Celebs we lost in 2021

A huge number of famous faces have passed away this year

Phil Valentine (died August 21st, aged 61)

Celebs we lost in 2021 1
Credit: Wikimedia Commons / The Rich Redmond Show

FM radio station WWTN revealed on Twitter that its employee Phil Valentine died after battling COVID-19. A conservative radio talk show host, Valentine recently made headlines for his public skepticism regarding the dangers of the coronavirus. But in July 2021, he became severely ill with the disease and was put on a ventilator. By August, he was sustained with an ECMO machine for several weeks before he died.

On his program on WWTN, Valentine had repeatedly downplayed the importance of getting a vaccine against the virus, saying last December that he believed his personal odds of dying from COVID-19 were “probably way less than one percent.” His message, however, changed in late July when he had been hospitalized.

“Phil would like for his listeners to know that while he has never been an ‘anti-vaxxer’ he regrets not being more vehemently ‘pro-vaccine’, and looks forward to being able to more vigorously advocate that position as soon as he is back on the air, which we all hope will be soon,” Valentine’s brother Mark said in a statement last July. “He recognizes now that him not getting the vaccination has probably caused a bunch of other people not to get vaccinated. And that he regrets. This is a real threat; it is a real public health crisis and it is something that if he had to do over again … his cavalier attitude wouldn’t have been what it was and he would have gotten vaccinated and encouraged everybody to get vaccinated.”

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Interesting facts about BTS
  • The group name, “BTS” stands for the Korean expression Bangtan Sonyeondan which translates to “Bulletproof Boy Scouts”. Band member J-Hope said that they chose this name because it represents BTS’s desire “to block out stereotypes, criticisms, and expectations that aim on adolescents like bullets.” But that isn’t the only meaning behind the name. In 2017, BTS said, as part of their new brand identity, that their name would also stand for Beyond the Scene” which extended their name to mean “growing youth BTS who is going beyond the realities they are facing, and going forward.”
  • BTS was originally intended to be a hip-hop group, similar to YG Entertainment’s 1TYM. This was because Big Hit Entertainment CEO Bang Si-hyuk met with RM and was very impressed by his rapping talents. However, Bang Si-hyuk changed his mind and decided that today’s youth needed “a hero who can lend them a shoulder to lean on, even without speaking a single word.”
  • BTS has said that all of the following musicians have inspired their music; Post Malone, Eminem, Seo Taiji and Boys, Nas, Kanye West, Drake, Charlie Puth, Danger, and Queen.
  • The band’s first English-language single, “Dynamite”, was released on August 21st. Its video broke the YouTube record for the most viewed music video premiere, grabbing the attention of three million viewers, and it set a new record for the most viewed video on the first day of release. “Dynamite” is also the first music video on YouTube to surpass 100 million views in less than one day.
  • BTS has been often labeled as “easily the biggest and most successful name in K-pop in the world” that can “do things no other name in their genre can.” Time magazine has gone as far as calling them the “Princes of Pop.”