HOLMBERG: Prince the latest celebrity death. What’s going on?

Posted at 12:33 AM, Apr 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-22 00:33:14-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Now Prince.

We've had quite a hard run of our stars dying in the past few months:

Merle Haggard, David Bowie, Phife Dog, Joey Feek, Maurice White, Glenn Frey, Paul Kantner, Lemmy Kilmister, among others.

Prince was comparatively young, just 57. But there are reports of substance abuse issues - hardly unusual in the entertainment business.

So many of the stars who recently died were older.

Pneumonia, cancer, complications from Parkinson's, congestive heart failure and many age-related diseases and illnesses claimed them.

The hard touring lifestyle also has contributed.

Ever since Robin Williams' health-related suicide, it seems there has been a run of celebrity deaths.

When is it going to stop?

Probably not anytime soon.

There are about 73 million of us baby boomers - this huge demographic cluster of folks born in the '40s and '50s, after WWII.

And we love our pop culture, our rock our soul, our movies, television and sports.

We feel a real kinship - a powerful connection to them.

Jay Leavitt, owner of Deep Groove records in the Fan (and a big Prince fan) said we really feel it - viscerally -with music.

"There's nothing that, I think, brings us all together as much as music," he said. "And you lose an icon, it hits. It hits your soul."

There are so many people whose talent and work we love and admire.

Thousands of them - so many of them in now in their 60s, 70s, 80s and even older.

Madonna is the same age as Prince.

Stevie Wonder, 67.  Bruce Springsteen, 68. Jimmy Buffett, 69. Neil Young, 70. Dolly Parton, 70. Eric Clapton, 71. Mick Jagger, 72. Jimmy Page, 72. Paul McCartney, 73. George Clinton, 74. Willie Nelson, 82. Little Richard, 83. Fats Domino, 88. Chuck Berry, 89.

And that's just a very short list of music stars. Add in television, movies, art, theater, sports, news, comedy . . . you get the idea.

Average lifespan here? 78 or so, if you don't factor that hard-touring, high-flying celebrity life.

Here's the reality: Every day in the United States about 6,500 people die, and roughly 155,000 pass away around the world.

Some of our stars are going to be among them for quite some time. It's demographics.

So please care of yourselves and don't take your life for granted. Go see the shows and smell the flowers.

And thank you Prince!