In 2016 there have been a spate of celebrity deaths that actually kicked off just after Christmas of 2015 with Lemmy of Motorhead.
Obviously the big death that shocked everyone initially was David Bowie on 4th January 2016 but then it seems like a lot of high profile people have followed over the past few months.
So why are so many people dying you may ask? Well one theory is that popular culture really started kicking off in the 1950s and 60s and that is when television became much more widespread. By the beginning of the 1960s around 3/4 of the population had a television in their homes and so you could say that celebrity became much more common and accessible at that stage.
This enabled not only TV celebrities but also musicians to gain much more notoriety and in much larger numbers.
So those people who were becoming well known in the 50s and 60s were likely to be born in the 30s and 40s, which would make a lot of them in their 70s right now.
With life expectancy for men being in the 70s it becomes logical for many of the popular figures in the 60s to now be hitting that kind of milestone.
Obviously there are other factors involved too and in particular it seems that a lot of the deaths in 2016 have been from cancer including Bowie, Alan Rickman, Dan Haggerty, Johan Cruyff, Victoria Wood and Billy Paul, but cancer is a big killer. Currently 44% of the population are expected to get cancer in their lifetime (in the UK) and of those 50% will survive for 10 or more years.
So really we have to think that maybe it is not a case of lots of well known people dying in 2016, but maybe more of the case that there are more well known people around so we are likely to hear about more celebrity deaths in the coming years as the generation that became celebrities in the 60s and beyond become part of the older generation.
It does seem that 2016 has started pretty badly, but overall life expectancy is getting higher each year and women in particular can expect to live until they are around 83 years old in the UK and 81 in the US. Men are a little behind with an average life expectancy of 79 in the UK, 76 in the US.
Life expectancy is rising continually so anyone born now could have a life expectancy in their 90s and by 2050-60, anyone born around that time may be expected to live until 100!