgery in 2010. With his trademark moustache, rugged looks and macho aura, he was the top money-making star at the box office in an annual poll of movie exhibitors from 1978 through 1982. The Boogie Nights star didn't get a chance to film any scenes for his upcoming movie 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood'.

Stan Lee

Founding father of Marvel Comics Stan Lee passed away at the age of 95 on November 12. Lee, who introduced superheroes such as Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk and X-Men, was widely considered the architect of the contemporary comic book. Sporting grey hair and tinted glasses, Lee had cameos in Marvel films and TV projects. The Marvel fandom mourned for him. Excelsior, Stan Lee.

Stephen Hillenburg

The man who made our childhood worthwhile, Stephen Hillenburg, died of Lou Gehrig's disease on November 28th. The absurd undersea world of "Spongebob SquarePants" and the theme song, "Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?!" quickly appealed to parents as much as it did to kids. Hillenburg’s ashes were scattered off the coast of California after cremation.

George H.W. Bush

The 41st President of the US passed away on November 30 at the age of 94. The former World War II aviator and Texas oil industry executive launched successful military operations against Panama and Iraq. His wife Barbara Bush also passed away this year on April 17. Known as the "first lady of the greatest generation", they were married for 73 years. Interesting fact: George H W Bush was the "only boy she ever kissed."

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