Remembering Irish Icons: Celebrities We Lost in 2024

Thursday, July 25, 2024

irish-celebrities-died-in-2023

The year 2023 has been tinged with sadness as we’ve lost notable Irish figures from both the entertainment and sports worlds. Their passing leaves a void filled with memories of their exceptional talents and achievements.

These individuals were not just celebrities; they were inspirations, each carving a unique legacy. In entertainment, we’ve bid farewell to artists who captivated us with their Irish charm through music, writing, and performances in the best Irish movies and TV shows.

Similarly, the sports realm mourned the loss of athletes whose prowess and spirit redefined their games, leaving an indelible mark on fans and peers alike.

As we remember them, their stories continue to inspire and remind us of the impact one individual can have in bringing people together. As 2023 concludes, let’s take a look at all the lives lost and honour their lifetime achievements and memories

Here is a list of Irish celebrities who died in 2023:

1. Sir Michael Gambon

sir-michael-gambon
Source: IGN Nordic

October, 19, 1940 – September 27, 2023

Admired worldwide for his exceptional role as Professor Albus Dumbledor in six out of eight movies of the Harry Potter Saga, Michael Gambon died at 82.

Sir Michael had a six-decade-long career filled with achievements. He received three Olivier Awards and four BAFTA TV AwardsHe also received the Knight Bachelor from Queen Elizabeth II in 1998.


2. Ray Stevenson

ray-stevenson
Source: Disney Food Blog

May 24, 1964 – May 21, 2023

Popular among Marvel fans for his titular role in The Punisher: War Zone and as Volstagg in Thor: The Dark World and Thor: Ragnorak, Ray Stevenson went too early at the age of 58.

Ray made his Indian debut in the Telugu movie RRR. He also appeared in films such as GI Joe: Retaliation, The Other Guys, and King Arthur. Ray also played Dark Jedi Baylan Skoll in the Star Wars miniseries Ahsoka.


3. Angus Cloud Hickey

angus-cloud-hickey
Source: VIP Magazine

July 10, 1998 – July 31, 2023

Born and raised in California, Angus Cloud’s family originally hails from Ireland. The actor’s death came as a shock to Euphoria fans as he was only 25.

Angus is best known for his role as Fezco in HBO’s popular teen drama Euphoria. He also appeared in music videos and played minor roles in independent movies like North Hollywood and The Line


4. Nial Brophy

nial-brophy
Source: lionsrugby.com

September 19, 1935 – March 10, 2023

Nial Brophy was an esteemed Irish rugby union player, known for his remarkable skill and dedication on the field. He played as a Winger and is celebrated for his strategic thinking and physical prowess.

His contributions to Rugby were recognized when he was inducted into the prestigious Rugby Hall of Fame, an honour reflecting his impact and legacy.

After retiring from active play, Brophy continued to influence the rugby world through coaching and commentary. He passed away at the age of 87.


5. Ryan O’Neal

ryan-o'neal
Source: Page Six

April 20, 1940 – December 28, 2023

Born to Irish parents, American actor Ryan O’Neal made his name with his Academy-nominated movie Love Story. He died at 82 due to Prostate Cancer and CLM.

Ryan was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor and the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama for his iconic role as Oliver Barrett IV in Love Story.


6. Ross McDonell

ross-mcdonell
Source: The Irish Independent

October 29, 1979 – November 5, 2023

Ross McDonnell was a popular Emmy-winning Irish film director, cinematographer, and photographer

The Irish director received Emmys for cinematography on the Showtime documentary series The Trade and the documentary film The First Wave about COVID-19. He died by drowning at the age of 44. 


7. Christy Dignam

christy-dignam
Source: rte.ie

May 23, 1960 – June 13, 2023

Christy Dignam is an iconic figure in Irish music. He was the lead singer of the band Aslan. His powerful vocals and emotive performances have endeared him to fans across the nation.

His over four-decade-long career was marked by chart-topping hits in Ireland. Dignam has been celebrated for his contributions to music with several awards and accolades like the Lifetime Achievement Award from Hot Press. He passed away at the age of 63.


8. Paul James O’Grady

paul-o'grady
Source: The Guardian

June 14, 1955 – March 28, 2023

Paul James was an English comedian, actor, writer and broadcaster of Irish parentage. O’Grady died a sudden death at his home due to cardiac arrhythmia.

He has won the National Television Award for Most Popular Entertainment Performance for Blankety Blank

He was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for his service to entertainment.


9. Sinéad O’Connor

sinead-o'connor
Source: The Guardian

December 8, 1966 – July 26, 2023

Sinéad O’Connor rose to fame with her debut album, The Lion and the Cobra. O’Connor’s memoir, Rememberings, was released in 2021 and became a bestseller.

Sinéad was a staunch supporter of women’s and refugee rights and was vocal about child abuse and racism. She died at 56, a year after the tragic death of her son.


10. Joe Martin

joe-martin
Source: RTE

May 30, 1931 – 17 January, 2023

Joe Martin, the Irish footballer who played for Dundalk Football Club in the League of Ireland, passed away at 91 this year.

Martin received a medal for winning the FAI Cup over Cork Athletic. After retirement from football, Martin started his career as a singer and storyteller. He appeared in RTE’s Live at 3 program.


11. Mark Sheehan

mark-sheehan
Source: Sunday World

October 29, 1976 – April 14. 2023

The Script’s lead guitarist and Mytown’s member, Mark Sheehan, sadly passed away at the age of 46. He suffered from an undisclosed illness and was briefly hospitalized before his death.

Mark started his career as a member of a boyband, Mytown before he co-founded the Script


12. Shane Patrick MacGowan

shane-patrick-mcgowan
Source: WECB

December 5, 1957 – November 30, 2023

The Britain-born Irish singer and songwriter, Shane McGowan tragically passed away from pneumonia at 65 in Dublin, Ireland. 

McGowan co-founded and rose to fame for his band, Pogues, which was heavily influenced by Irish folk and traditional music.


13. Frank Twomey

frank-twomey
Source: Cork Beo

1950 – December 11, 2023

The Irish broadcaster and Children’s TV presenter, Frank Twomey died due to lung cancer at 68 in Cork Island, Ireland. 

Twomey is popular as a main host for the Children’s program, Bosco. He also appeared as Mary O’Rourke on Bull Island, a satirical comedy show. 


14. Thomas Kilroy

thomas-kilroy
Source: The Irish Times

September 23, 1934 – December 7, 2023

Irish playwright and novelist Thomas Kilroy, popular for his award-winning novel Big Chapel, died at 89. He won the 2008 Irish PEN Award.

His death marked an end to the Irish theatrical era as he wrote several popular plays, such as The Death and Resurrection of Mr. Roche, The Shape of Metal, Blake, etc. 


15. Richard Treat Williams

richard-treat-williams
Source: ABC

December 1, 1951 – June 12, 2023

The Irish-American actor Richard Treat Williams died in a motorcycle crash in Dorset at 71. He rose to stardom because of his musical movies Hair and 1941.

His portrayal of Dr. Andy Brown on Everwood earned him nominations for two Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Richard received several accolades, including Golden Globe, Primetime Emmy, Satellite, and Independent Spirit Award nominations.


16. Tony Rohr

tony-rohr
Source: IMDb

May 21, 1939 – 29 October, 2023

The Irish actor Tony Rohr, popular for his role in Leap Year and Les Miserables, passed away due to Prostate Cancer at the age of 84.

Tony played major and minor roles in several British TV dramas, including The Bill, The Long Good Friday, Father Ted, Waking the Dead, Hustle, etc.


17. John Patrick Byrne

john-byrne
Source: The Conversation

January 6, 1940 – November 30, 2023

John Byrne was a Scottish playwright, screenwriter, artist, and designer born to Irish Catholic parents. He died on 30 November at 83.

John wrote The Slab Boys Trilogy, which explores working-class life in Scotland, and the TV dramas Tutti Frutti and Your Cheatin’ Heart


18. Syd Millar

syd-millar
Source: Irish Rugby

May 24, 1934 – December 10, 2023

Syd Miller, the ex-chairman of the Irish Rugby Union and International Rugby Board, passed away at the age of 89.

Syd was a former rugby union player who played for Ballymena RFC, Ulster, international rugby for Ireland, and the British Lions.

Millar won the Vernon Pugh Award for Distinguished Service and was inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame.


19. James Flynn

james-flynn
Source: The Hollywood Reporter

August 21, 1965 – February 11, 2023

James Flynn was an Irish film and television producer who was popular for Vikings, The Banshees of Inisherin, The Last Duel, etc. He died at 57.

Flynn received a nomination for Best Live Action Short Film at the 82nd Academy Awards for The Door

His animated cartoon movie, The Secret of Kells, where he was executive producer, was nominated for an Oscar.

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