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The so called curse of 2016 continues as the death of Debbie Reynolds is announced just one day after her daughter Carrie Fisher died.
Yes you can die from a broken heart.
Ms Fisher who was aged 60 suffered a heart attack on a transatlantic flight last week. On arrival in the USA she was hospitalised and reports varied from in a stable condition to worse. December 27 Carrie died, her Mom Debbie Reynolds dying one day later aged 84.
She was planning her daughter's funeral.
The Telegraph opts for this headline "Debbie Reynolds, Hollywood star and mother of Carrie Fisher, dies of suspected stroke - her last words: 'I want to be with Carrie'."
Ms Reynolds had continued working into older age. She had a role in TV's Will and Grace and one of the shows stars Debra Messing has posted this tribute on Facebook.
Debbie went to be with Carrie. She always worried about her. Carrie left too soon and now they are together again. My heart is literally broken. For 8 years she was my mom. She was pure energy & light when she came on stage. She was loving, and bawdy, and playful- a consummate pro- old school and yet had the work ethic and investment in her craft of a new fiery up and comer. She was always running off to Vegas or somewhere else "on the road" to be a hoofer, to sing and dance and make people laugh. She performed 340 days out of the year. An inspiration on every level. A Legend of course, the epitome of clean cut American optimism, dancing with Gene Kelly as an equal, a warrior woman who never stopped working. A devoted mother and grandmother, and aunt and great aunt, and friend. I lost my mom a few years ago. She loved that Debbie was my TV mom. I hope they find each other and hug and kiss and my mom says, "I got you, Debbie. Carrie's waiting for you." RIP Bobbie Adler. ❤
That tribute says it all.
Has 2016 been a bad year for celebrity deaths?
It certainly seems that way though there are many explanations for this "phenomenon."
Op-ed: 2016 has been one hell of a year for celebrity and famous deaths. Some had their three scores years and ten and more while others died way too young.
The latest Friday is two elderly political figures. One is Fidel Castro who has died aged 90.
Castro’s younger brother Raúl announced the revolutionary leader’s death on television Friday night saying “With profound sadness I am appearing to inform our people and our friends across [Latin] America and the world that today, 25 November 2016, at 10.29pm, Fidel Castro, the commander in chief of the Cuban revolution, died. In accordance with his wishes, his remains will be cremated.” Raúl Castro concluded his address with the famous revolutionary slogan: “Onwards to victory!”
Castro was a famous figure during the 50s and 60s as a revolutionary leader in the true sense in Cuba.
He established the first communist state in the Western Hemisphere after leading a successful overthrow of the military dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista in 1959.
You may have expected the West to applaud the overthrow of a military dicatorship but it was the days of "better dead than red" in the USA.
"Soon after the success of the Cuban Revolution, militant counter-revolutionary groups developed in an attempt to overthrow the new regime. Undertaking armed attacks against government forces, some set up guerrilla bases in Cuba's mountainous regions, leading to the six-year Escambray Rebellion. These dissidents were funded and armed by various foreign sources, including the exiled Cuban community, the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and Rafael Trujillo's regime in the Dominican Republic" Wikipedia.
Wikipedia also claims "In August 1960, CIA contacted Cosa Nostra in Chicago with the intention to draft a simultaneous assassination of Fidel Castro, Raul Castro and Che Guevara. In exchange, if the operation succeeded and that a pro-American government was restored in Cuba, the United States agreed that the Mafia gets their " monopoly on gaming, prostitution and drugs."
On February 16, 1959, Cuba's revolutionary leader Fidel Castro became the country's youngest ever premier.
Long standing US sanctions against Cuba hit the ordinary people over many decades but there was no surrender. On February 19, 2008, Fidel Castro resigned the Cuban presidency handing over to his younger brother Raul but he will step down in 2018.
What next for Cuba?
In August 2015 the U.S. embassy in Havana finally reopened with US Secretary of State John Kerry attending the ceremony.
A thaw in U.S. Cuba relations after deacades.
But former revolutionary leader Fidel Castro was cautious and in August 2015 published an open letter on Cuba Debate.
The following is a translation via Google of Fidel Castro's open letter; apologies for the translation which is far from perfect but has all the relevant points;
"Writing is a way to be useful if you consider that our suffering humanity should be more and better educated at the incredible ignorance that surrounds us all, except for researchers seeking in science a satisfactory answer. It is a word that implies few letters in his infinite content.
Everyone in our youth we hear ever of Einstein and, especially, after the outbreak of the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which ended the cruel war unleashed between Japan and the United States. When those bombs were dropped after the war unleashed by the attack on the US base at Pearl Harbor, the Japanese empire was already defeated. United States, the country whose territory and industries remained outside the war, became the richest and best armed of the earth, in a world shattered, full of dead, wounded and hungry.
Together, the USSR and China had lost over 50 million lives, coupled with enormous material destruction.
Almost all the world's gold went to the coffers of the United States.
Today it is estimated that all the gold and currency reserves of that nation reaches 8000 133.5 tons of the metal. However, shattering the commitments made at Bretton Woods, United States, unilaterally declared that they would not honor the obligation to support the Troy ounce of gold to the value of their paper money.
Such a measure ordered by Nixon violated the commitments made by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt."
The open letter was posted the day after Fidel Castro celebrated his 89th birthday on August 13, 2015.
The second death Friday from the world of politics is in the UK and Labour peer Lord Taylor of Blackburn, 87, who died after being seriously injured when his mobility scooter collided with a van outside Parliament during rush hour the previous week.
BBC News reports;
He was the Labour leader of Blackburn Council in the 1970s before being made a life peer in May 1978 and becoming a businessman.
Both elderly statesman who will be missed by colleagues.
Both men had long lives.
One however, Fidel Castro, stayed true to his political beliefs. He may have been a divisive political figure to some but he was a political giant and game-changer.
Local celebrity Brian Rix died Saturday aged 92.
His name is likely more famous with older British readers and some charity workers.
Rix was born in Cottingham on the outskirts of the Yorkshire city of Kingston-upon-Hull.
Born January 27, 1924, the youngest of four children the Rix name was famous locally for many years and linked to the oil industry.
He began his acting career aged 18, on deferred service from the Royal Air Force, with Donald Wolfit's Shakespeare Company.
By the time this blogger was a child in the 50's Rix was a familar face in British films.
The man behind the "Whitehall" farces in London theatres and across the country also managed to appear in various film comedies.
He featured in a series of one night only series of farces screened on the BBC but few survived and are archived.
He turned his attention to the charity MENCAP after the birth of his eldest daughter Shelley in 1951. She had Down syndrome a condition called mongolism back then.
Brian Rix and his wife actress Elspet Gray quickly realised that there were few schools and even less support for children with learning disabilities.
Thus began his life work.
He entered the House of Lords as a cross bencher in 1992 and campaigned tirelessly to support any legislation which would help people with learning disabilities.
The couple had three more children.
Shelley Elspet Rix died in 20o5 aged 53. Her mother and Brian Rix's wife Elspet died in 2013 aged 83.
On August 6 the Daily Mirror reported "Actor Lord Rix has revealed that terminal illness has left him in constant pain, bed-ridden and unable to sleep. The 92-year-old said he is stricken “like a beached whale” and now longs for the right to end his life. He added yesterday: “I have been dying now for two months or more and that is a very, very long time".”
Previously in the House of Lords Rix voted against the assisted dying Bill.
But that view was due to his daughter Shelley and all the other Shelleys out there.
As his health failed he had talked to his family about assisted dying and they were comfortable with it.
The cause of death is not known at this time but he was terminally ill.
Boxing legend Muhammed Ali has died aged 74. Friday there were reports that he had been hospitalised due to breathing problems but that he was doing OK. It seems he was not.
When Ali was a young boxer called Cassius Clay we used to tune in to watch him hammer his opponents. We did not so much tune in but rather were in the room watching as Dad was a boxing nut.
I have never like the brutal so-called sport of boxing but it is ironic that I married a man who is a boxing fan. He never met my father but I can imagine the two of them watching a match together and both joining in.
My father would listen to boxing on the radio and catch whatever match he could from either side of the Atlantic and he was an active armchair boxing fan. He would be almost ducking and diving as he watched his hero Cassius Clay take no prisoners.
Mum on the other hand would claim that Clay either hypnotised or talked his opponents into defeat. She was not the only person to make such wild claims.
Certainly as he danced gracefully around the ring and his opponents he kept a steely gaze on the other fighter and never seemed to stop talking.
But the reality is that in his early and younger days Clay was a magnificent boxer.
His name change followed a change of faith and for a brief time his popularity dipped a little. It allowed him to avoid the draft in America but he his reputation was tarnished to some.
The Guardian archives from April 29, 1967, report:
Boxing authorities in America today stripped Muhammad Ali (Cassius Clay) of his world heavyweight title and suspended his boxing licence after he had refused to be inducted into the United States Army.
But you could never keep Ali down and he returned to boxing against the odds.
He was a black rights campaigner and in the sixties when Britain had an unofficial "colour bar" he visited areas of London showing support.
A man who could not read and write but taught himself Ali was always a fighter, even outside of the ring.
From humble begins he became a giant of a sporting hero.
Sadly the years of boxing took a toll on his health.
The self-named pretty boy however kept his looks but was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and in recent years looked mentally frail.
Ali endured Parkinson's for 32 years.
According to the BBC Saturday the cause of death was from a respiratory illness, a condition that was complicated by Parkinson's disease. Sunday they have updated that to "Boxing legend Muhammad Ali died of "septic shock due to unspecified natural causes", his family has said."
Muhammed Ali was a great man, an inspiration to many, a fighter in every sense of the word, at times a big mouth, a showman and he will be missed.
His career in music was long and in many ways outstanding. After being a band member of several 60s rock groups he became a roadie to "Jimi Hendrix and The Nice, before joining the space rock band Hawkwind in 1972, singing lead on their hit "Silver Machine".
After being fired from Hawkwind, he founded Motörhead as lead singer, bassist, songwriter and band leader recording and touring regularly.
Born in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent Lemmy kept his accent to the end. It is easy to imagine him saying 'oh well I had a good run'.
Play loud and live hard was the band's motto - “If we moved in next door to you, your lawn would die,” Lemmy once claimed.
Love him or loathe him there was only one Lemmy and fans are mourning his death.
Check out the Telegraph's full obituary here
In October it was Steve Mackay, 66, saxophonist for Iggy and the Stooges and in November Motorhead drummer Phil Taylor passed away at the age of 61.
British 'kids of the sixties' will remember Twinkle, real name Lynn Ripley who died in May aged 66 after a long battle with cancer. She wrote her famous, was it one and only, hit "Terry", which was not quite a teen anthem but gave 'Leader of the Pack a run for its money and went like this:
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