Legendary comedian Charlie Murphy has succumbed to his battle with Leukemia, according to TMZ. Murphy, who is the older brother of Eddie, died Wednesday morning in an NYC hospital. He’d been going undergoing chemotherapy.  According to the site, family members were “absolutely shocked” because they thought he was getting better.

Charlie became a fave in the comedy circuit with roles in films like ‘Roll Bounce’, ‘Harlem Nights’, and ‘The Players Club’. He also toured with Cedric the Entertainer, Eddie Griffin, George Lopez and D.L. Hughley on “The Comedy Get Down.” But it was his story-telling on ‘The Dave Chappelle Show’ that made us fall in love. The groundbreaking ‘Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories’ is on our list as memorable television moments that will never get old.

The 57-year-old leaves behind three children.

Celebrity friends share their thoughts on Charlie’s death.

Let’s take a moment to watch what was the funniest we’ve ever seen on syndicated television.

As we say goodbye to 2016 and enter 2017, we’ve felt compelled to pay tribute to the gems we’ve lost during this cruel year. 2016 wasn’t very good to us, considering tons of entertainers and other notable public figures we’ve loved and respected that have gone home to Glory. All of these folks have inspired us in some way, shape, or form. Every single person who’s gained their wings in 2016 will be forever and truly missed.

SideNote: This list is incomplete, but rest-assured we respect and honor EVERYONE who’s left us during this tragic year.

Muhammad Ali

 

Muhammad Ali wasn’t just the world’s greatest boxer.

He was a humanitarian.

A Civil Rights activist.

A Father.

He was a hero to many.

After over 30 years battling Parkinson’s Disease, our silver-tongued boxing hero, Cassius Clay AKA Muhammad Ali, has died at the age of 74. A family spokesperson confirmed to NBC News that Ali spent his last few days in an undisclosed hospital, where he reportedly had respiratory complications.

Rene Angelil

René Angélil, CM, OQ was a Canadian musical producer, talent manager, singer, and also the manager and husband of singer Celine Dion. Angelil died after a long battle with Cancer.

 

David Bowie

David Bowie was a prominent figure in the world of Pop and Rock n Roll for over five decades. My favorite joint by him is “Let’s Dance”! On 10 January 2016, two days after his 69th birthday and the release of the album ‘Blackstar’, Bowie died from liver cancer in his New York City apartment. He had been diagnosed 18 months earlier but had not made the news of his illness public.

 

Keion Carpenter

Former NFL player, Keion Carpenter died Thursday morning in a Florida hospital. The former Buffalo Bills/Atlanta Falcons player was only 39-years-old.

According to Yahoo Sports, Carpenter was vacationing in Florida with family when he took a freak fall while playing with his son.

After retiring from the NFL, Carpenter founded ‘The Carpenter House’ in Baltimore; according to the foundation’s website, among its goals were “to support the development of healthy homes and environments for low-income children to thrive and reach their highest potential for academic success.

 

Youree Dell Harris (Miss Cleo)

The memorable “psychic” who amused us with her commercials, urging us to “call her now”, battled with colon cancer that spread to her liver and lungs. She died in Palm Beach, Florida at the age of 53.

 

Natalie Cole

Natalie Cole died technically in 2015, (December 31st to be exact). The news of her unfortunate passing surfaced on New Year’s Day, 2016. This legendary songbird was a Multiple Grammy-winning recording artist who, just like her famous Jazz-singing dad Nat King Cole, won the hearts of many. Natalie Cole reportedly died from congestive heart failure, although we’re told the underlying medical issues were complications from a kidney transplant and Hepatitis C.

 

Carrie Fisher

Carrie Fisher was the breakout star in the Original Star Wars as the sexy, yet strong character, “Princess Leia”. Fisher had a heart attack on a flight from London to Los Angeles and spent her last few days hospitalized in Los Angeles. She was 60-years-old.

 

 

Tommy Ford

Tommy Ford was the lovable and funny character, “Tommy”, on the hit television show, ‘Martin’. Ford was put on life support after an aneurysm ruptured in his abdomen. His family decided to end the life support by the next afternoon. Ford was 52-years-old.

 

Zsa Zsa Gabor

Before the Kim Kardashians and the Paris Hiltons, there was Zsa Zsa Gabor!

Gabor was a Hungarian-American actress and socialite, who outside her acting career, was known for her extravagant Hollywood lifestyle, her glamorous personality, and her many marriages. In total, Gabor had nine husbands, including hotel magnate Conrad Hilton.

Gabor died at the age of 99 of cardiac arrest at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center on December 18, less than two months before she would have become a centenarian.

 

Ron Glass

Ron Glass was a prolific TV actor who was mostly known for his role as “Ron Harris” in the sitcom, ‘Barney Miller’. Later in his stellar career, he had roles on projects like ‘Firefly’, ‘Family Matters’, ‘The S.H.E.I.L.D’, and more. The actor’s rep confirmed the death to Variety but had no further details regarding the cause or location. Glass was 71-years-old.

 

Ricky Harris

Ricky Harris was a comedian, actor, and the “go-to guy” in the hip hop industry who voiced several characters in the skits of Hip Hop albums. Harris also had a recurring role on ‘Everybody Hates Chris‘.  It’s reported that Harris died from a heart attack. He was 54-years-old.

 

Florence Henderson

We all enjoyed this actress as the loving matriarch, Carol, on ‘The Brady Bunch’. Florence Henderson died at Cedar-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles from heart failure, according to her publicist, David Brokaw. She was 82-years-old.

 

Gwen Ifill

 

 

Gwen Ifill was a long time PBS journalist and inspired many African-American women to dive into the world of television journalism. Ifill reportedly died after a long battle with cancer. She was 61-years-old.

 

Sharon Jones

 

The Dap-Kings were a New York based band that captured the essence of funk and soul with each performance. The band’s leading lady, Sharon Jones, amazed audiences with her energy and powerful voice. The singer died of pancreatic cancer at 60-years-old. According to the NY Times, Jones was surrounded by members of her band and other loved ones when she died.

 

Kashif Saleem was an accomplished singer/songwriter, and producer who reportedly died in his Los Angeles home.

According to those who were close to him, Kashif lived alone and was found unresponsive by a family friend after not hearing from him. The friend found him on a Monday. The Los Angeles County Coroners’s office says he had been dead since Sunday. At this time, there is no specific cause of death. Kashif was 53-years-old.

 

Lor Scoota

23-Year-Old Tyriece Watson of Baltimore was known as “Lor Scoota”, a local rap artist who had a promising future outside of Baltimore. He was making waves in his industry as a lyricist who spoke for the youth of Baltimore City. He was well on his way as anther talented artist to put the City of Baltimore on the map.

Unfortunately, we’ll never see where Lor Scoota’s potential could take him. According to WJZ Baltimore, Lor Scoota was driving eastbound on Moravia Road at Harford Road around 7 p.m. Saturday when a suspect stepped into the street and opened fire. He was later pronounced dead at an area hospital.

Lor Scoota was leaving a charity basketball that he participated in, “Touch the People Pray for Peace in These Streets” at Morgan State University before he was killed, according to councilman Nick Mosby.

 

George Michael

The legendary Pop/Soul crooner reportedly died peacefully in his home on Christmas Day. He was 53-years-old. The cause of death is undisclosed.

 

Bill Nunn

Bill Nunn died from an undisclosed cause in his hometown, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The accomplished actor contributed to many great films such as ‘New Jack City’ and ‘He Got Game’, but it’s his iconic role as “Radio Raheem” in Spike Lee’s ‘Do The Right Thing’ that’s captured our hearts. Bill Nunn is one of the most prolific actors of our time.

 

Billy Paul

The singer known for his 1972 hit single “Me and Mrs. Jones” died from pancreatic cancer. Paul was 81-years-old.

Also known by his beard and large glasses, Paul was one of many singers who found success with the writing and producing team of Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff of Philadelphia International Records. This legendary producing team also released music by the O’Jays.

 

Phife Dawg

Malik Taylor, who we all know as Phife Dawg from A Tribe Called Quest, died at the age of 45. According to Rolling Stone, the cause of death was never confirmed. Although, reports say that Taylor suffered from health issues for years, undergoing a kidney transplant in 2008 to deal with a longtime battle with Type 1 diabetes.

Taylor helped garnered success for A Tribe Called Quest, earning them an incredible fan base of Hip-Hop lovers and overall music lovers alike.

 

Prince

The icon, Prince, was reportedly found in an elevator at his Paisley Park home in suburban Minneapolis. It was later reported that the musician overdosed on opioids…a substance used to relieve pain.

This gifted man’s musical prowess amazed us in ways that it didn’t even matter if he could strut and dance in heels better than most women, or rock a hairdo that would put us to shame! His effeminate fashion taste aside, Prince gave us hit after hit after hit. He broke barriers as one of the few artists to successfully cross-over as a multi-genre artist. From sensual ballads to rock, Prince made sure we had soundtracks for any given moment of our lives.

 

Debbie Reynolds

The iconic ‘Singing in the Rain’ actress and mother of the late Carrie Fisher suffered a stroke while making funeral plans for her daughter. Reynolds died the day after her daughter.

According to E News, the family plans to do a joint funeral, burying mother and daughter together at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in L.A.

Shawty Lo

 

Atlanta rapper Carlos Walker, who we all know as Shawty Lo, reportedly died in a fiery car crash in South Fulton County, Georgia. The 40-year-old rapper is father of 11 children. Walker simply lost control of his vehicle.

Walker controversial news in 2013 when the Oxygen television network announced plans for a special about his blended family, which includes 11 children with 10 women. After calls for a boycott and online petitions, the special entitled “All My Babies’ Mamas” was scrapped before it even aired.

 

Kimbo Slice

Kevin Ferguson, better known as Kimbo Slice, was a Bahamian-born American mixed martial artist, boxer, and occasional actor. Slice had been diagnosed with heart failure and needed a transplant days before he died according to released hospital records.

According to hospital reports obtained by Florida newspaper, the fighter was admitted to Northwest Medical Center after experiencing acute abdominal pain, nausea, and shortness of breath.

The reports found Slice had a liver mass and congestive heart failure and was placed on a ventilator in the intensive care unit. As Slice got progressively unwell, doctors advised his family he was in need of a heart transplant.

The staff was in the process of preparing to transfer Slice to a medical center in Cleveland where he would be put on an organ donor list but he died by the following evening.

Slice is survived by his long-time girlfriend and six children.

 

Alan Thicke

 

Alan Thicke, who we’ve all watched on ‘Growing Pains’ as Jason Seaver, suffered a heart attack while playing hockey with his 19-year-old son. According to TMZ, Thicke was transported to Providence St. Joseph’s Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Alan Thicke was 69-years-old and is survived by three sons, Brenner, Carter, and R&B crooner, Robin, and his wife, Tanya.

 

Vanity

Denise Matthews, better known as Vanity, was a singer, dancer, actress and model. Vanity made waves with her group, Vanity 6, with sexually-charged songs like “Nasty Girl”. As an actress, she scored big with roles in the low-budget Motown hit, ‘The Last Dragon’ opposite Taimak, and ‘Action Jackson’ opposite Carl Weathers. In her later years, Vanity turned away from her music and acting career to concentrate on evangelism.

Although the cause of death was never released, according to TMZ, Matthews spent 6 years battling kidney failure as well as a recent battle with an abdominal illness. A few months ago, Matthews allegedly set up a GoFundMe page, and said she’d been diagnosed with sclerosing encapsulating peritonitis — an inflammation of the small intestines.

Vanity was 57-years-old

 

Maurice White

Maurice White, legendary singer and co-founder of the iconic band, Earth, Wind, & Fire, died at the age of 74. The singer reportedly died after a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease, which he was diagnosed with in 1992. Maurice’s condition worsened in 1994, forcing the singer to stop touring with the band. Although Maurice couldn’t tour, he was still involved behind the scenes.

 

Gene Wilder

Gene Wilder made us laugh with films like ‘Stir Crazy’ opposite Richard Pryor, ‘The Woman in Red’ opposite Kelly Le Brock, and the classic ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’.

A family spokesperson confirmed in a statement that the cause was complications of Alzheimer’s disease.

 

Rest in heavenly, eternal peace to all

 

Former NFL player, Keion Carpenter died Thursday morning in a Florida hospital. The former Buffalo Bills/Atlanta Falcons player was only 39-years-old.

According to Yahoo Sports, Carpenter was vacationing in Florida with family when he took a freak fall while playing with his son.

Via Yahoo Sports:

Carpenter was on vacation with his family in south Florida when he fell while playing with his son. A cousin, Jamila Smith, told the Baltimore Sun, “They were running to the car when (Carpenter) slipped, fell, hit his head and slipped into a coma. It was just a freak accident. He was always healthy; he went to the doctor, ate well and worked out.”

Listed at 5-foot-11, 205 pounds, Carpenter entered the league in 1999 with the Bills as an undrafted rookie out of Virginia Tech. He played three seasons with Buffalo, playing in 37 games, and starting 22 in his second and third seasons with the team. Buffalo traded Carpenter to Atlanta in 2002.

He spent four years with the Falcons, starting 39 of 46 games. Carpenter missed the entire 2004 season due to a torn ACL, but returned the next year to start 15 games. It would be his final NFL season.

In all, Carpenter played 83 games (61 starts), with 14 interceptions, one of them returned for a touchdown, and 198 total tackles.

A Baltimore native, Carpenter was both the quarterback and star safety at Woodlawn High, known for his 4.4-second speed in the 40-yard dash, and was also a standout basketball player.

At Virginia Tech, Carpenter was a special-teams phenom, blocking a school-record six punts, his final one coming in his last game with the team, the 1998 Music City Bowl.

In a statement, former Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer said of Carpenter, “Cheryl and I were saddened to learn of the passing of Keion Carpenter. Keion was the one of the rocks around which we built our program at Virginia Tech in the 1990s. He was a tenacious punt blocker and a relentless player on defense. More importantly, he had a heart of gold. His work with The Carpenter House and other charitable organizations to help those in need truly embodied the Virginia Tech spirit. Our condolences to Keion’s family on the loss of a great Hokie.”

After retiring from the NFL, Carpenter founded The Carpenter House in Baltimore; according to the foundation’s website, among its goals were “to support the development of healthy homes and environments for low income children to thrive and reach their highest potential for academic success…Our goal is to invest in, build and inspire communities of change.”

One of the programs at The Carpenter House is Shutdown Academy, which combined classroom instruction with football and cheerleading instruction. Carpenter founded Shutdown Academy with Aaron Maybin and Bryant Johnson, two other Baltimore natives who went on to the NFL.

 

Sending prayers to the entire Carpenter family, Keion will be sorely missed.

2016 continues to mess us up with news that comedian Ricky Harris reportedly passed away.

the comedic actor is, perhaps, best known for his skits on Snoop Dogg’s albums. He was 54-years-old.

Harris had acting roles on television shows including ‘The District’, ‘The Tracy Morgan Show’, ‘The Game’, ‘Everybody Hates Chris’, and ‘The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story’.

Although not confirmed from loved ones, sources report that the actor died from a heart attack.

 

Stars post their reactions on social media…

 

 

 

Ricky Harris. R. I. P. 😥🙏🏾

A video posted by snoopdogg (@snoopdogg) on

RIP Ricky Harris Dam this crazy please send prayers out for his family wow this hurts man.

A photo posted by Warren G (@warreng) on

The music industry was ROCKED with the recent news of George Michael’s death. The legendary Pop/Soul crooner reportedly died peacefully in his home on Christmas Day.

He was 53-years-old. The cause of death is undisclosed.

As fans continue to grieve, we go through a bit of nostalgia as we pay tribute by listening to his classics that goes back to the days of Wham!

George rose to fame as a member of the British Pop group, along with Andrew Ridgely. The duo gave us hits like “Freedom”, “Careless Whisper”, and “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” from their biggest selling album, ‘Make it Big’.

It wasn’t until 1987 when George Michael went solo and proved to America, as well as his hometown of  London, England that he could snatch souls as a solo artist. His introduction as a Soul artist came with a duet with Aretha Franklin with their hit, “I Knew You Were waiting”.


He followed up with countless other hits like “I Want Your Sex”…

“Faith”, Father Figure” and “One More Try”!

By the time “Father Figure” hit the airwaves, I was convinced that soul had no color and British Soul is REAL. George, along with fellow British Soul artist, Boy George, proved that you don’t have to be black or from America to create music that will quench your thirst to hear soulful Rhythm & Blues.

Before there were Adele and Daley, there was George Michael.

He will be sorely missed, but his music lives on.

Atlanta rapper Carlos Walker, who we all know as Shawty Lo, has died in a fiery car crash.  According to reports, the 40-year-old rapper and father of 11 children, was killed Wednesday in a fiery crash on I-285 in south Fulton County.

Via AJC:

After initially describing the crash as a hit-and-run, “it has been confirmed now that it was a single-car accident,” Fulton police spokeswoman Cpl. Maureen Smith said.

The crash happened about 2:20 a.m. and temporarily blocked the ramp to Cascade Road.

“The driver lost control of his vehicle, a 2016 Audi, leaving the roadway and striking a tree, causing the vehicle to overturn and catch fire,” Smith said.

The driver was ejected from the Audi and pronounced dead on the scene, Smith said. Two women in the car were taken to Grady Memorial Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, police said.

Shawty Lo made controversial news in 2013 when the Oxygen television network announced plans for a special about his blended family, which includes 11 children with 10 women. After calls for a boycott and online petitions, the special entitled “All My Babies’ Mamas” was scrapped before it even aired.

 

Such a tragedy. Sending many prayers to his children and their mothers.

Youree Dell Harris, better known as “Miss Cleo”, has unfortunately succumbed to cancer Tuesday morning in Palm Beach County, FL.

The memorable “psychic” who amused us with her commercials, urging us to “call her now”, battled with colon cancer that spread to her liver and lungs.

Via TMZ:

A rep for Miss Cleo –tells us she died Tuesday morning in Palm Beach County, FL. We’re told she was recently hospitalized, but was discharged last week to a hospice center.

We’re told Cleo was originally diagnosed with colon cancer … but it spread to her liver and lungs.

The rep said Cleo remained a “pillar of strength” during her illness … and died surrounded by family and friends.

Harris was 53-years-old.

Rest in peace

We’ve lost one of the greatest MCs, The Notorious B.I.G., nineteen years ago, today. As we take the time to celebrate the life of Biggie Smalls, we’ll reminisce over a few of his many hits from his classic catalog, music videos, interviews, and career highlights.

Biggie Smalls was at a pinnacle position of his successful career when he was shot and killed on March 9th, 1997, in Los Angeles, California while riding in an SUV after a music industry party. Biggie may have been taken away from us, but his memory and his music will forever live on.

Press play on the videos below and become remind why Biggie Smalls was one of the greatest Hip-Hop artists to ever live! (Warning: Language)

 

17-year-old Biggie Smalls freestyling on a Brooklyn, NY corner

“One More Chance” from debut album, Ready To Die

Biggie talks about the false portrayal of Rappers by the media, How Puffy’s Helped Him. His Family, copy cats in the Rap Game, He Says People Should Have their Own Style.

Biggie on an episode of ‘Martin’

 

“Unbreakable” by Michael Jackson (rap verse by Biggie, background vocals by Brandy)

“Big Poppa” performed by Biggie Smalls featuring Lil’ Cease. Live at MTV’s ‘The Grind’.

Biggie wins award for ‘Best R&B/Rap Song of The Year” for “One More Chance” at 1996 Soul Train Awards

“Victory” from No Way Out by Puff Daddy Ft. Biggie Smalls and Busta Rhymes

“Hypnotize” from Biggie’s album, Life After Death

Last Interview on KYLD 107.7 FM, San Fransisco [March 5, 1997]

Biggie’s last performance at 1997 Soul Train Awards (March 7th)

Faith Evans, Ludacris, Lil’ Cease & Kanye West – Tribute to The Notorious B.I.G.

Bankroll Fresh was emerging as one of the hottest rappers out of Atlanta when he was gunned down outside of an Atlanta Studio Early Saturday. According to reports, Bankroll Fresh, whose birth name is Trentavious White, was shot about a dozen times. Police recovered more than 50 shell casings from the scene. Street Execs Studio is partly owned by Two Chainz.

Bankroll Fresh has worked with Gucci Mane, Future, Mike Will Made It, and Metro Boomin.

The 28-year-old rapper died on his way to the hospital.

Condolences to his loved ones. Such a tragedy.

Source: FactsMag

 

 

 

Harper Lee, the author of one of the most impactful stories of our time, has died at the age of 89.

In the photo above, captured by Chip Somodevilla, the author of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird‘ President George W. Bush hangs a Presidential Medal of Freedom on the neck of the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird‘, 2007.

Via New York Times:

Harper Lee, whose first novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” about racial injustice in a small Alabama town, sold more than 40 million copies and became one of the most beloved and most taught works of fiction ever written by an American, died on Friday in Monroeville, Ala., where she lived. She was 89.

Hank Conner, a nephew of Ms. Lee’s, said that she died in her sleep at the Meadows, an assisted living facility.

The instant success of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” which was published in 1960 and won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction the next year, turned Ms. Lee into a literary celebrity, a role she found oppressive and never learned to accept.

“I never expected any sort of success with ‘Mockingbird,’ ” Ms. Lee told a radio interviewer in 1964. “I was hoping for a quick and merciful death at the hands of the reviewers, but, at the same time I sort of hoped someone would like it well enough to give me encouragement.”

 

Read more here

Many of us are still shocked to hear of Vanity‘s passing. Like me, some of us celebrate her life by going to YouTube and watching old clips, music videos, and interviews of the fallen star. I came across this old clip of Arsenio Hall as the featured host of The Late Show. Arsenio’s guest was Vanity and her sister. I took my first look at her sister and immediately remembered seeing her before.

 

Do you recognize her sister? If not,  you’ll be surprised at the connection she has to Arsenio!

(more…)

TMZ reports that singer turned evangelist, Vanity AKA Denise Katrina Matthews, passed away in a Fremont, CA hospital on Monday … according to sources close to her family.

According to TMZ, Matthews spent 6 years battling kidney failure as well as a recent battle with an abdominal illness. A few months ago, Matthews allegedly set up a GoFundMe page, and said she’d been diagnosed with sclerosing encapsulating peritonitis — an inflammation of the small intestines.

Vanity was the lead singer of Vanity 6 from 1981 until 1983 when the group disbanded. Matthews went solo and began an accomplished acting career, starring in such movies like ‘The Last Dragon’ and ‘Action Jackson.’

 

deniese-mathews-1

Matthews left the business In 1994 when she reportedly overdosed on crack cocaine and suffered from near-fatal renal failure. She recalled that after being rushed to the hospital, doctors said she had three days to live while on life support. Upon her recovery, she completely renounced her stage name and career and became a born-again Christian. After a kidney transplant in 1997, she decided to devote her life to evangelism. Before her illness took over, Matthews spoke at churches across the United States and worldwide.

In 2010, Matthews released her autobiography, ‘Blame It On Vanity’.

Vanity was 57-years-old.

LN sends our deepest condolences to the entire Matthews family.