Notable deaths in 2019
Haute-couture designer Karl Lagerfeld, artistic director at Chanel and an icon of the fashion
industry with his extravagant outfits and striking catwalks, died February 19 aged 85.
U.S. author Toni Morrison, whose 1987 novel "Beloved" about a runaway slave won a Pulitzer
Prize and contributed to a body of work that made her the first black woman to be presented the
Nobel Prize in Literature, died on August 5 at the age of 88.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Iraqi jihadist who rose from obscurity to declare himself "caliph" of all
Muslims as the leader of Islamic State, died October 26 in a raid by U.S. special forces in
Lee Radziwill (pictured 2nd R with daughter Anna Christina Radziwill), the younger sister of
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (L) who was witness to history in the "Camelot" White House,
married a prince and counted Andy Warhol, Truman Capote and Rudolf
Two-time Oscar nominee Peter Fonda, who became a counterculture icon when he co-wrote,
produced and starred in seminal 1969 road movie "Easy Rider," died on August 16 at age 79.
Caroll Spinney, the puppeteer who brought boyish vulnerability to Big Bird during 50 years on the
groundbreaking children's television show "Sesame Street" and even made garbage-loving Oscar
the Grouch loveable, died December 8 at the age of 85.
Actor Luke Perry, who rose to superstardom on the teen-oriented 1990s U.S. television drama
"Beverly Hills 90210" and then aged into a fatherly role on comic-based "Riverdale," died March
4 at the age of 52 after suffering a stroke a week earlier.
Actress Doris Day, who became one of the greatest box-office attractions of her time as the
cheery, freckle-faced personification of wholesomeness, died May 13 at the age of 97.
Former President Jacques Chirac, a political chameleon who dominated French politics for
decades and strived to make France's voice heard in Europe and beyond, died September 26 at
the age of 86.
Zimbabwe's former President Robert Mugabe was feted as an African liberation hero and
champion of racial reconciliation when he first came to power in a nation divided by nearly a
century of white colonial rule.
Disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein was found dead August 10 after hanging himself in the New
York jail cell where he was being held without bail on sex-trafficking charges.
Former Chinese Premier Li Peng, reviled by rights activists and many in the Chinese capital as the
"Butcher of Beijing" for his role in the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown on student-led
pro-democracy protests, died on July 22 at the age of 90.
Former Justice John Paul Stevens, a Republican appointee to the U.S. Supreme Court who later
became an outspoken leader of the liberal wing as the court moved to the right, died July 16 at
Former Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi, the first democratically elected head of state in
Egypt's modern history, died June 17 at the age of 67 after collapsing in a Cairo court while on
trial on espionage charges.
Carol Channing, who won over audiences with a giddy, guileless charm in trademark roles in
Broadway's "Hello Dolly" and "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes," died January 15 at the age of 97,
according to her publicist.
British-born actor Peter Mayhew, who played Chewbacca the Wookiee, the loyal, furry
companion of space buccaneer Han Solo in five of the "Star Wars" movies, died on April 30 at
Legendary Cuban ballerina Alicia Alonso, who achieved global acclaim in the 1940s and went on
to run the internationally renowned National Ballet of Cuba for decades, died October 17 at age
98, state-run media said.
H. Ross Perot, the feisty Texas technology billionaire who rattled U.S. politics with two
independent presidential campaigns in the 1990s that struck a chord with disgruntled voters,
died July 9 at the age of 89.
Lee Iacocca, the charismatic U.S. auto industry executive who gave America the Ford Mustang
and was celebrated for saving Chrysler from going out of business, died July 2 at the age of 94.
Billionaire industrialist David Koch, a driving force behind conglomerate Koch Industries who as
one of the world's richest people became a major financier of conservative causes and political
candidates, died August 23 at age 79.
T. Boone Pickens, a celebrated corporate raider and energy industry magnate who made an
empire out of an initial $2,500 investment, died September 11 at age 91.
Gloria Vanderbilt, the "poor little rich girl" who lived a life at the highest levels of fashion, society
and wealth as an heir to one of the greatest family fortunes in U.S. history, died June 17 at the
age of 95.
Agnes Varda, the Belgian-born grande dame of French cinema and an influential force behind the
New Wave movement, died on March 29 at age 90.
Actress Valerie Harper, who won four Emmy awards playing budding feminist Rhoda
Morgenstern on the classic 1970s TV series "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and her own spinoff
sitcom, died August 30 at the age of 80.
The fast-rising young rapper Juice Wrld died on December 8 at the age of 21 shortly after
suffering a seizure at Chicago's Midway Airport, Variety reported. Jarad A.
William Ruckelshaus, picked by Richard Nixon as the first head of the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency and as deputy attorney general before being fired for defying the president in
the Watergate scandal, died November 27 at the age of 87.
Jim Leavelle, the Dallas police detective who handcuffed himself to Lee Harvey Oswald in a vain
attempt to protect him two days after Oswald had assassinated President John Kennedy, died
August 29 at age 99.
Diahann Carroll, a versatile singer and stage actress who quietly blazed a trail for black women
on American television in the late 1960s by playing a widowed nurse and single mother in "Julia,"
died October 4 at age 84.
Keith Flint, the Prodigy lead singer who captured the hedonistic spirit of 1990s British rave
culture, was found dead March 4 aged 49 in what the band's founder described as a suicide.
Emmy winner Rip Torn, whose tempestuous nature made him a compelling character actor on
the screen and stage but sometimes caused him trouble on the set and in private life, died July 9
at the age of 88.
John Singleton, who made his movie directorial debut with the acclaimed "Boyz n the Hood"
about young men struggling in a gang-ridden Los Angeles neighborhood, died April 29 at the age
Three-times Formula One world champion Niki Lauda, regarded as one of the finest racers of all
time and who later became a successful airline entrepreneur, died at age 70 on May 20.
K-pop singer Koo Hara, a former member of top South Korean girl group Kara, was found dead in
her home on November 24 at the age of 28. Police said they found a handwritten note
despairing about her life.
British rock music drummer Ginger Baker, a co-founder of the 1960s supergroup Cream with
bass player Jack Bruce and guitarist Eric Clapton, died October 6 aged 80.
Bob Einstein, an offbeat comedian and writer whose career stretched from "The Smothers
Brothers Comedy Hour" to "Curb Your Enthusiasm," died January 2 at age 76.
Dr. John, a six-time Grammy winner who in his incarnation as the "Night Tripper" brought the
New Orleans voodoo vibe to America's music scene and became one of the most venerated
pianists in the city's rich musical history, died on June 6 at age 77.
Bill Buckner, the 1980 National League batting champion who registered more than 2,700 hits
during a career that touched four decades, died May 27 at age 69.
Paul Volcker, the towering former Federal Reserve chairman who tamed U.S. inflation in the
1980s and decades later inspired tough Wall Street reforms in the wake of the global financial
crisis, died December 9 at the age of 92.
John Conyers, a liberal Democrat who was the longest-serving African-American member of the
U.S. House of Representatives, serving for more than half a century, died October 27 at the age
Nuon Chea, the chief ideologist and 'Brother Number Two' of Cambodia's Khmer Rouge, whose
brutal rule in the 1970s led to the deaths of some 2 million people, died August 4 at the age of
Robert Morgenthau, who became the scourge of New York's white-collar criminals over three
decades as the longest-serving Manhattan district attorney, died July 21 at the age of 99.
Ric Ocasek, the idiosyncratic lead singer and chief songwriter of the 1970s and 80s hook-heavy
hitmakers The Cars, died September 15 at the age of 75. Ocasek met bass player and future band
mate Benjamin Orr after moving to Cleveland for high school.
Emmy-winning actor Tim Conway, who brought an endearing, free-wheeling goofiness to skits on
"The Carol Burnett Show" that cracked up his castmates as well as the audience, died May 14 at
the age of 85.
American opera singer Jessye Norman died September 30 at the age of 74. Norman, a soprano,
was born in the state of Georgia and spent much of her early career in Europe before making her
debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in 1983.
Hall of Famer and trailblazing baseball legend Frank Robinson passed away February 7 at the age
of 83. Robinson ranks 10th in baseball history with 586 career homers and won MVP awards in
both the National and American Leagues.
British actor Albert Finney, who rose to fame on a post-war wave of gritty, working-class dramas
and became an Oscar-nominated international star, died February 7 at the age of 82.
Indonesia's former president B.J. Habibie, who came to power as the nation endured a turbulent
transition to democracy after former strongman Suharto stepped down in 1998, died September
11 at the age of 83.
Sadako Ogata, a former top United Nations official who was the first and only woman to serve as
the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and became known for donning a helmet and flak
jacket on trips into the field, died October 22 aged 92.
Francisco Toledo, who shook up the 1960s Mexican art scene with his fresh approach to painting,
sculpting, printing, tapestry weaving and preserving the cultural heritage that inspired him, died
September 5 at the age of 79.
Yasuhiro Nakasone, one of Japan's longest reigning premiers and known for his friendship with
Ronald Reagan, died November 29 at the age of 101.
Peru's former president Alan Garcia, 69, shot himself in the head on April 27 to avoid arrest in
connection with alleged bribes from Brazilian builder Odebrecht, taking his own life, in the most
dramatic turn yet in Latin America's largest graft
Stanley Donen, the former dancer who directed some of Hollywood's greatest musicals including
Gene Kelly's landmark "Singin' in the Rain," "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" and "On the
Town," died February 21 at age 94.
German fashion photographer Peter Lindbergh, credited with inventing the concept of the
supermodel in the 1980s, died September 3 at age 74.
Yannis Behrakis, one of Reuters' most decorated and best-loved photographers, died March 2 at
Grammy-nominated rapper Nipsey Hussle was shot and killed outside his clothing store in south
Los Angeles on March 31 at age 33.
Acclaimed conductor, composer and pianist Andre Previn, a versatile musician who won four
Academy Awards for film scores and led some of the world's great orchestras while mastering a
rainbow of musical forms, died on February 28 at age 89.
Cardiff City's Argentina-born soccer player Emiliano Sala, 28, had been flying from his previous
club Nantes in western France to Wales on January 21 to make his debut for the Premier League
team when the single-engined Piper Malibu aircraft
French composer and pianist Michel Legrand died February 26 at 86 after a career in which he
stood out for soundtracks in screen musicals with Catherine Deneuve and that won him three
Gordon Banks, the goalkeeper in England's 1966 World Cup-winning team, died February 12 at
the age of 81.
Bruno Ganz, the Swiss actor who portrayed Adolf Hitler in Oscar-nominated film "Downfall" and
the kindly grandfather in "Heidi," died on February 16 aged 77.
Mirjana Markovic, the widow of Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic who played a key role in
her husband's policies during the violent breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, died in Russia on
April 14 aged 76.
Former U.S. pairs skating champion John Coughlin died January 18 at age 33. Coughlin had been
a coach and TV commentator and had been active with both the U.S. Figure Skating and
International Skating Union organizations in recent years.