Black Celebs We Lost in 2024

Photo: Albert Dickson/Sporting News (Getty Images)
Photo: Albert Dickson/Sporting News (Getty Images)
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

As we make our way through 2024, there is no shortage of fallen Black celebrities. From controversial figures to inspiring athletes and esteemed actors and actresses, here is a look at everyone we’ve lost so far this year.

Larry Allen

Photo: Stacy Revere (Getty Images)
Photo: Stacy Revere (Getty Images)

NFL Hall of Famer Larry Allen suddenly died on June 3 at 53 while on vacation with his family in Mexico. His cause of death has not been shared. Allen was one of the greatest offensive linemen in NFL history who was named to the Pro Bowl 11 times and was a first-team All-Pro six times. Allen was a Cowboys legend who played in Dallas for 12 seasons. His final two seasons in the NFL were spent with the San Francisco 49ers.

Marian Robinson

Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg (Getty Images)
Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg (Getty Images)

Michelle Obama’s mother, Marian Robinson, died on May 31 at the age of 86. Her cause of death was not shared. In a statement, the Obama family wrote, “Marian Lois Shields Robinson — our mother, mother-in-law, and grandmother — had a way of summing up the truths about life in a word or two, maybe a quick phrase that made everyone around her stop and think. Her wisdom came off as almost innate, as something she was born with, but in reality it was hard-earned, fashioned by her deep understanding that the world’s roughest edges could always be sanded down with a little grace.”

Drew Gordon

Photo: Ethan Miller (Getty Images)
Photo: Ethan Miller (Getty Images)

Drew Gordon died on May 30 in a crash while driving a three-wheeled vehicle in Portland. He was 33. Drew is the older brother of Denver Nuggets star, Aaron Gordon. Although he never quite reached the heights of his brother, Drew was a talented athlete who was a McDonald’s All-American in high school. He played college basketball at UCLA and the University of New Mexico. Gordon only played in the NBA for one year during the 2014-2015 season with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Rev. William A. Lawson

Photo: Houston Defender
Photo: Houston Defender

On Tuesday (May 14), the highly respected Reverend William A. Lawson passed away at the age of 95. Lawson was the founder of Houston’s Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church and a civil rights leader who started one of the city’s largest congregations after moving to Houston from Kansas City almost 70 years ago. Lawson also hosted Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at his church at the peak of the Civil Rights Movement.

Jimmy Johnson

Photo: AP Photo (AP)
Photo: AP Photo (AP)

Hall of Fame cornerback Jimmy Johnson died on May 8th at 86. His cause of death has not been revealed. Johnson played in the NFL for 16 seasons and spent every one of them with the San Francisco 49ers. He named to the Pro Bowl and five times and was a first team All-Pro three times. He was inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1994.

Dallas Penn

Screenshot: YouTube/Complex
Screenshot: YouTube/Complex

Beloved hip-hop head, journalist, and internet personality Dallas Penn died on May 1 at 54. His cause of death has not been revealed. Penn was a force in the online hip-hop world, eventually working with Combat Jack on the extremely influential “The Combat Jack Show.” In an Instagram post, his wife said, “Dallas has ascended to the music that was waiting for him. From September 1970 to April 2024, he always said it don’t stop, it won’t stop, and he’s waiting for us all at the Funkadelic Stevie Wonder Sean Price party in the sky. Rest my love and see you in our other lifetimes. Love you always, for all time.”

Donald M. Payne Jr.

Photo: Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Fight Colorectal Cancer (Getty Images)
Photo: Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Fight Colorectal Cancer (Getty Images)

Rep. Donald M. Payne Jr. died on April 24th at 65. He was hospitalized in early April after sustaining a heart attacking that came from his complications with diabetes. Payne was the son of Donald Payne Sr., who was the first Black person to represent New Jersey in Congress.

Chris King

Photo: Johnny Louis (Getty Images)
Photo: Johnny Louis (Getty Images)

Chris King, who was born Christopher Cheeks, was a rapper who died on April 20. King, who was just 32 years old at the time of his passing, suffered from fatal gunshot wounds in Nashville, Tennessee. Keke Palmer paid homage to her late friend by writing on Instagram: “I just want to share that I loved you and I remember all the city walk, grove moments.”

Mandisa

Photo: Terry Wyatt (Getty Images)
Photo: Terry Wyatt (Getty Images)

Grammy-winning Christian singer Mandisa, who got her start on “American Idol,” was found deceased in her Nashville home on April 18. She was just 47 years of age. “At this time we do not know the cause of death or any further details. We ask for your prayers for her family and close-knit circle of friends during this incredibly difficult time” her representative told The Tennessean.

Rico Wade

Photo: Mike Windle/Getty Images for SXSW (Getty Images)
Photo: Mike Windle/Getty Images for SXSW (Getty Images)

Hip-hop producer Rico Wade died on April 13 at 52. His cause of death was not shared. Wade was a part of the legendary production trio Organized Noise, which created music with Atlanta rap royalty such as Outkast and Goodie Mob.

O.J. Simpson

Photo: POOL/AFP (Getty Images)
Photo: POOL/AFP (Getty Images)

O.J. Simpson died April 10 after a lengthy cancer battle. The former NFL star infamously went on trial for the double-murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman, in the 1990s. He was ultimately acquitted in 1995. After retiring from football, Simpson went on to become an announcer, sportscaster, and pop culture mainstay.

William Strickland

Screenshot: Courtesy of the Library of Congress
Screenshot: Courtesy of the Library of Congress

William Strickland died on April 10th at at 87. Strickland was a civil rights activist who was close friends with Malcolm X and was a consultant for the iconic docuseries “Eyes on the Prize.” He also taught at University of Massachusetts Amhert for more than 40 years as a professor in the African American studies department.

Mister Cee

Photo: Johnny Nunez/WireImage (Getty Images)
Photo: Johnny Nunez/WireImage (Getty Images)

Legendary New York City DJ Mister Cee passed away on April 10 at the young age of 57. He died from a diabetes-related coronary artery and kidney disease. Born Calvin LeBrun, he served as the DJ for Big Daddy Kane and his production work with the Notorious B.I.G. helped the late rapper find fame. Mister Cee’s “Throwback at Noon” show on Hot97 is still regarded as one of the most important hip-hop programs of all time. Recently, he was on Audacy’s “94.7 The Block.”

Vontae Davis

Photo: Michael Hickey (Getty Images)
Photo: Michael Hickey (Getty Images)

Former NFL player Vontae Davis was found dead on April 1 at the age of 35. He was a longtime cornerback who played in the NFL for nine years on three teams including the Miami Dolphins, Indianapolis Colts, and the Buffalo Bills. He was named to two pro bowls.

Casey Benjamin

Photo: Craig Lovell/Corbis (Getty Images)
Photo: Craig Lovell/Corbis (Getty Images)

Accomplished saxophonist and keyboardist Casey Benjamin died on March 31 at 46. Benjamin was also a producer and songwriter who was a member of the Robert Glasper Experiment. He won a Grammy Award for Best R&B Album for his work on the 2012 record, “Black Radio.”

Chance Perdomo

Photo: Scott Garfitt/BAFTA (Getty Images)
Photo: Scott Garfitt/BAFTA (Getty Images)

Young and talented actor Chance Perdomo died on March 29 at 27 after being involved in a motorcycle accident. Perdomo was an American and British actor who was starting to make a name for himself in the industry after his impressive role on the 2023 TV show, “Gen V.”

Louis Gossett Jr.

Photo: Howard Ruffner (Getty Images)
Photo: Howard Ruffner (Getty Images)

Legendary actor Louis Gossett Jr. died on March 28 at 87. Gossett was known for becoming the first Black man to win an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the 1982 film, “An Officer and a Gentleman.” During his career, he also starred in other beloved shows and movies such as, “Roots,” “Watchmen,” and “The Color Purple.”

Sandra Crouch

Photo: Jesse Grant/WireImage (Getty Images)
Photo: Jesse Grant/WireImage (Getty Images)

Sandra Crouch died March 17 at the age of 81. The Grammy-winning gospel artist was the sister of the legendary gospel singer Andraé Crouch. In 1984, she won the Grammy for Best Female Soul Gospel Performance for her album, “We Sing Praises.”

Jessica Pettway

Photo: Tibrina Hobson/Getty Images for BET (Getty Images)
Photo: Tibrina Hobson/Getty Images for BET (Getty Images)

Jessica Pettway died on March 11 after a tough battle with stage 3 cervical cancer. She was 36. Pettway was a beloved beauty influencer who had over 153,000 Instagram followers and 229,000 YouTube subscribers.

Anthony Walker

Photo: Raymond Boyd (Getty Images)
Photo: Raymond Boyd (Getty Images)

Anthony “Baby Gap” Walker died Tuesday, March 12, after experiencing complications from a neck surgery. He was 60. Walker was a longtime member of the 1970s funk group The Gap Band. Recently, he had performed with the group Gapx, a funk group that included other former Gap Band members.

Bo$$

Photo: Al Pereira/Getty Images/Michael Ochs Archives (Getty Images)
Photo: Al Pereira/Getty Images/Michael Ochs Archives (Getty Images)

Bo$$ died on March 11 at the age of 54. Born Lichelle Marie Laws, Bo$$ was one of the first women to sign to Def Jam as a rapper. In her career, Bo$$ only released one studio album, 1993's “Born Gangsta.” The legendary record label honored the MC in a post on Instagram, writing, “We are deeply saddened by the passing of Lichelle Marie Laws, also known as Bo$$. Bo$$ will be remembered as a pioneer in hip hop, being one of the first female rappers signed to Def Jam in the early 1990s.”

Dorie Ladner

Photo: Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post (Getty Images)
Photo: Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post (Getty Images)

Civil rights leader Dorie Ladner died on March 11 at 81 after dealing with complications from COVID-19. Ladner was a member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) during the civil rights movement and was a prominent part of many of the most notable marches during the 1960s.

Naomi Ruth Barber King

Photo: David Goldman (AP)
Photo: David Goldman (AP)

Naomi Ruth Barber King died on March 7. She was 92. King was the sister-in-law of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and an accomplished civil rights activist in her own right. In 2008, she founded the A.D. King Foundation, which was named after her late husband.

Janice Burgess

Screenshot: YouTube
Screenshot: YouTube

Janice Burgess died on March 4, 2024, at 72. Burgess was a TV executive and screenwriter who was best known for creating the popular Nickelodeon television show “The Backyardigans.”

Michael Jones

Photo: WWE
Photo: WWE

Michael Jones died on February 28, 2024, at the age of 61. Jones was a professional wrestler in the WWF (currently the WWE) who went by the stage name Virgil. He was best known for portraying Ted DiBiase’s bodyguard. In the mid-90s, he joined the WCW and became one of the New World Order with DiBiase.

Robert Reid

Photo: Focus on Sport (Getty Images)
Photo: Focus on Sport (Getty Images)

Robert Reid died on Feb. 19 at 68. Reid was a 13-year NBA veteran, playing for the Houston Rockets, Portland Trailblazers, Charlotte Hornets, and Philadephia Sixers. He spent 10 of those seasons with the Rockets. He was drafted in the second round of the 1977 NBA Draft.

Hydeia Broadbent

Photo: Robin L Marshall (Getty Images)
Photo: Robin L Marshall (Getty Images)

HIV/AIDS activist Hydeia Broadbent died on Feb. 20 at 39. After getting HIV at the young age of 3, Broadbent was one of the initial children to receive treatment for HIV/AIDs. After living with the disease for more than 30 years, she raised awareness about the virus and we can help people living with it. Although her cause of death is unknown, she suffered a heart attack in September 2023.

Bing Worthington

Photo: Instagram/@snoopdogg
Photo: Instagram/@snoopdogg

Bing Worthington, Snoop Dogg’s younger brother, died on Feb. 14 at 44. Worthington was a music executive, who often worked with his older brother, becoming his tour manager and later working for his company, Dogg Records.

Gylan Kain

Photo: Gie Knaeps (Getty Images)
Photo: Gie Knaeps (Getty Images)

Dylan Kain died from heart disease in Lelystad, the Netherlands on February 7. He was 81. Also known as Kain the Poet, the spoken-word artists founded The Last Poets, a musical group that arose in the 1960s. His music helped set the building blocks for hip-hop, as rap legends such as Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg sampled his vocals.

Henry Fambrough

Photo: Mike Coppola/WireImage (Getty Images)
Photo: Mike Coppola/WireImage (Getty Images)

Henry Fambrough died on Feb. 6 at the age of 85 due to natural causes. Fambrough was the last surviving member of The Spinners, an R&B group that started recording music in 1954. In November 2023, he was present as he saw the legendary group be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Richard Caster

Photo: Jackson State University (Getty Images)
Photo: Jackson State University (Getty Images)

Richard Caster died on Feb. 1 at 75 after a lengthy battle with Parkinson’s disease. Caster was an NFL player who played 13 seasons in the league. He played for multiple teams, including the New York Jets, Houston Oilers, and the Washington Redskins. He played wide receiver and was named a the Pro Bowl three times.

Eddie Cheeba

Photo: Johnny Nunez/WireImage (Getty Images)
Photo: Johnny Nunez/WireImage (Getty Images)

Eddie Cheeba died on Feb. 13 at the age of 67 after suffering a cardiac arrest. Cheeba was a DJ who was considered one of the founding fathers of hip-hop. Born Edward Sturgis, Cheeba was part of a DJ trio that included Lovebug Starski and DJ Hollywood. They were incredibly inspirational to many early hip-hop artists in the late 1970s.

Kelvin Kiptum

Photo: Michael Reaves (Getty Images)
Photo: Michael Reaves (Getty Images)

Kelvin Kiptum passed on Feb. 11 at the young age of 24. The accomplished runner and his coach Gervais Hakizimana died after being involved in a car accident in Kenya. Kiptum was the current world record holder in the marathon after running a time of 2:00:35 at the 2023 Chicago Marathon.

Earl Cureton

Photo: Monica Morgan/WireImage (Getty Images)
Photo: Monica Morgan/WireImage (Getty Images)

Earl Cureton “unexpectedly” died on Feb. 4 at the age of 66. His cause of death is currently unknown. Cureton is a Detroit legend as he was born in the Motor City, went to Detroit Mercy University, and eventually played for the Detroit Pistons. Before his death, he served as a community ambassador for the Pistons. During his NBA career, he also played for the Philadelphia Sixers, Los Angeles Clippers, Charlotte Horneyys, Houston Rockets, and the Toronto Raptors.

Carl Weathers

Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez (Getty Images)
Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez (Getty Images)

Carl Weathers had such a long and varied career he had fans of all ages, races and genders. Whether it was Apollo Creed in “Rocky,” Chubbs in “Happy Gilmore” or Greef Karga in “The Mandalorian,” he was recognized around the world. He passed away Feb. 1 at the age of 76, dying at home in his sleep. In April 2023, he spoke to The Root about joining the “Star Wars” franchise and the fun he was having playing the complicated Greef Karga.

“I’m really appreciative for the opportunity as an actor because it’s so limiting when a character is so one dimensional that there is no growth,” Weathers told The Root. “But here, you have this man who comes from being the king of the bounty hunters guild, to now being a High Magistrate, a benevolent bureaucrat who seems to want to do good for all the citizens of Nevarro. I love that kind of stuff. That fullness of character.”

Hinton Battle

Photo: Jim Spellman/WireImage (Getty Images)
Photo: Jim Spellman/WireImage (Getty Images)

On Tuesday, Tony-winning actor and choreographer Hinton Battle died after a “lengthy illness” Per The Hollywood Reporter, his family and loved ones are choosing not to disclose the exact nature of his illness. He passed away at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was survived by his sisters, Eddie and Lettie Battle, and a plethora of nieces, nephews, extended family, and friends. He was 67 years old.

Battle was best known as the originator of the Scarecrow character in the Broadway adaptation of “The Wiz.” He would later go on to win three Tony awards, all for Best Features Actor in a Musical in: “Sophisticated Ladies” (1981), “The Tap Dance Kid (1984)“ and Miss Saigon (1991). His Broadway credits include popular shows like “Dancin’, Dreamgirls,” “Chicago,” and “Ragtime.”

Maricet Espinoa Gonzalez

On Jan. 21. Judo champion and 2016 Olympian, Maricet Espinosa Gonzalez, passed away after suffering a heart attack. According to TMZ, the two-time Pan American Games Champion had surgery shortly before the heart attack, but there’s no word on if the procedure played a role in her death. While representing Cuba, Gonzalez was a two-time Pan American Games gold medalist in 2013 and 2014. Nicknamed “La Mole,” Gonzalez was 34-years-old.

“With deep sadness, we bid farewell to a legend of Pan-American and Cuban Judo. Maricet Espinosa, affectionately known as ‘La Mole’, leaves an indelible legacy,” wrote the Confederación Panamericana de Judo in Spanish on Instagram. “Two-time Pan American Champion, World Medalist, and Olympic Representative in Rio 2016. Rest in peace, our dearest Maricet. Our condolences to [their] family and Cuban judo. Your spirit and your achievements will last forever.”

Dexter King

Photo: Helen Comer/Pool/The Jackson Sun/AP (AP)
Photo: Helen Comer/Pool/The Jackson Sun/AP (AP)

Dexter Scott King died on Jan. 22 after a long battle with prostate cancer. He was 62. As the youngest son of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Dexter followed in his father’s footsteps and was a civil rights activist. He was also the chairman of the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change.

Marlena Shaw

Photo: Michael Putland (Getty Images)
Photo: Michael Putland (Getty Images)

Marlena Shaw died on Jan. 19 at the age of 81. Her daughter announced the legendary jazz singer’s passing in an emotional video on Facebook. Shaw was a mainstay in jazz, R&B, and soul for years and was known for the songs, “California Soul” and “Woman of the Ghetto.”

Reggie Wells

Photo: Algerina Perna/Baltimore Sun/Tribune News Service (Getty Images)
Photo: Algerina Perna/Baltimore Sun/Tribune News Service (Getty Images)

Reggie Wells died on Jan. 8 at 76. His cause of death has not been shared. Wells was a well-known and accomplished makeup artist who worked with the likes of Michelle Obama, Oprah, Beyoncé, Whitney Houston, and other notable Black figures.

Jerry Wade

Photo: WTLC
Photo: WTLC

Jerry Wade died in January at the age of 61. Known as “The Loverman,” Wade was a respected disc jockey in Indianapolis who listeners in the Midwest fell in love with over his 40-year career.

Josephine Wright

Photo: Courtesy of Charise Graves
Photo: Courtesy of Charise Graves

Josephine Wright died in January at 94. Her cause of death was not mentioned. Wright was an elderly Black woman who was in the middle of a land dispute with a major investment group over land that’s been a part of her family since the Civil War.

Ronald Powell

Photo: Stacy Revere (Getty Images)
Photo: Stacy Revere (Getty Images)

Former NFL player Ronald Powell died in January at the young age of 32. His cause of death was not revealed. Powell was a talented football player who played in the NFL for four years, much of it on practice teams, which included the New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Chicago Bears, and the Seattle Seahawks.

For the latest news, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.