Who died in 2019? The Scottish celebrities and sports stars we lost this year

Actor and boxer Bradley Welsh. Picture: Greg Macvean
Actor and boxer Bradley Welsh. Picture: Greg Macvean
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From acclaimed chefs to footballing legends, 2019 was the final farewell for some of the country's best known names.

As the new year approaches, we look back on the lives and achievements of those who died in 2019.

Andrew Fairlie (third from the left) before the final round of the Roux scholarship contest. Picture: Oli Scarff (Getty Images)

Andrew Fairlie (third from the left) before the final round of the Roux scholarship contest. Picture: Oli Scarff (Getty Images)

Read More: Scotsman Readers' Pictures of 2019: 10 stunning photos taken this year by you

Alasdair Gray

The year often seems to sneak in one more blow just when you think it's over. In 2019, it was legendary author and artist Alasdair Gray, who passed away on Sunday 29 December, the day after his 85th birthday.

The Glasgow writer made his hometown a key destination in the modern literary world with acclaimed works like Lanark, widely regarded as one of if not the best Scottish novel of all time, as well as one of the most important novels of thepostmodern era.

Hugh McIlvanney was inducted into the Scottish Football Hall of Fame in 2011. Picture: SNS.

Hugh McIlvanney was inducted into the Scottish Football Hall of Fame in 2011. Picture: SNS.

Fellow Scottish authors such as Ian Rankin and Irvine Welsh were among those who paid tribute to a man who Rankin claimed "could do a little bit of every thing and did it all well".

Bradley Welsh

One of the most shocking deaths of 2019 occurred in April when Trainspotting 2 star Bradley Welsh was tragically gunned down on the doorstep of his home in Edinburgh while his family were inside.

Welsh was known for his role as a gangland boss in T2 Trainspotting, and more locally for having run the Holyrood Boxing Gym for many years.

A huge crowd turned out to bid farewell to Celtic legend Stevie Chalmers. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell (Getty Images)

A huge crowd turned out to bid farewell to Celtic legend Stevie Chalmers. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell (Getty Images)

1,000 mourners attended the 48-year-old actor’s funeral, applauding as his coffin – coloured green in honour of his beloved Hibs – was carried into the chapel.

Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh spoke of his heartbreak at the loss of his friend and of a “a great and unique human being.”

Andrew Fairlie

After having his head turned by the taste of fresh tarragon as a schoolboy, Andrew Fairlie dedicated himself to learning the culinary arts. In 2006, his Gleneagles restaurant became the only venue in Scotland to achieve the extreme honour of being awarded two Michelin stars.

Deborah Orr enjoyed huge success at The Guardian, The i and The Independent.

Deborah Orr enjoyed huge success at The Guardian, The i and The Independent.

He studied in France and travelled the world honing his skills before returning to Scotland and earning his first Michelin star in Glasgow in 1994.

Although he was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2005 and underwent major surgery, so hard-wired was his love for cooking that he continued to work up until November 2018 before passing away in January this year.

Hugh McIlvanney

For almost 60 years, journalist Hugh McIlvanney dominated the Scottish sports pages with his distinctive voice and keen eye.

As well as his talent, he was known for his confidence and candour – directly after the Rumble in the Jungle, he managed to talk his way into a two-hour interview with Muhammed Ali.

He was awarded an OBE in 1996 and was named British Sports Writer of the Year seven times before being granted the Scottish Press Awards’ Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004. He is also the only sports writer ever to have been named Journalist of the Year by the British Press Awards.

Captain Ricksen lifting the Premier League trophy high in 2005. Picture: Christopher Lee (Getty Images)

Captain Ricksen lifting the Premier League trophy high in 2005. Picture: Christopher Lee (Getty Images)

He died on 24 January aged 84.

Stevie Chalmers

If the Lisbon Lions are the greatest achievement in Scottish football’s history, then Stevie Chalmers must be ranked in its very highest echelons.

His illustrious career up front saw him fire in 236 goals while wearing the green and white, although his European Cup final-winning strike against Inter Milan in 1967 might be worth as the other 235 combined.

Today he still stands as Celtic’s fifth highest ranking goalscorer.

In 1995, he was diagnosed with tuberculosis meningitis and given weeks to live, only to astonish doctors by making a full recovery.

He finally passed away on 29 April, aged 83.

Deborah Orr

Scotland lost another of its most ferocious voices with the death of Deborah Orr in September.

The acclaimed journalist made her name as the editor of The Guardian's weekend magazine, pushing it away from fluff pieces and towards in-depth investigations of challenging topics.

As a columnist, she was willing to take on the most loaded issues, laying out her arguments in such clear and compelling detail as to engage even those who would not agree with her. She developed a loyal readership who followed her between The Guardian, The Independent and The i.

Having passed away at only 57 years old, much of her story was left untold – her autobiography Motherwell: A Girlhood will arrive in January 2020 to fill in some of the tale.

Fernando Ricksen

Such is Scotland’s passion for football that anyone who makes a name for themselves in the game here becomes an honorary Scot for life. When Glasgow’s zealous tribes are involved, that probably goes double.

Fernando Ricksen wowed the Ibrox crowd for six years between 2000 and 2006, taking home two league titles, two Scottish cups and three Scottish league cups in his time there. He was named SPFA Player of the Year after scoring nine goals from midfield in the 2004-2005 season.

After battling Motor Neurone Disease for six years, Ricksen passed away at St Andrew’s Hospice in Airdrie in September, aged 43.

Dr Katharina Lindner

After growing up in Germany, Katharina Lindner earned a scholarship to Hartford. While playing football there, she was named NSCAA First Team All-American. She moved to Glasgow to complete her PhD in film studies in 2005 and began playing for Glasgow City.

Over the course of the next six years, Lindner scored 128 goals in 173 games, firing the Glasgow side on to five Premier League titles, as well as a pair of league and Scottish cups.

After completing her PhD, she became a lecturer in Communication, Media and Culture at Stirling University, with a focus on gender, sports and queer theory.

She died suddenly on 9 February 2019 at the age of 39.

Andrew Cowan

Raised in Duns on the Borders, Andrew Cowan grew up alongside future Formula One world champion Jim Clark. As youngsters, the two of them tore up and down the country roads and everywhere in-between, developing the skills that would one day make them legends.

Between 1973 and 1981, Scott won a slew of titles as a rally driver – including Scottish Rallies and five consecutive Southern Cross Rallies.

Having enjoyed most of his success with Mitsubishi, he then founded and headed up their European motorsports division.

He passed away on 15 October after an illness.

Brian Barnes

Not all that many can claim to have beaten legendary American golfer Jack Nicklaus out on the green. Brian Barnes did it twice in the same day.

At the 1975 Ryder cup – one of six that Barnes competed in – he defeated the reigning Masters champ 4&2. When Nicklaus requested a re-match, one was quickly arranged for that afternoon, and Barnes promptly repeated the trick, this time winning 2&1.

With 20 professional titles to his name, Barnes’ legacy can hold its own against just about anyone.

He passed away from cancer after a short spell of illness at 74 years old.

Dr Lindner in action for Glasgow City.

Dr Lindner in action for Glasgow City.

Brian Barnes competing in the  Ford Senior Players Championship in 1998. Picture: Matthew Stockman /Allsport (Getty Images)

Brian Barnes competing in the Ford Senior Players Championship in 1998. Picture: Matthew Stockman /Allsport (Getty Images)