Join Wonderwall.com as we take a look at the music stars we lost in 2020… starting with this guitar god… Eddie Van Halen passed away on Oct. 6 following a battle with lung cancer. He was 65. The rock legend's son, Wolfgang, took to social media to announce his dad's death. "He was the best father I could ever ask for," Wolfgang wrote on Twitter. "Every moment I've shared with him on and off stage was a gift. My heart is broken and I don't think I'll ever fully recover from this loss. I love you so much, Pop." Eddie also battled tongue cancer two decades earlier. Keep reading for more music stars who died this year…
RELATED: Stars whose children died in 2020
On May 9, rock 'n' roll legend Little Richard — who electrified the radio with hits like "Tutti Frutti," "Long Tall Sally," "Rip It Up," "Lucille," "Good Golly Miss Molly" and more — passed away in Nashville from complications of bone cancer. He was 87.
RELATED: Famous people who died in 2020
On April 7, country-folk singer-songwriter John Prine passed away from complications related to COVID-19. He was 73. In 2020, the Songwriters Hall of Fame member was also the recipient of the Grammy lifetime achievement award.
Grammy winner Bonnie Pointer — a co-founder of the Pointer Sisters — died on June 8. She was 69. "Bonnie was my best friend and we talked every day. We never had a fight in our life. I already miss her and I will see her again one day," sibling and former bandmate Anita Pointer said in a statement. TMZ later reported that Bonnie's death certificate revealed she died of cardiopulmonary arrest with liver disease and cirrhosis of the liver as underlying causes.
Country Music Hall of Famer Kenny Rogers passed away on March 20 from natural causes. The three-time Grammy winner was 81. At the time of his death, Kenny was in hospice care. "Kenny Rogers left an indelible mark on the history of American music," said his family in a statement. "His songs have endeared music lovers and touched the lives of millions around the world."
Country music star Charley Pride, who was a pioneer for Black artists in the genre as well as the first Black member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, died from complications of COVID-19 in Dallas on Dec. 12 at 86. The Grammy winner known for hit songs like "Kiss an Angel Good Morning" and "Is Anybody Goin' to San Antone" delivered his final performance at November's 2020 Country Music Association Awards, where he also received a lifetime achievement award.
On July 8, "Glee" singer-actress Naya Rivera died after going missing while on California's Lake Piru with her then-4-year-old son, Josey Dorsey. She was 33. While authorities launched a search for the star, by July 9, it was a recovery mission. On July 13, her body was found and officials confirmed that she drowned after safely getting her son to their boat as it began to drift. "This is so unfair…there's not enough words to express the hole left in everyone's hearts," Josey's father, actor Ryan Dorsey — who'd split from Naya a few years earlier — wrote on Instagram. "I can't believe this is life now. I don't know if I'll ever believe it. You were just here."
Guitarist Leslie West — the co-founder and co-lead vocalist of the rock band Mountain who belted out "Mississippi Queen" — died on Dec. 23 following a cardiac arrest at his home near Daytona, Florida. He was 75. Younger fans knew Leslie — who was mourned by many of rock music's greats — for both his numerous appearances on Howard Stern's radio show and thanks to his famous song's presence in the "Guitar Hero" and "Rock Band" video game franchises.
Songwriter-musician Adam Schlesinger, who co-founded the pop-rock band Fountains of Wayne, passed away on April 1 from complications related to COVID-19. He was 52. Adam was also an Emmy Award-winning songwriter for the hit musical television series "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" and penned the titular song from the Tom Hanks-directed film "That Thing You Do!" for which he received Oscar and Golden Globe nominations.
Singer and feminist icon Helen Reddy, whose hits include the anthem "I Am Woman" and the 1970s chart-toppers "Delta Dawn" and "Angie Baby," died at 78 on Sept. 29 under the care of the Motion Picture and Television Fund's Samuel Goldwyn Center for Behavioral Health in Woodland Hills, California. Helen, who was diagnosed with dementia in 2015, was the first Australian to win a Grammy.
On March 30, singer-songwriter Bill Withers, who was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015, passed away from heart complications. He was 81. Bill's notable hits include "Ain't No Sunshine," "Use Me," "Lovely Day" and "Just the Two of Us."
One of rock's greatest drummers — Rush percussionist and lyricist Neil Peart — died on Jan. 7 in Santa Monica, California, following a three-and-a-half year battle with brain cancer. He was 67.
Tony-nominated Broadway star Nick Cordero passed away on July 5 in Los Angeles from complications related to COVID-19. He was 41. The Canadian musician, singer and actor's wife, dancer and fitness instructor Amanda Kloots, took to social media to chronicle his battle with the virus over the course of 95 days. "God has another angel in heaven now," she wrote on Instagram, in part. "I am in disbelief and hurting everywhere. My heart is broken as I cannot imagine our lives without him. Nick was such a bright light. He was everyone's friend, loved to listen, help and especially talk. He was an incredible actor and musician. He loved his family and loved being a father and husband. [Our 1-year-old son] Elvis and I will miss him in everything we do, everyday."
On April 1, Jazz pianist Ellis Marsalis Jr. passed away from complications of the coronavirus. The beloved musician from New Orleans was 85. "My dad was a giant of a musician and teacher, but an even greater father. He poured everything he had into making us the best of what we could be," said one of Ellis' sons, musician Branford Marsalis.
On March 29, country music singer-songwriter Joe Diffie, who garnered fame with tracks like "Pickup Man" and "If the Devil Danced," passed away from complications related to COVID-19. He was 61.
On May 7, Andre Harrell — the music executive who founded Uptown Records and later led Motown Records who was also an artist himself — died at his West Hollywood home of heart failure. He was 59. Andre, who got his start as one-half of the rap act Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde in the early '80s, is credited with helping launch the careers of Sean "Diddy" Combs (his former intern) and Mary J. Blige (whom he signed as a teenager), among many others.
R&B singer-songwriter Betty Wright passed away in Miami on May 10 from cancer. She was 66. Betty, who was recognized for her whistle register, was known for hits like 1972's "Clean Up Woman."
On Sept. 29, country music singer-songwriter Mac Davis passed away after becoming ill following heart surgery. He notably wrote songs for Elvis Presley including "A Little Less Conversation" and "In the Ghetto." The late hitmaker, who's also known for songs like "Baby Don't Get Hooked on Me" and "One Hell of a Woman," was 78.
On July 6, singer-songwriter Charlie Daniels — who was known for his No. 1 country track "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" — passed away after suffering a hemorrhagic stroke. The 2008 Grand Ole Opry inductee was 83.
Barbara Martin (left), an original member of The Supremes, died at 76 on March 4. "Our hearts go out to Barbara's family and friends. Once a Supreme, always a Supreme," read a message posted on the 1960s Motown vocal group's official Facebook page.
On Dec. 21, country music singer-songwriter K.T. Oslin died in Nashville. She was 78. The Grammy-winning "Hold Me" singer was the first woman to win the Country Music Association's song of the year award, an honor she took home for her hit "80's Ladies" (which also earned a Grammy) in 1988.
On June 2, actor-singer Chris Trousdale passed away from health complications related to the coronavirus. He was 34. Chris was a member of the boy band Dream Street, which also consisted of members Jesse McCartney, Frankie J. Galasso, Gregory Raposo and Matt Ballinger.
Rapper John Fletcher — also known as Ecstasy, a member of the influential hip-hop group Whodini — died on Dec. 23 in Atlanta. He was 56.
On Nov. 24, Andrea Ketchum, the wife of country music singer Hal Ketchum — who was known for his songs like "Small Town Saturday Night" and "Past the Point of Rescue" — revealed that the musician had died. "With great sadness and grief we announce that Hal passed away peacefully last night at home due to complications of Dementia," she wrote on Facebook. "May his music live on forever in your hearts and bring you peace."
Tommy DeVito — who was best known as a founding member and lead guitarist of the Four Seasons — died on Sept. 21 from health complications related to COVID-19. He was 92. Along with his fellow Four Seasons band members, Tommy was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1990 and 1999, respectively.
On July 25, reps for Peter Green, 73 — the influential blues guitarist who co-founded Fleetwood Mac with drummer Mick Fleetwood in 1967 — revealed the star had died "peacefully in his sleep."
On April 24, Harold Reid (left), a founding member of the quartet the Statler Brothers, died in Staunton, Virginia, after he "bravely endured a long battle with kidney failure," the band said in a statement. The three-time Grammy winner was 80.
On Feb. 19, rapper Pop Smoke was shot and killed in his Los Angeles home. He was just 20. In the wake of his death, several celebrities offered their condolences. "Rest Up Pop Smoke, you were too young. God Bless and comfort your family. What a crazy trajectory you were on man smh," wrote Chance the Rapper on Twitter.
"The Little Girl" and "Forget You" country singer Cady Groves passed away on May 2 from complications from chronic ethanol abuse. She was 30.
On May 6, electronic music pioneer Florian Schneider of the German band Kraftwerk died "from a short cancer disease just a few days after his 73rd birthday," confirmed Ralf Hütter, the Grammy-winning group's co-founder.
On July 6, reports confirmed that Oscar- and Grammy-winning Italian composer Ennio Morricone — the man who scored more than 500 films over seven decades and was known to many simply as "Maestro" — died in a hospital in Rome at 91 after fracturing his femur in a fall. His music credits include the Clint Eastwood Westerns "A Fistful of Dollars," "For a Few Dollars More" and "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" as well as "Once Upon a Time in America," "The Untouchables," "Cinema Paradiso" and, more recently, Quentin Tarantino's "The Hateful Eight."
Singer-songwriter Benny Mardones, who wrote music for Brenda Lee and Three Dog Night but is most famous for his '80s radio ballad "Into the Night,"died on June 29 at his home in Menifee, California, following a long battle with Parkinson's disease. He was 73.
On Jan. 26, musician Bob Shane (right) — the last original member of the Grammy-winning group Kingston Trio — died from complications of pneumonia just a few days before his 86th birthday.
Nikki McKibbin, the singer who found fame as a contestant on the first season of "American Idol," placing third, suffered an aneurysm on Oct. 28 and died on Oct. 31. She was 42.
Country music singer-songwriter Jerry Jeff Walker, 78, passed away on Oct. 23 after losing his battle with throat cancer. He was best known for penning the 1968 track "Mr. Bojangles."
Jazz drummer Jimmy Cobb — the last surviving member of the sextet that played on Miles Davis's 1959 album "Kind of Blue," which is considered one of the greatest jazz albums of all time — died of lung cancer at his New York City home on May 24. He was 91.
Frederick "Toots" Hibbert, 77, the leader of Grammy-winning ska and rocksteady pioneers Toots and The Maytals, died on Sept. 11 at the University Hospital of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica. Following the news of his passing, music stars from Mick Jagger to Ziggy Marley mourned him on social media.
Brian Howe — the frontman for Bad Company for eight years after he replaced singer Paul Rodgers — died on May 5 in his Florida home from cardiac arrest. He was 66.
Willie Nelson's longtime drummer, Paul English, passed away on Feb. 11 after falling ill with pneumonia. Paul, who began regularly drumming for Willie in 1966, was 87.
Saxophonist, arranger and composer Lennie Niehaus — famous for playing with Stan Kenton's band and collaborating with old Army buddy and fellow jazz enthusiast Clint Eastwood on more than two dozen films — died on May 28 under hospice care in Redlands, California. He was 90. Lenny, who won an Emmy in 1994 for his work on the TV movie "Lush Life," worked on the music for movies including "The Outlaw Josey Wales," "Escape From Alcatraz," "Pale Rider," "Unforgiven," "The Bridges of Madison County," "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil," "Million Dollar Baby" and more.
On May 15, British singer and lyricist Phil May, the frontman for rock band Pretty Things — who were known for releasing one of the first real rock opera concept albums in the 1960s — died from complications of emergency hip surgery. He was 75. Phil had fallen off his bike earlier in the week.
March 29 marked the date on which vocalist-songwriter Alan Merrill of the Arrows passed away from complications related to COVID-19. The Bronx native — who wrote the song "I Love Rock 'n' Roll," which was later made famous by Joan Jett — was 69.
On Sept. 6, former lead singer of The Temptations Bruce Williamson died at Mountain View Hospital in Las Vegas from complications related to COVID-19. He was 49. The R&B singer, who was once known as a gospel music prodigy, sang on the Temptations albums "Still Here" and "Back to Front."
Guitarist-producer Andy Gill, who co-founded the influential post-punk band Gang of Four, died of pneumonia in London on Feb. 1. He was 64.
Motown musician Hamilton Bohannon — whose music has been sampled by artists including JAY-Z, Justin Timberlake, Mary J. Blige and Snoop Dogg — died on April 24 at 78. Billboard described him as "an under-sung but highly influential percussionist whose '70s solo work set the stage for disco."
On June 30, Variety confirmed that Oscar- and Grammy-winning songwriter Johnny Mandel — who wrote the "M*A*S*H" theme song — had died at 94. He worked with vocalists including Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Barbra Streisand, Michael Jackson, Tony Bennett and Natalie Cole and scored more than 30 films during his Hollywood career. He also won five Grammys plus a best original song Oscar for "The Shadow of Your Smile" from 1965's "The Sandpiper." Stars including singer Michael Bublé spoke out to honor the talent. "I was so sad to learn that a hero of mine, Johnny Mandel, passed away," Michael tweeted. "He was a genius and one of my favorite writers, arrangers and personalities. He was a beast."
On March 24, saxophone and vibraphone player Manu Dibango passed away from complications related to COVID-19. He was 86. The Cameroonian musician was best known for his 1972 track "Soul Makossa."
David Roback — a founding member of alternative rock duo Mazzy Star — passed away on Feb. 24 from metastatic cancer. He was 61.
On April 24, DJ Michael Huckaby — who was recognized as a pioneer in Detroit's techno music scene — passed away from complications related to COVID-19. His discography includes 1995's "Deep Transportation Vol. 1," 1997's "The Jazz Republic" and 2007's "My Life With The Wave."
On Aug. 11, singer-songwriter Trini Lopez — who will be remembered for his melding of rockabilly, folk and Latin music — passed away from complications related to COVID-19. He was 83. In 1964, he was asked by Gibson Brands, Inc. to design two guitars — the Trini Lopez Standard and the Lopez Deluxe — both of which are now collectors' items.
On March 21, jazz trumpeter Wallace Roney passed away in Paterson, New Jersey, from health complications related to the coronavirus. He was 59.
On April 8, rapper Chynna (right) died from an accidental drug overdose. The Philadelphia-born emcee, who was also signed to the Ford Modeling Agency, was 25.
Alto saxophonist Lee Konitz, who was recognized for his contributions to the cool jazz movement during the 1940s and 1950s, passed away on April 15 after contracting COVID-19. He was 92.
On June 18, Dame Vera Lynn — the singer who earned the nickname "The Forces' Sweetheart" thanks to the sentimental songs she performed for soldiers fighting in Europe during World War II — died at her home in Sussex, England. She was 103. Vera was best known for her renditions of "We'll Meet Again," "(There'll Be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover" and "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square."
Joseph Shabalala — the Grammy-winning South African music star who founded and directed the vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo — died on Feb. 11 of natural causes. He was 78.
The family of five-time Grammy winner Alfred "McCoy" Tyner announced on March 6 that the influential jazz pianist, who was the last surviving member of the John Coltrane Quartet, had died at 81.
DJ-producer Andrew Weatherall, 56 — a pioneering DJ in Britain's late-1980s and early-1990s acid house scene — died in a London hospital on Feb. 17 of a pulmonary embolism. He was known for his work with bands and artists including Primal Scream, New Order, Björk, Happy Mondays, My Bloody Valentine, Manic Street Preachers, Beth Orton, Saint Etienne and more.
On Jan. 19, three-time Grammy nominee Jimmy Heath — a saxophonist, composer and bandleader who played alongside jazz's biggest names including Miles Davis and John Coltrane — died in Loganville, Georgia, of natural causes. He was 93.
Singer-actress Lynn Kellogg Simpers, best known for her starring role as Sheila in the original 1968 Broadway production of "Hair," died on Nov. 12 in a St. Louis hospital from complications of COVID-19. She was 77.
Up-and-coming rapper Lexii Alijai died on Jan. 1 from an accidental overdose of fentanyl and alcohol. She was 21. Music stars including Wale and Kehlani, who collaborated with Lexii — the granddaughter of singer-songwriter Roger Troutman — on the track "Jealous," took to social media to mourn her. The rapper had been set to release her debut album, "Come Back Soon," in 2020.
On Sept. 9, Kool & the Gang co-founder, singer and saxophonist Ronald "Khalis" Bell, whose music group was one of the most celebrated funk bands of the 1970s, died at his home in the U.S. Virgin Islands at 68.
KISS guitarist Bob Kulick passed away at 70 on May 28. "His love of music, and his talent as a musician and producer should always be celebrated. I know he is at peace now, with my parents playing his guitar as loud as possible," brother Bruce Kulick, who's also played guitar for the rock band, said in a statement.
Guitarist Derek Jones from the post-hardcore band Falling In Reverse died in April. The news was announced by bandmate Ronnie Radke on Instagram on April 21. "I'll never forget when you picked me up from jail In Your old tour van to start falling in reverse. Your spirit will be interwoven through the music I write forever. Rest In Peace Derek Jones. My heart is broken," Ronnie wrote alongside a slideshow of photos with his friend. Reports revealed that Derek, whose cause of death has not been publicly announced, passed away several months after losing his fiancée to cancer.
On April 23, rapper Fred the Godson died from complications of COVID-19. The New York-born emcee, who released his debut mixtape "Armageddon" in 2010, was 35.
On Aug. 20, singer-songwriter Justin Townes Earle — the son of country rocker Steve Earle– passed away at 38. Months later it was confirmed that he died from an accidental drug overdose.
"Saturday Night Live" sketch music producer Hal Willner died on April 7 from complications of COVID-19. He was 64. On April 11, four days after he passed, "SNL" aired a tribute to him that included a rendition of Lou Reed's "Perfect Day."
Folk singer-songwriter David Olney, whose music was performed by artists including Linda Ronstadt, Steve Earle and Emmylou Harris, passed away on Jan. 18 after collapsing on stage during a performance in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. Reports said the 71-year-old musician had a heart attack.
Cabaret and cruise entertainer Nick Apollo Forte — who was famous for playing lounge singer Lou Canova in Woody Allen's 1984 film "Broadway Danny Rose" — died on Feb. 26. He was 81.
On April 1, jazz guitarist John "Bucky" Pizzarelli died at his home in Saddle River, New Jersey, after contracting the coronavirus. He was 94.
On April 27, 52-year-old Grammy-nominated gospel singer Troy Sneed died at a hospital in Jacksonville, Florida, from complications of COVID-19.
"1st N 3rd" rapper and Quality Control Music artist Lil Marlo (real name: Rudolph Johnson) was found dead inside his car on July 11 on the I-285 highway in Atlanta, sparking a police investigation. The 30-year-old appeared to have been shot while he was driving, TMZ reported.
"Evil on Your Mind" singer Jan Howard — who often performed at Grand Ole Opry — died on March 28 in Gallatin, Tennessee. She was 91.