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Obituaries

Memorializing notable Chicagoans and people from around the world who have recently died.

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Melvin Van Peebles, groundbreaking leader in Black cinema, dies at 89

The Chicago-born playwright, musician and movie director was best known for "Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song!"

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Joe Pecoraro, Chicago’s most famous lifeguard, serving under eight mayors, dead at 91

‘Joe Pec’ helped establish national standards for the profession. ‘How many lives have been saved because of Joe Pecoraro’s impact?’ a colleague from California said.

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Willie Garson, starred as Stanford Blatch on ‘Sex and the City,’ dies at 57

News of his passing was confirmed by his family via social media, including his young son Nathen, who posted a loving tribute to his late father on Instagram.

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Jo Lasorda, widow of former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda, dies at 91

She died at her home in Fullerton, California, the team said Tuesday. No cause of death was given.

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Comedian Anthony Johnson of ‘Friday’ and ‘House Party’ dies at 55

He was a ‘naturally funny dude,’ tweets ‘Friday’ star Ice Cube.

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Argonne scientist Walter McFall dies at 87; recruited, encouraged ‘countless’ women and minority engineers

After a family tragedy, he started working at age 7. "He was robbed of his childhood," said his sister. "But he was a person who did his best wherever he was."

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Jane Powell, star of ‘Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,’ dies at 92

The veteran performer danced with Fred Astaire in ‘Royal Wedding.’

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Former Bruins and Blackhawks center Fred Stanfield dies at 77

The Bruins acquired him from the Blackhawks in 1967 as part of one of the most famous trades in NHL history, swapped along with Phil Esposito and Ken Hodge for Gilles Marotte, Pit Martin and Jack Norris.

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Swimmer George F. Wendt, 73, who shared a name with his TV star cousin, drowns in Big Shoulders race

His cousin George Wendt found fame as Norm on TV’s ‘Cheers.’ But, to many swimmers and Fenwick High School students and alums, he was the star in the family.

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Norm Macdonald, comedian and ‘SNL’ alum, dies at 61

His death followed a nine-year private battle with cancer.

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Parys Haralson, former 49ers and Saints linebacker, dies at 37

The 49ers announced Haralson’s death on Monday. No details were provided.

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Former WGN anchor Allison Payne dead at 57: ‘She was proud of excellence’

Allison Payne, a nine-time Emmy Award winner was the face of WGN-TV for two decades.

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Michael Constantine, co-star of ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding,’ dies at 94

The Emmy Award-winning character actor who reached worldwide fame playing the Windex bottle-toting father of the bride in the 2002 film died Aug. 31 in his home at Reading, Pennsylvania, of natural causes.

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Terry Brennan, former Notre Dame football player and coach, dies at 93

Brennan was drafted by the NFL but instead chose to coach at Mount Carmel High School while earning a law degree from DePaul University. After leading Mount Carmel to city championships in 1951, 1952 and 1953, Brennan was hired to coach the freshman team at Notre Dame.

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Adlai Stevenson III, former U.S. senator, Illinois candidate for governor, dead at 90

Mr. Stevenson ran for governor of Illinois twice, losing his 1982 run by just 5,074 votes to Republican Gov. Jim Thompson. It is the closest Illinois election for governor in modern state history.

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Actor Michael K. Williams, Omar on ‘The Wire,’ dead at 54

Williams was found dead Monday afternoon in his Brooklyn penthouse apartment. His death was being investigated as a possible drug overdose, New York City police said.

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Willard Scott, weatherman on NBC’s ‘Today’ show, dies at 87

"He was truly my second dad and am where I am today because of his generous spirit," Al Roker, Scott’s successor of the "Today" show, wrote on Instagram.

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Chicago organizer, storyteller remembered as a builder of community

Community organizers mourning the death of storyteller and activist Malik Alim, 28, who died in a boating accident.

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Former Patriots wide receiver David Patten Jr. dies at 47

Patten, a three-time Super Bowl champion who caught Tom Brady’s first postseason touchdown pass to help the Patriots win their first title, died in a motorcycle accident.

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Amboy Dukes singer John Drake, who shared spotlight with Ted Nugent on hit ‘Journey to the Center of the Mind,’ dead at 74

Nugent called him ‘one of the founding fathers of Detroit rock ‘n’ roll.’

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Former NFL player Keith McCants dies at 53

McCants, a linebacker, was the fourth overall pick of the 1990 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Mobile, Alabama, native earned All-America honors as a college player at the University of Alabama.

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Gregg Leakes of ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta,’ husband of NeNe, dies at 66

The businessman had been battling cancer.

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Ruth Marx, who sang backup for son Richard Marx after Big Band, jingles career, dead at 85

You might know her voice from TV commercial jingles her husband Dick Marx wrote, like for Chicken of the Sea tuna: ‘Ask any mermaid you happen to see, what’s the best tuna?’

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Reggae trailblazer ‘Lee Scratch’ Perry dies at 85

Keith Richards called the eccentric singer and producer "the Salvador Dali of music."

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Jacques Rogge, IOC president for 12 years, dies at 79

A three-time Olympian in sailing, Rogge earned praise for his calm in the often-turbulent world of Olympic politics but also faced outside criticism for not being tough enough on human-rights issues with China and Russia.

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Michael Nader, starred on ‘Dynasty’ and ‘All My Children,’ dies at 76

Nader died in his Northern California home with his wife Jodi Lister and their rescue dog Storm by his side, his manager confirmed.

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Michael ‘Mick Rain’ Ruane, drummer for Chicago power pop group Pezband, dead of COVID-19 at 68

Jeff Murphy of the band Shoes calls him ‘the foundational core of Pezband’s driving rhythm section for almost 50 years and an unrelenting proponent of power pop rock music.’

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Charlie Watts, Rolling Stones’ legendary drummer, dies at 80

Watts’ publicist said he "passed away peacefully in a London hospital earlier today surrounded by his family."

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Jerry Harkness, pioneering Loyola basketball player, dies at 81

His Ramblers in 1963 became the first team to win the NCAA Tournament with as many as four Black starters.

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Margaret ‘Peggy’ Cooney, funeral home matriarch, dead at 100 

The family matriarch who helped operate Cooney’s Funeral Home was a lifelong DePaul basketball fan and was ‘walking till the day she died.’

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Former Blackhawks forward Jimmy Hayes dies at 31

Hayes played 43 games for the Hawks and 120 games for the Rockford IceHogs from 2011 to 2013.

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Rod Gilbert, Hall of Fame player for New York Rangers, dies at 80

His No. 7 jersey became the first to be retired by the Rangers when it was raised to the Madison Square Garden rafters on Oct. 14, 1979.