Paris (AFP), December 22 – From Prince Philip of Britain to Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu, here are some of the most notable deaths of 2021.
– January –
Phil Spector, who revolutionized 60s pop music with his “Wall of Sound” but was jailed for murder in 2009, dies on January 16 at the age of 81.
A week later, Larry King, the American animator wearing suspenders and who interviewed anyone who was anyone, died at 87.
– February –
Veteran Canadian actor Christopher Plummer, star of “The Sound of Music”, dies on February 5 at the age of 91.
George Shultz, Ronald Reagan’s Secretary of State who helped end the Cold War but contributed to the conflict by advocating pre-emptive strikes, died the next day at the age of 100.
Former Argentine President Carlos Menem died aged 90 on February 14.
Lawrence Ferlinghetti, one of the last great poets of the Beat Generation, died eight days later at the age of 101.
Papua New Guinea’s “Father of the Nation” Sir Michael Somare, its first Prime Minister, died on February 26 at the age of 84.
– March –
Reggae legend Bunny Wailer passed away on March 2 at the age of 73.
South African Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini, 72, dies on March 12.
Former Madagascan leader Didier Ratsiraka, instigator of a socialist revolution on the island of the Indian Ocean, died on March 28 at the age of 84.
– April –
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, 99-year-old husband of British Queen Elizabeth II, dies on April 9.
The 50-year-old American rapper DMX died the same day.
Bernie Madoff, mastermind of the biggest financial scam in history, died in North Carolina prison on April 14 at the age of 82.
Two days later, British actress Helen McCrory – who starred in “Peaky Blinders”, “Harry Potter” and “The Queen” – died of cancer at the age of 52.
Chadian President Idriss Deby, 68, died of his injuries the day after his election for a sixth term on April 20.
Legendary German soprano Christa Ludwig, 93, died on April 24.
Lanvin fashion designer Alber Elbaz died in Paris at the age of 59 from Covid-19 on the same day.
– Can –
Nigerian Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau, of unknown age, was killed in infighting between rival factions of the extremist group on May 19.
– June –
“Africa’s Gandhi” Kenneth Kaunda, 97, founding president of Zambia, died on June 17th.
Former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, the architect of the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan after the 2001 World Trade Center bombings, dies at the age of 88.
– July –
Richard Donner, director of the first film “Superman” and “The Goonies”, died on July 5 at the age of 91.
Two days later, beloved Bollywood veteran Dilip Kumar passes away at the age of 98.
– August –
The leader of the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara, Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi, 48, was killed by French forces on August 17.
Former Chadian President Hissène Habré died a week later of Covid-19 at 79 years old. He was serving a life sentence in Senegal for crimes against humanity.
Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts died on August 24 at the age of 80.
Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, dies on August 29. The Belgian was 79 years old.
On the same day Lee “Scratch” Perry, the highly influential Jamaican singer and producer of Bob Marley, died at the age of 85.
– September –
Famous Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis, 96, who composed the 1964 film “Zorba the Greek” and resisted the military dictatorship in Greece, dies on September 2.
Actor Jean-Paul Belmondo, star of “Breathless” and one of the biggest names in post-war French cinema, died on September 6 at the age of 88.
Michael K. Williams, who played Omar in the cult American television series “The Wire”, died the same day of an accidental overdose at the age of 54 in New York.
The founder of the Peruvian Maoist rebel group Shining Path, Abimael Guzman, 86, died in prison on September 11.
Algeria’s longest-serving president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, died on September 17 at the age of 84.
– October –
World record-winning Kenyan runner Agnes Tirop, 25, was stabbed to death at her home on October 13. Her husband is then charged with her murder.
Colin Powell, a war hero and black US first secretary of state whose reputation was tarnished by the invasion of Iraq, died of complications from Covid-19 at the age of 84 on October 18.
– November –
FW de Klerk, the last apartheid president in South Africa, died at the age of 85 on November 11. He released Nelson Mandela from prison and later shared a Nobel Peace Prize with him.
Zambian-born bestselling novelist Wilbur Smith, 88, who recounted dramatic adventures on the African continent, died two days later.
Formula 1 pioneer Frank Williams, 79, dies on November 28.
– December –
Lamine Diack, who chaired world athletics from 1999 to 2015 but was later convicted of corruption, died on December 3 at the age of 88.
Bob Dole, a WWII hero who became a five-term US senator and the 1996 Republican presidential candidate, died two days later at the age of 98.
Gothic novelist Anne Rice, 80, best known for writing “Interview with the Vampire”, will follow on December 11.
Lucia Hiriart, widow of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, died five days later at the age of 98.
British architect Richard Rogers, known for designing some of the world’s most famous buildings, including the Center Pompidou in Paris, dies at the age of 88 on December 18.
American rapper Drakeo the Ruler, or Darrell Caldwell, 28, dies after being stabbed on December 19.
Joan Didion, the beloved American essayist and pioneer of “new journalism”, dies at 87 on December 23.
South African anti-apartheid icon Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a tireless activist against injustice, died on December 26 at the age of 90.