2014's tragic losses

By admin
31 December 2014

We pay tribute to the newsmakers we lost this year.

YEAR END: Last Farewells 2014
1. U.S. actor and comedian Robin Williams was found dead at his California home on August 11, having taken his own life by hanging. Williams, who was 63, was famous for films such as Good Morning Vietnam, Dead Poets Society, Mrs Doubtfire and Good Will Hunting, for which he won an Oscar. He had referred on several occasions to his struggles with alcohol and drugs, and was said to have been "battling severe depression" at the time of his death.
2. Former Hollywood child star Shirley Temple died at age 85 on February 10. She was one of the most popular movie stars of the 1930s, captivating audiences with her prodigious talent and cherubic curls, and received a special juvenile Oscar in 1935 at just six years old, making her the youngest person ever to receive an Academy Award. In later years she turned to politics and under her married name, Shirley Temple Black, served as a member of the U.S. delegation to the UN General Assembly, and then U.S. ambassador to Ghana in 1974 and Czechoslovakia in 1989. 3. Mickey Rooney, the child actor who became the world's top box office star, died on April 6 at the age of 93. In a film and musical career spanning nine decades, in which he starred alongside screen legends such as Judy Garland and Elizabeth Taylor, Rooney was nominated for four Academy Awards and received two special Oscars. Like Taylor, Rooney was married eight times, his first wife being noted screen beauty Ava Gardner. 4. U.S. film and stage actress Lauren Bacall died on August 12 at age 89. Born in Brooklyn in 1924, she was one of Hollywood's biggest stars, noted for her husky voice and smouldering looks. In a career lasting seven decades, she made a memorable debut at age 19 opposite her future husband, Humphrey Bogart, in To Have and Have Not. More than 50 years later, The Mirror Has Two Faces earned her a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award nomination. She was awarded an honorary Oscar in 2009 in recognition of "her central place in the golden age of motion pictures". 5. Renowned Italian conductor Claudio Abbado, former musical director of La Scala, Milan, died on January 20 at the age of 80, following a long illness. He also conducted the London Symphony Orchestra from 1979 to 1988, winning plaudits for his concerts of his favourite composer, Gustav Mahler. Other notable posts included musical director of the Vienna State Opera from 1986-91, principal guest conductor at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and leader of the Berlin Philharmonic from 1989 to 2002. Abbado received numerous awards and was appointed senator for life in Italy in 2013. 6. Argentinian footballer Alfredo Di Stefano, widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, died on July 7 at the age of 88. Although he never played in a World Cup he propelled the Spanish club Real Madrid to five straight European Cup titles, as the Champions League was then known, scoring in each final between 1956 and 1960. His success in making that competition so successful led directly to the establishment of a new tournament, the Copa Libertadores, in the continent of his birth. 7. Portuguese footballer Eusebio da Silva Ferreira died from heart failure at age 71. The Mozambican-born forward, who scored 733 goals in 745 matches during his professional career, is considered one of the greatest footballers of all time. He was top scorer at the 1966 World Cup with nine goals, including four in one match against North Korea. Renowned for his blistering acceleration and exceptional dribbling skills, Eusebio was named European Footballer of the Year in 1965, and was the first ever player to receive the European Golden Boot, in 1968, repeating the feat in 1973. 8. Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead at his New York home on February 2. The Oscar-winning American actor, who was 46, died from an overdose of a number of drugs. Hoffmann made his name in the 1990s in films including Boogie Nights and the Big Lebowski, before winning the Academy Award for Best Actor for his 2005 portrayal of writer Truman Capote, in the movie Capote. In its obituary The New York Times praised Hoffman as "perhaps the most ambitious and widely admired American actor of his generation". 9. Folk singer and activist Pete Seeger died on January 27, aged 94. A legendary figure of American folk music, who influenced musicians from Joan Baez to Bruce Springsteen, his prolific songwriting talents produced classics such as If I Had a Hammer, Turn, Turn, Turn, and Where Have All the Flowers Gone?, which was adopted by anti-Vietnam War protesters. He also popularised the spiritual We Shall Overcome, which became the anthem of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement. He remained a staunch campaigner throughout his life, latterly supporting the Occupy Wall Street protests. 10. The Duchess of Alba, Spain's richest woman and one its most eccentric figures, died in Seville on November 20 at age 88. Maria del Rosario Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart was the world's most titled aristocrat with an extensive property portfolio as well as paintings by Goya and Velazquez. The head of one of Spain's oldest noble families, she was survived by her husband, Alfonso Diez, 25 years her junior, whom she married in 2011 to the consternation of her family. Her six children were expected to inherit her wealth, estimated at between 600 million and 3.5 billion euros. 11. Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon died on January 11 after spending eight years in a permanent vegetative state following a stroke. He was 85. Both as a soldier and a politician Sharon proved an influential but hugely divisive figure. Having distinguished himself in combat during three wars against Egypt, he was accused of human rights abuses during Israel's 1982 campaign in Lebanon, particularly over the massacres at the Sabra and Chatila refugee camps. As prime minister, he alienated many on his own side by ordering the withdrawal of Israeli settlers from Gaza in 2005. 12. Maya Angelou, U.S. author, poet and civil rights activist, died on May 28 aged 86. One of America's leading literary figures of the last 50 years, Angelou was best-known for her 1969 memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, the first of seven autobiographies. Her poem, On the Pulse of Morning, which she recited at the inauguration of President Bill Clinton in 1993, included the lines, "History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived/But if faced with courage need not be lived again". In 2010, Barack Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom. 13. Ben Bradlee, editor of the Washington Post during the Watergate scandal that toppled U.S. President Richard Nixon in 1974, died on October 21, aged 93. Bradlee edited the Post from 1968-1991, and was credited for transforming it into one the most respected newspapers in the United States. In 2013, he received the country's highest civilian honour, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. 14. Oscar-winning British film director Richard Attenborough died on August 24, aged 90. Early in his career Lord Attenborough was one of Britain's leading actors, appearing in films including Brighton Rock and The Great Escape, and he returned to the screen in 1993 in Steven Spielberg's dinosaur blockbuster, Jurassic Park. As a director he was perhaps best known for his epic movie Gandhi, which won him two Oscars. He was the older brother of eminent naturalist and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough. 15. Australia's three-time Formula 1 world champion Sir Jack Brabham died aged 88 on May 19. Champion in 1959 and 1960, he won the title again in 1966, this time in a car of his own construction, the rear-engined BT19. He remains the only man to have designed, built and driven a championship-winning car. On his retirement from the sport in 1970 he sold his team to Bernie Ecclestone, who would go on to run Formula 1, with the Brabham name surviving until the 1990s. Brabham was knighted in 1979. 16. Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes died on November 27, two days after being hit by a ball during a domestic match in Sydney. His death came two days before his 26th birthday. Former Test batsman Hughes, playing for South Australia, was wearing a helmet but the ball struck him just below his left ear, damaging an artery. He underwent surgery to relieve pressure on his brain but never recovered consciousness. His death stunned Australia and his funeral, attended by thousands, was televised nationwide. 17. Nobel Prize-winning South African author Nadine Gordimer died in Johannesburg on July 13 at the age of 90. One of the world's most powerful voices against apartheid, she wrote more than 30 books, including the novels My Son's Story, Burger's Daughter and July's People. She was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1991. 18. Nobel prize-winning Colombian author Gabriel Garcia Marquez died in Mexico on April 17, aged 87. Considered one of the greatest ever Spanish-language authors, he was best known for his masterpiece of magical realism, One Hundred Years of Solitude, which was published in 1967 and sold over 30 million copies. Other notable works included Love in the Time of Cholera, and Chronicle of a Death Foretold. Garcia Marquez was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982

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