Celebrity deaths that shocked us all in 2014

FROM Hollywood legends to our own best loved "Westie" - 2014 saw us farewell a host of famous faces. Here's a look back at some of the stars we lost - and the legacy they left behind.

Robin Williams

Robin Williams' surviving daughter Zelda celebrated her 25th birthday alongside her father just a week before he was found dead
Robin Williams' surviving daughter Zelda celebrated her 25th birthday alongside her father just a week before he was found dead

In August of 2014, the world was left reeling as news spread of Robin Williams death.

Despite speculation about the actor's public battle with drug and alcohol addiction, the cause of death was officially ruled a suicide, with the final autopsy report revealing neither drugs or alcohol were involved.

It did, however, show the 63-year-old had been suffering from increased levels of paranoia from the degenerative illness, Lewy body dementia, which is a type of dementia associated with Parkinson's disease.

In remembering Williams, his wife Susan Schneider said: "His greatest legacy, besides his three children, is the joy and happiness he offered to others, particularly those fighting personal battle."

President Barack Obama said the actor made us laugh and made us cry.

"[Williams] was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny, a president, a professor, a bangarang Peter Pan, and everything in between", President Obama said. "He was one of a kind."

Joan Rivers

Joan Rivers
Joan Rivers Bang Showbiz

While Rivers will be remembered for her acid tongue, her love of plastic surgery made her face one that will never be forgottem.

In a tribute to the star, writer Lena Dunham cheekily tweeted "Joan is gone but a piece of her lives on: her nose, because it's made of polyurethane".

Joan, no stranger to the art of the self-jibe, once famously quipped "I've had so much plastic surgery, when I die, they will donate by body to Tupperware.

Ewen Gilmour

Ewen Gilmour
Ewen Gilmour

The 51-year-old comedy legend had been part of the standup circuit for two decades, best known for his hard-case take on the world of the classic Kiwi bogan.

But beyond the comedy was a man with civic leanings, having sat as a councillor for Waitakere City from 2003-2006 and as an official wedding celebrant.

Gilmour was remembered by the entertainment industry as "one of the nicest guys on the planet".

Friend and fellow comedienne Urzila Carlson said Gilmour's death would leave a massive hole. "He was just a really, really great guy", she said. "And the world's greatest hugger."

Among the outpouring of Twitter tributes that followed were condolences from the Prime Minister John Key, who took to the social media site to pay his respects.

Rik Mayall

Independent News and Media

The comedian was best known for his slap-stick sense of humour and was made famous for his roles in The Young Ones, Black Adder, The New Statesman and Bottom.

Industry colleagues and friends remembered the star as a rambunctious character.

Tributes flowed, recalling Mayall's particular brand of comedy with fellow actor Chris Evan's tweeting: "RIP Rik Mayall. I'm off to hit the gasman with a frying pan. It's the least I can do."

Philip Seymour Hoffman

Philip Seymour Hoffman
Philip Seymour Hoffman Bang Showbiz

The 46-year-old actor died from an overdose of heroin and cocaine - a combination known as 'speedballing' that had previously claimed the lives of River Phoenix and John Belushi.

Hoffman had successfully spent 20 years in recovery for addiction issues before relapsing in 2012 and 2013.

The Talented Mr Ripley star left a legacy of major roles, from the offbeat boom operator in Boogie Nights, through to his Oscar winning turn as writer Truman Capote.

The New York Times remembered him as a true tour de force, declaring him "the most ambitious and widely admired American actor of his generation".

Peaches Geldoff

Peaches Geldof
Peaches Geldof Bang Showbiz

After weeks of speculation, a post-mortem exam finally concluded the mother-of-two had died from a heroin overdose - mirroring her own mother's death 14 years earlier.

Days prior to her death, Peaches posted a photo to Twitter of herself as baby being held by her mother, with the words, "Me and my mum".

In remembering his daughter Sir Bob said "she was the wildest, funniest, cleverest, wittiest and the most bonkers of us. Writing 'was' destroys me afresh. What a beautiful child."

Husband, musician Tom Cohen said "my beloved wife Peaches was adored by myself and her two sons, and I shall bring them up with their mother in their hearts every day. We shall love her forever."

Charlotte Dawson

Charlotte Dawson
Charlotte Dawson

Reports claim the former Australia's Next Top Model host had long battled depression. Dawson had relocated to Australia in 2007 claiming she could no longer work in New Zealand because her reputation had been damaged by "nasty snipes".

Speaking candidly in a final interview, the 47-year-old said her illness continued to plague her.

"I continue to fight my depression - it's a bitch of a thing."

Following Dawson's death, there was an outpouring of tributes from key media and fashion industry players.

Designer Alex Perry said "we lost a beautiful, bright, shining girl today... rest in peace my sweetheart... I love you."

Rachel Hunter tweeted "RIP Charlotte Dawson . I'm devastated such an amazing woman & kind soul. Heartbreaking."

In the wake of Dawson's death there have been petitions calling for the creation of Charlotte's Law to implement tougher penalties against online bullying.

L'Wren Scott

L'Wren Scott
L'Wren Scott Bang Showbiz


In April 2014, the 49-year-old fashion designer and girlfriend of Rolling Stone Mick Jagger was found dead by her assistant in her luxury New York apartment, just days after cancelling her show at London Fashion Week.

Scott dressed some of the world's most famous and fashionable women, including Nicole Kidman, Michelle Obama and Madonna.

Tributes for Scott were led by Mick Jagger's first wife Bianca, who remembered the fondly, taking to Twitter to pen her condolences. "Heartbroken to learn the loss of the lovely and talented L'Wren Scott. My thoughts and prayers are with her family. May she rest in peace."

Jagger was left heartbroken by her death, writing in the days afterwards: "I am still struggling to understand how my lover and best friend could end her life in this tragic way. We spent many wonderful years together and had made a great life for ourselves.

She had great presence and her talent was much admired, not least by me."

- nzherald.co.nz

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