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Pictures | Fri Apr 3, 2020 | 10:20pm IST

Notable deaths in 2020

Bill Withers, a soulful singer best known for the 1970s hits "Lean on Me," "Lovely Day" and "Ain't No Sunshine," died March 30 at age 81 from heart complications, Rolling Stone magazine reported, citing a statement from his family. "A solitary man with a heart driven to connect to the world at large, with his poetry and music, he spoke honestly to people and connected them to each other," the statement said. "As private a life as he lived close to intimate family and friends, his music forever belongs to the world. In this difficult time, we pray his music offers comfort and entertainment as fans hold tight to loved ones." Withers produced nine albums, most of them written and recorded in the 1970s, starting with the album "Just As I Am," which included "Ain't No Sunshine," which won him the first of three Grammy Awards, according to his official website. His musical career ebbed in the 1980s as he left "the hype and the hoopla" of the musical spotlight for a more private life, it said.

REUTERS/Chris Pizzello

Bill Withers, a soulful singer best known for the 1970s hits "Lean on Me," "Lovely Day" and "Ain't No Sunshine," died March 30 at age 81 from heart complications, Rolling Stone magazine reported, citing a statement from his family. "A solitary man...more

Bill Withers, a soulful singer best known for the 1970s hits "Lean on Me," "Lovely Day" and "Ain't No Sunshine," died March 30 at age 81 from heart complications, Rolling Stone magazine reported, citing a statement from his family. "A solitary man with a heart driven to connect to the world at large, with his poetry and music, he spoke honestly to people and connected them to each other," the statement said. "As private a life as he lived close to intimate family and friends, his music forever belongs to the world. In this difficult time, we pray his music offers comfort and entertainment as fans hold tight to loved ones." Withers produced nine albums, most of them written and recorded in the 1970s, starting with the album "Just As I Am," which included "Ain't No Sunshine," which won him the first of three Grammy Awards, according to his official website. His musical career ebbed in the 1980s as he left "the hype and the hoopla" of the musical spotlight for a more private life, it said. REUTERS/Chris Pizzello
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The Reverend Joseph Lowery, a key ally of Martin Luther King in the U.S. civil rights movement of the 1960s, died March 27 at the age of 98. Lowery was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, by President Barack Obama in 2009, a few months after he had given the benediction at Obama's inauguration (pictured). Lowery co-founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with King and other black ministers in 1957, to fight segregation across the U.S. South. He served for 20 years as its president before stepping down in 1998. He continued working for racial equality into his 90s. He spoke against South African apartheid, sought better conditions in U.S. jails, pushed for more economic opportunities for minorities, promoted AIDS education and railed against what he saw as government indifference toward the lower classes.

REUTERS/Jason Reed

The Reverend Joseph Lowery, a key ally of Martin Luther King in the U.S. civil rights movement of the 1960s, died March 27 at the age of 98. Lowery was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, by President...more

The Reverend Joseph Lowery, a key ally of Martin Luther King in the U.S. civil rights movement of the 1960s, died March 27 at the age of 98. Lowery was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, by President Barack Obama in 2009, a few months after he had given the benediction at Obama's inauguration (pictured). Lowery co-founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with King and other black ministers in 1957, to fight segregation across the U.S. South. He served for 20 years as its president before stepping down in 1998. He continued working for racial equality into his 90s. He spoke against South African apartheid, sought better conditions in U.S. jails, pushed for more economic opportunities for minorities, promoted AIDS education and railed against what he saw as government indifference toward the lower classes. REUTERS/Jason Reed
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2 / 20
Wilhelm Burmann, a master teacher and coach for the world's top ballet dancers for more than four decades, died March 30 of renal failure after his treatment was complicated by the coronavirus. He was 80. Burmann's classes in New York City attracted a Who's Who list of not just ballet stars, but also Broadway and modern dancers seeking to hone their craft under his meticulous eye. The marriage of music and movement with a 21st century sensibility defined his approach. Burmann, born in Germany in 1939, began his ballet training at the age of 16 in Essen. Despite a late start, he was a principal at Frankfurt Ballet, Grand Theatre du Geneve and Stuttgart Ballet before dancing at NYCB for four years in the early 1970s. He also served as ballet master for Washington Ballet and Ballet du Nord. Tall and terse, Burmann intimidated newcomers with his simple but fast exercises, deadpan expression and withering glare. Generations of dancers braved his tough love to gain morsels of insight on how to elevate performance into art.

Rosalie O'Connor Photography/Handout via REUTERS

Wilhelm Burmann, a master teacher and coach for the world's top ballet dancers for more than four decades, died March 30 of renal failure after his treatment was complicated by the coronavirus. He was 80. Burmann's classes in New York City attracted...more

Wilhelm Burmann, a master teacher and coach for the world's top ballet dancers for more than four decades, died March 30 of renal failure after his treatment was complicated by the coronavirus. He was 80. Burmann's classes in New York City attracted a Who's Who list of not just ballet stars, but also Broadway and modern dancers seeking to hone their craft under his meticulous eye. The marriage of music and movement with a 21st century sensibility defined his approach. Burmann, born in Germany in 1939, began his ballet training at the age of 16 in Essen. Despite a late start, he was a principal at Frankfurt Ballet, Grand Theatre du Geneve and Stuttgart Ballet before dancing at NYCB for four years in the early 1970s. He also served as ballet master for Washington Ballet and Ballet du Nord. Tall and terse, Burmann intimidated newcomers with his simple but fast exercises, deadpan expression and withering glare. Generations of dancers braved his tough love to gain morsels of insight on how to elevate performance into art. Rosalie O'Connor Photography/Handout via REUTERS
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3 / 20
Manolis Glezos, a prominent Greek whose act of defiance against Nazi occupation during World War Two was a rallying cry for the country's resistance movement, died March 30 at the age of 97. Revered across Greece's political spectrum, Glezos was most famous for scaling the steep walls of the Acropolis with a friend in 1941 to take down the swastika and replace it with the Greek flag. It was the first visible act of resistance against the Nazis, who occupied Greece between 1941 and 1944. He was sentenced to death in absentia. With his white mane of hair and thick mustache, Glezos was a recognizable fixture in leftist politics. In his late eighties, he braved police teargas at protest rallies against tough cuts imposed in exchange for international bailouts that kept the Greek economy afloat between 2010 and 2015. At the age of 91, in 2014, he became a member of the European Parliament representing Syriza, the left-wing party which came to power in 2015. He resigned a year later. Asked what had kept him at the forefront of politics for so long, Glezos told Reuters in 2012 that it was the memories of dead comrades. "Before every battle, every protest, we told each other: 'If you live, don't forget me'. I am paying a debt to those I lost during those difficult years. My only regret is that I haven't done more."

REUTERS/John Kolesidis

Manolis Glezos, a prominent Greek whose act of defiance against Nazi occupation during World War Two was a rallying cry for the country's resistance movement, died March 30 at the age of 97. Revered across Greece's political spectrum, Glezos was most...more

Manolis Glezos, a prominent Greek whose act of defiance against Nazi occupation during World War Two was a rallying cry for the country's resistance movement, died March 30 at the age of 97. Revered across Greece's political spectrum, Glezos was most famous for scaling the steep walls of the Acropolis with a friend in 1941 to take down the swastika and replace it with the Greek flag. It was the first visible act of resistance against the Nazis, who occupied Greece between 1941 and 1944. He was sentenced to death in absentia. With his white mane of hair and thick mustache, Glezos was a recognizable fixture in leftist politics. In his late eighties, he braved police teargas at protest rallies against tough cuts imposed in exchange for international bailouts that kept the Greek economy afloat between 2010 and 2015. At the age of 91, in 2014, he became a member of the European Parliament representing Syriza, the left-wing party which came to power in 2015. He resigned a year later. Asked what had kept him at the forefront of politics for so long, Glezos told Reuters in 2012 that it was the memories of dead comrades. "Before every battle, every protest, we told each other: 'If you live, don't forget me'. I am paying a debt to those I lost during those difficult years. My only regret is that I haven't done more." REUTERS/John Kolesidis
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4 / 20
Tony award-winning playwright Terrence McNally died March 24 of complications related to the coronavirus at age 81. The Broadway theater veteran was a lung cancer survivor and had lived with a chronic respiratory condition. McNally's career spanned six decades, encompassing plays, musicals and operas. It ranged from AIDS dramas "Lips Together, Teeth Apart," to domestic drama "Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune," and the stage musical adaptation of movie "The Full Monty." He was given a lifetime achievement award at the 2019 Tony Awards ceremony in New York, adding to the four he received for "Love! Valour! Compassion," "Master Class" and the books of the musical versions of "Ragtime" and "Kiss of the Spider Woman." REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

Tony award-winning playwright Terrence McNally died March 24 of complications related to the coronavirus at age 81. The Broadway theater veteran was a lung cancer survivor and had lived with a chronic respiratory condition. McNally's career spanned...more

Tony award-winning playwright Terrence McNally died March 24 of complications related to the coronavirus at age 81. The Broadway theater veteran was a lung cancer survivor and had lived with a chronic respiratory condition. McNally's career spanned six decades, encompassing plays, musicals and operas. It ranged from AIDS dramas "Lips Together, Teeth Apart," to domestic drama "Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune," and the stage musical adaptation of movie "The Full Monty." He was given a lifetime achievement award at the 2019 Tony Awards ceremony in New York, adding to the four he received for "Love! Valour! Compassion," "Master Class" and the books of the musical versions of "Ragtime" and "Kiss of the Spider Woman." REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
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World-famous singer and saxophonist Manu Dibango died March 24 from a coronavirus infection at the age of 86 in France. Cameroon-born Dibango arrived in France in the early 1950s and studied jazz and saxophone in Reims, where he started playing in clubs, according to a biography on his Facebook page. In the early 1960s, his style of playing took on more African rhythms as he collaborated with Brussels-based musicians from Congo and he began touring in Africa, developing his trademark pumping saxophone rhythms. In the late 1960s, Dibango started his own band, played with a string of French musicians and in 1972 he had a major hit with "Soul Makossa," a song that brought him international success and was reinterpreted by many other artists. 

REUTERS/Luc Gnago

World-famous singer and saxophonist Manu Dibango died March 24 from a coronavirus infection at the age of 86 in France. Cameroon-born Dibango arrived in France in the early 1950s and studied jazz and saxophone in Reims, where he started playing in...more

World-famous singer and saxophonist Manu Dibango died March 24 from a coronavirus infection at the age of 86 in France. Cameroon-born Dibango arrived in France in the early 1950s and studied jazz and saxophone in Reims, where he started playing in clubs, according to a biography on his Facebook page. In the early 1960s, his style of playing took on more African rhythms as he collaborated with Brussels-based musicians from Congo and he began touring in Africa, developing his trademark pumping saxophone rhythms. In the late 1960s, Dibango started his own band, played with a string of French musicians and in 1972 he had a major hit with "Soul Makossa," a song that brought him international success and was reinterpreted by many other artists. REUTERS/Luc Gnago
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6 / 20
Albert Uderzo, illustrator and co-creator of famous comic series "Asterix and Obelix ," died March 24 at age 92. Uderzo and author Rene Goscinny are known as the "fathers" of the French comic series about a small village of Gauls who stand up to Roman occupiers. Uderzo was initially the illustrator of the comic strip written by Goscinny, who died in 1977. After Goscinny's death, Uderzo wrote and illustrated the series until he retired in 2009. Asterix, the mustachioed hero, who has been entertaining readers with his magic-potion exploits alongside Obelix since 1959, has become a mainstay in the publishing industry, with more than 370 million albums sold worldwide. 

REUTERS/Charles Platiau

Albert Uderzo, illustrator and co-creator of famous comic series "Asterix and Obelix ," died March 24 at age 92. Uderzo and author Rene Goscinny are known as the "fathers" of the French comic series about a small village of Gauls who stand up to...more

Albert Uderzo, illustrator and co-creator of famous comic series "Asterix and Obelix ," died March 24 at age 92. Uderzo and author Rene Goscinny are known as the "fathers" of the French comic series about a small village of Gauls who stand up to Roman occupiers. Uderzo was initially the illustrator of the comic strip written by Goscinny, who died in 1977. After Goscinny's death, Uderzo wrote and illustrated the series until he retired in 2009. Asterix, the mustachioed hero, who has been entertaining readers with his magic-potion exploits alongside Obelix since 1959, has become a mainstay in the publishing industry, with more than 370 million albums sold worldwide. REUTERS/Charles Platiau
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Grammy-winning country singer Kenny Rogers died March 20 at the age of 81. Rogers, a three-time Grammy winner and a Country Music Hall of Famer, was best known for songs like "The Gambler" and his 1983 duet with Dolly Parton "Islands in the Stream." After beginning his career in the 1950s with a jazz group, Rogers went solo in the 1970s and released his break-through single "Lucille" in 1977. 

REUTERS/Eric Henderson

Grammy-winning country singer Kenny Rogers died March 20 at the age of 81. Rogers, a three-time Grammy winner and a Country Music Hall of Famer, was best known for songs like "The Gambler" and his 1983 duet with Dolly Parton "Islands in the Stream."...more

Grammy-winning country singer Kenny Rogers died March 20 at the age of 81. Rogers, a three-time Grammy winner and a Country Music Hall of Famer, was best known for songs like "The Gambler" and his 1983 duet with Dolly Parton "Islands in the Stream." After beginning his career in the 1950s with a jazz group, Rogers went solo in the 1970s and released his break-through single "Lucille" in 1977. REUTERS/Eric Henderson
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8 / 20
James Lipton, the creator and host of the long-running U.S. television show "Inside the Actors Studio" died March 2 at the age of 93. Lipton hosted in-depth interviews with hundreds of Hollywood stars for more than 20 years, including Bradley Cooper, Sean Penn, Robin Williams, Paul Newman, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Lauren Bacall, Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, Harrison Ford, Tom Cruise and many more. His interviews ended with a list of rapid-fire questions, including "If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?" and "What is your favorite curse word?" 

REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

James Lipton, the creator and host of the long-running U.S. television show "Inside the Actors Studio" died March 2 at the age of 93. Lipton hosted in-depth interviews with hundreds of Hollywood stars for more than 20 years, including Bradley Cooper,...more

James Lipton, the creator and host of the long-running U.S. television show "Inside the Actors Studio" died March 2 at the age of 93. Lipton hosted in-depth interviews with hundreds of Hollywood stars for more than 20 years, including Bradley Cooper, Sean Penn, Robin Williams, Paul Newman, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Lauren Bacall, Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, Harrison Ford, Tom Cruise and many more. His interviews ended with a list of rapid-fire questions, including "If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?" and "What is your favorite curse word?" REUTERS/Danny Moloshok
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9 / 20
Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who held power for 30 years until he was ousted in 2011 in a popular uprising against corruption and autocratic rule, died February 25 at the age of 91. A partner of the West in fighting Islamists, Mubarak presided over an era of stagnation and oppression at home and was an early victim of the "Arab Spring" revolutions that swept the region. Egypt's presidency and armed forces mourned him as a hero for his role in the 1973 Arab-Israeli war and the former air force officer will be given a military funeral. He was arrested two months after being forced out by the protesters who crammed into Cairo's Tahrir Square, and then spent several years in jail and military hospitals. Mubarak was sentenced to life in prison for conspiring to murder 239 demonstrators during the 18-day revolt, but was freed in 2017 after being cleared of the charges. He was however convicted in 2015 along with his two sons of diverting public funds to upgrade family properties. They were sentenced to three years in jail. 

REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who held power for 30 years until he was ousted in 2011 in a popular uprising against corruption and autocratic rule, died February 25 at the age of 91. A partner of the West in fighting Islamists, Mubarak...more

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who held power for 30 years until he was ousted in 2011 in a popular uprising against corruption and autocratic rule, died February 25 at the age of 91. A partner of the West in fighting Islamists, Mubarak presided over an era of stagnation and oppression at home and was an early victim of the "Arab Spring" revolutions that swept the region. Egypt's presidency and armed forces mourned him as a hero for his role in the 1973 Arab-Israeli war and the former air force officer will be given a military funeral. He was arrested two months after being forced out by the protesters who crammed into Cairo's Tahrir Square, and then spent several years in jail and military hospitals. Mubarak was sentenced to life in prison for conspiring to murder 239 demonstrators during the 18-day revolt, but was freed in 2017 after being cleared of the charges. He was however convicted in 2015 along with his two sons of diverting public funds to upgrade family properties. They were sentenced to three years in jail. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh
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10 / 20
Katherine Johnson, the black woman whose mathematical genius took her from a behind-the-scenes job in a segregated NASA as portrayed in the 2016 film "Hidden Figures" to a key role in sending humans to the moon, died February 24 at the age of 101. She and her black colleagues were known as "computers" when that term was used not for a programmed electronic device but for a person who did computations. Johnson had a groundbreaking career of 33 years with the space agency, working on the Mercury and Apollo missions, including the first moon landing in 1969, and the early years of the space shuttle program. During the space race that began in the late 1950s, Johnson and her co-workers ran the numbers for unmanned rocket launches, test flights and airplane safety studies using pencils, slide rules and mechanical calculating machines. But they did their work in facilities separate from white workers and were required to use separate restrooms and dining facilities. Johnson was awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom by former President Barack Obama in 2015 and in 2016 he cited her in his State of the Union Address as an example of America's spirit of discovery. 

NASA/Handout via REUTERS

Katherine Johnson, the black woman whose mathematical genius took her from a behind-the-scenes job in a segregated NASA as portrayed in the 2016 film "Hidden Figures" to a key role in sending humans to the moon, died February 24 at the age of 101....more

Katherine Johnson, the black woman whose mathematical genius took her from a behind-the-scenes job in a segregated NASA as portrayed in the 2016 film "Hidden Figures" to a key role in sending humans to the moon, died February 24 at the age of 101. She and her black colleagues were known as "computers" when that term was used not for a programmed electronic device but for a person who did computations. Johnson had a groundbreaking career of 33 years with the space agency, working on the Mercury and Apollo missions, including the first moon landing in 1969, and the early years of the space shuttle program. During the space race that began in the late 1950s, Johnson and her co-workers ran the numbers for unmanned rocket launches, test flights and airplane safety studies using pencils, slide rules and mechanical calculating machines. But they did their work in facilities separate from white workers and were required to use separate restrooms and dining facilities. Johnson was awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom by former President Barack Obama in 2015 and in 2016 he cited her in his State of the Union Address as an example of America's spirit of discovery. NASA/Handout via REUTERS
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11 / 20
Kirk Douglas, the cleft-chinned movie star who fought gladiators, cowboys and boxers on the screen and the Hollywood establishment, died February 5 at the age of 103, his son Michael Douglas said. "To the world, he was a legend, an actor from the golden age of movies who lived well into his golden years, a humanitarian whose commitment to justice and the causes he believed in set a standard for all of us to aspire to," Michael said. Douglas made more than 90 movies in a career that stretched across seven decades and films such as "Spartacus" and "The Vikings" made him one of the biggest box-office stars of the 1950s and '60s. He also played a major role in breaking the Hollywood blacklist - actors, directors and writers who were shunned professionally because of links to the communist movement in the 1950s. Douglas said he was more proud of that than any film he made. Douglas had a distinctive chin, razor-sharp cheekbones and a jutting jaw - looks that he passed along to Michael - and that made him a natural for playing all manner of rugged characters. He also had a demanding nature that earned him a reputation in his prime as the actor who directed directors. 

REUTERS/Fred Prouser

Kirk Douglas, the cleft-chinned movie star who fought gladiators, cowboys and boxers on the screen and the Hollywood establishment, died February 5 at the age of 103, his son Michael Douglas said. "To the world, he was a legend, an actor from the...more

Kirk Douglas, the cleft-chinned movie star who fought gladiators, cowboys and boxers on the screen and the Hollywood establishment, died February 5 at the age of 103, his son Michael Douglas said. "To the world, he was a legend, an actor from the golden age of movies who lived well into his golden years, a humanitarian whose commitment to justice and the causes he believed in set a standard for all of us to aspire to," Michael said. Douglas made more than 90 movies in a career that stretched across seven decades and films such as "Spartacus" and "The Vikings" made him one of the biggest box-office stars of the 1950s and '60s. He also played a major role in breaking the Hollywood blacklist - actors, directors and writers who were shunned professionally because of links to the communist movement in the 1950s. Douglas said he was more proud of that than any film he made. Douglas had a distinctive chin, razor-sharp cheekbones and a jutting jaw - looks that he passed along to Michael - and that made him a natural for playing all manner of rugged characters. He also had a demanding nature that earned him a reputation in his prime as the actor who directed directors. REUTERS/Fred Prouser
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12 / 20
Kobe Bryant, one of the NBA's all-time greatest players, was killed at age 41 on January 26 in a helicopter crash near Los Angeles along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others. Bryant rocketed to fame as an 18-year-old rookie drafted straight out of high school, at the time an unusual career path and spent his entire 20-year career with the Lakers before retiring in 2016. Apart from the five championship rings, he made 18 All-Star teams and in 2008 was named league MVP. Bryant called his daughter Gianna "Mambacita" after his own court nickname, "Black Mamba," confident she would follow in his footsteps and become a professional basketball player. He had been coaching her middle-school team since his retirement. 

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Kobe Bryant, one of the NBA's all-time greatest players, was killed at age 41 on January 26 in a helicopter crash near Los Angeles along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others. Bryant rocketed to fame as an 18-year-old rookie drafted...more

Kobe Bryant, one of the NBA's all-time greatest players, was killed at age 41 on January 26 in a helicopter crash near Los Angeles along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others. Bryant rocketed to fame as an 18-year-old rookie drafted straight out of high school, at the time an unusual career path and spent his entire 20-year career with the Lakers before retiring in 2016. Apart from the five championship rings, he made 18 All-Star teams and in 2008 was named league MVP. Bryant called his daughter Gianna "Mambacita" after his own court nickname, "Black Mamba," confident she would follow in his footsteps and become a professional basketball player. He had been coaching her middle-school team since his retirement. Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
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13 / 20
Terry Jones, one of the Monty Python comedy team and director of religious satire "Life of Brian," as well as an author, historian and poet, died January 21 at the age of 77. Jones was one of the creators of Monty Python's Flying Circus, the British TV show that rewrote the rules of comedy with surreal sketches, characters and catchphrases, in 1969. He co-directed the team's first film "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" with fellow Python Terry Gilliam, and directed the subsequent Life of Brian and "The Meaning of Life." One of Jones' best-known roles was that of Brian's mother in Life of Brian released in 1979, who screeches at worshippers from an open window: "He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy." Another was the hugely obese Mr Creosote who explodes in a restaurant at the end of an enormous meal after eating a "wafer-thin mint." As well as his comedy work, Jones wrote about medieval and ancient history, including a critique of Geoffrey Chaucer's "The Knight's Tale." 

REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

Terry Jones, one of the Monty Python comedy team and director of religious satire "Life of Brian," as well as an author, historian and poet, died January 21 at the age of 77. Jones was one of the creators of Monty Python's Flying Circus, the British...more

Terry Jones, one of the Monty Python comedy team and director of religious satire "Life of Brian," as well as an author, historian and poet, died January 21 at the age of 77. Jones was one of the creators of Monty Python's Flying Circus, the British TV show that rewrote the rules of comedy with surreal sketches, characters and catchphrases, in 1969. He co-directed the team's first film "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" with fellow Python Terry Gilliam, and directed the subsequent Life of Brian and "The Meaning of Life." One of Jones' best-known roles was that of Brian's mother in Life of Brian released in 1979, who screeches at worshippers from an open window: "He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy." Another was the hugely obese Mr Creosote who explodes in a restaurant at the end of an enormous meal after eating a "wafer-thin mint." As well as his comedy work, Jones wrote about medieval and ancient history, including a critique of Geoffrey Chaucer's "The Knight's Tale." REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett
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14 / 20
Former Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi, who died February 4 aged 95, held power for longer than any other leader since independence and left a legacy of corruption that still haunts the East African nation today. Moi was usually pictured carrying an ivory baton and described by critics as a virtual dictator. But, for all its poverty, he left Kenya more stable than many other countries in the region emerging from colonial rule. The then vice-president came to power in 1978 when President Jomo Kenyatta died. Diplomats said an attempted coup four years later transformed him from a cautious, insecure leader into a tough autocrat. His government set up torture chambers in the basement of Nyayo House, a building in Nairobi's city center that now houses the immigration department. Thousands of activists, students and academics were held without charge in the underground cells, some of them partly filled with water. Prisoners say they were sometimes denied food and water. He won elections in 1992 and 1997 amid divided opposition. But he was booed and heckled into retirement when term limits forced him to step down in 2002 and he lived quietly for years on his sprawling estate in the Rift Valley. 

REUTERS/George Mulala

Former Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi, who died February 4 aged 95, held power for longer than any other leader since independence and left a legacy of corruption that still haunts the East African nation today. Moi was usually pictured carrying an...more

Former Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi, who died February 4 aged 95, held power for longer than any other leader since independence and left a legacy of corruption that still haunts the East African nation today. Moi was usually pictured carrying an ivory baton and described by critics as a virtual dictator. But, for all its poverty, he left Kenya more stable than many other countries in the region emerging from colonial rule. The then vice-president came to power in 1978 when President Jomo Kenyatta died. Diplomats said an attempted coup four years later transformed him from a cautious, insecure leader into a tough autocrat. His government set up torture chambers in the basement of Nyayo House, a building in Nairobi's city center that now houses the immigration department. Thousands of activists, students and academics were held without charge in the underground cells, some of them partly filled with water. Prisoners say they were sometimes denied food and water. He won elections in 1992 and 1997 amid divided opposition. But he was booed and heckled into retirement when term limits forced him to step down in 2002 and he lived quietly for years on his sprawling estate in the Rift Valley. REUTERS/George Mulala
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15 / 20
Neil Peart, the drummer of Rush, died January 7 at the age of 67. Among the most admired drummers in rock music, Peart was famous for his massive drum kits -- more than 40 different drums were not out of the norm -- precise playing style and onstage showmanship. He joined Rush in 1974 alongside frontman and bassist Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson. The Canadian band played a final tour in 2015 culminating in a final show at the Forum in Los Angeles. Often used as a punchline in movies and pop culture, Rush was among the biggest bands of the last 50 years, selling millions of albums in a career that spanned 19 studio albums and multiple live collections as well as elaborate box sets.

REUTERS/Ethan Miller

Neil Peart, the drummer of Rush, died January 7 at the age of 67. Among the most admired drummers in rock music, Peart was famous for his massive drum kits -- more than 40 different drums were not out of the norm -- precise playing style and onstage...more

Neil Peart, the drummer of Rush, died January 7 at the age of 67. Among the most admired drummers in rock music, Peart was famous for his massive drum kits -- more than 40 different drums were not out of the norm -- precise playing style and onstage showmanship. He joined Rush in 1974 alongside frontman and bassist Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson. The Canadian band played a final tour in 2015 culminating in a final show at the Forum in Los Angeles. Often used as a punchline in movies and pop culture, Rush was among the biggest bands of the last 50 years, selling millions of albums in a career that spanned 19 studio albums and multiple live collections as well as elaborate box sets. REUTERS/Ethan Miller
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16 / 20
Former National Basketball Association Commissioner David Stern, who oversaw explosive growth in the popularity of the game during his 30-year tenure, died January 1 at the age of 77. Under Stern, the NBA experienced extraordinary growth, with seven new franchises - including expansion to Canada in 1995 - a more than 30-fold increase in revenue, a dramatic gain in national TV exposure and the launch of the Women's National Basketball Association and NBA Development League. He also had a role in many other initiatives that helped shape the league, including a drug policy, salary-cap system and dress code. Stern's greatest accomplishment as commissioner is widely considered to be the way he transformed the NBA, once largely an unknown commodity outside the United States, into a globally televised powerhouse. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Former National Basketball Association Commissioner David Stern, who oversaw explosive growth in the popularity of the game during his 30-year tenure, died January 1 at the age of 77. Under Stern, the NBA experienced extraordinary growth, with seven...more

Former National Basketball Association Commissioner David Stern, who oversaw explosive growth in the popularity of the game during his 30-year tenure, died January 1 at the age of 77. Under Stern, the NBA experienced extraordinary growth, with seven new franchises - including expansion to Canada in 1995 - a more than 30-fold increase in revenue, a dramatic gain in national TV exposure and the launch of the Women's National Basketball Association and NBA Development League. He also had a role in many other initiatives that helped shape the league, including a drug policy, salary-cap system and dress code. Stern's greatest accomplishment as commissioner is widely considered to be the way he transformed the NBA, once largely an unknown commodity outside the United States, into a globally televised powerhouse. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
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Sultan Qaboos bin Said, who died January 10 at age 79, transformed Oman during his 49-year reign from a poverty-stricken country torn by dissent into a prosperous state and an internationally trusted mediator for some of the region's thorniest issues. He became sultan in July 1970 after deposing his father in a palace coup with the aim of ending the country's isolation and using its oil revenue for modernization and development. Qaboos healed old rifts in a country long divided between a conservative tribal interior and seafaring coastal region. He became known to his countrymen as "the renaissance," investing billions of dollars of oil revenues in infrastructure and building one of the best-trained armed forces in the region. While brooking no dissent at home, Qaboos charted an independent foreign policy, not taking sides in a power struggle between Saudi Arabia and Iran, or in a Gulf dispute with Qatar. Muscat kept ties with both Tehran and Baghdad during the 1980--88 Iran--Iraq War, and with Iran and the United States after their diplomatic falling out in 1979. Oman helped to mediate secret U.S.-Iran talks in 2013 that led to an historic international nuclear pact two years later. 

Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Pool via REUTERS

Sultan Qaboos bin Said, who died January 10 at age 79, transformed Oman during his 49-year reign from a poverty-stricken country torn by dissent into a prosperous state and an internationally trusted mediator for some of the region's thorniest...more

Sultan Qaboos bin Said, who died January 10 at age 79, transformed Oman during his 49-year reign from a poverty-stricken country torn by dissent into a prosperous state and an internationally trusted mediator for some of the region's thorniest issues. He became sultan in July 1970 after deposing his father in a palace coup with the aim of ending the country's isolation and using its oil revenue for modernization and development. Qaboos healed old rifts in a country long divided between a conservative tribal interior and seafaring coastal region. He became known to his countrymen as "the renaissance," investing billions of dollars of oil revenues in infrastructure and building one of the best-trained armed forces in the region. While brooking no dissent at home, Qaboos charted an independent foreign policy, not taking sides in a power struggle between Saudi Arabia and Iran, or in a Gulf dispute with Qatar. Muscat kept ties with both Tehran and Baghdad during the 1980--88 Iran--Iraq War, and with Iran and the United States after their diplomatic falling out in 1979. Oman helped to mediate secret U.S.-Iran talks in 2013 that led to an historic international nuclear pact two years later. Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Pool via REUTERS
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Legendary journalist Jim Lehrer died January 23 at the age of 85. Lehrer, who co-founded "PBS NewsHour," anchored the show for almost four decades before retiring in 2011. He moderated 12 president debates -- including all of the debates in 1996 and 2000 -- more than any other journalist in U.S. history. 

REUTERS/Chip Somodevilla/Pool

Legendary journalist Jim Lehrer died January 23 at the age of 85. Lehrer, who co-founded "PBS NewsHour," anchored the show for almost four decades before retiring in 2011. He moderated 12 president debates -- including all of the debates in 1996 and...more

Legendary journalist Jim Lehrer died January 23 at the age of 85. Lehrer, who co-founded "PBS NewsHour," anchored the show for almost four decades before retiring in 2011. He moderated 12 president debates -- including all of the debates in 1996 and 2000 -- more than any other journalist in U.S. history. REUTERS/Chip Somodevilla/Pool
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Former Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Seamus Mallon, one of the architects of the 1998 Good Friday peace agreement, died January 24 aged 83, drawing tributes from across a political divide he helped to bridge. Mallon was a major political figure in Northern Ireland during the three decades of violence between Catholic nationalists seeking union with Ireland and Protestant unionists wanting Northern Ireland to remain part of the United Kingdom. He went on to jointly head the devolved power-sharing administration that followed the peace deal and was remembered as a peacemaker who recognized, in his words, that Northern Ireland's divided communities could "live together in generosity and compassion or we can continue to die in bitter disharmony."

REUTERS/Paul McErlane

Former Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Seamus Mallon, one of the architects of the 1998 Good Friday peace agreement, died January 24 aged 83, drawing tributes from across a political divide he helped to bridge. Mallon was a major political...more

Former Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Seamus Mallon, one of the architects of the 1998 Good Friday peace agreement, died January 24 aged 83, drawing tributes from across a political divide he helped to bridge. Mallon was a major political figure in Northern Ireland during the three decades of violence between Catholic nationalists seeking union with Ireland and Protestant unionists wanting Northern Ireland to remain part of the United Kingdom. He went on to jointly head the devolved power-sharing administration that followed the peace deal and was remembered as a peacemaker who recognized, in his words, that Northern Ireland's divided communities could "live together in generosity and compassion or we can continue to die in bitter disharmony." REUTERS/Paul McErlane
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