The Partridge Family star and former teen heartthrob David Cassidy died from organ failure Tuesday in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He was 67.
Cassidy's family confirmed his death to People magazine, saying he "died surrounded by those he loved, with joy in his heart and free from the pain that had gripped him for so long." He was hospitalized last week with liver and kidney failure, and had been in the intensive care unit.
Cassidy hit it big starring in The Partridge Family, alongside his stepmother, Shirley Jones. A singer, he toured the world in his early 20s, but decided to quit and focus on songwriting and recording. Cassidy publicly shared his struggles with alcohol, and in February announced he had dementia. He is survived by Jones; son Beau Cassidy; daughter Katie Cassidy; brothers Shaun, Patrick, and Ryan Cassidy; and several nieces and nephews. Catherine Garcia
Actress and singer Della Reese, star of the television series Touched by an Angel, has died. She was 86.
Reese's husband, Franklin Lett, said in a statement that Reese died at her home in California "surrounded by love." Born in Detroit, Reese started singing in church when she was 6 years old, and at 12, gospel legend Mahalia Jackson asked her to go on tour with her. Reese had several hits, including "Don't You Know," and one year she appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show 18 times, NPR reports.
Reese also became the first black woman to fill in for Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show, and the first black woman to host her own syndicated variety series, Della, which ran from 1969 to 1970. In addition to being an actor and singer, Reese was an ordained minister and founder of the Understanding Principles for Better Living Church. The church grew over time, but she started out holding services in her living room for just eight members. Catherine Garcia
Jana Novotna, the Czech tennis player who earned 17 Grand Slam titles over the course of her career, died Sunday at the age of 49, The New York Times reports. In a statement, the Women's Tennis Association said Novotna's passing followed "a long battle with cancer" and that she "died peacefully, surrounded by her family in her native Czech Republic."
Sixteen of Novotna's Grand Slam titles came in doubles and mixed doubles, and she also earned three Olympic medals in the category. Novotna was famously consoled by the Duchess of Kent after losing to Germany's Steffi Graf at Wimbledon in 1993. Novotna eventually won her solo Wimbledon singles trophy five years later after overcoming Venus Williams, Martina Hingis of Switzerland, and Nathalie Tauziat of France.
"Jana was an inspiration both on and off court to anyone who had the opportunity to know her," said WTA CEO Steve Simon in a statement. "Her star will always shine brightly in the history of the WTA." Jeva Lange
AC/DC guitarist Malcolm Young died Saturday, three years after he was diagnosed with dementia and retired from the band. He was 64. "With enormous dedication and commitment he was the driving force behind the band," said a statement posted on AC/DC's Facebook page. "He took great pride in all that he endeavored. His loyalty to the fans was unsurpassed."
RIP Malcolm Young
He was the founding member of AC/DC & the engine that roared behind the most powerful band in the world.
He wrote Back In Black, Highway to Hell, You Shook Me All Night Long, Highway to Hell, so many songs...
Travel safely to the stars, Malcolm.
— Ryan Adams (@TheRyanAdams) November 18, 2017
Born in Scotland and raised in Australia, Young co-founded AC/DC in 1973 with his brother Angus Young as lead guitarist. "As his brother it is hard to express in words what he has meant to me during my life, the bond we had was unique and very special," Angus wrote in the Facebook post. "He leaves behind an enormous legacy that will live on forever." Their brother George, who also worked in the music industry, died last month at 70. Bonnie Kristian
Liz Smith, the iconic gossip reporter who had her own syndicated column for more than 30 years, died Sunday. She was 94.
Smith's literary agent told The Associated Press that Smith died of natural causes. Known as the Dame of Dish, Smith broke major scoops throughout her career, including President Trump's divorce from his first wife, Ivana. Her column began in 1976 and ran through 2009, appearing in dozens of newspapers, including the New York Post and New York Daily News. She also wrote three books and several magazine articles. The New York Times reports that at one time, Smith was said to be the highest-paid print journalist in the United States.
A native of Texas, Smith arrived in New York City in 1949. She was known for not only attending the best parties and premieres but also raising money for various causes. In a 1987 interview with AP, she said it was important not to "take ourselves too seriously in this world of gossip. When you look at it realistically, what I do is pretty insignificant. Still, I'm having a lot of fun." Smith is survived by several nieces and nephews. Catherine Garcia
Roy Halladay, the eight-time MLB All Star and two-time Cy Young Award winner who pitched for the Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies, died Tuesday when his plane crashed in the Gulf of Mexico off the Florida coast, the Pasco County Sheriff confirmed. He was 40.
Halladay's ICON A5 single-engine aircraft crashed at around noon, and Halladay's body was found in shallow water, law enforcement said. Police could not say if there were other passengers on the plane, or where it was headed. In a video posted on ICON's website, Halladay said he always wanted to fly, ESPN reports, but because of his contract, he couldn't get a pilot's license until he retired.
After 16 seasons, Halladay retired from baseball in 2013. In a statement, the Toronto Blue Jays said the entire organization is "overcome by grief with the tragic loss of one of the franchise's greatest and most respected players, but even better human being. It is impossible to express what he has meant to this franchise, the city, and its fans. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends." Halladay is survived by his wife, Brandy, and sons Ryan and Braden. Catherine Garcia
The father of nationally beloved hippo Fiona died Tuesday at the Cincinnati Zoo at the age of 36, The Associated Press reports. Henry, a Nile hippopotamus, had reportedly lost hundreds of pounds in recent months due to ongoing health problems.
— WLWT.com (@WLWT) October 31, 2017
Vet staff had noticed that Henry "took an obvious downward turn in the past few days and was weak and unsteady," the zoo wrote. "After an exam this morning, they determined that Henry's quality of life would not improve and made the difficult decision to humanely euthanize him."
The average life expectancy of a Nile hippo is 35 years. Henry is survived by his mate, Bibi, and their daughter Fiona, who was born six weeks early in January 2017, but remained healthy and a delight to zoo visitors. "From meeting, bonding, and breeding with his mate Bibi, to becoming a father to charismatic and spirited Fiona, Henry's days in Cincinnati were filled with sunshine, watermelons, waterfalls, and the highest quality of care that can be provided to any animal,” said Wendy Rice, the Africa head keeper at the Cincinnati Zoo. Jeva Lange
Legendary rock and roll songwriter Fats Domino, who paved the way for Elvis and The Beatles, dies at 89
Influential rock and roll pioneer Antoine "Fats" Domino died Wednesday at the age of 89, his daughter told New Orleans' WWL-TV. Born in 1928 as the eighth child in a New Orleans Ninth Ward French Creole family, Fats Domino paved the way for early rock superstars including Elvis Presley and The Beatles, The Independent reports. "There wouldn't have been a Beatles without Fats Domino," WWL-TV quotes John Lennon as once saying. Or, in the words of critic Robert Christgau: "In short, this shy, deferential, uncharismatic man invented New Orleans rock and roll."
Domino's debut with collaborator Dave Bartholomew, The Fat Man, was the first rock and roll record to sell more than a million copies. He sold more than 65 million records in his lifetime. In addition to a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Domino was awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1986. Four of his songs were also included in the Grammy Hall of Fame, including "Blueberry Hill" and "Ain't That A Shame."
Domino said his music was inspired by the world around him: "I used to go around different places, hear people talk," he said. "Sometimes I wasn't expecting to hear nothin', and my mind was very much on my music. Next thing I'd hear, I would either write it down or remember it good." Listen to "Blueberry Hill" below, and learn more about his legacy at WWL-TV. Jeva Lange