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Home Deaths of Famous People

Deaths of Famous People

Babe Didrikson Zaharias, the Best Female Athlete

Babe Didrikson Zaharias was named the best female athlete of the 20th century.  In the 1932 Olympics, she became the only track and field athlete, male or female, ever to win individual Olympic medals in a running, throwing and jumping event. She set four world records: • She won the 80-meter hurdles in a world-record 11.7 seconds and breaking her previous world-record she set in a preliminary heat.

Tommy Heinsohn, Beloved Boston Celtic

Tommy Heinsohn was inducted into the National Basketball Association Hall of Fame twice, first as a player and then again as a coach. He spent 60 years with the Boston Celtics, as a player from 1956 to 1965, their coach from 1969 to 1978, and more than 30 years as a broadcaster of their games.

Phyllis McGuire, Last of the McGuire Sisters

Phyllis McGuire, lead singer of the “McGuire Sisters” who were famous in the 1950s and 1960s, died on December 29, 2020 at age 89 in Las Vegas. In 1968, she left her singing career for a multi-year affair with equally famous Sam Giancana, who a notorious gangster and leader of the Chicago mob.

Bobby Farrell of Boney M

Today my favorite song is “The Rivers Of Babylon”, the second highest-selling single of all time in the UK. I heard the song for the first time a few weeks ago on YouTube. It was recorded in 1978 by “Boney M,” whose original members were with the band from 1976 until 1986. They all came from the Caribbean: Bobby Farrell came from Aruba, Liz Mitchell and Marcia Barrett were from Jamaica and Maizie Williams was from Montserrat, an island in the Lesser Antilles.

Linus Pauling and Prostate Cancer

Linus Pauling died at age 93 of prostate cancer, a disease that affects nearly 100 percent of North American men over age 90. He was one of the most influential chemists of all time, and also a peace activist, author, and educator. He won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1954 and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1962 for his campaign against nuclear weapons testing.

Charley Pride, Country Music Superstar, Dies of COVID-19

Charley Pride was the first Black superstar of country music. He grew up in abject poverty and wanted to be a professional baseball player. He had the talent, but an elbow injury at age 24 cut short his baseball pitching career.  To make enough money to feed his family, he started singing at baseball games, night clubs and social events.

Rafer Johnson, Olympic Decathlete, Dies from Stroke

Rafer Johnson was one of America’s greatest athletes. He was the world record holder and 1960 Olympic gold medalist in the decathlon, having won silver in the 1956 Olympics and also gold in the 1955 Pan American Games. He was the star of his Kingsburg High School's football, baseball and basketball teams and won the 1953 and 1954 California state high school decathlon championships.

Diego Maradona, Troubled Best Soccer Player

Diego Maradona was widely regarded as one of the greatest soccer players of all time. He could dribble the ball through an entire opposing team and could kick the ball where the goalie couldn’t reach it.

John Enders, Vaccine Pioneer

The year 2020 will be remembered for the incredible ground-breaking research leading to vaccines to prevent COVID-19, which may progress to new vaccines that will prevent almost any known viral infection in humans, even though they do not contain any weakened or living virus. The same techniques are likely to be used to prevent...

Paul Hornung: Another Football Great Felled by Dementia

Paul Hornung was better than everyone else on a football field, according to Frank Leahy, his coach at Notre Dame, who said, “He could run through opposing teams like a mower going through grass.” Vince Lombardi, his coach with the Green Bay Packers., said, “Paul Hornung is the greatest player I've ever coached . . ."

Frank Sinatra, Voice of the 20th Century

Frank Sinatra was the most famous popular singer in the world from the 1940s on, with every performance accompanied by screaming and swooning teenagers. His countless friends included presidents John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan, members of Britain's royal family and Princess Grace of Monaco.

Sean Connery, Dementia and Death from “Natural Causes”

Sean Connery was a Scottish movie star who was the original James Bond in seven Bond films between 1962 and 1983. He was voted by People magazine to be the "Sexiest Man Alive" in 1989 and the "Sexiest Man of the Century" in 1999.

J. Michael Lane: Will the COVID-19 Pandemic Last as Long as Smallpox?

J. Michael Lane was an epidemiologist who spent most of his life as probably the major player in helping to eradicate the smallpox virus. He traveled to Africa, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia and other countries to combat outbreaks and create vaccination programs.

Tyler Amburgey, Hockey and COVID-19

Tyler Amburgey was good enough to play on the United States National Hockey under-age-18 teams from 2007 to 2009, and then was a very talented player for the next eight years for six minor league hockey teams.

Eddie Van Halen and Mouth Cancer

Eddie Van Halen is considered to be one of the most accomplished guitarists of all time, and he led his hard rock band to international fame. He also developed new techniques and changes in his guitar that many other guitarists have copied, such as finger tapping with both hands on the guitar neck.

Wilma Rudolph: Polio Compared to COVID-19

At the 1960 Rome Olympics, Wilma Rudolph, a polio survivor, became the first American woman to win three gold medals in a single Olympic Games. More than 80,000 spectators watched the 5-foot-11, 130 pound beauty win the 100-meter dash by more than three yards in a world-record 11 seconds.

Gale Sayers: Dementia from Head Trauma

Gale Sayers is considered by many as possibly the greatest halfback ever. He was probably the fastest player in the National Football league and had run 100 yards in a very fast 9.7 seconds.

W. Barry Wood, Scholar-Athlete

Barry Wood won 10 varsity letters from 1929 to 1931 as one of Harvard’s greatest athletes ever, and was the last Harvard player to be named All-American in football at the time when Harvard football teams played the University of Texas, University of Michigan and some of the other best teams in the country.

Joseph Melnick, Another Vaccine Pioneer

Many of you think that Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin stopped the polio epidemics with their killed polio Salk vaccine or the live and weakened Sabin polio vaccines. However, you don’t see polio anymore primarily because of Joseph Melnick, who supervised the field trials of the vaccines and made sure that most of the entire American population was vaccinated against polio.

Chadwick Boseman, The Black Panther

Chadwick Boseman was a movie actor who brilliantly portrayed baseball player Jackie Robinson (2013), singer James Brown (2014), and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall (2017). In 2016, at age 40, he was diagnosed with colon cancer and never told the public about his serious diagnosis.

Fuller Albright and Parkinson’s Disease

Fuller Albright discovered more new diseases and their causes than any other person in the history of medicine. He founded modern endocrinology, the study of how glands work in your body. In his lifetime, he mentored most of the chairmen of the departments of endocrinology in North American medical schools. He was one of...

Isaac Asimov, Science Fiction Giant

Isaac Asimov probably had more of his writings published than any other person in history with more than 500 books, mostly science fiction and popular science. As a child, he was short, fat and uncoordinated and never learned to swim or ride a bike. As an adult, he spent an incredible amount of time...

Sumner Redstone’s Dementia

Sumner Redstone was a media magnate worth about five billion dollars, through his innovations and investments in radio, television, and movies. In 2016, at age 92, he resigned from being the executive chairman of both CBS and Viacom because of a court-ordered examination by a geriatric psychiatrist.

Robert Oppenheimer, Father of the Atomic Bomb

Seventy-five years ago, on August 6 and 9, 1945, the United States detonated two nuclear weapons over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing between 129,000 and 226,000 mostly civilians, to remain today the only uses of nuclear weapons in war. Physicist Robert Oppenheimer was the scientific director of the Manhattan Project that created the atomic bomb.

Cass Elliot: Young Death from Morbid Obesity

Cass Elliot was “Mama Cass”, the close-to-300 pound contralto lead singer of The Mamas and Papas, a dominant folk rock vocal group in the late 1960s. They sold more than 40 million records, with six of their albums making it to the Billboard top ten.

Regis Philbin’s Lifestyle Changes

Regis Philbin held the Guinness Book of World Records title for the most time spent in front of a television camera -- tallied at 16,343 hours when he retired at age 80 in 2011. He hosted "Live! with Kathie Lee" (which later became "Live! with Regis and Kelly"), "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," "Million Dollar Password," the first season of "America's Got Talent, and many others.

Einstein’s Brilliant Life and Needless Death

Albert Einstein is arguably the most famous and brilliant physicist of all time. In 1933, when he was 54, he held the prestigious title of tenured professor at the Berlin Academy of Sciences.

Charlie Daniels and Hemorrhagic Strokes

We have lost another country music legend -- Charlie Daniels died on July 6, 2020, at age 83.  He was a singer, songwriter and fiddler who was most famous for writing and performing "The Devil Went Down to Georgia." He was elected to the Grand Ole Opry in 2008, the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum in 2009, and the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2016.

Gordie Howe, the Toughest Athlete

National Hockey League All-Star Gordie Howe was arguably the best hockey player ever because he was stronger, faster and more pugnacious than everyone else. He played professional hockey for fifty years.

Dick Buerkle and Multiple Systems Atrophy

Dick Buerkle ran 3:54.93 to break the world record in the men's indoor mile in 1978, and earned places on the 1976 and 1980 U.S. Olympic teams. From age 12 onward, he had suffered considerable taunting from his classmates because he lost all the hair on his head.