Queen Elizabeth II's death in September was arguably the most high-profile death this year. One would have to go back hundreds of years to find a monarch who reigned longer than Queen Elizabeth II.
In her 70 years on the throne, she helped modernize the monarchy across decades of enormous social change, royal marriages and births, and family scandals. For most Britons, she was the only monarch they had ever known.
Her death prompted an outpouring of grief and respect for her steady leadership as well as criticism of the monarchy's role in colonialism.
She likely met more people than anyone in history, and her image — on stamps, coins and bank notes — was among the most reproduced in the world.
Other world leaders who died in 2022 include former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who died in August. His efforts to revitalize the Soviet Union led to the collapse of communism there and the end of the Cold War. He eventually resigned after an attempted coup, just as republics declared independence from the Soviet Union.
The year also saw the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister, who was fatally shot during a campaign speech in July.
Other political figures who died this year include former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who was a highly accomplished diplomat and politician with a long and influential career. She held a variety of positions in the State Department, including serving as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. In 1997, she was nominated by President Bill Clinton to be the U.S. Secretary of State, making her the first woman to hold this position.
The final days of 2022 saw the loss of some exceptionally notable figures, including Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. Brazil lost a national hero, football legend Pelé.
Among the entertainers who died this year was groundbreaking actor Sidney Poitier, who played roles with such dignity that it helped change the way Black people are portrayed on screen. Poitier, who died in January, became the first Black actor to win the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in the 1963 film “Lilies of the Field."