[OPINION] The real tragedy this week is Syria, not George Michael

I happened to wake up in the early hours of Boxing Day to the news that singing icon George Michael had died. This Christmas... he gave us his heart.

I'll admit that like millions around the world I was shocked and saddened. Wham! was the soundtrack of my childhood after all.

A day later we learnt that yet another part of our childhood died with the passing of Princess Leia. As the hours wore on and we watched rolling coverage on the international networks of these two celebrity deaths, something started gnawing at me. I ignored it.

And then I came across an article that helped explain that gnawing, uncomfortable feeling I'd had. Judy Ann wrote a piece called 2016 is not killing people in which she says it's "drug and alcohol abuse".

And I couldn't agree more.

While it's terribly sad that George Michael and Carrie Fisher died this week, the truth is they lived ultra-privileged, cushy lives with more money than most of us will see in a lifetime - and unfortunately they abused their bodies.

They smoked too much, drank too much, took too many pills and did far too many drugs, which eventually killed them.

I know addiction is a disease and once you've ventured down that road it's very hard, if not impossible, to return from it.

Some of you reading this may think I stand in judgement of them as addicts. I really don't. I've never walked in those shoes, don't know the struggle and won't judge anyone for it, but the reality is that if you choose to travel down a particular path of booze and coke - there are mortal dangers to be faced.

Yes, they died too young and, make no mistake, the world of song and film is certainly much poorer without them - but their loss is not the tragedy some make it out to be.

CNN had a segment on 'coping with grief', for heaven's sake, and I found myself shouting "Get a grip" at my TV at some point.

The tragedy is Syria. The tragedy is Berlin. The tragedy is the swell of refugees washing up on beaches. The tragedy is a power-hungry reality television star with a mess masquerading as a hairdo who is about to ascend the throne of the White House.

The tragedy is Syria. I know, I know - I've already mentioned that devastated part of the world - but surely we cannot say it enough. The images of dying, injured, orphaned children in Aleppo haunt me daily, as I'm sure they do you. On Monday this week Russia's Defence Ministry said its troops had found mass graves in Syria with bodies showing signs of torture and mutilation.

Britain's Telegraph reported yesterday that a surgeon who spent time in Aleppo described the devastating situation as follows: "Aleppo residents - evacuated to the safety of the countryside after a six-month siege - came with bones jutting through their skin, limbs succumbing to gangrene and shrapnel still buried in their wounds. They looked almost like they were coming out of a concentration camp."

That's the real tragedy of this week. The death of so many innocents with a future no more.

So while some are Never gonna dance again..., some perspective and reflection are necessary here. The loss of George Michael and Carrie Fischer will be mourned, their legacies remembered as they deserve - but when we're done with that, we need to then turn our attention to the real tragedies in our world. Let's not forget the true horrors.

Katy Katopodis is EWN's group editor-in-chief. Follow her on Twitter.