Celebrity Deaths in 2023: Stars We've Lost
Forever remembered. After losing beloved stars including Barbara Walters, Kirstie Alley and Stephen “tWitch” Boss in the final days of 2022, the entertainment industry continued to deal with loss in 2023. Lola “Gangsta Boo” Mitchell — a former member of hit-heavy hip-hop group Three 6 Mafia — was found dead in her home on New Year’s Day, the Associated Press reported. The “Where Dem Dollas At” rapper was 43. “The Mitchell family would like to thank everyone for their condolences regarding the untimely death of Lola ‘Gangsta Boo’ Mitchell,” the “Mafia” artist’s family said in a statement. “The family is asking for your continued prayers and privacy as we process the loss of our loved one.” That same day, Earth, Wind & Fire drummer Fred White’s brother announced the musician’s death. “Dearest Family Friends and Fans….. Our family is saddened today With the loss of an amazing and talented family member, Our beloved brother Frederick Eugene ‘Freddie’ White. ,” Verdine White captioned a series of throwback photos via Instagram of the “September” artist drumming for and posing with the band. He called his sibling a “child protégé” and noted he was a “member of the EWF ORIGINAL 9, with gold records at the young age of 16 years old!” White was 67. Alan Rankine — a founding member of the Scottish band The Associates — “died peacefully at home shortly after spending Christmas with his family,” his two sons announced via Facebook on January 2, noting that they would keep his social media accounts active because “the community meant a lot to our dad.” The ‘80s pop star was 64. January 2 also marked the passing of rally driver and YouTuber Ken Block, who was killed in a snowmobile accident. In order to view the video, please allow Manage Cookies “Ken was a visionary, a pioneer and an icon. And most importantly, a father and husband,” his Hoonigan Racing team said in a statement at the time, per CNN. “He will be incredibly missed. Please respect the family’s privacy at this time while they grieve.” The sports professional died after riding the vehicle down a slope in Utah. The snowmobile toppled over him and he was pronounced dead at the scene after succumbing to injuries sustained from the accident, CNN reported. “Mr. Block was riding with a group but was alone when the accident occurred,” the Wasatch County Sheriff’s Office’s said in a statement. Block was 55. The Wire star Lance Reddick passed away at the age of 60 amid the press tour for the film John Wick: Chapter 4. A rep for the actor confirmed to Us Weekly in a March 17 statement that he died of “natural causes.” That same day, Reddick’s John Wick costar Keanu Reeves and the series’ director, Chad Stahelski, paid tribute to the late star in a joint statement. “We are deeply saddened and heartbroken at the loss of our beloved friend and colleague Lance Reddick. He was the consummate professional and a joy to work with,” the pair told Variety at the time. “Our love and prayers are with his wife Stephanie, his children, family and friends. We dedicate the film to his loving memory. We will miss him dearly.” Sign up for Us Weekly's free, daily newsletter and never miss breaking news or exclusive stories about your favorite celebrities, TV shows and more! Read on to remember all the stars who have died in 2023:
Leah Remini's Battle With Scientology Through the Years: It's 'Truly Evil'
Telling her story. Leah Remini has been an outspoken critic of the Church of Scientology since she left the controversial religion in 2013. The actress was brought into the church as an 8-year-old after her mother converted. During a 2015 20/20 interview, Remini talked about her experience growing up as a Scientologist. “The mission is to save the planet and because Scientologists view children as spiritual beings, you’re not treated as a kid. You’re given a lot of responsibility, and so your ego becomes extremely inflated,” the King of Queens alum claimed to ABC News’ Dan Harris at the time. Remini’s decision to leave Scientology ultimately came down to her then-9-year-old daughter, Sofia. “She was getting to the age where the acclimations into the church would have to start,” the Old School actress told BuzzFeed in 2014, adding that she didn’t want to repeat her own mother’s mistakes. In order to view the video, please allow Manage Cookies “I grew up resenting my mother because she was never home. My mom thought she was doing something good; she thought she was helping the planet. That’s what the church tells you,” Remini explained. “I was saying ‘family first,’ but I wasn’t showing that. I didn’t like the message that sent my daughter.” The New York native has never shied away from speaking publicly about her history with Scientology. In 2015, the organization fired back. “Given Leah Remini’s insatiable desire for attention, it comes as no surprise that for two years she has been incapable of moving on with her life and remains obsessed with shamelessly exploiting her former religion in a pathetic attempt to get publicity,” a spokesperson for the Church of Scientology told Us Weekly at the time. Despite the backlash, the Handsome actress didn’t stop talking about her experience. She penned a 2015 memoir titled Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology and produced the A&E docuseries Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath. When the Emmy-winning series concluded in 2019 after three seasons, the Church of Scientology released a statement to Us denouncing the content. “Finally, A&E pulled the plug on Leah Remini’s hate machine,” the statement read, claiming the show was full of “lies, distortions and exhortations to hate and bigotry.” Although Remini told The Hollywood Reporter in 2019 that she wasn’t sure if making the docuseries helped her heal, she does feel a responsibility to speak out about her experiences — and about other members of the religion. When Laura Prepon left Scientology in 2021 without much fanfare, Remini was critical of how the That ‘70s Show alum handled her exit. “For those of us who were in the public eye and who were speaking on behalf of Scientology, getting people into Scientology, I feel that we have a responsibility to do the work when we find out that none of those things we were doing was not only [not] helpful, but damaging and very harmful to people’s lives,” the “Scientology: Fair Game” podcaster said during a September 2021 interview with Daily Blast Live. Sign up for Us Weekly's free, daily newsletter and never miss breaking news or exclusive stories about your favorite celebrities, TV shows and more! Scroll through for a timeline of Remini’s battle with the Church of Scientology over the years: