People die every day. Famous, unknown, heroes, villains, old, young; it doesn't matter - mortality doesn't discriminate.
With each passing year I seem to be less and less affected by the news of celebrities shuffling off. Even the young and tragic cases don't generally have much of an effect on me. I guess I've just become used to it. I still remember hearing about Sid James (neither young nor tragic) passing in 1976; I think that is about the earliest I can recall.
The one that still gets to me is the untimely death of Joe Strummer - dead at 50 from an undiagnosed heart condition. Poor sod. He was doing quite well; riding high(-ish) on the crest of a second wave of acclaim with The Mescaleros.
I met Joe once. By some fluke, me and a few mates bumped into The Clash in the back rooms of Thebarton Town Hall after their 1982 gig. We'd been out to the airport to see them arrive (see photo) and already enjoyed a bit of banter, so this was an unexpected bonus. He was top bloke, as were the other three members of the band. By all accounts the Australian tour was not The Clash's happiest time, but we shared a few laughs and a few beers over the course of a couple of hours that night.
Anyway, I miss Joe more than I miss most of those that have checked out. I reckon his best may still have been in front of him.