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  1. Bill Noble
  1. Correspondence to Professor Bill Noble, Sheffield Hallam University, Academic Unit of Supportive Care, 89 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7TP, UK; bill.noble{at}

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We come to the end of a year in which death has stalked the celebrity pages of the world's press. So many elderly, as well as not so elderly, stars have left us in 2016. My list is by no means comprehensive and rather partial, betraying the interests of a 60-year-old Englishman, but here goes: Prince, Alan Rickman, Keith Emerson, George Martin, Sylvia Anderson, Burt Kwouk, Ronnie Corbett, Victoria Wood, Gene Wilder, Terry Wogan, Mohammed Ali, Lemmy, Pierre Boulez, Prince Buster, Caroline Aherne, Peter Shaffer, Dave Swarbrick, Tony Cozier, Arnold Wesker, Harper Lee, Asa Briggs, Peter Maxwell Davies, Anita Brookner and David Bowie.

Bowie, who appears on our cover, was the subject of BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care blog that went viral at the time, “A Thank You Letter to David Bowie From a Palliative Care Doctor” by Mark Taubert. During his terminal illness, …

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.