2011 was a year of highs and lows, but nothing hurt more than the loss of several one-of-a-kind music icons. In the above video, BET.com brings together a team of experts to remember some of the year's fallen stars.
After publically struggling with substance addiction and abuse for years, British soul singer Amy Winehouse was found dead at her apartment in London in July. Reports later revealed that she passed away due to alcohol poisoning. "I think people were really stunned," VIBE magazine's John Kennedy told BET.com. "It's sad, but I think she'll live on through her music."
Unlike Amy Winehouse, M-Bone of Cali Swag District was just getting started in his music career. But his tragic shooting in May touched us all the same, reminding many of the ongoing epidemic of gun violence that affects so many of our families and communities. "[He] just had a hit record, and they were on top of the world, and that was taken away really abruptly," B. Dot of Rap Radar said.
Heavy D wasn't killed by a gunshot, but his sudden death in November from after a pulmonary embolism seemed just as abrupt and shocking. The pioneering rapper was in the midst of a comeback, fresh off an acclaimed performance of some of his classic hits—and sure-footed dance steps—at the BET Hip Hop Awards in October.
"He was the rapper you could bring home to your mom," music journalist Alvin Blanco said. "To see him just about a month before, hitting all his steps at the BET Hip Hop Awards, and then suddenly—bam—he's gone, was crushing."
Click the video above to see our team of experts discuss the above fallen music stars and others, including Nick Ashford, Sylvia Robinson, Gil Scott-Heron and more.
BET.com is your #1 source for Black celebrity news, photos, exclusive videos and all the latest in the world of hip hop and R&B music.