COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, has brought the world to a standstill. With confirmed cases increasing at a rapid rate, many countries are taking drastic measures in order to stem the time of the global pandemic. While cities and even entire countries are sheltering in place and practicing social distancing to stop the spread, essential workers and medical personnel and staff are on the front lines proving once again that they are the real heroes.
However, despite their valiant efforts, the novel coronavirus has taken its toll, particularly on more vulnerable members of the population. Since the first reported cases in late 2019, the coronavirus has claimed the lives of thousands worldwide, including some famous faces.
During this time, some celebrities have attempted to help and spread positivity, while other high-profile stars believe the coronavirus is a hoax. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has tragically taken the lives of several celebrities, including legendary musical artists — and even a member of a royal family. It is with sad hearts that we report the celebrities who have died from the coronavirus.
Spain's Princess Maria Teresa
Spain’s Princess Maria Teresa becomes the first royal to pass away from the novel coronavirus. She was 86. Her death was announced on Facebook by her brother, Prince Sixto Enrique de Borbon, the Duke of Aranjuez.
“SAR Don Sixto Enrique de Borbón communicates that this Thursday, March 26, 2020, has passed away in Paris, at eighty-six years old, his sister Maria Teresa de Bourbon-Parma and Bourbon Busset, victim of coronavirus COVID-19,” the statement read. “Don Sixto Enrique is very sorry and begs for prayers for his sister’s eternal rest.”
Known as the “Red Princess” for her lifelong socialist activism and advocate for women’s rights, Maria Teresa was the cousin of Spain’s King Felipe IV (via People). According to the publication, the outspoken royal was a “distinguished professor at Paris’ Sorbonne and an outspoken professor of Sociology at Madrid’s Complutense University.” Two other royals, U.K.’s Prince Charles and Monaco’s Prince Albert, are among the many other celebs who have also have tested positive for COVID-19.
Jazz legend Manu Dibango
Manu Dibango, a Cameroonian jazz artist whose celebrated career spanned decades, passed away from complications due to the novel coronavirus (via ABC News). He was 86. The legendary multi-instrumentalist and songwriter who influenced everything from disco to hip-hop died in a Paris hospital according to a statement posted on his official Facebook page on Tuesday, March 24, 2020.
“It is with deep sadness that we announce the loss of Manu Dibango, our Papy Groove, who passed away on March 24, 2020, at 86 years old, further to covid 19,” the statement, written in French, reads. “His funeral service will be held in strict privacy, and a tribute to his memory will be organized when possible.”
Dibango’s 1973 hit “Soul Makossa” inspired everyone from Michael Jackson, who used the song’s refrain on “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'” to Rihanna, who sampled the dance floor smash on her 2007 single “Don’t Stop the Music.” (via The New York Times).
Celebrity chef Floyd Cardoz
Celebrity chef and international restaurateur Floyd Cardoz passed away on March 25, 2020, at Mountainside Hospital in Montclair, N.J. from the novel coronavirus. He was 59. “It is with deep sorrow that we inform you of the passing away of Chef Floyd Cardoz,” Hunger Inc. Hospitality, where Cardoz served as culinary director, said in a statement (via CNN).
The winner of Bravo’s third season of Top Chef Masters, Cardoz admitted himself to the hospital on March 17, 2020 when he felt ill after returning from India where he was filming the Netflix series Ugly Delicious. His last Instagram post was a selfie taken in the hospital the same day in which he wrote, “I was feeling feverish and hence as a precautionary measure, admitted myself into hospital in New York.”
The India-born chef’s Manhattan restaurant, Tabla, elevated Indian-American modern cuisine like no other chef before him. “I adored him. A great chef, groundbreaking in so many ways, a generous human, resilient of spirit and loved his family, his garden and our restaurant world so much. I’m stunned. I know what I’m eating tonight for dinner,” Andrew Zimmern, the host Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods tweeted, accompanied with a link to a Cardoz recipe.
Five-time Tony Award-winner Terrence McNally passed away due to complications from coronavirus on March 24, 2020 (via The Hollywood Reporter). He was 81. The creative mind behind Kiss of the Spider-Woman, Ragtime, and Love! Valour! Compassion!, McNally routinely brought gay characters to mainstream audiences, and wrote about homophobia and AIDS when those topics were still considered socially taboo.
His publicist Matt Polk told the publication that McNally died in a hospital in Sarasota, Fla. McNally survived lung cancer in the late 90s, but “the disease cost him portions of both lungs.” He also suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He is survived by his husband, producer Tom Kirdahy (via Broadway).
News of McNally’s death led many Broadway stars to pay their respects. “Heartbroken over the loss of Terrence McNally, a giant in our world, who straddled plays and musicals deftly,” Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda tweeted, adding, “Grateful for his staggering body of work and his unfailing kindness.” Actor Patrick Wilson tweeted: “My first acting award at a one-act festival in high school. My first Tony nomination was for Full Monty. Both shows written by Terrence McNally. He had a monumental impact on my career and will be missed. Rest In Peace, my friend.”
Actor Mark Blum died at the age of 69 on March 25, 2020, due to complications of the coronavirus after testing positive a week prior (via Los Angeles Times). His wife of 15 years, Janet Zarish, said that Blum suffered from asthma, but had not, as the publication put it, “traveled recently or knowingly been in contact with anyone with the virus.”
Perhaps best known for film and television roles in Crocodile Dundee, Desperately Seeking Susan, Mozart in the Jungle, and the Netflix series You, Blum also starred in several Broadway productions over the course of 40-plus years, such as Lost In Yonkers, The Best Man, and Gus and Al, according to Playbill. “With love and heavy hearts, Playwrights Horizons pays tribute to Mark Blum, a dear longtime friend, and a consummate artist who passed this week,” Playwrights Horizons, a theater company in New York City, tweeted following the news of his passing. “Thank you, Mark, for all you brought to our theater, and to theaters and audiences across the world. We will miss you.”
Dozens of members of the entertainment industry have since mourned Blum’s passing on social media, including the likes of Bernadette Peters, Judith Light, and Madonna. Meanwhile, actress Rosanna Arquette, who starred in Desperately Seeking Susan alongside Blum and Madonna in the mid-’80s, offered her condolences on Twitter, writing in part, “I’m so deeply sad for his family and for his fans. [He] was a wonderful actor and a very good and kind man.”
Country music singer Joe Diffie was diagnosed with COVID-19, his publicist, Scott Adkins, told The Associated Press on March 27, 2020. In a statement released to Rolling Stone, the 61-year-old musician revealed: “I am under the care of medical professionals and currently receiving treatment. My family and I are asking for privacy at this time. We want to remind the public and all my fans to be vigilant, cautious, and careful during this pandemic.”
However, two days after the announcement, Diffie sadly passed away. “Grammy-winning country music legend Joe Diffie passed away today, Sunday, March 29 from complications of coronavirus (COVID-19),” a statement posted to his official Instagram read. “His family requests privacy at this time.”
According to his Grand Ole Opry profile, in which he was inducted in 1993, Diffie had “four gold and platinum albums, 17 Top 10 hits and more than 6 million in record sales.” Diffie, who previously cancelled shows amid the coronavirus outbreak, was best known for a string of ’90s hits, including “Pickup Man,” “Honky Tonk Attitude,” “Third Rock From The Sun,” “Prop Me Up Beside The Jukebox,” and “John Deere Green.”
A number of Diffie’s peers have since taken to social media to express their condolences. Trace Adkins called Diffie “one of the all-time GREAT vocalists,” while Granger Smith wrote, “Here’s to you Pickup Man. You inspired an entire generation of country singers and accepted us all with kindness, gratitude and buckets of talent.”
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