While most of us have felt the sucker punch that the death of a beloved icon can deliver this year, some people have been rubbing their hands together with glee as they cashed in on a real-life celebrity "Dead Pool" betting on the deaths of the rich and famous.
Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, the "Derby Dead Pool" was set up in Derby, UK, back in 1996 by a chap known as "Big-Iain" with the purpose of predicting which celebrity would shuffle off into their mortal coil in exchange for points.
Open to the public, participants can choose to take part in the online competition as part of a team or alone, but with last year's winner correctly predicting 17 out of 20 celebrity deaths, competition is stiff from the old hands.
With celebrity death reaching a seemingly devastating high in 2016, the morally dubious club has recently released their statistics for this year and below are some of the findings they have published.
'The Drop Forty'
Each year, the forty celebrities who receive the most votes are placed into a chart. This year, ten of the people whose deaths were predicted sadly passed away including the late Zsa Zsa Gabor and boxing legend Muhammad Ali.
Sadly Gabor has been sick and confined to her bed for almost half a decade, and consequently she has received the most votes from the Derby Dead Pool community for four out of the past five years.
2016 was a particularly devastating year for celebrity deaths because so many of the fallen stars were snatched from us unexpectedly. The Derby Dead Pool reflects the untimely passing of an irreplaceable selection of icons in its "missed" list; a compilation of all of the deceased celebrities that nobody voted for. This year, it includes:
- The beloved Harry Potter star and British stage legend, Alan Rickman.
- Groundbreaking cult musician and Labyrinth actor, David Bowie.
- British comedian Victoria Wood.
- The musical legend, Prince.
- Female wresting pioneer, Chyna.
'The List Of The Lost'
Although some of the celebrities on the list were saddeningly young when they died, some members of the Derby Dead Pool still had a hunch that 2016 would be their final year on earth. Some of the surprising predictions that sadly turned out to be true include:
- Gay rights trailblazer and musician, George Michael. Predicted by 13 teams/members (age 53).
- Star Wars mainstay and outspoken writer, Carrie Fisher. Predicted by two teams/members (age 60)
- Status Quo guitarist, Rick Parfitt. Correctly predicted by two teams/members (age 68)
While the premise of hosting a Dead Pool for well-know public figures is obviously incredibly controversial, it is far from a new premise. According to the website, the first evidence that people were voting on the deaths of others comes from all the way back in 1591 when a Catholic priest tried to ban the activity after becoming concerned it could lead to assassinations.
So, if you though the premise of sitting pretty thanks to the death of a contemporary had be dreamed up by the Deadpool creators, think again. This morbid practice is as real as the grim reaper himself.