People who are "gutted" when an elderly celebrity dies

And reading his last book you could really see the decline with plot threads that didn’t come to fruition and some problems in the story that likely would have been fixed with additional work had Pratchett had the time. It was still a nice farewell to his fans though.

Carrie Fisher has become an exalted saint in the geek community since her passing. I don’t say this as a knock on her, it was well-deserved. Most of the cosplayers and other nerdy folks I know call her “Space Mom.” As in “Space Mom would want you to take those antidepressants.” “Space Mom wants you to hang on and get that therapy you need.” “Space Mom is pulling for you, you can beat these demons.” Her struggle with drugs and her very public encouragement for people to get the help they need, as well as her utter brilliance with fans made her as much an icon in these circles as her role as Princess Leia did. I have friends (many of whom met her at conventions) who still feel the loss, and I can see where they’re coming from.

Just kinda depends. Crosby? Meh. he was pretty old, and that whole CSNY-Joni-Circle has annoyed me recently.

But discovering recently (via the music rabbit hole talked about in another thread. From Art Garfunkel to:) Laurie Bird. Gutted wasn’t the word, but pretty damned depressed to find out she killed herself after only three acting roles at the age of 25.

When Shatner and Bacharach pass on, I wont be gutted, but sad they wernt more appreciated.

Yeah, I won’t feel very sad when Lynne passes probably because he’s up there in age and he’s been working all this time. Between ELO and his producing and Travelling Wilburys and appearing on various tribute shows. He has a a vast amount of work done.

This. It’s often a reminder of our own advancing age and mortality.

Me, too. But that was mostly shock. I was too young to understand the assassinations of the 60s, and this was the first murder of a celebrity that really meant something to me.

I suspect that a limited vocabulary plays a part.
Something sad happens - “I’m gutted”
Something nice - “That’s amazing”

Hyperbole isn’t the same thing as having a limited vocabulary.

No, but if you only know one word, sometimes it’s going to be hyperbolic.

You know which singer’s death really saddened me? Dolores O’Riordan. I love The Cranberries, have all their albums, but never got to see them live. I hoped to one day, but obviously never will. She was only 46 when she died.

That’s what saddens me too, when it’s someone I always intended to see but somehow never got to. Topping my list is Willy DeVille.

Her and Kim Shattuck. I tear up when I hear a Cranberries or Muffs song now. They were both relatively young.

I bawled my eyes out when David Bowie died. He was everything to me when I was a teenager (his music was more comfort to me than my own family). I continued to follow him throughout my life, albeit less rabidly than when I was young. But he was my weird North Star, just because of that connection from teenagerhood. And I was a mess when I heard the news. People reached out to me as if I had lost a parent—in a weird way I felt like I had. I had just the day before listened to the Blackstar album on iTunes for the first time and looooooved it. I haven’t been able to bring myself to listen to it since. My vinyl album still has the plastic on it.

So yeah, I’m the wacko was gutted when a celebrity died.

I really think that’s a different species than my friend who publicly, performatively, goes into a meltdown about twice a year for various kinds of celebrities, from Princess Diana to Olivia Newton-John.

In other words, feeling real emotion because of art, triggered by news, is different from whatever is happening with my friend. I’m no longer close enough to even speculate.

When I hear your story, I feel compassion, but I don’t see what I pictured from the OP.

I have seen people do the performative grief that @Dr.Drake describes, and it makes me roll my eyes. Still, I have been sad when certain people died, mostly because they had a world view I appreciated and they still had much to share, had they lived longer. That’s how I felt when I heard that Stephen Jay Gould, Douglas Adams, and John Belushi had passed (although Gould had been living on borrowed time for quite a while, but he was only 60!).

I will cop to feeling a sense of loss when Eppie Lederer (Ann Landers) died, although she was 84 and had led a great life. But in a weird sort of way she was like a mother to me - I started reading her columns when I was about 7 years old and she gave me a moral compass that I am sure influences me to this day.

My wife has a friend whose similar to this – she would definitely fit the OP’s description of people who describes themselves as feeling “gutted” by celebrity deaths. My wife’s friend is a highly emotional person, in general, and from my observations, even relatively minor upsets in daily life (i.e., events or incidents that would cause most people no more than a brief, mild emotional response) can generate strong emotional distress for her.