The year 2016 has been a costly one for entertainment industry, which has lost some of its brightest lights.
Today, Bajan Vibes takes a moment to remember those who left us during the year including our very own Renee Ratcliffe, who passed away on Grand Kadooment day while playing mas.
It was tragically ironic that Ratcliffe passed away while doing what she loved most – masquerading.
The veteran bandleader collapsed minutes after she and her Jump Promotions band ended their parade before the judges at the National Stadium. She was taken by ambulance to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) where she was pronounced dead.
Her passing definitely put a damper on the celebrations that day but they continued in her honour.
Many of her fellow bandleaders and friends paid glowing tribute to her, saying her bubbly spirit would definitely be missed.
President of the Barbados Association of Masqueraders Chetwyn Stewart said Crop Over had lost a gem.
“I am still in shock. I just heard and I can’t believe it . . . I aint get over it yet,” Stewart had said immediately after receiving news of her death.
News of Ratcliffe’s passing also proved too much for her close friend and fellow bandleader Gwyneth Squires who immediately broke down in tears.
And if her passing was not enough bad news for one year, on December 4, two of Barbados’ musical greats also made their exits from the local entertainment scene.
Clarence Thompson, the man with a silky voice, who was best known for popular songs, including Eternal Love, Express Yourself and Lucy’s Door has been silenced forever.
However, the former member of the Opels, would not leave this world alone, but would be joined on his heavenly journey by one of the group’s founding members – Kenrick Brathwaite, who was residing in New York at the time of his death.
Internationally, many greats lights also went out, throwing the entire world into a state of mourning.
The legendary David Bowie, best known for alter-ego, the ostentatious, androgynous Ziggy Stardust during the glam-rock era, died just days after his 69th birthday on January 11, 2016.
He died peacefully surrounded by his family after a courageous 18-month battle with cancer.
Three months later, beloved veteran actress Doris Roberts, who won five Emmy awards throughout her career, passed away on April 17, 2016, at the age of 90. Roberts was best known for her role on Everybody Loves Raymond. She played the family matriarch Marie Barone for nine seasons from 1996 to 2005.
Legendary actor Gene Wilder, best known for his role as Willie Wonka in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, also died on August 29 at age 83.
However, arguably the biggest loss suffered by the entertainment fraternity this year came with the passing of legendary pop icon, Prince, who died at his Minnesota studio on April 21, 2016. He was 57.
And just when it appeared that tears would be more, only joy and celebration, the world was jolted on Christmas Day by the news that British singer George Michael had passed away at age 53. The singer, songwriter, and producer, rose to musical prominence as a member of the 80’s duo Wham! Ironically, one of his greatest hits was the popular holiday song Last Christmas.
As the curtains came down on his tremendous musical career, actress Carrie Fisher, best known for playing the iconic Princess Leia in the Star Wars franchise, would also take her final bow. Fisher suffered a severe heart attack while flying from London to Los Angeles on Dec. 23, 2016 and went into cardiac arrest. She passed away on December 27 in hospital at 60.
May their souls rest in peace!