Death of a Celebrity

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Chester Bennington & Linkin Park. Last performance. © Photo by The Lockwood Echo

It’s a very odd thing, the shock, hurt and pain that we can feel at the death of a celebrity. One of my ‘heroes’ died in 2016, (a small clue there as to who he was). It seems crazy that someone I’ve never met had such an influence on my life, but that person provided me with some of my happiest memories and highest moments. Was also ‘there for me’ during my darkest. And will continue to be so.

I’ve been taken by surprise at the intensity of feeling regarding a very recent celebrity death. He took his own life. The irony, to which many fans are also attesting, is that the pain this person was experiencing has saved many a life, through his musical expression. But it was a pain that ultimately the artist couldn’t live with.

But why does it cut so deep? A celebrity’s death is a difficult home truth, it will get us all in the end. And for the famous who go before their time, it’s a reminder that despite all the connections and money, they are just as susceptible to all the ills of the world as us mere mortals. No height of fame can reach a cure that is not there, whether it be for a physical or mental issue.

And that’s it, we want our celebrities to be immortal. We all listen to our favourite songs and watch our favourite films for a reason. It’s not just about entertainment, but inspiration and encouragement too. Obviously not all celebrities are from music or film. But those songs, films, books, sporting achievements, scientific discoveries and philanthropic actions make them immortal, as our actions in our lives will make us immortal.

But let’s not forget that however hard a death is for us to comprehend or accept; that famous person’s family, who unlike us actually knew them in real life, is having the toughest time of all. And they’re going through that with the world’s eyes upon them. And more importantly, let’s not forget the ‘ordinary’ folk who are dealing with the death of a loved one. Many more ‘non-celebrities’ die, but the impact of their death will be no less to the people who worshipped them.

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