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November 18, 2017

AC/DC guitarist Malcolm Young died Saturday, three years after he was diagnosed with dementia and retired from the band. He was 64. "With enormous dedication and commitment he was the driving force behind the band," said a statement posted on AC/DC's Facebook page. "He took great pride in all that he endeavored. His loyalty to the fans was unsurpassed."

Born in Scotland and raised in Australia, Young co-founded AC/DC in 1973 with his brother Angus Young as lead guitarist. "As his brother it is hard to express in words what he has meant to me during my life, the bond we had was unique and very special," Angus wrote in the Facebook post. "He leaves behind an enormous legacy that will live on forever." Their brother George, who also worked in the music industry, died last month at 70. Bonnie Kristian

November 12, 2017
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Liz Smith, the iconic gossip reporter who had her own syndicated column for more than 30 years, died Sunday. She was 94.

Smith's literary agent told The Associated Press that Smith died of natural causes. Known as the Dame of Dish, Smith broke major scoops throughout her career, including President Trump's divorce from his first wife, Ivana. Her column began in 1976 and ran through 2009, appearing in dozens of newspapers, including the New York Post and New York Daily News. She also wrote three books and several magazine articles. The New York Times reports that at one time, Smith was said to be the highest-paid print journalist in the United States.

A native of Texas, Smith arrived in New York City in 1949. She was known for not only attending the best parties and premieres but also raising money for various causes. In a 1987 interview with AP, she said it was important not to "take ourselves too seriously in this world of gossip. When you look at it realistically, what I do is pretty insignificant. Still, I'm having a lot of fun." Smith is survived by several nieces and nephews. Catherine Garcia

November 7, 2017
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Roy Halladay, the eight-time MLB All Star and two-time Cy Young Award winner who pitched for the Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies, died Tuesday when his plane crashed in the Gulf of Mexico off the Florida coast, the Pasco County Sheriff confirmed. He was 40.

Halladay's ICON A5 single-engine aircraft crashed at around noon, and Halladay's body was found in shallow water, law enforcement said. Police could not say if there were other passengers on the plane, or where it was headed. In a video posted on ICON's website, Halladay said he always wanted to fly, ESPN reports, but because of his contract, he couldn't get a pilot's license until he retired.

After 16 seasons, Halladay retired from baseball in 2013. In a statement, the Toronto Blue Jays said the entire organization is "overcome by grief with the tragic loss of one of the franchise's greatest and most respected players, but even better human being. It is impossible to express what he has meant to this franchise, the city, and its fans. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends." Halladay is survived by his wife, Brandy, and sons Ryan and Braden. Catherine Garcia

October 31, 2017

The father of nationally beloved hippo Fiona died Tuesday at the Cincinnati Zoo at the age of 36, The Associated Press reports. Henry, a Nile hippopotamus, had reportedly lost hundreds of pounds in recent months due to ongoing health problems.

Vet staff had noticed that Henry "took an obvious downward turn in the past few days and was weak and unsteady," the zoo wrote. "After an exam this morning, they determined that Henry's quality of life would not improve and made the difficult decision to humanely euthanize him."

The average life expectancy of a Nile hippo is 35 years. Henry is survived by his mate, Bibi, and their daughter Fiona, who was born six weeks early in January 2017, but remained healthy and a delight to zoo visitors. "From meeting, bonding, and breeding with his mate Bibi, to becoming a father to charismatic and spirited Fiona, Henry's days in Cincinnati were filled with sunshine, watermelons, waterfalls, and the highest quality of care that can be provided to any animal,” said Wendy Rice, the Africa head keeper at the Cincinnati Zoo. Jeva Lange

October 25, 2017

Influential rock and roll pioneer Antoine "Fats" Domino died Wednesday at the age of 89, his daughter told New Orleans' WWL-TV. Born in 1928 as the eighth child in a New Orleans Ninth Ward French Creole family, Fats Domino paved the way for early rock superstars including Elvis Presley and The Beatles, The Independent reports. "There wouldn't have been a Beatles without Fats Domino," WWL-TV quotes John Lennon as once saying. Or, in the words of critic Robert Christgau: "In short, this shy, deferential, uncharismatic man invented New Orleans rock and roll."

Domino's debut with collaborator Dave Bartholomew, The Fat Man, was the first rock and roll record to sell more than a million copies. He sold more than 65 million records in his lifetime. In addition to a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Domino was awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1986. Four of his songs were also included in the Grammy Hall of Fame, including "Blueberry Hill" and "Ain't That A Shame."

Domino said his music was inspired by the world around him: "I used to go around different places, hear people talk," he said. "Sometimes I wasn't expecting to hear nothin', and my mind was very much on my music. Next thing I'd hear, I would either write it down or remember it good." Listen to "Blueberry Hill" below, and learn more about his legacy at WWL-TV. Jeva Lange

October 24, 2017
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Emmy Award–winning actor Robert Guillaume, best known for playing the butler Benson DuBois in Soap and Benson and voicing Rafiki in The Lion King, died Tuesday in Los Angeles. He was 89.

Guillaume's wife, Donna Brown Guillaume, told The Associated Press her husband had been battling prostate cancer. Guillaume won two Emmys for his portrayal of the acerbic butler Benson, and a Grammy in 1995 for narrating a version of The Lion King. He received a Tony nomination in 1977 for his performance as Nathan Detroit in an all-black production of Guys and Dolls, and starred in a Los Angeles production of Phantom of the Opera, the first black man to play the role. While starring in Sports Night in 1999, Guillaume had a minor stroke, which was written into the show.

Guillaume had a tough early life, writing in his 2002 autobiography, Guillaume: A Life, that his mother was a prostitute, they lived in the poorest slums of St. Louis, and he never knew his father. Before becoming an actor, he worked at a department store, a post office, and as the first black streetcar motorman in St. Louis. Catherine Garcia

October 2, 2017
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S.I. Newhouse Jr., the longtime chairman of Condé Nast, died Sunday in New York. He was 89.

In a statement, his family said Newhouse was "always the first person to come to the office, arriving well before dawn and bringing to each day a visionary creative spirit coupled with no-nonsense business acumen." Samuel Irving Newhouse Jr., also known as Si, was born and raised in New York; in 1959, his father Samuel I. Newhouse purchased Condé Nast, and Si Newhouse became chairman in 1975. Newhouse purchased The New Yorker and Details, bringing them into a company that already published some of the country's most popular magazines, including Vogue, GQ, and Vanity Fair.

Along with his brother Donald, Newhouse owned Condé Nast's parent company, the multi-billion-dollar Advance Publications, and they "worked in tandem to build a modern media business — its holdings are in magazines, newspapers, and cable television," Condé Nast CEO Bob Sauerberg said in a statement. Newhouse's passion, though, was Condé Nast, Sauerberg added, and he was "responsible for its vision, its international expansion, and its modernity." Newhouse is survived by his wife, Victoria, two sons, and a daughter. Catherine Garcia

September 20, 2017
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Football star turned actor Bernie Casey died Tuesday in Los Angeles, following a brief illness, his representative told The Hollywood Reporter Wednesday. He was 78.

Known for roles in Boxcar Bertha, Never Say Never Again, Revenge of the Nerds, and Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, Casey was also a poet, writer, director, and painter whose work appeared in art galleries around the world. Born in 1939 in West Virginia, Casey was raised in Ohio and went to Bowling Green on a football scholarship; later in life, he returned to the school and earned a master's in fine arts. He excelled on the football team, and went on to spend nearly 10 seasons with the NFL, starting with the San Francisco 49ers, then unexpectedly retiring as a member of the L.A. Rams while he was still in his prime. Casey said he retired in order to devote more time to acting, painting, and poetry.

In addition to his film roles, Casey also appeared in several television programs and made-for-TV movies. A champion of the arts, he received an honorary doctorate from the Savannah College of Art and Design, where he served as chairman of the board for many years, and fans of his painting included Maya Angelou. In 2003, the famed poet said Casey "has the heart and the art to put his insight on canvas, and I am heartened by his action. For then I can comprehend his vision and some of my own. His art makes my road less rocky, and my path less crooked." Catherine Garcia

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