Why are so many celebrities dying in 2016?

With the tragic loss of David Bowie and Alan Rickman just earlier this year, many people still haven’t recovered from the shock of losing a beloved icon. Now, Prince has passed too. Another superstar that paved the way for unforgettable style and music will forever be remembered. With so many bright lights flickering out from this world the inevitable question seems to be, are celebrities dying more often?

Nick Serpell who is the BBC’s obituary editor says the answer is yes.

This chart from the BBC clearly reveals that the number of celebrity deaths have spiked in recent years. Just a few months into 2016 and we already have almost five times the number of deaths in all of 2012. With David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Victoria Wood, and Prince among other famous notables comes what seems to be the new normal.

Serpell also seems quite sure this isn’t just a fluke year that many celebrities just happened to die. Other news outlets other than the BBC also agree that this trend seems to be the new normal. It’s not a conspiracy, Serpell believes it is a combination of aging celebrities and an explosion of new celebrities. All the celebrities that gained fame during the 1970s and 1980s are now getting pretty up there in terms of age which makes them much more likely to develop life threatening conditions as well as later complications from what was probably a wild lifestyle in the prime of their lives.

The second reason is that with the popularity of television and other non traditional media, there are just far more celebrities. Jump back to the early to mid 1900s, the only celebrities that got famous were the ones on the silver screen. Today, the term celebrity has been expanded to include television, internet, and other non traditional media. We even coined the phrase “insta-famous” for those that gained fame through just social media alone. Kim Kardashian who is celebrity royalty gained everything she had through strategic exposure to the right people.

Thinking about how the term “celebrity” evolved, it only seems natural that the number of notable people dying would go up. Though it doesn’t remove the sad truth that some of the greatest stars are being disappearing faster than fans are ready for. We’ll just have to steel ourselves and hope for the best of the rest of 2016.