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Final goodbye: Roll call of some of those who died in 2016
Death claimed transcendent political figures in 2016, including Cuba's revolutionary leader and Thailand's longtime king, but also took away royals of a different sort: kings of pop music, from Prince and David Bowie to George Michael.
Embracing Soviet-style communism, Fidel Castro, who died in November, overcame imprisonment and exile to become leader of Cuba and defy the power of the United States at every turn during his half-century rule. Perhaps befitting the controversial leader, his death elicited both tears and cheers across the Western Hemisphere.
However, shock, grief and nostalgia greeted the deaths of several giants of pop music. David Bowie, who broke musical boundaries through his musicianship and striking visuals; Prince, who was considered one of the most inventive and influential musicians of modern times; and George Michael, first a teenybopper heartthrob and then a mature solo artist with videos that played up his considerable appeal.
Among the political figures who died in 2016 was the world's longest reigning monarch: King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who was revered in Thailand as a demigod, a father figure and an anchor of stability through decades of upheaval.
Others in the world of public affairs included former United National Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, ex-senator and astronaut John Glenn, former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, former Israeli leader Shimon Peres and former U.S. first lady Nancy Reagan.
In the sports arena, the year saw the passing of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali, whose fast fists and outspoken personality brought him fans around the world. Other sports figures included: golfer Arnold Palmer, Gordie "Mr. Hockey" Howe, basketball players Dwayne "Pearl" Washington and Nate Thurmond, Olympians Vera Caslavska and Tommy Kono, wrestlers Harry Fujiwara and Chyna, and mixed martial arts fighter Kimbo Slice.
Artists and entertainers who died in 2016 included author Harper Lee, conductor Pierre Boulez, musicians Leonard Cohen, Merle Haggard, Maurice White, Frank Sinatra Jr. and Phife Dawg, and actors Gene Wilder, Abe Vigoda, Florence Henderson, Alan Rickman, Robert Vaughn, Garry Shandling, Doris Roberts, Alan Thicke, Fyvush Finkel and Anton Yelchin.
The last week of the year was not merciful, claiming the lives of author, actress and stand-up comedian Carrie Fisher, who gained pop-culture fame as Princess Leia in the original "Star Wars" and — a day later — her mother, Debbie Reynolds, who lit up the screen in "Singin' in the Rain' and other Hollywood classics.
Here is a roll call of some of the people who died in 2016. (Cause of death cited for younger people, if available.)
Dale Bumpers, 90. Former Arkansas governor and U.S. senator who earned the nickname "giant killer" for taking down incumbents, and who gave a passionate speech defending Bill Clinton during the president's impeachment trial. Jan. 1
Pierre Boulez, 90. Former principal conductor of the New York Philharmonic who moved between conducting, composition and teaching as one of the leading figures in modern classical music. Jan. 5.
Pat Harrington Jr., 86. Actor and comedian who in the 1950s got attention as a member of Steve Allen's fabled TV comic troupe but secured lasting fame decades later as Dwayne Schneider, the cocky handyman on the long-running sitcom "One Day at a Time." Jan. 6.
Princess Ashraf Pahlavi, 96. Twin sister of Iran's deposed shah whose glamorous life epitomized the excesses of her brother's rule. Jan. 7.
Otis Clay, 73. Hall of fame rhythm and blues artist known as much for his big heart and charitable work in Chicago as for his singing internationally. Jan. 8.
David Bowie, 69. Other-worldly musician who broke pop and rock boundaries with his creative musicianship, striking visuals and a genre-spanning persona he christened Ziggy Stardust. Jan. 10.
Alan Rickman, 69. Classically-trained British stage star and sensual screen villain in the "Harry Potter" saga and other films. Jan. 14.
Rene Angelil, 73. Celine Dion's husband and manager, who molded her from a French-speaking Canadian ingénue into one of the world's most successful singers. Jan. 14.
Dan Haggerty, 74. Rugged, bearded actor who starred in the film and TV series "The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams." Jan. 15.
Glenn Frey, 67. Rock 'n' roll rebel who co-founded the Eagles and with Don Henley formed one of history's most successful songwriting teams with such hits as "Hotel California" and "Life in the Fast Lane." Jan. 18.
Abe Vigoda, 94. Character actor whose leathery, sad-eyed face made him ideal for playing the over-the-hill detective Phil Fish in the 1970s TV series "Barney Miller" and the doomed Mafia soldier in "The Godfather." Jan. 26.
Paul Kantner, 74. Founding member of the Jefferson Airplane who stayed with the seminal band through its transformation from 1960s hippies to 1970s hit makers as the eventual leader of successor group Jefferson Starship. Jan. 28.
Signe Toly Anderson, 74. Vocalist and original member of the Jefferson Airplane who left the band after its first record and was replaced by Grace Slick. Jan. 28.
Linus Maurer, 90. Cartoonist and illustrator whose old friend Charles M. Schulz borrowed his first name for Charlie Brown's blanket-carrying best friend Linus in his "Peanuts" comic strip and cartoons. Jan. 29.
Georgia Davis Powers, 92. Giant in the fight for civil rights in Kentucky and the first African-American woman elected to the state Senate. Jan. 30.
Terry Wogan, 77. His warm Irish brogue and sly, gentle humor made him a star of British television and radio for decades. Jan. 31.
Bob Elliott, 92. Half of the enduring TV and radio comedy team Bob and Ray. Feb. 2.
Maurice White, 74. Earth, Wind & Fire founder whose horn-driven band sold more than 90 million albums. Feb. 3.
Ferd Kaufman, 89. Associated Press photographer who was at Dallas police headquarters as authorities brought in President John F. Kennedy's assassin. Feb. 3.
Edgar Whitcomb, 98. Former Indiana governor who escaped from a Japanese prisoner camp by swimming overnight during World War II and then made an around-the-world solo sailing trip while in his 70s. Feb. 4.
Edgar Mitchell, 85. Apollo 14 astronaut who became the sixth man on the moon when he and Alan Shepard helped NASA recover from Apollo 13's "successful failure." Feb. 4.
Antonin Scalia, 79. Influential conservative and most provocative member of the U.S. Supreme Court. Feb. 13.
Boutros Boutros-Ghali, 93. Veteran Egyptian diplomat who helped negotiate his country's landmark peace deal with Israel but clashed with the United States when he served a single term as U.N. secretary-general. Feb. 16.
Andrzej Zulawski, 75. Filmmaker and writer named best director last year at a film festival in Switzerland for his latest film, "Cosmos." Feb. 17.
Angela "Big Ang" Raiola, 55. Raspy-voiced bar owner who gained fame on the reality TV series "Mob Wives." Feb. 18.
Harper Lee, 89. Elusive novelist whose child's-eye view of racial injustice in a small Southern town, "To Kill a Mockingbird," became standard reading for millions of young people and an Oscar-winning film. Feb. 19.
Umberto Eco, 84. Italian author who intrigued, puzzled and delighted readers worldwide with his best-selling historical novel "The Name of the Rose." Feb. 19.
Eric "Winkle" Brown, 97. British pilot who flew more kinds of aircraft than anyone in history and was the first person to land a jet on an aircraft carrier. Feb. 21.
Sonny James, 87. Country singer who recorded romantic ballads like "Young Love" and turned pop songs into country hits. Feb. 22.
George Kennedy, 91. Hulking, tough-guy actor who won an Academy Award for his portrayal of a savage chain-gang convict in the 1960s classic "Cool Hand Luke." Feb. 28.
Tony Warren, 79. British writer who created the long-running soap opera "Coronation Street." March 1.
Thanat Khoman, 101. As Thailand's foreign minister, he helped cement his country's close relations with the United States during the Vietnam War. March 3.
Joey Feek, 40. With her husband, Rory, she formed the award-winning country duo Joey + Rory. March 4.
Pat Conroy, 70. Author of "The Great Santini," ''The Prince of Tides" and other best-sellers, whose novels drew upon his bruising childhood and the vistas of South Carolina. March 4.
Raymond Tomlinson, 74. Inventor of modern email and a technological leader. March 5.
Nancy Reagan, 94. Helpmate, backstage adviser and fierce protector of Ronald Reagan in his journey from actor to president — and finally during his battle with Alzheimer's disease. March 6.
George Martin, 90. The Beatles' urbane producer who quietly guided the band's swift, historic transformation from rowdy club act to musical and cultural revolutionaries. March 8.
Peter Maxwell Davies, 81. Experimental, socially radical composer who served as Queen Elizabeth II's official master of music. March 14. Leukemia.
Frank Sinatra Jr., 72. He carried on his father's legacy with his own music career; his kidnapping as a young man added a bizarre chapter to his father's legendary life. March 16.
Meir Dagan, 71. Former Israeli general and longtime director of the country's spy agency. March 17.
Bob Ebeling, 89. Booster rocket engineer who spent decades filled with guilt over not stopping the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger. March 21.
Andy Grove, 79. Former Intel Corp. chief executive whose youth under Nazi occupation and escape from the Iron Curtain inspired an "only the paranoid survive" management philosophy that saved the chip maker from financial ruin in the 1980s. March 21.
Rob Ford, 46. Pugnacious, populist former mayor of Toronto whose career crashed in a drug-driven, obscenity-laced debacle. March 22. Cancer.
Phife Dawg, 45. Lyricist whose witty wordplay was a linchpin of the groundbreaking hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest. March 22. Complications from diabetes.
Garry Shandling, 66. Actor and comedian who masterminded a brand of phony docudrama with "The Larry Sanders Show." March 24.
Earl Hamner Jr., 92. Prolific writer who drew upon his Depression-era upbringing in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia to create one of television's most beloved family shows, "The Waltons." March 24.
Mother Mary Angelica, 92. Folksy Roman Catholic nun who used a monastery garage to begin a television ministry that grew into a global religious media empire. March 27.
Winston Moseley, 81. Man convicted of the 1964 stabbing death of Kitty Genovese, a crime that came to symbolize urban decay and indifference. March 28.
Patty Duke, 69. As a teen, she won an Oscar for playing Helen Keller in "The Miracle Worker," then maintained a long career while battling personal demons. March 29.
Hans-Dietrich Genscher, 89. Long-serving German foreign minister who was one of the key architects of the country's 1990 reunification of east and west. March 31.
Imre Kertesz, 86. Hungarian writer who won the 2002 Nobel Prize for Literature for fiction largely drawn from his experience as a teenage prisoner in Nazi concentration camps. March 31.
Yahoo Style UK