RIP: Rodney King, at 47

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RIP: Rodney King, at 47
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By Unknown
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Rodney King, whose videotaped beating by four police officers eventually sparked violent riots in Los Angeles two decades ago, was found dead this morning at age 47. King's fiance, Cynthia Kelly, called 911 at 5:25 am after discovering his body.

King was thrust into the national spotlight in March 1991 after a videotaped assaulted at the hands of LAPD officers Theodore Briseno, Laurence Powell, Timothy Wind and Sgt. Stacey Koon made headlines. The four officers were charged with assault with a deadly weapon and excessive use of force. Their acquittal on April 29, 1992 led to intense riots in Los Angeles, resulting in 53 deaths.

King fought a life-long battle with alcoholism, and had periodic run-ins with the law since the 1991 incident. He appeared on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew and Sober House, in an attempt to get clean. An interview with The Associated Press earlier this year painted a picture of a changed man:

America's been good to me after I paid the price and stayed alive through it all. This part of my life is the easy part now.

[cnn]

RIP: Eduard ‘Trololo Guy' Khil, at 77

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RIP: Eduard ‘Trololo Guy' Khil, at 77
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Internet users the world over are mourning the death today of Russian baritone Eduard Khil, whose 1976 performance of the song "I Am So Happy to Finally Be Back Home" went viral on YouTube in 2009 and secured his place in Internet history. 

Legend has it that the song's lyrics were censored in Russia for raciness, so Khil swapped the lyrics for random sounds, including the  "trololo" yodel for which he became famous.

Khil had suffered a stroke last month that caused irreversible brain damage. He was 77.

[rt]

Early Bird Special

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Bee Gees lead singer Robin Gibb lost his years-long battle with colon and liver cancer Sunday. He was 62.

Here's what Rolling Stone had to say about the trio's hit "To Love Somebody": "You know you've written a standard when both Gram Parsons and Clay Aiken have recorded it. Robin transforms into a mighty blue-eyed soul crooner over a heaping helping of strings and horns, and, of course, his brothers' sweet harmonies."

[rollingstone]

RIP: Donna Summer, at 63

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RIP: Donna Summer, at 63
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Donna Summer, the Queen of Disco, died this morning after a battle with cancer. She was 63.

Summer was a 5-time Grammy winner who shot to superstardom in the '70s with iconic hits like "Last Dance," "Hot Stuff," and "Bad Girls." Her reign continued into the '80s, with "She Works Hard for the Money" and "This Time I Know It's for Real."

From TMZ:

We spoke to someone who was with Summer a couple of weeks ago ... who says she didn't seem too bad. In fact, we're told she was focused on trying to finish up an album she had been working on.

Summer is survived by her husband, Bruce Sudano, their two children -- Brooklyn and Amanda -- and her daughter, Mimi, from a previous marriage.

[tmz]

RIP: Amarillo Slim, at 83

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RIP: Amarillo Slim, at 83
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Amarillo Slim, who won the World Series of Poker in 1972 and went on to become an international living legend in poker circles, died Sunday of colon cancer.

Considered poker's first celebrity after his world title win, Slim made the rounds of the late shows to promote the game -- and himself. He was infinitely quotable: "Look around the table. If you don't see a sucker, get up, because you're the sucker." Slim authored several books, including "Amarillo Slim's Play Poker to Win" and "Amarillo Slim in a World Full of Fat People: The Memoirs of the Greatest Gambler Who Ever Lived." Slim was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 1992.

"He brought poker out of the back alleys," said Larry Grossman, a longtime gaming analyst and poker historian. "He was just a guy with an outsized personality, and he was the perfect person for the time to represent poker. It was really Slim that became the face of poker for middle America."

[lat]

RIP: Dick Clark, at 82

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RIP: Dick Clark, at 82
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Dick Clark, the longtime New Year's Eve fixture, music industry maverick, TV host, and producer of American Bandstand, died today of a heart attack at 82. Clark suffered a major stroke in 2004 but returned to the airwaves to host seven more New Year's Rockin' Eves.

According to the Museum of Broadcast Communications, Dick Clark Productions has turned out more than 7,500 hours of television programming, including more than 30 series and 250 specials, as well as more than 20 movies for theater and TV. His success landed him Emmys, Grammys, induction in the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Clark had long been known for his departing catchphrase, "For now, Dick Clark... so long," delivered with a military salute, and for his youthful appearance that earned him the moniker "America's Oldest Teenager."

"If you want to stay young looking," he once said, "pick your parents very carefully."

Clark is survived by his third wife, Keri Wigton, and three children.

[abc]

R.I.P. Mike Wallace

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R.I.P. Mike Wallace
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Mike Wallace, longtime 60 Minutes reporter and writer, passed away this morning at the age of 93. Wallace was one of the show's most recognizable personalities, next to Andy Rooney, who died last late last year.

[nytimes]