Among the dozens of celebrities who have died this year have been many famous people who did not live to their Biblical three-score-years-and-ten.
On Christmas Day, George Michael was found dead at the tragically youthful age of 53.
On Christmas Eve, the Status Quo guitarist Rick Parfitt died aged 68.
Other premature deaths in 2016 include the singer David Bowie who died aged 69 back in January, the actor Alan Rickman (69), the Eagles frontman Glenn Frey (67), the comedian Victoria Wood (62), the musician Greg Lake (69) and the journalist AA Gill (62).
Among those who did not even reach their 60s were the pop star Prince (57), the comedian Caroline Aherne (52), the singer Pete Burns (57) and the fashion designer Richard Nicoll who died aged 39.
A lot of famous older people also died, from Terry Wogan, at 77, to the former Coronation Street actress Jean Alexander, who played Hilda Ogden, who reached the age of 90.
Together such names form a rich tapestry of abilities and personalities. There will be very few people who were a fan of, or even knew of, all of the aforementioned names, but equally few people who either liked or had heard of none of them.
Many older News Letter readers will have missed out on George Michael’s fame, as will their grandchildren, but he was very popular among the so-called Generation X (people who are now in their 40s and 50s).
Rick Parfitt’s fame was most appreciated by the generation before that, the baby boomers.
George Michael talked about traumas in his life, and he illustrated how money and fame is no escape from heartbreak. We read today that he donated generously to charity.
As each year draws to a close, it is always a time to remember people who have enriched the lives of millions of others but whose own lives have come to an end.