Stars you may not know passed away

We look up to our favorite stars, and when one of them passes, it leaves us all with a heavy heart. Whether they were actors, musicians, or sports legends, each of these people left an undeniable mark on our lives and the world we know today. Some were cut short in their prime while others led a long, fulfilled life before leaving the mortal coil, but they all have one thing in common: they will be missed.

Omar Sharif

Omar Sharif is probably most famous for his roles in Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago, but while those roles kicked off his career in the U.S., they certainly weren't the end of it. The Egyptian actor was a powerhouse in cinema for over 60 years, up to his most recent role in 2013's Rock the Casbah (not to be confused with Bill Murray's Rock the Kasbah). Younger fans might recognize him from The 13th Warrior, which also starred Antonio Banderas, or the Viggo Mortenson film Hidalgo.

In early 2015, Omar Sharif was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. He had a heart attack later that same year and died on July 10, 2015, in Cairo, Egypt. Sadly, his mental health had deteriorated rapidly in those few short months. According to his son, the 83-year-old could remember the broad strokes of his life — he knew he was an actor — but he couldn't recall when some of his films had been made.

Amanda Peterson

In 1987, 15-year-old Amanda Peterson catapulted into our hearts with her breakout role in Can't Buy Me Love. It was a shining moment that burned all too briefly for the teen star. Can't Buy Me Love was, sadly, the height of her career. In the decades after, Peterson developed a drug habit and was arrested multiple times for drug possession and assault.

In July 2015, Amanda Peterson's body was found in her home after her family became worried that she hadn't spoken with them for two days. The 43-year-old reportedly had a cocktail of drugs in her system, and the cause of death was officially chalked down to respiratory failure. Following her untimely death, her family revealed in an emotional interview that, as a 15-year-old, Amanda Peterson had been raped by a man nearly twice her age, a horrifying incident which left emotional scars that never completely went away. Maybe Cindy Mancini was right after all: the moon looks different now. It's not as mysterious or romantic as before.

Tony Burton

On February 25, 2016, 78-year-old actor and ex-boxer Tony Burton finally fought his last round after a long battle with pneumonia. The world knew Tony Burton best as Duke, the hard-ass boxing trainer in the Rocky series. He had a supporting role in six total Rocky films, most recently the 2006 sequel, Rocky Balboa. Burton was a long-time friend of Sylvester Stallone and Carl Weathers, who played Apollo Creed in the franchise.

It should come as no surprise that the man who trained both Creed and Rocky on film was a boxer himself in his early years. He was a two-time light-heavyweight champion before he retired from the sport in 1959. After that, Tony Burton tried to cobble his life together, but eventually found himself doing a three-year stretch in a California prison for robbery. While behind bars, Burton took an interest in acting, and in 1974 he landed his first role in the blaxploitation film The Black Godfather.

After a string of minor TV appearances, Burton nabbed a small role in John Carpenter's Assault on Precinct 13, and then finally went for the knockout when he was cast as Duke in the first Rocky film. The rest, as they say, is history.

David Huddleston

"I didn't blame anyone for the loss of my legs. Some Chinaman took them from me in Korea."

It's a fact. You can't watch The Big Lebowski without cracking up at David Huddleston's performance. In a cast littered with heavyweight comedy actors, Huddleston stole his scenes without even bothering to stand up. He was one of "those guys," a face you knew immediately with a name you could never remember. Although the world will probably remember him as the titular Big Lebowski, David Huddleston was gracing the camera long before then (and long after). From the Mel Brooks classic Blazing Saddles to 2005's The Producers (which also starred Matthew Broderick, Uma Thurman, and Will Ferrell), David Huddleston was a part of decades' worth of pop culture.

On August 2, 2016, David Huddleston died in New Mexico after a long fight with heart and kidney disease. He was 85 years old. According to his wife, he was a man who lived as large as the roles he played, but who never hesitated to slow down and enjoy the little things in life. Here's to you, Dave. Because strong men also cry.

George Martin

It's been said that if there hadn't been a George Martin, there wouldn't have been a band called the Beatles. Whether that's true or not is impossible to say, but George Martin certainly helped turn the band into the international sensation they became. John Lennon himself said that George Martin "made us what we were in the studio." It's no wonder the legendary producer was often called the fifth Beatle.

From 1963's Please Please Me, the Beatles' first LP, all the way through 1969's Abbey Road, George Martin practically was a member of the band, working closely with them to refine the sound and texture of each and every song. After the Beatles' breakup, Martin continued producing for Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr during their solo efforts, famously working on McCartney's "Live and Let Die" in 1973.

Other musical acts that George Martin worked with include Kenny Rogers, Celine Dion, and Elton John, to name a few. On March 8, 2016, Martin died of unknown causes. He was 90 years old and passed away quietly in his sleep.

Nick Lashaway

Nick Lashaway never became a household name, although who knows where his career might have gone if it had been given more time. Most recently, Nick Lashaway was known for his role as Frank on HBO's Girls. Lashaway also had roles in The 40-Year-Old Virgin and 2011's In Time, starring Justin Timberlake.

In 1998, at the age of 10, Nick Lashaway was cast in The X-Files as a young Fox Mulder, a role he later reprised in the 2015 continuation of the series. According to an Instagram post by Lena Dunham, star of Girls, Nick Lashaway was talented and sweet, and she feels "such gratitude for his gifts." Nick Lashaway was 28 when he was killed in a car accident on May 8, 2016.

Rod Taylor

Younger fans may not recognize Rod Taylor, but his legacy in Hollywood is undeniable. His most famous role came in 1963, when he was cast in the memorable starring role of the Hitchcock thriller The Birds. Rod Taylor appeared in more than 30 movies during the '60s and '70s, including The Time Machine, Do Not Disturb, and Nobody Runs Forever.

In 2009, Rod Taylor played Winston Churchill in Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds. He was 78 at the time, and it was to be his final role. Rod Taylor died of unknown causes on January 7, 2015, just four days before his 85th birthday. CNN reported that he died in his home, surrounded by friends and family.

Steven Hill

Over more than 50 years in show business, Steven Hill gained a reputation as a talented, versatile actor. Dick Wolf, the producer of Law & Order whom Steven Hill worked with for nearly a decade, called him "one of the truly great actors of his generation." And although he never hugged the spotlight, Steven Hill's acting career cemented him as one of the great faces of television.

From his time on Mission: Impossible (the '60s TV show, not the films, although he did star with Tom Cruise in 1993's The Firm) up through his 10-year run as Adam Schiff on Law & Order, Steven Hill always brought a tense, down-to-earth quality to the characters he portrayed on-screen. He passed away at New York's Mount Sinai Hospital on August 23, 2016, at the age of 94.

Arnold Palmer

When people nickname you "The King," you know you're doing it right. The godfather of golf and a god on the green, Arnold Palmer is one of golf's most recognizable names, and not just because somebody named a drink after him. Between 1955 and 1973, Arnold Palmer raked in victories at 62 PGA Tour events. When the World Golf Hall of Fame opened in 1974, only 13 golfers were added to the roster, and Arnold Palmer was one of them.

In 2012, Palmer became the sixth athlete in history to receive the Congressional Gold Medal. His career — which lasted more than 60 years — inspired thousands and went a long way toward making golf a nationally beloved sport. He passed away on September 25, 2016, at the age of 87. His wife told the press that he suffered from heart issues.

Kenny Baker

You never saw his face, you never heard his voice, but Kenny Baker was one of the most recognizable actors in movie history. Standing just 3'8" tall, Kenny Baker went down in history as a giant. From A New Hope in 1977 to Revenge of the Sith in 2005, Kenny Baker was the man inside the suit in every Star Wars movie that featured R2-D2.

In addition to the Star Wars films, Kenny Baker also acted in Labyrinth, Time Bandits, Willow, and The Elephant Man. For years, Baker suffered from a lung condition, and the English actor finally succumbed to the illness on August 13, 2016. He was 81 years old, and he reportedly died peacefully in his sleep. George Lucas said that he was the "heart and soul" of R2-D2, a man who always worked hard to bring the robot to life.

Kimbo Slice

The world's first glimpse of Kimbo Slice came in the form of YouTube videos showing the massive, bearded man brawling in backyards. Overnight, he became an internet sensation. But when his 15 minutes of fame was ready to leave him in the dark, Kimbo fought back. In 2008, Kimbo Slice (real name Kevin Ferguson), became a professional MMA fighter. His third professional fight became the first MMA match to be broadcast on prime-time TV.

In many ways, Kimbo's larger-than-life attitude brought the young sport of MMA into the mainstream, and although he looked fearsome in the ring, he was said to be a "gentle giant" in private. On June 6, 2016, Kimbo Slice was rushed to a hospital in Florida. He died of heart failure the same day.

According to ESPN, Kimbo Slice had been on a waiting list for a heart transplant at the time of his death.