MN Year In Review: 11 Black Stars We Lost In 2012
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the friends and families of these and all other stars we’ve lost in 2012.
Singer Whitney Houston passed away on February 11 due to accidental drowning complicated by heart disease. The star was best known for her powerful vocals and crossover success as an actress in films like “The Bodyguard” and “Waiting To Exhale.” She was 48 years old.
Michael Clarke Duncan
On September 3, Michael Clarke Duncan passed away in a Los Angeles hospital just 7 weeks after suffering a massive heart attack. He was best known for his Oscar-nominated role in The Green Mile, though he’d also starred in big blockbuster movies like “Armageddon” and “The Scorpion King.”
On July 24, the world lost Sherman Hemsley; the actor who charismatically brought George Jefferson to life on the hit TV show, “The Jeffersons.” Hemsley was 74 when he died in his Texas home from “superior vena cava syndrome,” a complication of lung cancer.
On June 14, Yvette Wilson lost her battle with cervical cancer. She was most remembered for playing the role of the lovable Andell Wilkerson, first on the hit TV show “Moesha,” and then on its spinoff “The Parkers.” Wilson was just 48 years old.
Don Cornelius, the smooth-voiced creator of Soul Train, was found dead in his home on February 1. The cause of death was ruled suicide by gunshot, though the autopsy also revealed that Cornelius suffered from chronic seizures – thought by many to be his reason for ending his own life. He was 75 years old.
On August 30, 44 year old hip hop mogul, Chris Lighty, was found dead in his home after suffering what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Controversy swirled regarding the cause of such a shocking suicide, prompting Lighty’s former client 50 Cent to hire an investigative team to search for answers – none of which have been found. Lighty’s death remains a tragic blow to the hip hop community.
Disco queen Donna Summer passed away on May 17 in Englewood, Florida. At the time of her death she had been suffering from lung cancer, thought by her to be caused by toxic fumes. The legendary singer is famous for a string of 70’s disco-era hits like “Love To Love You Baby” and “Last Dance”, though she had also succeeded in breaking into a new style of music in the 80’s with “She Works Hard For The Money.” Summer was 63 years old.
Natina Reed, of the late 90’s girl group Blaque, was killed after being struck by a car in an Atlanta-area suburb. The rapper died on October 27, just one day before what would have been her 33rd birthday. She is survived by her ten year old son, Tren, whom she had with rapper Kurupt.
The curtain closed on Etta James for the final time on January 20, when she passed away at 73 years old. According to a longtime friend and manager, James had been suffering from leukemia, dementia, and Hepatitis C, but died of leukemia-related complications. The soulful singer began her long and successful music career as a teenager in the 1950’s. Her hard work and undeniable talent would materialize in the form of numerous Grammy wins and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Antoine Ashley, better known by his drag-name Sahara Davenport, passed away on October 1 from heart failure. Ashley first found fame on the second season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, leading him to guest star on “One Life To Live” and record several singles. Ashley was just 27.
Herb Reed, an original founding member of the 1950’s vocal group the Platters, died on June 20 from complications related to chronic lung disease. The Platters achieved greatness by appealing to a wide audience, and earned a rightful place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Reed is survived by his son and three grandsons.