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Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is mourning the loss of his father, wrestling star Rocky Johnson, 75. The former pro wrestler passed away on Wednesday, Jan. 15, according to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) officials.

Born Wayde Douglas Bowles, Rocky made his ring debut in his native Canada in 1964, and soon competed at the top level in America's National Wrestling Alliance in the 1970s, according to WENN.com.

He then entered the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), now known as the WWE, where he partnered with Tony Atlas to form The Soul Patrol and made history as the first black pair to win the Tag Team Championship in 1983.

He retired from wrestling in 1991, but went on to help train his son Dwayne to chase his dreams as pro wrestler The Rock.

His father helped Dwayne deal with depression when at age 23, he was passed over by the NFL.

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Rocky, who had been living in Florida, was married twice - first to Una Johnson, the mother of his kids Curtis and Wanda, for six years until 1968, and then to Ata Maivia, Dwayne's mom, in 1970. They divorced in 2003. Dwayne is pictured with Ata in Miami in 2017.

In early 2019, Dwayne bought his father a house - after giving his mother any house she wanted for Christmas (2018).

Dwayne said he called his dad and told him to start looking for a house in North Florida.

He shared his father's response on Instagram: "No one ever called me to tell me there're going to buy me a house before, and the fact it's you, it's my son... I'm proud of you, and I love you so much."
 

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Great chat with my old man. Felt good to my cold ? to hear him express his love. He’s a weathered soul and like all weathered souls, there’s often a harsh storied path that got them there. Well for my pops that path started at 13yrs old when his mom kicked him out of his house on Christmas day and forced him to live on the streets (very true and fucked up story) so his reality of compassion and love was forged thru pain and toughness. He raised me with that tough physical love and used to beat my ass in the gyms and on wrestling mats. I hated it then as a little boy, but grateful for it today as a man. It’s shaped my DNA and helped inform how I raise my own babies (minus the ass kickings;) but always instilling the value of hard work and discipline. For that I’m grateful and this one felt good. Crazy how full circle life can come. Enjoy your new house pop - what a storied path and thanks for the ass kickings ???? #weathered

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The producer who created the hit TV series "Ugly Betty" was found dead in a Miami hotel room on Tuesday. Police say Silvio Horta died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was 45.

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Despite his success, the openly homosexual producer had previously spoken about being unhappy due to the stress of his work, according to London's Daily Mail.

Ben Silverman acquired the rights to the Spanish-language hit "Yo Soy Betty La Fea" (I am Betty the Ugly One) in 2006. He hired Horta to adapt it to the small screen.

Silverman described the Cuban show-runner as "An incredible voice and talent and a rare person, a gay Cuban writer who hit the mainstream as a kid and never could quite keep up with his own success."

Ugly Betty star America Ferrera also paid tribute to Horta, whom she described as a "joy and light."

"I'm stunned and heartbroken to hear the devastating news of Ugly Betty creator, Silvio Horta's death," Ferrera, 35, wrote on Instagram.

"His talent and creativity brought me and so many others such joy and light. I'm thinking of his family and loved ones who must be in so much pain right now - and of the whole Ugly Betty family who feel this loss deeply.

"It's sad that he wasn't happy in his own skin," Silverman told USA Today.

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Minnesota rapper Lexii Alijai passed away on New Year's Day at age 21. A family member confirmed her death on Facebook.com on Wednesday. A cause of death was not made public.

Alijai, who was born Alexis Alijai Lynch, was the granddaughter of Zapp band founder Robert Troutman. She was an up-and-coming rapper who launched her career by recording covers of hit songs on SoundCloud and YouTube.

Alijai is best known for collaborations with singer Kelani on her 2015 hit song "Jealous" and "You Should Be Here," which was nominated for a Grammy Award.

"I'm angry I'm confused I'm heartbroken I'm angry I'm confused," Kehlani tweeted on Wednesday. "I love you lexii. My baby was 21!!!!!!!!!!!!"

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In Alijai's last Facebook post, written hours before she died, she wrote, "Stayin in the crib as usual on New Years... [I don't] do parties. I hope everyone has fun, be safe!"

Alijai's death prompted speculation about how she died. Like other SoundCloud rappers, Alijai's tracks had drug and alcohol themes.

In her song "Look At Your Game Girl," she raps:

    Colt 45 to the head, hope I don't blow my liver
    Liquor all in my system, make me float like a river, drippin'
    Bottles sittin' on the counters in kitchens, I'm sippin'
    Stare at my children, wish they had what they missin'/em>

 

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Tributes continue to pour in for former NBA Commissioner David Stern, who died on New Year's Day after suffering a brain hemorrhage. He was 77.

Stern transformed the NBA's hardscrabble players into polished gentleman by enforcing a strict dress code that required them to dress like the multimillionaires they are.

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Stern's dress code required all players to wear business attire such as tailored suits when coming to work and while departing the sports arena. Injured or benched players were also required to dress like they were owners.

The dress code was implemented after fans complained that they couldn't tell the NBA players from the criminals on the street.

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The worst offenders were NBA legends Allen Iverson (left) and Tim Duncan (not pictured), whose slovenly attire included throwback jerseys and baggy jeans.

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Stern's dress code was initially met with fierce opposition, as many NBA players complained and accused him of forcing them to dress like "the man.”

But the players soon settled into a routine of dressing impeccably in custom suits and designer shirts and shoes.

Photo by Johnny Louis/WENN.com

Pro athletes like Dwyane Wade (pictured), LeBron James, Chris Paul, and Russell Westbrook routinely made best dressed lists.

It looks like a men's fashion show when players arrive at arenas now. And that is all due to Stern's influence.

Turning NBA boys into men is among Stern's undying legacies.

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Bobbi Kristina Brown's former boyfriend, Nick Gordon, has died from a cardiac arrest brought on by a suspected drug overdose. He was 30.

Gordon's brother, Jack Walker, Jr., confirmed the news in a Facebook post on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020.

"GOD WHY I DID I HAVE TO LOSE MY BROTHER ON NEW YEARS," he wrote, adding, "All I can do is cry."

He shared a series of social media photos of the siblings posing together when they were youngsters:

"I love you so much big brother I hope you heard me talking to you at your bedside you are with me and I can feel it I love you I love you I love you watch over me and your nieces."

He gave a statement to People.com, saying:

"We are devastated by the loss of my beautiful brother. He leaves a void in the hearts of my family and his friends. Nick's battle in life was not an easy one. I will be forever grateful that my God afforded a small moment at the very end of Nick's life, and I was able to hold his hand as he journeyed on."

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According to the London's Dailymail.com, Gordon suffered a series of heart attacks during a New Year's Eve celebration in Florida. He was driven to an emergency room and "dumped" there by friends.

A source tells Dailymail.com:

"...the suggestion is he was taking drugs with friends and he passed out. They drove him to the hospital, took him inside and then left him there... Whatever you think of Nick and his lifestyle, it's terribly sad that his supposed friends just dumped him and drove away."

Gordon was admitted to the intensive care unit at Altamonte Springs Hospital in Florida, where he later died.

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Gordon was dating Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown's daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown at the time of her drug overdose in January, 2015, when she was found unresponsive in the bathtub of the home they shared near Atlanta. She died in July, 2015, at age 22.

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Gordon was sued for wrongful death by Bobbi Kristina's father, Bobby Brown, and her estate executor, who accused Gordon of giving the aspiring actress a "toxic cocktail" of drugs and placing her facedown in a bathtub where she lost consciousness.

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The lawsuit claimed Gordon physically abused Brown and punched her in the face repeatedly, knocking out one tooth and dragging her up the stairs by her hair. He also allegedly transferred large sums of cash from Brown's account into a bank account controlled solely by him.

Gordon maintained his innocence, but in 2016, a Fulton County judge found him liable for Bobbi Kristina's death after he failed to appear in court. He was ordered to pay $36 million in damages to Brown's estate.

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In 2018, Gordon's girlfriend at the time, Laura Leal, accused him of domestic battery. He was arrested and jailed. But Leal later withdrew her statement and denied being "struck or touched against her will" by Gordon in a letter to the judge. The case was dismissed.

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Comedian Chris Cotton died from a blood clot in his right lung and heart failure due to an enlarged heart. He was 32.

The coroner also listed "morbid obesity" among the "significant conditions" contributing to the comedian's untimely death.

"I conclude the cause of death was due to pulmonary thromboembolism right lung complicated by cardiomegaly," the medical examiner wrote in the report obtained by Radar Online.

Cotton's sister-in-law, Karen Middleton, told Radar Online that Cotton was discovered "slumped over" behind the wheel of his car. He was pronounced dead at a hospital on Wednesday, Dec. 11.

"We are all just shocked that this happened," Middleton said. "He was just going to the store to get some stuff for the baby too."

Cotton and his wife of eight years, Erica, were expecting their first child in February.

The Philadelphia comedian was best known for his stand-up comedy and he was co-host of Comedy Central's streaming talk show Every Damn Day.

The network shared the news of his death on Wednesday via Twitter.

"We're devastated by the loss of Chris Cotton -- a hilarious comedian, a beloved member of the Comedy Central family and a joy to be around. He will be missed," the network wrote.

A GoFundMe page raised over $50,000 for Cotton's family.

Morbid obesity simply means severely overweight. People who who are diagnosed with morbid obesity have a significant risk of death.

Morbid obesity is defined as 100 pounds over your ideal body weight or a body mass index (BMI) higher than 30.

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Actor Danny Aiello has died at age 86. Aiello died on Thursday night, Dec. 11, following a brief illness, his family told TMZ.

Aiello was being treated for a sudden illness at a medical facility in New Jersey when he contracted an infection that did not respond to treatment.

According to TMZ, his family had come to visit him earlier in the day, and he passed away unexpectedly after they'd left that evening.

Aiello is best known for his supporting roles in the films Do The Right Thing, Bang the Drum Slowly and The Godfather Part II.

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He was memorable as Madonna's disapproving father in her music video for "Papa Don't Preach".

Aiello, the fifth of six children, was born on West 68th Street in Manhattan, NY. Aiello got his start in the 1973 baseball drama Bang the Drum Slowly, with Robert De Niro. He also had a walk-on role as a small-time hitman in The Godfather Part II (1974).

Following his breakthrough role, the screen star capitalized on his success in the '80s, landing roles in movies such as Fort Apache the Bronx with Paul Newman, Once Upon a Time in America, The Purple Rose of Cairo and Moonstruck, with Cher.

Most notably, he scored a Best Supporting Oscar nomination for his role as pizza store owner Sal in Spike Lee's, Do the Right Thing.

His son, stuntman and actor Danny Aiello III, died from pancreatic cancer in 2010. Sandy Cohen, Aiello's wife of 64 years, died in 2019.

Aiello is survived by three children, Rick, Jaime, and Stacey Aiello.

Friends and fans paid tribute to Aiello on Twitter.com on Friday.

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An ex-girlfriend of rapper Juice Wrld says they broke up after she tried to help him kick his drug habit before he died of an apparent drug overdose on Sunday.

In an exclusive interview with Dailymail.com, Alexia Smith, 21, said she knew the rapper's cause of death when she heard the news.

Smith said Juice Wrld, real name Jarad Higgins, had a habit of taking three 30mg Percocets with lean, a concoction of codeine cough syrup and hard candy mixed in a soda beverage.

"[That's] already a lot but the problem was he was drinking lean on top of it," she said.

In 2018, record labels fought for the right to sign the rap newcomer. Smith said the labels "wanted him so bad they would have given him anything."

She recalls flying to out to meet Higgins in Los Angeles where he was taking meetings with record label executives.

Smith said "someone from a label gave him morphine and cocaine" on the third day she was visiting.

"Breaking down in tears, Smith said: "Seven days away from me, he ended up in the hospital. When he was away from me for seven days, he ended up hospitalized from collapsing on stage. One year away from me, and he's dead."

She said they broke up after dating a for few months because their fights got physical and left her with bruises.

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Higgins' girlfriend at the time he died, Ally Lotti (pictured), was on the private jet with him when he collapsed. Lotti told police he popped several Percocets and drank lean while on board the jet.

Higgins obsessed over his many failed relationships with women in his songs.

In his breakout hit "Lucid Dreams (Forget Me)", Higgins rapped:

    You left me falling and landing inside my grave
    I know that you want me dead
    I take prescriptions to make me feel A-OK
    I know it's all in my head

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The effeminate rap star says he was influenced by rapper Future Hendrix to drink lean after hearing Future rap about the addictive drug in his songs.

Higgins also blamed his absentee dad for his addictive personality.

"I didn't have a man giving me no type of guidance. My father wasn't in my life like that," he said. "So listening to this grown-ass man rap about lean, I'm like, 'Well, that sounds really appealing.'"

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In an interview with Rolling Stone, Future said he was "really bothered" to hear his songs influenced youngsters to try drugs.

"I was like 'Oh s**t. What the f**k have I done?' How many other sixth-graders did I influence to drink lean?".
 

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The hip-hop world is mourning the sudden death of up-and-coming rapper Juice Wrld. The 21-year-old Chicago-born rapper, real name Jarad Higgins, went into cardiac arrest and died early Sunday after an apparent accidental overdose of Percocet.

Percocet is a Schedule II narcotic that contains Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and the opioid oxycodone (OxyContin).

Federal agents were waiting inside a private hangar at Chicago's Midway Airport for the rapper's jet to arrive at 1:30 a.m. Agents reportedly received a tip from the pilot that the plane was loaded with drugs.

A search of the plane turned up 41 "vacuum-sealed" bags of marijuana, six bottles of prescription codeine cough syrup with no labels, two 9 mm pistols, a .40-caliber pistol, a high-capacity ammunition magazine and metal-piercing bullets, law enforcement sources told The Tribune.

No one in the rapper's entourage claimed ownership of the drugs and no charges were filed.

Higgins may have panicked and swallowed a handful of Percocets because the feds searched his private plane in November too.

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According to TMZ, customs agents conducted a search of a private plane on November 18 at LAX airport. Higgins was on his way to Sydney, Australia when his plane was searched.

via TMZ -- We're told drug-sniffing dogs were all over Juice and co. and their luggage. It's unclear if agents found anything -- we do know the plane was eventually allowed to take off with Juice on board.

TMZ broke the story ... Homeland Security agents, operating under an FBI task force, searched Juice WRLD's private jet early Sunday morning when it landed at Chicago's Midway Airport.

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Swedish pop star Marie Fredriksson, of the pop rock duo Roxette, died Monday, Dec. 9, after a long battle with cancer. She was 61.

Fredriksson's family announced the sad news on Tuesday, Dec. 10.

"Marie Fredriksson died on the morning of December 9 in the suites of her previous illness," her family wrote in a statement. They said the star "will be buried in silence with only the closest family present."

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Fredriksson previously battled a brain tumor in 2002, according to WENN.com. By 2015 she could only perform sitting in a chair onstage.

Roxette, with bandmate Per Gessle, were best known for their iconic 1986 ballad "It Must Have Been Love", which appeared on the Pretty Woman movie soundtrack.

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Roxette formed in Sweden in 1986 and released their tenth album, Good Karma, in 2016.

Following the news of Fredriksson's passing, Roxette's official Twitter account shared a statement from Gessle, which read:

"Time goes by so quickly. It's not that long ago we spent days and nights in my tiny apartment sharing impossible dreams. And what a dream we eventually got to share! I'm honored to have met your talent and generosity. All my love goes to you and your family. Things will never be the same."

Fan tributes poured in on from around the world on social media and in comments left under their music videos on YouTube.

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The singer is survived by her husband Mikael Bolyos (pictured in June 2013) and their two children, 26-year-old daughter Inez Josefin and son Oscar, 23.
 

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Former Detroit Lions player Charles Rogers died of liver failure on Monday, Nov. 11. He was 38.

The standout Michigan State wide receiver, who was the second overall pick in the 2003 NFL Draft, played three seasons in the NFL before he was released by the Lions for multiple failed drug tests and a suspension for marijuana use.

Rogers struggled with sports injuries that contributed to his dependency on prescription pain killers. He blamed the team doctors for his addiction to Vicodin, an addictive pain killer.

"(The Lions) were giving them out like candy," he told USA Today. "Whatever you want, man. Whatever you want. (They) weren't even questioning as long as you are on the field. They were passing them out like Skittles. I was straight hooked on them things for 3 or 4 years.”

Rogers was working at an auto repair shop in Florida while trying to get his life together.

"A fresh start. Do I need a little love? Yeah," Rogers said. "Am I still trying to find Charles Rogers? Yeah. I stay optimistic and positive. I've been to hell and back, but I stay strong. I still have faith. I'm still a young man. It ain't over. I'm going to be all right, you know? I'm going to be all right."

A former high school coach said Rogers had cancer. "He had cancer, whether that was related to his liver I don't know," Marshall Thomas told MLive.com. "They had given him 30 days to live if he didn't get a liver transplant."

Another coach, Don Durett, spoke with Rogers in the hospital before he died.

"I called his mom at the hospital over the weekend and got a chance to talk to Charles," Durett told the Detroit Free Press. "He said he was going to the Lord."

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Actor and beloved comedian John Witherspoon passed away suddenly at his Sherman Oaks, California home on Tuesday, Oct. 29. He was 77.

Witherspoon's family broke the sad news in a press statement to Deadline.com:

"It is with deepest sorrow that we can confirm our beloved husband and father, John Witherspoon, one of the hardest working men in show business, died today at his home in Sherman Oaks at the age of 77. He is survived by his wife Angela, and his sons JD, Alexander, and a large family. We are all in shock, please give us a minute for a moment in privacy and we will celebrate his life and his work together. John used to say 'I'm no big deal', but he was huge deal to us."

The family did not reveal Witherspoon's cause of death.

The star of the hit comedy movie franchise Friday launched his standup comedy routines in the 1970s. He began his acting career in The Jazz Singer in 1980. His movie roles included memorable parts in Hollywood Shuffle, Boomerang, Vampire in Brooklyn, The Ladies Man and Fakin' Da Funk.

Witherspoon's son, John David Witherspoon, shared an emotional tribute to his dad on Twitter:

"So… my Dad died today & honestly I'm not sure how to feel. I'm sad, but I'm also happy 4 all the great times we had together. We'd roast each other like homes more than Father & Son, and I really liked that. He was my best friend & idol. Love U Dad… I'll miss u."

The comedian's colleagues and fans also paid tribute to him on social media.

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Actress and singer Diahann Carroll has died after a long battle with breast cancer. She was 84. Carroll's daughter, Susan Kay confirmed the news to The Associated Press on Friday, Oct. 4.

Carroll is best known for being the first Black actress to star in a non-servant role in a television series as a nurse in "Julia".

Julia Baker was a single mom whose husband died in the Vietnam war. The groundbreaking series ran from 1968 to 1971.

Critics said the TV series was not a realistic portrayal of Black women's experience in America in the 1960s and ‘70s. But Carroll dismissed the criticism,

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"They said it was a fantasy. All of this was untrue. Much about the character of Julia I took from my own life, my family," Carroll said in 1988.

Carroll earned an Oscar nomination for her role as a single mother who finds love in the 1974 film Claudine.

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Carroll is pictured with her Claudine co-star James Earl Jones in a promo still from the movie.

The critically acclaimed singer also earned a Tony Award for the musical "No Strings".

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She went on to play parts in films and TV - roles that were traditionally reserved for white actresses, such as ABC's hit drama "Dynasty".

"I like to think that I opened doors for [Black] women, although that wasn't my original intention," she said in 2002. She is pictured below with a young Angela Bassett at the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund 18th Anniversary Awards Gala in 2005.

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Born Carol Diann Johnson in New York City, she attended the High School for the Performing Arts. Her father was a subway conductor and her mother was a housewife and homemaker.

Carroll was romantically linked to Harry Belafonte, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Sammy Davis Jr., Sidney Poitier and David Frost. She was married four times.

Carroll was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997. She was "stunned" by the diagnosis because there was no family history of cancer and she lived a healthy lifestyle.

She once said, "We all look forward to the day that mastectomies, chemotherapy and radiation are considered barbaric."

Carroll leaves behind a daughter, Suzanne Kay Bamford (born 1960).

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Grammy-winning opera singer Jessye Norman has died at age 74. Once considered the world's number one soprano singer, Jessye Norman won four Grammy Awards, including a Grammy lifetime achievement award, and the National Medal of Arts for her legendary talents.

Ms. Norman's death was announced by her family. She died in New York on Monday from septic shock and multi-organ failure secondary to complications of a spinal cord injury she had sustained in 2015, according to the statement.

"We are so proud of Jessye's musical achievements and the inspiration that she provided to audiences around the world that will continue to be a source of joy," the statement from her family reads. "We are equally proud of her humanitarian endeavors addressing matters such as hunger, homelessness, youth development, and arts and culture education."

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Ms. Norman is a native of Augusta, Georgia. She began singing in the Mount Calvary Baptist Church at age four. Her mother, Janie King-Norman, a schoolteacher, insisted she start piano lessons at age 5.

She earned a scholarship to the historically black college Howard University in Washington, D.C. to study music. She also studied at the Peabody Conservatory and the University of Michigan.

Ms. Norman made her operatic debut in 1969 in Berlin, and has thrilled audiences in Milan, London and New York.

The Rachel Longstreet Foundation and Norman partnered to open the Jessye Norman School of the Arts, a tuition-free performing arts after-school program for economically disadvantaged students in Augusta.

She is best known for her roles in the operas of Richard Wagner, such as Lohengrin, Tannhäuser and Tristan and Isolde.

Norman was never married and had no children.
 

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LaShawn Daniels, the famed songwriter behind some of contemporary music's biggest hits has died at age 41. The cause of death is a car crash.

Working alongside producer Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins, Daniels penned hit songs for powerhouse artists such as Whitney Houston ("It's Not Right But It’s Okay"), Destiny's Child ("Lose My Breath"), Michael Jackson ("You Rock My World"), Lady Gaga & Beyonce ("Telephone"), and Brandy & Monica ("The Boy Is Mine"), among others.

His passing led to an outpouring of grief from fellow artists, music industry veterans, and fans on social media.

Daniels won a Grammy in 2004 for his first hit "Say My Name" by Destiny's Child. He was nominated for a Grammy for "Love & War" by longtime friend Tamar Braxton.

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Daniels and his wife/ manager April Daniels appeared frequently on Tamar's reality TV series, Tamar & Vince and Braxton Family Values.

Daniels' death comes just days after comedian Kevin Hart suffered a nearly career ending back injury in a car crash in Calabasas, California.

Daniels leaves behind his wife April and three sons. He will be laid to rest in his favorite kicks: a pair of throwback Air Jordans.

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Jessi Combs, the world's fastest woman on 4 wheels, has died while trying to break her own land speed record. Combs, 36, was already the world record holder at 398 mph. She was attempting to break the Women's Land Speed Record of 512 mph set by Kitty O'Neil in 1976 when she died.

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Former NFL running back Cedric Benson was killed in a motorcycle crash in West Austin, Texas on Saturday. Benson, 36, and a female passenger in her 30s were killed when his motorcycle hit a minivan and crashed. The accident occurred at 10 p.m. Saturday night, hours after he posted a photo to his Instagram stories that shows his prized BMW motorcycle, along with the caption "My Saturday night."

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Guards at the jail where serial sex offender Jeffrey Epstein committed suicide on Saturday failed to make mandatory checks on the inmates the night before. Epstein, 66, was found unresponsive in his cell in the Special Housing Unit at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Lower Manhattan at 6:30 a.m. Saturday.

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Billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein feared for his life in the days before he was found hanging in his jail cell. Epstein, 66, was found dead in his Lower Manhattan jail cell on Saturday morning. According to MSNBC, people close to Epstein feared an attempt on his life after he was found semi-conscious in his jail cell last month.

Attorney General William Barr has ordered an investigation into Epstein's death. According to NPR, Barr "was appalled" to learn that Epstein died "from an apparent suicide while in federal custody."

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Days before legendary director John Singleton was taken off life support after suffering a massive stroke, his mother and daughter waged a war for control over his money. Last week, Sheila Ward (inset) filed a request asking to become a temporary conservator of her son's estate since he was incapable of making decisions "while he is incapacitated."

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