Coronavirus: Stars and notable figures who have died after contracting COVID-19 | Ents & Arts News

The coronavirus outbreak has killed thousands of people across the world, several well known faces among them.

Here are some of the stars sadly lost to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Eddie Large in 1984. Pic: Nils Jorgensen/Shutterstock

Eddie Large

Best known for his comedy double act Little and Large, Eddie Large died on 2 April after contracting coronavirus in hospital while being treated for heart failure, his agent and family said.

His comedy partner Syd Little led the tributes, saying in a statement sent to Sky News: “I am devastated to have lost not just my comedy partner of 60 years, but my friend of 60 years.”

Real name Edward McGinnis, Large achieved huge success with Little on TV throughout the 1970s and ’80s, after the pair won talent show Opportunity Knocks in 1971.

Comedians including Matt Lucas, Jason Manford, Michael Barrymore, Lenny Henry and Paul Chuckle were among those paying tribute following his death, at the age of 78.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK--MARCH 02: Playwright Terrence McNally appears in a portrait taken in his home on March 2, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images)

Terrence McNally

The award-winning playwright died in Florida following complications from coronavirus.

Widely considered one of America’s great playwrights, the openly gay writer put same-sex relationships under the microscope, with his witty plays and musicals delving into how people connect – or fail to.

The 81-year-old, whose career spanned six decades, wrote shows including Kiss Of The Spider Woman, Ragtime, and Frankie And Johnny In The Clair De Lune.

He was a lung cancer survivor who lived with chronic inflammatory lung disease, and would have been considered to be at high risk from the virus.

He died on 24 March, aged 81.

Fountains of Wayne frontman Adam Schlesinger was the singer of the single Stacy's Mom

Adam Schlesinger

The co-frontman of US band Fountains of Wayne, best known for their single Stacy’s Mom, died in hospital in New York on 1 April after testing positive for coronavirus.

Schlesinger was a prolific songwriter, who earned an Oscar nomination in 1997 for writing the title track on That Thing You Do!, a music comedy directed by Tom Hanks.

In 2019, he won his third Emmy for outstanding original music and lyrics for Antidepressants Are So Not A Big Deal, from TV musical drama Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

Hanks, who was himself diagnosed with coronavirus and has since recovered, was among those paying tribute to the 52-year-old, saying: “There would be no Playtone without Adam Schlesinger, without his That Thing You Do! He was a One-der. Lost him to Covid-19. Terribly sad today. Hanx.”

Singer and bassist Alan Merrill of Anglo-American pop group Arrows, 1975. The band had their own TV series on Granada ITV from 1976 to 1977. (Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images)

Alan Merrill

Musician Alan Merrill, the co-writer and original singer of the much-covered hit I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll, died on 29 March.

Joan Jett, who made the song famous seven years after its original 1975 release, was among those who paid tribute, saying: “With deep gratitude and sadness, wishing him a safe journey to the other side.”

Merill’s daughter, Laura, confirmed his death at the age of 69 on social media, saying: “The coronavirus took my father… I was given 2 minutes to say my goodbyes before I was rushed out.”

Ms Merrill said her father had “played down the ‘cold’ he thought he had” and warned people to take the disease seriously.

TWIN LAKES, WI - JULY 23:  Joe Diffie performs on Day 3 of Country Thunder Milwaukee on July 23, 2016 in Twin Lakes, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Timothy Hiatt/Getty Images for Country Thunder)

Joe Diffie

Grammy-winning country music star Joe Diffie died on 29 March, two days after revealing he had contracted coronavirus.

The 61-year-old had a string of hits in the US in the 1990s, including Honky Tonk Attitude, Prop Me Up Beside The Jukebox (If I Die), Bigger Than The Beatles and If The Devil Danced (In Empty Pockets), and had two albums that went platinum.

Diffie’s publicist Scott Adkins said the singer, from Tulsa, Oklahoma, died due to complications from the virus.

Madonna and Mark Blum in Desperately Seeking Susan in 1985.

Mark Blum

Actor Mark Blum starred alongside Madonna in Desperately Seeking Susan, and Paul Hogan in Crocodile Dundee, and appeared in numerous films, TV show and plays throughout his career.

He died on 25 March after suffering complications from the virus.

The Queen of Pop led the tributes following his death, writing on social media: “I want to acknowledge the passing of a remarkable human, fellow actor and friend Mark Blum, who succumbed to coronavirus.

“This is really tragic and my heart goes out to him, his family and his loved ones.

“I remember him as funny warm, loving and professional when we made Desperately Seeking Susan in 1985!!”

Ellis Marsalis Jr in April 2019

Ellis Marsalis Jr

New Orleans jazz pioneer Ellis Marsalis Jr died of pneumonia caused by COVID-19 on 1 April, aged 85, his family said.

He was a jazz pianist – performing up until the end of 2019 – teacher, and patriarch of a New Orleans musical clan, with four of his six sons also musicians.

Harry Connick Jr is one if his well known students, along with trumpeters Nicholas Payton and Terence Blanchard, saxophonists Donald Harrison and Victor Goines, and bassist Reginald Veal.

“My dad was a giant of a musician and teacher, but an even greater father,” one of his sons, Branford, said following his death. “He poured everything he had into making us the best of what we could be.”

Undated handout photo issued by The Dialect Agency of Star Wars actor and film dialect coach Andrew Jack who has died aged 76 as a result of coronavirus, according to his agent, Jill McCullough.

Andrew Jack

Star Wars actor and dialect coach Andrew Jack died in hospital in Surrey on 31 March, as his wife was quarantined in Australia.

“Andrew lived on one of the oldest working houseboats on the Thames, he was fiercely independent but madly in love with his wife, also a dialect coach,” his agent, Jill McCullough, said, paying tribute.

Jack, 76, appeared in Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi as General Ematt, as well as Solo: A Star Wars Story and Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens. His clients for dialect coaching included Robert Downey Jr and Chris Hemsworth.

His wife, Gabrielle Rogers, posted on social media after his death, saying: “Andrew Jack was diagnosed with coronavirus 2 days ago. He was in no pain, and he slipped away peacefully knowing that his family were all ‘with’ him.”

Jay Benedict in Emmerdale as Doug Hamilton

Jay Benedict

Actor Jay Benedict appeared in a range of films and TV shows, from Aliens and The Dark Knight Rises to Emmerdale and Foyle’s War, throughout his career.

As well as acting, he also lent his voice to video games and TV adverts – plus lifts, theatre foyers and other public spaces.

“The irritatingly soothing voice requesting that you take your seat and switch off your mobile phone is quite probably him,” a tribute to him on his website said.

He died on 4 April due to complications from coronavirus, aged 68.

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