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August 18, 2018

Former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan died Saturday after a brief illness, his family reported via his personal foundation. He was 80 years old.

Born in Ghana in 1938, Annan began work at the U.N. in 1962, rising through the ranks to serve as secretary general from 1997 to 2006. He shared the Nobel Peace Prize with the U.N. in 2001.

Current U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres said Annan "provided people everywhere with a space for dialogue, a place for problem-solving, and a path to a better world." Annan is survived by his wife and three children. Bonnie Kristian

August 16, 2018
Rick Diamond/Getty Images for The Fox Theatre

"Queen of Soul" Aretha Franklin died Thursday while in hospice care at home in Detroit, her publicist confirmed to The Associated Press. She was 76.

The legendary soul and pop singer was reportedly "ill for a long time" with pancreatic cancer, and her friends and family had been warned that "death is imminent" just days ago. While receiving palliative care, Franklin was surrounded by family who said she was "alert, laughing, teasing, able to recognize people." Her nephew told People that "family is there with her. She's home."

"In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart," Franklin's representative said in a statement following her death. "We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family."

Franklin's singing career goes back to 1960, when she began recording hits like "Respect" and "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman." Her last performance was at a benefit for the Elton John AIDS Foundation in November 2017. Summer Meza

August 7, 2018
AP Photo/File

Hockey Hall of Famer Stan Mikita, the leading scorer in Chicago Blackhawks history, died Tuesday. He was 78.

From 1958 to 1980, Mikita played 1,396 NHL games, all with the Blackhawks. The team won the Stanley Cup in 1961, and he won the Hart Trophy twice as league MVP. He scored 541 goals and 926 assists, and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1983. In more recent years, he was an ambassador for the team, and had a statue raised in his honor at United Center in 2011. In 2015, Mikita's family announced he had been diagnosed with dementia with Lewy bodies, and he requested his brain be donated after his death for CTE research.

"There are no words to describe our sadness over Stan's passing," Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz said in a statement. "He meant so much to the Chicago Blackhawks, to the game of hockey, and to all of Chicago. He left an imprint that will forever be etched in the hearts of fans — past, present, and future." NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said Mikita "lived a remarkable life," and was "respected and revered by so many. One of the greatest players in NHL history and a Chicago icon, he was a pioneer of the game in so many ways." Catherine Garcia

August 5, 2018
Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, FILE

Charlotte Rae, the Tony and Emmy–nominated actress best known for playing Mrs. Garrett on The Facts of Life, died Sunday at her home in Los Angeles. She was 92.

In April 2017, Rae announced that she had been diagnosed with bone cancer, seven years after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. In a statement, Rae said she needed to "make up my mind. I'm not in any pain right now. I'm feeling so terrific and so glad to be above ground. Now I have to figure out whether I want to go have treatment again or opt for life. I love life." At 91, she added, "every day is a birthday," and she urged people to "savor the day and be good to yourself, love yourself, and then you can be good to others and be of service to others."

Born in Milwaukee, Rae got her start in theater and radio. She earned Tony nominations for her performances in Pickwick and Morning Noon and Night and an Emmy nomination for Queen of the Stardust Ballroom. Her breakout television role was as Sylvia Schnauser on Car 54, Where Are You?, and she first played Edna Garrett on Diff'rent Strokes, but due to the character's popularity, she pitched a spin-off, which led to The Facts of Life. She also guest-starred on several television shows, including ER and The King of Queens. Her memoir, The Facts of My Life, was published in 2015. Catherine Garcia

July 19, 2018
AP Photo/Darron Cummings

Olympic figure skater Denis Ten was stabbed to death in Kazakhstan on Thursday, following an altercation with people who allegedly tried to steal a mirror from his vehicle, Kazakh news agencies report.

Ten, 25, was rushed to a hospital in his hometown of Almaty, where he died. Ten took home the bronze medal from the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, making him Kazakhstan's first medalist in figure skating, and also won the Four Continents championships in 2015. The Associated Press reports that due to injuries over the last few years, he placed 27th in the Pyeongchang Olympics this February.

"Today is truly a dark day for all of us who loved this young figure skater and were inspired by his talent and creativity," Kazakhstan Olympic Committee President Timur Kulibayev said in a statement. "Throughout his sporting career, Denis set an example with his motivation, strength of spirit, and his champion's personality." Catherine Garcia

July 14, 2018
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Nancy Sinatra, first wife of singer Frank Sinatra, died on Friday night at age 101.

Her daughter, also named Nancy Sinatra, confirmed on Twitter that Sinatra died "peacefully," calling her a "blessing and the light of my life." Sinatra, born Nancy Barbato, was Frank Sinatra's childhood sweetheart, marrying the singer in 1939, reports The Associated Press. She had three children with him before they divorced in 1951, but remained friendly with him for years, dining together as a family and talking on the phone until the singer's death in 1998.

Sinatra was a longtime resident of Beverly Hills, California, reports The New York Times, where she moved when her husband's singing career took off in the 1940s. There, Sinatra raised her children and did charitable work as all three of them entered show business. Her daughters Nancy and Tina survive her, while her son Frank Jr. died in 2016 while on tour in Florida. Read more about Sinatra's life at The New York Times. Summer Meza

July 9, 2018
Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File

Actor and '50s heartthrob Tab Hunter, best known for his roles in Battle Cry and Island of Desire, died Sunday. He was 86.

Hunter's husband, Allan Glaser, told the Los Angeles Times on Monday they were at home in Santa Barbara, California, when Hunter went into cardiac arrest after a blood clot in his leg went to his lung. "It was more important that Tab was known for being a good human being," Glaser said. "That was most important to him than being an actor and a recording artist. He didn't place importance on his movie career or his celebrity." Hunter was three days shy of turning 87.

Born Arthur Gelien, Hunter was discovered while working as a stable boy in Los Angeles, and his agent gave him the name Tab Hunter. He starred in movies like Track of the Cat and The Sea Chase, and recorded the song "Young Love," which was so successful his movie studio head, Warner Bros.' Jack Warner, launched Warner Bros. Records in 1958 in order to profit from Hunter's hit. Hunter was romantically linked to several actresses, after being forced to hide that he was gay and in relationships with men, including actor Anthony Perkins, the Times reports. After retiring from acting, Hunter moved to Santa Barbara to ride horses, and Glaser said he volunteered his time working with paralyzed veterans and animals. Catherine Garcia

June 28, 2018
Courtesy Steve Barber via AP

Harlan Ellison, the award-winning science fiction and fantasy writer, died Thursday. He was 84.

Ellison's death was confirmed by his fifth wife, Susan, who said he died in his sleep. He wrote novels, comic books, television scripts, and short stories, with his first published piece an article for the Cleveland News when he was 15. Born in Cleveland in 1934, Ellison worked numerous jobs, including as a bodyguard and truck driver, before attending Ohio State University; he was expelled in 1953 after trying to punch a professor critical of his writing.

He then moved to New York City, where he joined a Brooklyn gang called the Barons in order to have material for his debut novel, Web of the City. In 1962, he was fired by Roy Disney almost immediately after he was hired by Walt Disney Studios, after Disney overheard him making a joke about making a pornographic film starring Disney characters.

Ellison spent decades writing scripts for television, and when he wasn't pleased with a final product, asked to be credited for his work under the fake name Cornwainer Bird. He wrote the 1967 Star Trek episode "The City on the Edge of Forever," one of the most critically-acclaimed episodes of the series, but he wasn't happy with the revised script, and asked for Cornwainer Bird to receive credit, The Hollywood Reporter said. Gene Roddenberry denied the request and used Ellison's name, causing friction; Ellison's original script received a Hugo Award and was named the best episodic drama of the year by the Writers Guild of America. Catherine Garcia

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