Has YouTube just become a breeding ground for sad news? (Not including the conversation for another time about the collective effect of so many people having access to a platform with nearly unlimited reach to say and do almost anything they please. Though you can probably find that conversation taking place somewhere else on the Internet right this minute and jump on in.)
Because this year especially, in addition to the weekly scandals and feuds, it felt as if we said goodbye to a number of YouTube stars. So many personalities who had acquired hundreds of thousands—and in many cases millions—of fans with their online video content, be it livestreaming their marathon gaming sessions, building a 100-pound snow cone, or just letting the camera run while their otherwise ordinary at-home life with their spouse and kids played out.
Of course, the frequency with which YouTubers seemingly make headlines these days probably has something to do with the fact that there are just so many of them now. Countless people have signed up to show off a skill, tell jokes, talk politics, review movies, chat with friends, share parenting tales, and do about a billion more things, often with an eye on earning some cash and making a bigger name for themselves, but sometimes just to make a connection.
And boy, do people connect. Any time someone decides to go public like that, even if they're playing a character, they open themselves up to both the good and the bad, the endless possibilities and the underworld of online trolls.
It can be a lot.
But the YouTube world, for all its rabbit hole appeal (for better, worse and much, much worse), is really just another microcosm of all the happiness, sadness, tragedy and bad luck taking place offline, magnified to the nth degree.
Which sadly, leaves us with more people to mourn, from those who shared intimate details of their lives to those who just wanted to make us laugh or stop and go "whoa!" Here are some of the personalities who opened up their lives and turned the far reaches of the Internet into extended family: