Notable Since the virus began sickening people in China in 2019, there have been thousands of recorded deaths, and some of those people who died have been celebrities, performers, politicians, and the like.
While every death is a tragedy, these ten, presented in no particular order, are notable people for what they gave society during their lifetimes, and like so many others, they will be missed.
Dr. Li Wenliang
For most celebrities, their fame is established during their lifetime, but for some, that distinction is only granted posthumously. That’s certainly true of Dr. Li Wenliang, a Chinese ophthalmologist who worked at Wuhan Central Hospital in China. In December 2019, Wenliang began warning his colleagues about a possible outbreak of a disease that resembled SARS. That disease was later named COVID-19, making Dr. Wenliang the first physician to raise the alert that the disease was going to cause problems.
Dr. Wenliang essentially became a whistleblower where the virus was concerned, and he paid for it. On January 3rd, he was admonished by the Wuhan police for “making false comments on the Internet.” He went back to work and later contracted the virus from a patient. Dr. Wenliang passed away on February 7th at the age of 33. He was posthumously exonerated and offered a “solemn apology” for the admonishment he received by the Communist Party of China. If only his colleagues had listened to him, there likely wouldn’t have been any names to put on this list.
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Daniel Azulay was a comic book artist and educator who was well-known and respected in and out of Brazil. His work was highly regarded in the art community, and he is probably best known for his children’s series, Turma do Lambe-Lambe. Azulay was born in Rio de Janeiro and raised in Ipanema, a neighborhood located in the southern parts of the city. At the age of 21, he created a newspaper strip called Capitão Cipó, and just five years later, he launched Turma do Lambe-Lambe.
His work helped to teach the children growing up in the 1980s about ecology, art, design, and many other subjects. He traveled the globe, exhibiting his work and giving lectures. He conducted art workshops with thousands of children and adults, and in 2009, he hosted a drawing class online to help even more people learn his craft. Azulay died in his hometown of Rio de Janeiro at the age of 72. He was hospitalized for two weeks for leukemia treatment, and while there, he was infected with COVID-19, which caused complications, ending his life.
Italy is one of the hardest-hit nations where COVID-19 is concerned, and it seems nobody is safe from infection. Lucia Bosè was a prominent actress in her native Italy, where she rose to fame during the period of Italian Neorealism, which kicked off in the 1950s. She originally worked in a bakery, but in 1947, she won the second edition of the Miss Italia beauty contest, which launched her career as an actress. She starred in several standout roles through the early 1950s, peaking in 1955 before coming to an end.
She fell in love with a Spanish bullfighter during the filming of Muerte de un ciclista. She opted to give up her career to raise a family. Eventually, she returned to acting and starred numerous roles with her most recent work was in 2007. She is the mother of famed Spanish singer Miguel Bosé and was a well-respected performer throughout her life. On March 23rd, she passed away from pneumonia complicated by a COVID-19 infection. She was 89 at the time of her passing.
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Emmanuel N’Djoké “Manu” Dibango was a Cameroonian musician who was well known in the world of jazz, as he was a prominent songwriter and saxophonist. Dibango’s career spanned six decades, consisting of numerous hits, though he is likely best known for his 1972 single “Soul Makossa.” That hit would later be sampled by Michael Jackson, Kanye West, and many more prominent musicians all around the world. Dibango’s career began at the age of 15 after he moved to Paris just after World War II. He played saxophone and piano and quickly became a regular in the European jazz circuit.
He became an international sensation with “Soul Makossa,” which was originally planned to be a B side to an anthem he wrote in celebration of Cameroon’s success in hosting the 1972 Africa Cup of Nations football tournament. News of Dibango’s illness came on his Facebook page, which noted he was hospitalized with an infection from COVID-19 on March 18th. His Facebook page confirmed the following week that he passed away on March 24th from the virus at the age of 86.