Farewell to those we lost, 2012

Song: “Superstars” by Diane Birch

As 2012 comes to a close, we say farewell to the television and film stars, music legends, sports figures, and national heroes who touched us all. This is a look back at some of the notable deaths from the past year, gleaned from your search habits.

2012 saw the world shocked by the loss of pop superstar Whitney Houston, who died tragically at the age of 48. Often described as one of the greatest voices of her generation, Houston was found in a hotel bathtub, her death ruled a drowning as a result of heart disease and cocaine use. Tragedy also struck Mexican-American singing sensation Jenni Rivera, who was killed when the plane in which she was traveling crashed outside Monterrey, Mexico. Rivera was 43.

This year we also said farewell to a number of music legends, from the great R&B singer Etta James to disco queen Donna Summer to jazz musician Dave Brubeck, who died at the age of 91. We celebrate the long and illustrious careers of television and film stars like Ernest Borgnine, Andy Griffith, Sherman Hemsley and Dick Clark.

2012 also saw the loss of sports mainstays, men like Johnny Pesky, Art Modell, Budd Lynch and Joe Paterno. Whether receiving cheers or jeers, these giants dedicated decades to their teams and to their fans. Then there were the sports heroes whose tragic loss happened at too young an age: NFL linebacker Junior Seau, 43, of a suspected suicide; Canadian freestyle skier Sarah Burke, 29, killed after a fall during a training run.

We look back over the past year and honor the fallen, our military heroes who died fighting for the U.S. in Afghanistan and elsewhere. We remember political leaders like presidential candidate George McGovern and Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter. We mourn the loss of Ambassador Chris Stevens, killed in an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya on Sept. 11, 2012, and journalistic giant Mike Wallace -- always in pursuit of the next great story. And we say farewell to an astronaut who made history: Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon.

Finally, no list like this can ever be complete. As 2012 winds down, we pay tribute to all those we lost in 2012 -- not just celebrities and sports heroes, but parents and children, friends and family. You will be missed.