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Legendary rocker Eddie Van Halen -- known for his memorable guitar solo on Michael Jackson's "Beat It" -- has died.

The legendary guitarist and co-founder of Van Halen passed away on Tuesday after a long battle with stage 4 throat cancer.

Sources directly connected to the rock star tell TMZ, Van Halen died at St. Johns Hospital in Santa Monica Tuesday. His wife, Janie was by his side, along with his son Wolfgang Van Halen and brother Alex Van Halen.

Eddie died soon after doctors discovered his throat cancer had metastasized to his brain as well as other organs.

Eddie had been battling cancer for well over a decade. Though he was a heavy smoker for years, Eddie believed he developed the throat cancer from his habit of holding a metal guitar pick in his mouth 20 years ago, TMZ reported.

Eddie formed the classic rock group in Pasadena in 1972 with his brother, Alex, on drums, Michael Anthony on bass and lead singer David Lee Roth. Eddie served as the main songwriter on their self-titled debut album in 1978, which launched the group into rock superstardom in the '80s.

The group Van Halen was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2007, and Eddie is widely considered one of the greatest rock guitarists of all time.

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Eddie's electrifying guitar solo on Michael Jackson's 5x platinum single "Beat It" helped propel the Thriller album into the stratosphere.

Eddie was uncredited on "Beat It" and he declined to accept payment for his contribution to music history.

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Eddie is survived by his wife Janie and his son, Wolfgang, whose mom is Eddie's first wife, actress Valerie Bertinelli. Eddie and Valerie divorced in 2007 after 26 years of marriage.

In her autobiography, Valerie suggested the main reasons for her divorce were her husband's cocaine addiction and his refusal to quit smoking despite being diagnosed with oral cancer and losing one-third of his tongue after chemotherapy.

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American football legend Gale Sayers has died of natural causes. He was 77.

The Chicago Bears star and Hall of Fame running back was nicknamed "Kansas Comet" for his electrifying speed. Sayers played his entire NFL career - 6 years - with the Bears.

Sayers set an NFL record in his first season as a professional by scoring 22 touchdowns, including six in a single game.

In 1967, Sayers and Bears teammate Brian Piccolo became the first interracial roommates in the NFL. Piccolo was later diagnosed with metastatic cancer and he passed away in 1970.

Sayers' and Piccolo's enduring friendship was documented in a made-for-TV movie, Brian's Song, with Sayers portrayed by Billy Dee Williams in the 1971 original and by Mekhi Phifer in the 2001 remake.

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In March 2017, Sayers' second wife, Ardythe Bullard, announced he had been diagnosed with dementia four years prior. She stated that a Mayo Clinic doctor confirmed his dementia was likely caused by physical contact during his brief football career.

"It wasn't so much getting hit in the head," she said. "It's just the shaking of the brain when they took him down with the force they play the game in."

Hall of Fame President & CEO David Baker said in a statement, "All those who love the game of football mourn the loss of one of the greatest to ever play this Game with the passing of Chicago Bears legend Gale Sayers. He was the very essence of a team player - quiet, unassuming and always ready to compliment a teammate for a key block. Gale was an extraordinary man who overcame a great deal of adversity during his NFL career and life."

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Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg has died. Ginsberg died of metastatic pancreatic cancer at her Washington, D.C. home on Friday, surrounded by members of her family. She was 87.

Ginsberg had twice been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and also underwent lung surgery in 2018 to remove cancerous growths.

Ginsberg revealed she was battling cancer again after she was discharged from Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, D.C. in July. She was admitted into a New York City hospital weeks later for a routine non-surgical procedure to correct a bile stent.

She was last seen in public in August when she officiated a friend's outdoor wedding.

Ginsberg was the first female Jewish Justice, and the second of four women to ever sit on the nation's highest court.

She was nominated to the Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton on June 14, 1993 and had served since August 10, 1993. Ginsburg became the second of four female justices to be confirmed to the Court after Sandra Day O'Connor, the two others being Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, both of whom are still serving in 2020.

Following O'Connor's retirement in 2006 and until Sotomayor joined the Court in 2009, Ginsberg was the only female justice on the Supreme Court.

During three separate interviews that were conducted in July 2016, Ginsburg criticized presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, telling The New York Times and the Associated Press that she did not want to think about the possibility of a Trump presidency.

She is survived by her daughter, Jane, and her son, James. Her husband of 56 years, Martin, died in 2010.

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Civil rights leader and U.S. congressman John Lewis passed away on Friday after a battle with cancer. He was 80.

Lewis, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and a key figure in the civil rights movement in the 1960s, passed away a year after confirming he was battling stage four pancreatic cancer.

He was a Democrat, who represented a majority Black district covering most of Atlanta, Georgia.

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Lewis, left, is pictured with (L-R) civil rights leader C.T. Vivian, Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., and Lester McKinnie at Fisk University, an HBCU in Nashville on May 05, 1964. Rev. C.T. Vivian died this week in Atlanta at age 95.

Lewis was one of the 'Big Six' civil rights leaders, which included Martin Luther King, Jr., and he helped organize the historic 1963 March on Washington.

Upon news of his death on July 17, representatives from civil rights group the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) tweeted that they were "deeply saddened," noting: "His life-long mission for justice, equality and freedom left a permanent impression on our nation and world. The NAACP extends our sincerest condolences to his family, and we send prayers of comfort and strength to all."

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Blood-splattered Freedom Riders, John Lewis (left) and James Zwerg (right) stand together after being attacked and beaten by pro-segregationists in Montgomery, Alabama on May 20, 1961.

In a statement, former President Barack Obama said he had spoken with Lewis after a virtual town hall with a group of activists following the death of George Floyd.

Obama added that Lewis could not have been prouder of their efforts, writing, "a new generation standing up for freedom and equality".

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"Not many of us get to live to see our own legacy play out in such a meaningful, remarkable way. John Lewis did," he said. "And thanks to him, we now all have our marching orders - to keep believing in the possibility of remaking this country we love until it lives up to its full promise."

The White House praised Lewis' legacy on Twitter, and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds ordered flags at half-staff in honor of Lewis.

President Trump, who arrived at his Virginia golf course around 9:15 a.m. Saturday -- minutes after Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany tweeted about Lewis, did not acknowledge the civil rights leader's death on Twitter.

Lewis' death comes a week after a U.S. Congresswoman prematurely tweeted that he had died on July 11.

"It's only rumors," Michael Collins told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "He is resting comfortably at home."

Congresswoman Alma S. Adams, who initially tweeted Lewis had died, apologized for her error.

"We deeply regret a previous tweet based on a false news report." According to AJC, "a blog that focuses on news about historically black colleges & universities" also falsely reported that Lewis was dead on July 11.

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Mary Kay Letourneau, the schoolteacher who married a former student she was convicted of raping, has died from cancer. She was 58.

Letourneau was a 6th grade teacher at an elementary school in Burien, a suburb of Seattle, when she began an inappropriate sexual relationship with then-12-year-old Vili Fualaau in 1996.

A friend of Letourneau's then-husband alerted the authorities about the relationship. Police caught Letourneau with the boy in a parked minivan at a marina in Des Moines, WA. at 1:20 a.m. on June 19, 1996.

Letourneau, a mother of four, initially told police the boy was 18. Both were fully clothed at the time, but police suspected something of a sexual nature had occurred.

Back at the police station, Letourneau, then 34, said she was babysitting Fualaau and took him home after she and her husband had a fight.

Letourneau and Fualaau's first daughter was conceived about two months later.

Letourneau pleaded guilty to two counts of child rape and was sentenced to six months in jail and three years of sex offender treatment.

The jail sentence was suspended on the condition that she agreed not to contact her adolescent baby daddy.

By then, Letourneau's husband had filed for divorce and moved out of state with their four minor children.

The couple's second daughter was conceived in 1998, before Letourneau was sentenced to serve more than 7 years in prison for child rape.

After Letourneau's early release from prison in 2004, Fualaau, then 20, applied to the court for permission to see her. The couple was married in 2005.

In 2017, Fualaau, then 33, filed for a legal separation from Letourneau, 55.

Fualaau told the NY Post he still loved his wife and they were happy together. He said the separation was for business purposes "in order to sell cannabis."

He said the separation would make it easier for him to obtain a license to sell "cigaweed" - marijuana cigarettes.

"It's not necessarily what you think. When you want to get licensed, they do background checks on both parties," he told the New York Post. "If I decide to be a part of it, I have to be licensed, and I have to be vetted, and so does a spouse. She has a past. She has a history."

Fualaau worked as a DJ in the Washington area but he wanted to start his own business.
The couple's story was the subject of books and a movie on USA Network, titled "All-American Girl: The Mary Kay Letourneau Story."
 

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NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal's sister Ayesha Harrison-Jex died Thursday night after a prolonged battle with cancer.

Harrison-Jex, 40, was diagnosed with cancer in 2016. O'Neal's co-host Ernie Johnson announced the sad news during the TNT's Inside the NBA sports program on Thursday.

O'Neal was noticeably absent during the sports analyst program that normally features O'Neal alongside Johnson, Charles Barkley, Candace Parker and Kenny Smith.

"I'm trying to put into words the way Shaquille has reacted to this, and he's struggling," Johnson said. "And when he struggles, we struggle with him. Because he's one of our brothers and we feel for him tonight."

Johnson added that O'Neal, 47, is currently in Orlando, Florida, with his family.

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Barkley said kind words to O'Neal's mother, Lucille O'Neal, who was there for his family when his mother died.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver, who was on the show, also sent his condolences to the O'Neal family.

"It's times like this when we're all together," Silver said.

Shaquille tweeted, "Thanks for the condolences and the love. If I had older brothers, it would be you 3. Love y'all and love you more Candice."

Harrison-Jex leaves behind a son Bryce, according to Johnson. She will be laid to rest in a military cemetery and will be buried next to O’Neal’s stepfather, Sgt. Phillip Harrison.

August Alsina and Chandra

August Alsina is mourning the loss of his late brother's girlfriend, Chandra, who lost her battle with cancer on Christmas Day. The R&B singer took to social media on Wednesday to pay tribute to Chandra, the girlfriend of his older brother Melvin LaBranch III, who was fatally shot in New Orleans in 2010.

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