Why Celebrity Deaths Can Hit Us Hard

I received calls from companies this week after the sudden death of Kobe Bryant. His death had a powerful impact on many employees and the companies were not sure how to respond. People can experience grief over Kobe’s death even though they didn’t know him and that is not unusual at all. Even if Kobe’s death hasn’t impacted you, there is a good chance another celebrity death has. Maybe a musician, actor, artist or other famous public figure. Remember when Princess Diana died? You probably remember where you were when you heard.

You can become self-conscious when you find yourself experiencing grief feelings around the death of a stranger. Some may experience intense grief and others may experience nothing. There is no normal reaction or rules on how to grieve.


We may not know them personally, but we do know them. We may know everything about them. We have followed their work and they can define moments in our lives. We watch them grow and change. They may become a regular part of our lives. They may have brought us joy through their work and remind us of good times. Losing them can be like losing a period of our life. It can feel like losing a close friend. With all the types of media today, we see news of the loss everywhere. It can be overwhelming. We are constantly exposed so it’s hard to get a break from the tough emotions.


No need to judge them. Just feel them and don’t push them away. Don’t let others make you feel bad because they don’t understand your reaction. Talk through your feelings, watch or attend memorials or join online forums to connect with others who can relate to you. Wear your Laker’s jersey in remembrance. Donate to a charity that the celebrity was passionate about. These can be a helpful coping and healing mechanisms.

The bottom line is, this is normal. And we do not forget that others lost their lives in the crash. Their deaths are just as tragic.

Grief 101: An Introduction to Grief and Loss

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