Actor Alan Rickman, active in theater and film for 30 years and known for roles such as Professor Severus Snape in Harry Potter, has died at age 69 from cancer.
Dr. Peter Rasmussen: retired oncologist, hospice physician and advocate for Oregon's Death with Dignity law, was given a terminal brain cancer diagnosis in Spring 2014. The Oregon Statesman Journal followed Dr. Rasmussen's end-of-life journey in articles, photos and videos, as he grappled with the same issues he once fought for on behalf of his own patients. Harper's Magazine: When I Die. [more inside]
Maureen O'Hara, Irish-born star of The Quiet Man and more, dies aged 95. [The Guardian] [more inside]
The Lonely Death of George Bell (slnyt) Incredibly well-researched, in-depth article on all the people affected by the death of a random man late last year, from the city workers charged with disposing of him and his things, to the people who knew him. Surprisingly moving, it is full of small uplifting moments.
Slate reports on the rise of the changing world of death notices. (SL Slate)
Academy Award-winning composer James Horner died in a plane crash Monday. He was known for the scores to Titanic (the soundtrack for which sold 27 million copies), Braveheart, Apollo 13, and A Beautiful Mind among many others. [more inside]
Professional wrestler Tommy Rogers (real name Thomas Couch), best known as one half of the tag team The Fantastics, has passed away at the age of 54. According to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer, Rogers "...had been having legal troubles in recent years stemming from fighting. He was to be sentenced tomorrow over a fight with police officers and feared a long prison stay." [more inside]
Paul Kalanithi, writer and neurosurgeon, has died. A non-smoker, Kalanithi was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2013 but still managed to raise money for lung cancer awareness, worked to provide resources for doctors to educate them about palliative care. He and his wife, Lucy, also had a daughter who "filled a dying man’s days with a sated joy, a joy unknown to me in all my prior years, a joy that does not hunger for more and more, but rests, satisfied". He also wrote moving articles (and previously) that have resonated with many, patients and doctors alike.
Charlie Barsotti, one of the great cartoonists, passed away. Charlie drew close to fourteen hundred cartoons for The New Yorker over the years, beginning in the nineteen-sixties and continuing right through last week’s issue.
Many more here. Previously.
Many more here. Previously.
Malaysian human rights activist Irene Fernandez died on March 31st 2014 at age 67 from heart failure. She was arrested and charged with one year imprisonment in 1996 for "publishing false information with the intention to harm" after publishing a report on abuses of migrant workers in detention camps in Malaysia, and was acquitted in 2008 after multiple delays due to losses of important files. She received a Right Livelihood Award in 2005 for her human rights and migrant advocacy work. She is remembered by activists in Malaysia and overseas, politicians, and international media. [more inside]
James Rebhorn, an actor often playing a man in a suit, Dies at 65 after a 12-year struggle with skin cancer.
Mr. Rebhorn had memorable supporting roles in major films and worked consistently in television and theater. He appeared in more than 50 films, including “Meet the Parents,” “Independence Day,” “My Cousin Vinny” and “Cold Mountain.”He penned his own obituary which can be read here.
Sherwin Nuland, surgeon and award-winning author who challenged idea of dignified death, has died at age 83. The son of first generation immigrants, Nuland survived a troubled childhood and succeeded in medical school only to face near-paralyzing depression, for which he was successfully treated with electroconvulsive therapy (first-person TED talk). His award-winning book, "How We Die: Reflections on Life's Final Chapter", included realistic descriptions of the process of death and helped to frame the national debate on assisted suicide. [more inside]
Tadeusz Mazowiecki has died. The first prime minister after the fall of communist regime in Poland was later an UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Bosnia and resigned this post in protest over the failure of international community to prevent the Srebrenica massacre. [more inside]
Laughing Past The Grave
We realize we aren’t supposed to speak ill of the dead, but we adore it, often to a perfectly scandalous degree, when others do, and especially when it’s funny.
Sadly true, at 74. (JJ Cale previously, and Wikipedia.) Otherwise best to just let the man and his guitar speak for themselves via classic albums such as Troubadour, Grasshopper, Naturally, Okie and Shades.
"In life, things happen twice if you're lucky. There's the father you get and the father you choose." [more inside]
When your abuser or estranged relative dies - funerals, obituaries, & condolences. This is a practical, thoughtful and informative website created by two Christian women who are knowledgeable about dealing with pathological narcissists and sociopaths within a family context, in particular the topic of "Silent Partners". [more inside]
Chris "Mac Daddy" Kelly, one half of the rap duo Kriss Kross was found dead today at age 34 of what is being investigated as a possible drug overdose. [more inside]
This past September, Jessica Ann Lum won a "Best Feature" award in the student-journalist category from the Online News Association, for her Master's project: "Slab City Stories." Less than four months later, on January 13, 2013, she passed away. She was 25. "Jessica loved to tell people’s stories. This is hers." [more inside]
Since March 21, 1994, when the first regular obituary segment was dropped into an Academy Awards show, a spot on the yearly scroll of recently deceased movie luminaries has become one of the evening’s most hotly contested honors. And as in most Oscar races it is the focus of sometimes ferocious campaigning.
"He was fiercely proud of his Jewish faith. He fiercely defended the City of New York, and he fiercely loved its people. Above all, he loved his country, the United States of America, in whose armed forces he served in World War II." - a self-written epitaph by the former 105"Hizzoner" passed away on Friday morning at the age of 88, and the New York Times City Room blog spent the day collecting and posting stories about him. [more inside]
thMayor of New York City: Edward Irving Koch.
In 1974, Leon Leyson was one of a group of Jews who greeted Oskar Schindler when he visited Los Angeles. It was the first time the two had seen each other since the war. He began to introduce himself, but Schindler interrupted: "I know who you are," Schindler said, grinning at the middle-aged man before him. "You're Little Leyson." On Sunday, the youngest name on Schindler's List passed away at the age of 83. "The truth is, I did not live my life in the shadow of the Holocaust," he told the Portland Oregonian in 1997. "I did not give my children a legacy of fear. I gave them a legacy of freedom." [more inside]
Beate Sirota Gordon, Long-Unsung Heroine of Japanese Women’s Rights, Dies at 89: a NYT obituary relates the fascinating story of a young woman who was just the right person in just the right place at just the right time and managed to strike a blow for gender equality. [more inside]
Farewell Pushcart Queen: Jean Merrill has passed away from cancer. Many of her 30 books were young adult stories which followed underdogs in conflict with powerful interests. Her most well-known books were The Pushcart War, about a confrontation between New York pushcarts and the trucking industry, and The Toothpaste Millionaire, about a young African American entrepreneur who challenges big business. (previously) [more inside]
NFL great Junior Seau, who spent the majority of his career with the San Diego Chargers, with additional runs with the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots, was found dead today of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. [more inside]
Young Edd Gould always enjoyed drawing comics of himself and his friends. Growing up in the internet age, his doodles evolved into Flash animations of increasing complexity, and in time Edd and pals Tom Ridgewell and Matt Hargreaves teamed up to produce an "Eddsworld" series of online webtoons and comics. At first crude and halting, the group's "eddisodes" progressed from surreal shorts and one-shots into full-fledged productions that pushed the boundaries of amateur web animation, with expressive characters, full soundtracks, complex effects, and a fast-paced, off-kilter sense of humor: MovieMakers - Spares - WTFuture - Rock Bottom - Hammer & Fail (2). At its height, the college co-op was producing shorts for Mitchell & Webb and the UN Climate Change Conference, fielding offers from Paramount and Cartoon Network, and racking up millions of hits on YouTube. Work slowed, however, when Gould was diagnosed with leukemia -- a relatively survivable form, though, and Gould carried on working gamely through his hospital stays. So it came as a shock last week when Matt and Tom announced that Edd had passed away, prompting an outpouring of grief and gratitude from all the fans he'd entertained and inspired in his short 23 years.
Growing up, she was a beloved celebrity in her home country. Thousands of girls were named after her. So was a bestselling perfume. But Josef Stalin's "Little Sparrow," his only daughter, (born Svetlana Stalina) defected to the United States in 1967. Upon arriving in New York, she promptly held a press conference that surprised the world, denouncing her father's regime. Svetlana became a naturalized US citizen, moved to Taliesin West, married an American, changed her name to Lana Peters, then returned to the Soviet Union in 1984, declaring that she had not been free "for one single day" in the U.S., only to once again return to America in 1986. She lived out her remaining days in a small town in Wisconsin. Mrs. Peters passed away from colon cancer on November 22nd, at the age of 85. [more inside]
Anne McCaffrey, author of Dragonriders of Pern, the first woman to win a Hugo award, is reported dead.
Amy Jade Winehouse was found dead in her London home at the age of 27. CNN and BBC are providing breaking coverage of the story. The powerful British soul and R & B singer had a history of struggling with drugs and alcohol. [more inside]
Writer, traveler, and kidnapper of Nazi generals, Sir Patrick Leigh Fermor -- Paddy to friends and fans -- is dead at 96. A silver lining: his biographer Artemis Cooper reports that the long-awaited final installment of his trilogy recounting a year-long walk across Europe as a young man in the 1930s, "has existed for some time, and will be published in due course."
Arthur Laurents (wiki), writer of the libretti for West Side Story and Gypsy, among many other things, has died at the age of 93. [more inside]
"For the progress of humanity, work alone is not adequate, but the work should be associated with love, compassion, right conduct, truthfulness and sympathy. Without the above qualities, selfless service cannot be performed."On Sunday morning, Indian guru Sri Sathya Sai Baba passed away. He leaves behind a massive empire, several million mourning devotees worldwide, an extensive religious philosophy, a great deal of controversy and a legacy of large-scale philanthropic projects in India, including free hospitals and mobile medical facilities, a free university and schools, and other efforts which included supplying clean water to hundreds of rural villages. [more inside]
Korg founder Tsutomu Katoh has died of cancer. Korg has been an enormously influential maker of electronic musical instruments as well as tools like tuners and metronomes. There has rarely been a time when I've been involved in making music without some sort of Korg gear around. Tsutomu will be missed by many. [more inside]
Agnes Milowka, vivacious and courageous cave diver, was found dead last week in Australia's Tank Cave. [more inside]
On January 5th, 2011 largely unknown modern composer, and pioneer of long format compositions on early computer systems Roland Kayn "... left this world today from his home". [more inside]
Debbie Friedman passed away today. She was the most well known and influential composer of Jewish music and litergy in the United States. The Jerusalem Post says that "Friedman’s music is performed in synagogues around the world more than that of any other modern composer." Her most well known song is a setting of Mi Shebeirach, a prayer for healing.
BBC Correspondent Brian Hanrahan, who rose to fame during his coverage of the Falklands Conflict in 1982, has died at the age of 61. [more inside]
Carla's final video blog from heaven - shown publicly for the first time at Carla Zilbersmith's funeral after her death from ALS. [more inside]
Nate Neilson is a name that is not only unfamiliar to most people, it's unfamiliar to many of his biggest fans. That's because he went by the nom-de-brick of "nnenn". Neilson was a huge presence in the online Lego community, regularly putting out amazing and unique Lego creations on a regular basis, including entire building genres. He was also the driving force behind Novvember, a month-long celebration of the "Vic Viper" (from the videogame "Gradius") in which he and others "riffed" on a basic central design to see how many interesting variations on it they could make. Sadly, Neilson passed away recently following an automobile accident. Many of his online fans only learned this way of his real name, his job as a stay-at-home-Dad with two sons, and his other artistic outlet. He was a huge presence in the online Lego community, and he will be greatly missed. There is a fine eulogy for him (along with an overview of his work and influence) over at the premiere Lego site, The Brothers Brick. (And yes, his icon was a Lego rubber band holder.)
Tom "T-Bone" Wolk, a.k.a. that guy with the hat, is dead at 58. Hall & Oates won't be the same without him. [more inside]
Famously reclusive American author J.D. Salinger has died at 91. The author of The Catcher in the Rye, a novel alternatively banned and labeled the Great American Novel, Salinger was also among the last authors whose short stories were routinely published in magazines. Salinger's other published works include Franny and Zooey, Nine Stories & Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction. [more inside]
Robert B. Parker, prolific crime-novel author, creator of Spenser, Sunny Randall, and Virgil Cole, among others, has died with his boots on.