While Macedonians celebrated the New Year, they also remembered the many greats lost during 2018.
These included writer, director and dissident Ljubisa Georgievski, who was the first conservative presidential candidate in independent Macedonia, and was also Speaker of the Parliament. Another scientific and political heavyweight, Blaze Ristoski, who was a leading historian of Macedonian literature and culture, as well as Deputy Prime Minister in the first Government post independence, died during 2018.

Playwright Goran Stefanovski, who was the founder of modern Macedonian drama, died in England aged 66. Beloved actor Mite Grozdanov and film and theater actress Ljupa Arsova Dzundeva also left us in the last year. A tragic accident claimed the life of another much loved actor and activist – Vanco Petrusevski. The legend of the Turkish theater in Macedonia Salaetin Bilal, and directors Tihomir Bacovski and Ljupco Tozija also died in 2018.

Poet Mateja Matevski, literary critic Milan Gjurcinov and historians Ivan Katardziev and Cvetan Grozdanov, all members of the Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts, died in the past year.
Talented but troubled young singer Vlatko Ilievski was found dead in July. Simeon Ivanov – Kango, the rock guitarist and poet, died following a lenghty illness. The world of music was also deprived of Aleksandar Dvorcanec.

Ballerina Vera Brangolica died aged 82, while opera singer Pavlina Apostolova Bogdanova was 90 when she died.

A tragic mountain hiking accident claimed the lives of two young sportsmen – Kalina Veleska and Aleksandar Minovski, who died within reach of the Kajmakcalan peak. Burhan Latifi from Aracinovo was killed in Greece in a heroic act, while attempting to save a drowning child.

Blagoj Istatov, whose name has become synonimous with goalkeeping, left us as did sports journalist Branko Davidovski – Majka. Handball graets Vlatko Korunoski – Larata and Petar Kuzmanovski – Tasta, are also gone, as are Olympic wrestler Koce Efremov, chess player Atanas Rusomanov and athlete Atanas Kiradziev. Paralympic swimmer Darko Arsov who won the gold medal at the 2011 Athens Paralympics died from liver disease.

In the realm of politics, former minister from DUI Abdulakim Ademi and Ruzdi Llata, the DUI mayor of Debar, died, as did the 48 year old mayor of Ohrid Jovan Stojanoski. Slobodan Ugrinovski who led a minor party dedicated to former Yugoslav Communist leader Tito died in November.

Two legendary personalities from the urban life of Skopje also died – singer and entertainer Zoran Atanasov – Zeko and Ilija Sazdov, best known as Zabarot, proprietor of the eponymous restaurant on the banks of the Vardar river.

Gone, but not forgotten.