These 9 Tributes To Celebrities Who Have Died Are As Unique As They Are Moving

Famous and everyday people find beautiful ways to pay tribute.

As anyone who has tried to organize celebrity tributes can likely attest, it can be hard to articulate the significance and impact of the lives of fallen stars. But for the icons below, people both famous and everyday have found beautiful, emotional, and fitting tributes to celebrities who have died

Some are public displays of remembrance, some are private, some are highly publicized, and some fly under the radar. All, however, do justice to their subjects. 


1. Carrie Fisher

Carrie Fisher's death in 2016 inspired thousands of social media tributes, including one from Star Wars co-star Mark Hamill. But our favorite was the celebrity tribute penned by Billie Lourd, Carrie's daughter, who journeyed to Norway to honor one of her late mother's favorite experiences.

"My momby had an otherworldly obsession with the Northern Lights, but I never got to see them with her," Lourd wrote on Instagram, captioning a stunning shot of her and father Bryan Lourd posing under a brilliant aurora. 

"We journeyed to northern Norway to see if we might 'see the heavens lift up her dark skirts and flash her dazzling privates across [our] unworthy irises.' And she did. I love you times infinity."

2. Prince

Following the death of singer and musician Prince in 2016, Minnesota's pro sports teams honored their hometown hero by turning their stadium lights and social media pages purple to commemorate the "Purple Rain" singer.

3. Heath Ledger

Ten years after they worked together on Brokeback Mountain, Jake Gyllenhaal remembered Heath Ledger, who passed away in 2008, with an extemporaneous eulogy on NPR. (Ledger wasn't just featured in 2009 Oscars' tribute to celebrities who died in the prior year, he also won the Best Supporting Actor trophy that year for his role as The Joker in The Dark Knight.)

"I miss him as a human being, and I miss working with him," Gyllenhaal said in the 2015 interview. "And what an unfortunate thing it is that we won't be able to see the beauty of his expression. He was incredibly special, and that doesn't even come close to encapsulating who he is — who he was. 

"I know, not only can this career end in a very short period of time and this or that can happen, but also that life is precious. I think losing Heath and being a part of a family that was something like the movie, that movie we all made together, makes you see that, makes you appreciate that, and hopefully moves you away from the things that really don't matter to the things that do."

4. Robin Williams

Sometimes, tributes to celebrities who have died are charitable, as in the case of Robin Williams' bicycles. The comedic star, who died in 2014, had a massive collection of bikes, and his children donated 87 of them to be auctioned off to benefit the Challenged Athletes Foundation and the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.

"We hope these bikes will bring their new owners as much joy as riding them, and helping these causes, always brought him," they said, per CNN. "And though not required, may we suggest wearing the loudest, most vibrant and brightly patterned, skin-tight biking gear possible when riding them? Keep the tradition alive."

5. Chester Bennington

And sometimes, tributes to celebrities who died are impromptu, as in the case of the concert memorializing Chester Bennington, the Linkin Park frontman who died in 2017. When the rest of the band performed two of their biggest hits, "In the End" and "Numb," the 17,000-strong audience raised its voice and filled in Bennington's lyrics.

6. Michael Jackson

In one of the most-watched celebrity tributes on this list, Queen of Pops Janet Jackson and Madonna honored late King of Pop Michael Jackson at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. "His music had an extra layer of inexplicable magic that didn't just make you want to dance but made you believe that you could fly, dare to dream, be anything that you wanted to be," Madonna said. "Because that's what heroes do, and Michael Jackson was a hero."

Madonna then introduced a celebrity tribute show that featured a bevy of Michael Jackson clones dancing his famous choreography and an appearance by Janet. With footwork perfectly synced to her brother's moves on the screen behind her, Janet performed their joint hit "Scream" and got the adoring audience members to their feet.  

7. George Michael

Not all celebrity tribute shows are quite as public, though. To honor Wham! singer George Michael, who died in 2016, Coldplay frontman Chris Martin visited a Crisis at Christmas center in London and joined one of the workers in an acoustic cover of the Wham! Hit "Last Christmas."

8. Anna Nicole Smith

Anna Nicole Smith was a reality star and a tabloid target, but to people such as comedian Margaret Cho, she was a dear friend. In one of the more touching tributes to celebrities who have died, Cho dedicated a song from her 2016 album American Myth to her late friend.

"American Myth is a lyric from the song 'Anna Nicole,' about the American myth that certain people are too beautiful for this world," Cho told A Plus about this celebrity tribute. "They die young because they are too good for it. That is Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, the 27 Club — this is the same with Anna Nicole. I knew her, and her death struck me very hard and still does."

9. Maya Angelou

On the very same day in 2014 that celebrated poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou passed away, a YouTube user uploaded this dance choreographed to Angelou's recitation of "Still I Rise" — one of her best-known poems — and performed by the Spotlight Studio of Dance troupe from Millersville, Md. It's one of our favorite celebrity tributes, especially because it proves Angelou's legacy will always rise.

Cover image: Joe Seer / | mooinblack /


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