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18 Celebrities Who Have Died From Coronavirus

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18 Celebrities Who Have Died From Coronavirus

The COVID-19 statistics are increasingly alarming. As of this writing, there are more than 500,000 live and active cases of the so-called coronavirus around the world, and it perhaps serves as no small comfort that there have been "only" about 25,000 deaths. Even one death is one too many. 

While many coronavirus deaths have remained largely unpublicized, or only briefly mentioned in news reports, there are some coronavirus deaths that have made headlines because of the celebrity status of the deceased. 

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With that in mind, here are six celebrities who have died from the coronavirus. 

1. Terrence McNally

Deemed "the bard of American theater," Terrence McNally was perhaps best known for his musicals Ragtime and Kiss of the Spider Woman. A multi-Tony Award-winning playwright who was beloved by fans and actors alike, McNally died of COVID-19 complications in Florida on March 24, 2020.

2. Manu Dibango

Originally from Cameroon, Manu Dibango was a world-class saxophonist who also played the vibraphone. His unique style of music blended American jazz & funk with traditional African sounds, and is best known for his 1972 song "Soul Makossa." Though his most infamous song came early in his career, "Soul Makossa" broke into the mainstream thanks to the legendary New York City radio DJ Frankie Crocker on FM's WBLS radio station.​ Dibango died from COVID-19 on March 24, 2020. ​

3. Mark Blum

Though in his lifetime, he was known for being a theater actor — and even won an Obie Award for his work. But Mark Blum was also known as a character actor who appeared in many different films and television shows. His iMDB page reads like a who's who of features, with roles in Desperately Seeking Susan, Crocodile Dundee, St. Elsewhere, and Law & Order: SVU. He was only 69 years old when he died of COVID-19 related complications in New York City on March 25, 2020. 

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4. Chef Floyd Cardoz

Born in Mumbai, India, Chef Floyd Cardoz was a superstar on New York City's restaurant scene thanks to the success of his restaurants Paowalla and Tabla. In 2011, he was thrust into the mainstream when he won his season of Top Chef Masters. A four-time James Beard nominee and the author of two cookbooks, Cardoz was only 59 years old when he died on March 25, 2020 in New Jersy of COVID-19 related illnesses. 

5. Mona Foot (Nashom Wooden)

Known as a "downtown denizen" and beloved in the drag queen community, Nashom Wooden — known to the world at large as Mona Foot — also died of coronavirus complications on March 26, 2020. Though Mona Foot was known to be HIV-positive in her life, she managed to keep the virus at untraceable levels before she died of coronavirus. Her friend, the designer Geoffrey Mac, who recently won Project Runway, announced her passing on Instagram, in a video tribute you can see below. 


A post shared by  (@geoffreymac) on Mar 23, 2020 at 9:40am PDT

6. Lucia Bosè​

Born Lucia Borloni in Milan, Italy, Lucia Bosè​ was best known for her work during the period known as Italian Neorealism in the 1950s. Though she had an extensive film career with credits that included Paris is Always ParisFellini's Satyricon, and The House of the Doves, she was also known as being the mother of singer Miguel Bosé.​ She died of COVID-19 related complications on March 23, 2020.

7. Joe Diffie

Beloved amongst country fans, Joe Diffie was best known for his singles "Home" and "Pickup Man." On March 29, 2020, it was revealed that he died shortly after testing positive for COVID-19. He was just 61 when he passed away. 

8. Alan Merrill

Singer and songwriter Alan Merrill passed away this weekend in New York after being diagnosed with coronavirus. His daughter, Laura, said that her father was rushed to the hospital after experiencing a fever and trouble breathing. He had already been in quarantine for 10 days with a cold.

She said, "He was still, you know, playing ball with his dog on his patio ... and you know, kind of doing his usual stuff until he just woke up and couldn't breathe. When I got to the hospital, my stepmother was there and had been in with him and they said, his vitals were better. So we were hopeful again. So I went in and comforted him and told him that his whole family loved him and rubbed his head. It's just been a big shock to the entire family and you know, you don't think coronavirus is going to happen to you. You hear about it, it's something people joke about online and, and it's just, you know, it's real, it's real and it's affecting people and people are dying."

Merrill was 69 and was responsible for writing and recording the hit song, 'I Love Rock N' Roll'. 

9. Andrew Jack

Jack, who appeared as an actor in Star Wars and also worked as a dialect coach, has passed away due to coronavirus complications. His representative reported that he had currently been in a hospital outside of London, but his wife wasn't with him because she has been quarantined in Australia. 

The 76-year-old had been working for over 30 years in the industry and was a coach on many notable projects, with the most recent being the new Batman movie. 

10. Adam Schlesinger

The songwriter has passed away at 52 from coronavirus complications. His attorney recently said that he was "heavily sick and very sedated" and had already been in the hospital for more than a week.

Schlesinger was a member of Fountains of Wayne and had also won an Emmy for his songwriting. He was separated from his wife and had two daughters. 

11. Cristina Monet Zilkha

The 61-year-old singer died from coronavirus complications. The co-founder of the record label that she worked, Michael Esteban, with confirmed the news, saying, "'Is that all there is' Wake up this morning with this devastated news, dearest Cristina past away. So sad."

Zilkha's friend, Steve Wasserman, said on social media that while she had been experiencing symptoms, she seemed to be on the mend. However, on Wednesday, he wrote, "Then, with appalling swiftness, she was gone this morning."

Fans and friends of the singer have been paying tribute to her on social media since her passing.

12. Ellis Marsalis

Jazz musician Marsalis has passed away after his battle with pneumonia brought on by coronavirus. His son confirmed his death, saying, "Pneumonia was the actual thing that caused his demise. But it was pneumonia brought on by COVID-19."

Marsalis was 85 and was the patriarch of a New Orleans music clan. His wife had passed away in 2017 and they had six sons. 

13. Peter Gamba

Gamba passed away this week due to complications from coronavirus. He had been an editor on the Real Housewives of New York since the show began. 

The new season's premeiere paid tribute to Gamba. Producers of the series released a statement on his passing, saying, "Today we lost someone very special in the Real Housewives and Bravo family due to complications from COVID-19. Longtime editor Peter Gamba was the lifeblood of The Real Housewives of New York City. He started on the very first episode of season one and spent the next twelve years editing such iconic episodes and moments including 'Tell me it's not about Tom — It's About Tom,' Luann falling in the bush in Mexico, Tinsley and Dale crying over the eggs, and a fan-favorite episode Life is Not a Cabaret (with Luann longingly gazing at her poster while the rest of the ladies wonder where she — and the truffle fries — could possibly be).  He loved those scenes, he loved our ladies and he loved the show. From that very first episode, Peter set the tone of RHONY — establishing the comedic pace and infusing the show with its sense of humor. Early on, he created the infamous soundtrack and style that so hilariously shaped Alex and Simon scenes. He mined footage for the those side eyes that punctuated all the best asides. He lived and breathed the essence of what makes these women funny, as brought to life by the editors like him that spend countless hours bringing the footage to life."

It went on to say, "Peter was an incredible editor and while RHONY was one of his longtime shows, he has also worked on and shaped series including Long Lost Family, Supernanny, and Bethenny Ever After. There was nothing like watching a scene that he cut and made his own, putting his sense of humor into it. He loved to make people laugh and he did it well. Peter cared -– he was proud and humble. He delivered and he left his mark. His edit bay was a refuge for anyone seeking counsel, a moment of quiet or a much needed escape. He had a heart of gold and was a devoted, generous person who would drop anything for a friend in need. He will be missed by everyone who knew him and his sense of humor and passion for his work will forever be remembered. He is survived by his beloved wife, Jeanne, and his daughters Michelle and Julia."

14. Sergio Rossi


A post shared by Sergio Rossi Official (@sergiorossi) on Apr 3, 2020 at 5:55am PDT

The 84-year-old shoe designer has passed away from coronavirus complications. He was in Italy and had been hospitalized for a few days before his death. Rossi had been in the industry since the 60s, when he first launched his own brand.

The brand's CEO Riccardo Sciutto said of Rossi, “He was a master, it was a great pleasure to have met him, he was our spiritual guide and he is today more than ever.”

He also said that Rossi, “loved women and was able to capture a woman’s femininity in a unique way. He was never over the top, always in good taste. The shoes were always wearable and he was never satisfied until they were perfect. They were not accessories for him. He told me once that he wanted to create the perfect extension of a woman’s leg.”

In March, the company had posted to Instagram, announcing that all of its proceeds would go towards the fight against coronavirus.

15. Jay Benedict

The 68-year-old actor passed away from coronavirus complications this past weekend. In a statement on Twitter, his agents said, “It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our dear client Jay Benedict, who this afternoon lost his battle with COVID-19. Our thoughts are with his family.”

Benedict had a long career in the industry, which included roles in movies like Star Wars and Aliens. He is survived by his wife, actress Phoebe Schoefield and their two sons. 

16. Lee Fierro

The 91-year-old actress died this weekend from coronavirus. Artistic director and board president for Island Theatre Workshop, where Fierro had worked for 25 years, Kevin Ryan said, "We will miss her terribly. She spent 40 years here on the vineyard. I've been working with her for 30 years here [on Marthas's Vineyard] and three years since she moved [to Ohio]."

Fierro was best known for appearing the movie Jaws. She had five children, seven grandchildren, and seven great grandchildren. 

17. Forrest Compton

The actor recently passed away at 94 from the virus. Close friends of the actor confirmed his passing. The actor had a long career, with appearances on many classic television shows, including his role as Colonel Edward Gray on Gomer Pyle. 

18. John Prine

The 73-year-old singer/songwriter has passed away from coronavirus complications. He had been hospitalized since last month and was also in the ICU for 13 days. Prine's wife had also tested positive for the virus.

Prine wasd a groundbreaking musician, who had been working in the industry for five decades. In 2018, he released his first original album in 13 years and it reached to the fifth place on Billboard 200, making it the highest one in his career.

Prine had won numerous awards for his work and was also an actor and author.

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Bernadette Giacomazzo is an editor, writer, publicist, and photographer whose work has appeared in Teen Vogue, People, Us Weekly, The Source, XXL, HipHopDX, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, BET.com, and more.