RIP: 21 People That We Lost In 2011, Who Will Be Dearly Missed
As we near the end of another year, we look back on the influential people that we lost in 2011. Some were icons. Others died way too young. One is arguably responsible for changing the world as we know it. 2011 gave us a lot of good memories, but it also took a lot of great people away from us. Our friends at Buzzfeed came up with a list of 21 of them that will truly be missed.
2011 took an artist who influenced hip-hop and music as we know it. His west coast style and soulful vocals laced up hit records for 2 decades. From his 1990 trio with Snoop Dogg & Warren G called 213, to the numerous hooks that we instantly recognize Nate Dogg was a legend that we lost too soon. He died from complications due to multiple strokes.
The death of Amy Winehouse was the one death in 2011 that didn't really surprise anyone. The British songstress saw much success early on in her career with her mixture of soul, R&B & Jazz. Sadly, her accolades could never trump her battle with alcohol and substance abuse. Toward the end of her life, Amy's mishaps were very public, although at the time of her death, it is said that she was trying to get on the right path. Her cause of death was ruled as alcohol poisoning. She is the latest member of “The 27 Club” – a group of popular musicians including Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain, who all died at the age of 27.
Charles “Bubba” Smith
When I heard the sad news about the passing of Charles “Bubba” Smith-known to many as “Hightower” in 6 of the ‘Police Academy’ movies I was super bummed. Not only did he play the popular character from ‘Police Academy’, but at 6’7″ he also dominated in the NFL for 9 seasons playing for the Oakland Raiders, the Houston Oilers and even winning Super Bowl V with the Baltimore Colts. His death was from natural causes.
Liz Taylor stunned people with her beauty and on screen talent for more than half a century. As a child actress to the big screen during Hollywood's “golden age” her acting ability, beauty, glamorous lifestyle and violet eyes were one of a kind. She was also famous for her numerous failed marriages, but Liz Taylor also fought hard for AIDS awareness as far back as the mid-eighties up until her death from congestive heart failure earlier this year at age 79.
After suffering from a stroke earlier this year in October, Patrice O'Neal could never fully return to good health. O’Neal was known for his work as a stand-up comedian and as a radio personality on ‘The Opie & Anthony Show.’ He also made appearances in films such as ‘25th Hour,’ ‘Scary Movie 4’ and ‘Furry Vengeance.’ On television, he showed up on ‘Tough Crowd With Colin Quinn,’ ‘Chappelle’s Show’ and ‘The Office.’ O’Neals most recent glory was being one of the many comedians who got a few jabs in on Charlie Sheen during his roast on Comedy Central in September. Patrice O’Neal, a larger-than-life personality with “the greatest laugh EVER” will definitely be missed by friends and fans alike.
“Macho Man” Randy Savage
I remember growing up watching the ‘Macho Man’ and his one of a kind character. Next to Hulk Hogan he is arguably one of the most popular wrestlers of all-time starting his career with the WWF (before it later became WWE) in 1985. Savage died of a sudden heart attack while driving with his wife earlier this year.
One of the most influential rappers of the 90's, Heavy D made a name for himself as the frontman of Heavy D & the Boyz, and along with his group he produced massive hits like 1991′s ‘Now That We Found Love.’ Heavy D also rapped on Michael Jackson‘s successful track ‘Jam’ and performed the theme song for the sketch comedy series ‘In Living Color.’ Although his name is often associated with the late ’80s and ’90s, Heavy D was still quite relevant today. The rapper was also an actor, and his most recent film role comes with a cameo in the 2011 flick ‘Tower Heist.’ He also recently performed at the 2011 BET Hip-Hop Awards and at Michael Jackson’s tribute concert in Wales. His death was reportedly due to pneumonia at age 44.
Steve Jobs, the visionary behind the iPhone, the iPod and the iMac, co-founded Apple Computer along with Steve Wozniak in 1976. Together they launched the Apple II computer, the first popular desktop computer, the following year. Silicon Valley venture capitalist Roger McNamee, a former colleague of Jobs, said, “It boggles the mind to think of all the things that Steve Jobs did … Any one of [his accomplishments] would have qualified him as one of the great executives in American history, the sum of which put him in a place where no one else has ever been before. To me he is of his era what Thomas Edison was to the beginning of the 20th century.” Many argue that through his vision, his products and his technology, Steve Jobs is responsible for “life as we know it.” Steve Jobs is survived by his wife, Laurene, and his 4 children. He was 56.