As 2012 comes to end, we're looking back at the beloved heroes and icons to whom we said goodbye this year.
Whitney Houston: At just 48 years old, diva Whitney Houston, considered by many to have one of the greatest voices of all time, died of accidental drowning in the bath in her Los Angeles hotel room on February 11. The coroner also listed the effects of atherosclerotic heart disease and cocaine use as contributing factors to her untimely death. Houston’s cover of Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You" remains the best-selling single by a female artist in history. Her passing, which shocked the music world, coincided with the 2012 Grammy Awards where stars paid tribute to the revered singer.
Robin Gibb: One-third of iconic disco-pop trio, the Bee Gees, Robin Gibb died at age 62 on May 20 from liver and kidney failure after a long battle with cancer. The singer-songwriter, who rose to fame with his brothers in part thanks to the wild success of the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, is considered one of the most significant figures in British music's history.
Michael Clarke Duncan: On September 3, Michael Clarke Duncan, 54, passed away. He had been in intensive care since suffering a heart attack on July 13. "Big Mike" Duncan — the former bodyguard stood an intimidating 6-feet-4-inches tall — was nominated for an Academy Award for his performance in The Green Mile. His other films included Armageddon, Planet of the Apes, The Whole Nine Yards, and Kung Fu Panda.
Neil Armstrong: On August 25, Neil Armstrong, the first person to walk on the moon, passed away following complications from coronary artery bypass surgery. He was 82. Known for speaking the now-legendary line, "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind," Armstrong set foot on the moon on July 20, 1969. U.S. President Barack Obama called Armstrong one the nation's greatest heroes. The humble astronaut, however, famously shied away from attention, calling himself simply a "nerdy engineer."
Adam Yauch: Adam "MCA" Yauch, co-founder of the Grammy-winning Beastie Boys, died on May 4 at the age of 47. He had been battling salivary gland cancer for three years. His death came just one month after his platinum-selling band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Dick Clark: Legendary TV host Dick Clark, 82, passed away on April 18 of a massive heart attack. "America's oldest teenager" — and the man behind the very successful Dick Clark Productions — was a familiar TV fixture for decades, hosting American Bandstand, numerous TV game shows, and the annual Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve. Clark suffered a stroke in 2004, but returned to ring in the new year on his iconic New Year's show in 2006. He was determined to never retire — and he didn't.
Etta James: American songstress Etta James died of leukaemia on January 20, just five days before her 74th birthday. A multi-Grammy-Award winner — and queen of the professional comeback — the "At Last" and "Something's Got a Hold On Me" singer defied category: During her five-decades-long career, she was inducted into of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Blues Hall of Fame and the Grammy Hall of Fame.
Donna Summer: On May 17, Donna Summer died at her Florida home of lung cancer. The five-time Grammy award-winning "Queen of Disco" was 73. Cited as an influence of artists like David Bowie and Duran Duran, Summer helped defined the '70s disco boom with hits like "Hot Stuff," "Last Dance" and "Bad Girls." Her success continued with "She Works Hard for the Money," among others, in the '80s. In 2004, Summer in inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame.
Anthony Sedlak: On July 4, Food Network Canada chef Anthony Sedlak died of an undiagnosed medical condition. He was only 29. Best known for hosting Food Network Canada's "The Main" — and for writing a best-selling cookbook of the same name — Vancouver-based Sedlak rose to TV-chef fame following his Superstar Chef Challenge II win in 2007.
Peter Lougheed: On September 13, former Alberta premier Peter Lougheed died peacefully of natural causes in the Calgary hospital named after him. He was 84. Lougheed became the face of Canada's emergent West during his 14-year tenure as premier — he led the province from 1971 to 1985 — overseeing the development of Alberta's oil and gas resources and later establishing the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund. Despite retiring from politics in 1985, he still helped negotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) for Prime Minister Brian Mulroney in 1987 and co-chaired the Canada-Japan forum in the mid-'90s. From 1996 to 2002, Lougheed served as chancellor of Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario.