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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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