Gone But Not Forgotten,Obituaries Of Famous Black People



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Naomi Sims    Age: 61
Naomi Sims, one of the world's first black supermodels, has died 8/1/09 after a battle with breast cancer, according to her family.She became an icon of the "Black is Beautiful" movement after she appeared on the cover of Ladies' Home Journal magazine in November 1968.
E. Lynn Harris    Age: 54
E. Lynn Harris, the author who introduced millions of readers to the "invisible life" of black gay men, was a literary pioneer whose generosity was as huge as his courage. Harris, 54, died 7/23/09 while on a business trip to Los Angeles, California, said Laura Gilmore, his publicist.
Michael Jackson    Age: 50
Michael Jackson, the sensationally gifted "King of Pop" who emerged from childhood superstardom to become the entertainment world's most influential singer and dancer died Thursday, 6/25/09, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press. He was 50.
Steve McNair    Age: 36
Former Tennessee Titans quarterback Steve McNair was shot and killed in Nashville home 7/4/09, from an apparent double homicide. McNair, and an unidentified woman were found dead in a condominium, a Nashville police spokesman told reporters.
Wayman Tisdale    Age: 44
Wherever Wayman Tisdale went, whatever he was doing, chances were he was smiling. Tisdale was a three-time All-American at Oklahoma in the mid-1980s before playing a dozen years in the NBA and later becoming an accomplished jazz musician. Wayman lost a two year battle with cancer on 5/15/09.
Koko Taylor    Age: 80
Koko Taylor, a sharecropper's daughter whose regal bearing and powerful voice earned her the sobriquet "Queen of the Blues," died after complications from surgery on 6/3/09.
David 'Fathead' Newman    Age: 75
David "Fathead" Newman, a jazz saxophonist who was a key member of Ray Charles' band for a dozen years and later became a high-profile session player, has died. Newman died 1/20/09 of pancreatic cancer at a hospital in Kingston, N.Y., according to his wife and manager, Karen Newman.
Estelle Bennett    Age: 67
Estelle Bennett, whose voice helped the Ronettes climb the charts on such hits as 'Be My Baby' and 'Baby, I Love You,' died 2/11/09.. Her trio, working with producer Phil Spector, helped crystallize the famed "wall of sound" production that became part of pop music history.


Eartha Kitt    Age: 81
Eartha Kitt, a sultry singer, dancer and actress who rose from South Carolina cotton fields to become an international symbol of elegance and sensuality died 12/25/08. Andrew Freedman said Kitt, who was recently treated at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, died Thursday in Connecticut of colon cancer.
Freddie Hubbard    Age: 70
Influential jazz trumpeter Freddie Hubbard died in Los Angeles on 12/29/08.Hubbard, who played alongside legendary figures such as John Coltrane, McCoy Tyner, Art Blakey and Herbie Hancock, passed away in a Sherman Oaks, California hospital following complications from a heart attack suffered the previous month.
Rudy Ray Moore    Age: 81
Rudy Ray Moore, a raunchy 1970s comedian who played the title role of a flashy pimp in the movie Dolemite and influenced a generation of rappers, died 10/19/08. He was 81. Moore died Sunday evening at an Akron nursing home from complications of diabetes, said his brother, Gerald Moore.
Odetta    Age: 77
Odetta, the folk singer with the powerful voice who moved audiences and influenced fellow musicians for a half-century died on 12/2/08. Odetta died of heart disease at Lenox Hill Hospital, said her manager of 12 years, Doug Yeager.
Earl Palmer    Age: 84
Earl Palmer, the session drummer whose pioneering backbeats were recorded on such classics as Little Richard's "Tutti Frutti" and The Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'," died 9/19/08 after fighting a lengthy illness.
Levi Stubbs    Age: 72
Four Tops lead singer Levi Stubbs, who possessed one of the most dynamic and emotive voices of all the Motown singers, died 10/17/08 at 72. He had been ill recently and died in his sleep at the Detroit house he shared with his wife, said Dana Meah, the wife of a grandson.
Isaac Hayes    Age: 65
Isaac Hayes, the baldheaded, baritone-voiced soul crooner who laid the groundwork for disco and whose “Theme From Shaft” won both Academy and Grammy awards, died 8/10/08 in the afternoon after he collapsed near a treadmill, authorities said. He was 65.
Gene Upshaw    Age: 63
Gene Upshaw, the Hall of Fame guard who during a quarter century as union head helped get NFL players free agency and the riches that came with it, died on 8/20/08 at his home near California's Lake Tahoe, of pancreatic cancer.
Dwight White    Age: 58
Dwight White, the Steel Curtain defensive end known as "Mad Dog" who helped lead the Pittsburgh Steelers to four Super Bowl titles in the 1970s, died 6/6/08, following complications from back surgery. He was 58.
Bernie mac    Age: 50
Bernie Mac, an Emmy and Golden Globe nominated actor and comedian, died suddenly 8/09/08 at age 50 of complications from pneumonia.The comedian suffered from sarcoidosis, an inflammatory lung disease that produces tiny lumps of cells in the body's organs, but had said the condition went into remission in 2005.
Al Wilson    Age: 68
Al Wilson, the soul singer and songwriter who had a number of 1970s hits including “Show and Tell,” died 4/21/08. Wilson died of kidney failure at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Fontana, according to his son, Tony Wilson of Yucaipa.
Bo Diddley    Age: 79
Bo Diddley, a founding father of rock 'n' roll whose distinctive "shave and a haircut, two bits" rhythm and innovative guitar effects inspired legions of musicians, died 6/2/08, after months of ill health. He was 79.
Ivan Dixon    Age: 76
Ivan Dixon, an actor and director who was best known for playing Sgt. James Kinchloe on the 1960s sitcom “Hogan’s Heroes” but whose films included vivid portrayals of black struggles in the American South and insurrectionist inclinations in the North, died 3/16/08 from complications of kidney disease.
Sean Levert    Age: 39
Sean Levert, a third of the 1980s R&B trio LeVert and son of lead O'Jays singer Eddie Levert, died 3/30/08 after falling ill while serving a jail term. He was 39. Authorities said Monday that an autopsy was inconclusive but foul play was ruled out.
Johnnie Carr    Age: 97
Johnnie Carr, who joined childhood friend Rosa Parks in the historic Montgomery bus boycott and kept a busy schedule of civil rights activism up to her final days, died 2/22/08. She was 97. She had been hospitalized after a stroke Feb. 11.
Buddy Miles    Age: 60
Buddy Miles, a drummer who played with Jimi Hendrix and sang in the claymation commercials featuring the California Raisins in the 1980s, died 2/26/08. He was 60. Miles, who had been suffering from congestive heart failure, died in Austin, publicist Duane Lee said.


Percy Rodrigues    Age: 89
Percy Rodrigues, an actor who broke ground when he was cast as a neurosurgeon in the series “Peyton Place” in 1968, a time when blacks were just starting to win roles as authority figures on television, died on Sept. 6 at his home in Indio, Calif.. He was 89.The cause was kidney failure, said his wife, Karen Cook-Rodrigues.
Ike Turner    Age: 76
Ike Turner, whose role as one of rock's critical architects was overshadowed by his ogrelike image as the man who brutally abused former wife Tina Turner , died Wednesday 12/12/07, at his home in suburban San Diego. Turner died at his San Marcos home, Scott M. Hanover of Thrill Entertainment Group, which managed Turner's career, told The Associated Press.
Max Roach    Age: 83
Max Roach got his first musical break at age 16, filling in when Duke Ellington's drummer fell ill in 1940. Those three nights spawned a career that would make the self-taught Roach the first jazz musician ever honored with a MacArthur Fellowship, or "genius grant." The master percussionist died 8/15/07 in a Manhattan hospital after a long illness. He was 83.
Jon Lucien    Age: 65
Jazz singer Jon Lucien — known for his deep baritone and soulful love songs has died on 8/18/07. Lucien's wife says the 65-year-old singer died in Poinciana from respiratory complications following surgery.
Juanita Millender-McDonald    Age: 68
Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald, a Democrat whose House district encompassed Compton, Carson, much of Long Beach and parts of South Los Angeles, died of cancer 4/22/07. She was 68 and had served in Congress since 1996.
Bill Pinkney    Age: 81
Bill Pinkney, the last survivor of the original members of the musical group The Drifters died on 7/4/07. He was 81. Pinkney was found dead Wednesday at the Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort, Daytona Beach Police spokesman Jimmie Flynt said. The death was not considered suspicious, he said.
Carl Wright    Age: 75
Actor Carl Wright, who began his career as a tap dancer and comedian and later appeared in movies including Barbershop and Big Momma's House died 5/19/07 of cancer at his home in Chicago, according to his daughter, Kia Wright.
Zola Taylor    Age: 69
Zola Taylor, who broke gender barriers as the first female member of the 1950s R&B group The Platters and later became entangled in a public soap opera as one of three women claiming to be pop idol Frankie Lymon's widow died 4/30/2007. She was 69.
Yolanda Denise King    Age: 51
Yolanda Denise King, daughter and eldest child of civil rights leader the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., died 5/15/07. A spokesman for the King Center, Steve Klein said the family did not know the cause of death but think it might have been a heart problem.
Roscoe Lee Brown    Age: 81
Actor Roscoe Lee Browne, whose rich voice and dignified bearing brought him an Emmy Award and a Tony nomination, died 4/ 11/07. Browne died early Wednesday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after a long battle with cancer, said Alan Nierob, a spokesman for the family.
Darryl Stingley    Age: 55
Darryl Stingley, paralyzed after a vicious hit during an NFL exhibition game nearly 30 years ago, died 4/5/07. He was 55. Stingley, a star receiver with the New England Patriots , was left a quadriplegic after he collided with Oakland 's Jack Tatum while trying to catch a pass in an exhibition game on Aug. 12, 1978.
Calvin Lockhart    Age: 72
Calvin Lockhart, an actor who won acclaim for his roles as underworld figures in 1970s "blaxploitation" films, has died. Lockhart, who was buried in Nassau on 4/7/07, died 3/29/07 of complications from a stroke, his wife Jennifer Miles-Lockhart said.
Luther Ingram    Age: 68
Luther Ingram, the man who co-wrote one of pop music's greatest hits, has died at age 68. Ingram, whose recording of "If Loving You Is Wrong (I Don't Want to Be Right)" was a No. 1 hit in 1973, died 3/19/07 in St. Louis. He'd had a kidney transplant several years ago and fought kidney failure for most of the last decade.
Eddie Robinson    Age: 88
Eddie Robinson died late 4/4/07 after a long illness. For 55 years, he was synonymous with Grambling football. He was the winningest coach in college football. He coached more than 200 players who went on to play in the NFL.
Barbara McNair    Age: 72
Barbara McNair, a cabaret singer, actress and television personality of the 1960s who was noted as much for her stunning appearance as for her versatile voice, died on 2/4/07 in Los Angeles. The cause was throat cancer, Ms. McNair’s sister, Jacqueline Gaither, told The Associated Press.
Dennis Johnson    Age: 52
Dennis Johnson, the star NBA guard who was part of three championships and teamed with Larry Bird on one of the great postseason plays, died 2/22/07, collapsing after his developmental team's practice. He was 52.
Billy Henderson    Age: 67
Singer Billy Henderson, a member of the band the Spinners who sang "I'll Be Around" "Could It Be I'm Falling in Love," "Then Came You" and "The Rubberband Man." died 1/2/07. He was 67. Henderson died of complications from diabetes at a Daytona Beach health care facility, his wife, Barbara, said.
Joe Hunter    Age: 79
Musician Joe Hunter, a three-time Grammy winner with the legendary Funk Brothers, has been found dead in his Detroit apartment. Hunter was a diabetic but his cause of death was unknown, The Detroit News reported. His son said it appeared he was trying to take some medicine when he died.


James Brown    Age: 73
James Brown, the legendary R&B belter, a singer and songwriter who created a foundation for funk and provided the roots of rap, a man of many nicknames but a talent that can only be described as one of a kind, died 12/25/06 at Atlanta's Emory Crawford Long Hospital of congestive heart failure.
Mike Evans    Age: 57
Mike Evans, 57, an actor best known for his role as Lionel Jefferson in the TV sitcoms "All in the Family" and "The Jeffersons," died of throat cancer Dec. 14 at his mother's home in Twentynine Palms, his niece Dr. Chrystal Evans said.
Tamara Dobson    Age: 59
Stood 6 feet 2 inches, eventually became a fashion model for Vogue Magazine. She made a few films in Hollywood but is best known for her roles in the Blaxploitation films, Cleopatra Jones (1973) and Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold (1975). Tamara died October 2, 2006 of complications from pneumonia and multiple sclerosis.
Bebe Moore    Age: 56
Novelist Bebe Moore Campbell, whose best-selling books included Brothers and Sisters, Singing in the Comeback Choir and Your Blues Ain't Like Mine, died 11/27/06 in Los Angeles from complications related to brain cancer. She was 56.
Gerald Levert    Age: 40
Singer Gerald Levert, one of the most popular R&B stars of the '90s as a solo artist and a member of the groups Levert and LSG, died of a heart attack Friday 11/10/06 in Cleveland. He was 40.
Ruth Brown    Age: 78
Singer Ruth Brown, whose recordings of "Teardrops in My Eyes," "5-10-15 Hours" and "(Mama) He Treats Your Daughter Mean" died of complications from a stroke and heart attack at a Las Vegas-area hospital on 11/17/06.
Billy Preston    Age: 59
The great singer-songwriter and performer Billy Preston, the real "Fifth Beatle," died 6/7/06 after a long illness as a result of malignant hypertension that resulted in kidney failure and other complications. He'd been in a deep coma since last November 21, but was still struggling to recover.
Ed Bradley    Age: 65
One of the few African-American journalists in such a high-profile position, legendary CBS journalist Ed Bradley died of leukemia 11/9/06. The 65-year-old correspondent had been reporting for CBS since 1967, and was a key member of the 60 Minutes reporting team.
Katherine Dunham    Age: 96
Famed dancer and choreographer Katherine Dunham died May 21, at the age of 96. She once pressed a cultural crusade that some credited with putting gang leaders in leotards. At the time, she called on everyone to share her love for the arts and "something more constructive than genocide."
Johnnie Wilder Jr.    Age: 56
Johnnie Wilder Jr., the smooth and soulful lead singer of the '70s and '80s R&B sextet Heatwave, and who made a comeback as a gospel singer died on May 13 at his Dayton, Ohio home. A 1979 car accident left him a quadriplegic. The cause of death is unknown.
June Pointer    Age: 52
June Pointer, the youngest of the Pointer Sisters -- known for the '70s and '80s hits "I'm So Excited," "Fire" and "Slow Hand" -- has died of cancer, her family said Wednesday 4/12/06. She was 52.
Floyd Patterson    Age: 71
Floyd Patterson, who came back from an embarrassing loss to become the first boxer to regain the heavyweight title, died 5/11/06. Patterson quote: "They said I was the fighter who got knocked down the most, but I also got up the most."
Kirby Puckett    Age: 45
Kirby Puckett died 3/6/06, a day after the Hall of Fame outfielder had a stroke at his Arizona home, a hospital spokeswoman said. Puckett died at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix. He had been in intensive care since having surgery at another hospital following his stroke Sunday morning.
Gordon Parks    Age: 93
Gordon Parks , who captured the struggles and triumphs of black America as a photographer for Life magazine and then became Hollywood's first major black director with "The Learning Tree" and the hit "Shaft," died 3/7/06.
Fayard Nicholas    Age: 91
Fayard Nicholas, who with his brother Harold wowed the tap dancing world with their astonishing athleticism and who inspired generations of dancers, from Fred Astaire to Savion Glover, has died. Nicholas died 1/24/06 at his home from pneumonia and other complications of a stroke, his son Tony Nicholas said.
Coretta Scott King    Age: 78
Coretta Scott King, who surged to the forefront of the fight for racial equality after her husband Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered in 1968, has died at age 78, U.S. media reported on 1/31/06. She had suffered a stroke and a heart attack in August.
Lou Rawls    Age: 72
Lou Rawls, who earned fame with his glorious voice and respect through his prodigious fundraising for the United Negro College Fund, died 1/6/2006 of cancer. He was 72. Starting as a church choir boy, Rawls ultimately applied those silky tones to a variety of musical genres and more, including movies, TV shows and commercials.
Wilson Pickett    Age: 64
Alabama native and veteran soul singer Wilson Pickett, famed for his trademark screams, flaming delivery and flamboyant costumes, and known for such hits as "Mustang Sally" and "In the Midnight Hour," died on Thursday 1/19/06 of a heart attack in Virginia, his manager said. He was 64.
Robert McFerrin    Age: 85
Robert McFerrin Sr., the first black man to sing solo at the New York Metropolitan Opera and the father of Grammy-winning conductor-vocalist Bobby McFerrin, died of a heart attack 11/24/06. He was 85.
Octavia Butler    Age: 58
A woman of great intellect, of immense talent, of tremendous passion, and, it seems, so very much alone. Her death after falling and hitting her head outside her home in Seattle has rattled those who loved her work. She was 58.