While the world did not end in 2012, we did lose a few notable figures. Some were famous, others infamous. There were certainly many more notable deaths that we did not list here, but for the sake of brevity, we chose to highlight only ten figures. These deaths received varying degrees of coverage and were chosen at the discretion of the writer.
This list solely focuses on the deaths of individuals and not multiple people, hence why tragedies such as the shootings in Aurora, Colorado, and Newtown, Connecticut, are not noted.
For more about notable deaths this year, you may want to read our most Googled deaths of 2012 post.
Other notable deaths that were not included are : Jack Klugman (actor, The Odd Couple), Dave Brubeck (composer and jazz pianist, “Take Five”), Dr. Joseph Murray, Dr. William House, Deborah Raffin (actress, Once Is Not Enough), Jenni Rivera (singer), Warren Rudman (senator, New Hampshire), and Russell Means (actor, The Last of the Mohicans).
Below, you will find ten notable deaths of 2012 across the categories of politics, entertainment, and sports.
Feel free to leave any deaths you think we should have added in the comments.
Sen. Arlen Specter – Arlen Specter started his career as a Democrat before switching to the GOP and remaining in the Republican Party for almost 40 years. He switched back to the Democratic party in 2009. Specter had been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2005, and was undergoing chemotherapy before he died on October 14. He was 82 years old, and was the longest serving Pennsylvania senator. President Obama ordered that all US flags at public institutions and military bases across the nation be lowered to half-staff on the day Specter was interred.
Sen. Daniel Inouye – Daniel Inouye was the most senior member of the US Senate. He had been battling a respiratory illness for an extended period of time, and had been in the hospital since early December. He died on December 17 at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The World War II veteran and Medal of Honor recipient was elected to the Senate in 1962; prior to that, he was Hawaii’s first Congressman following statehood in 1959. Inouye was 88 years old.
Sen. George McGovern – George McGovern died October 21 at the age of 90. He had a number of medical conditions due to his age. He served in the Senate for 18 years and ran for president against Richard Nixon in 1972. He was a staunch opponent of the Vietnam War, and a huge advocate of fighting world hunger and AIDS. McGovern had been in hospice care in the days before his death.
Whitney Houston – “The Voice” was found dead in the bathtub of her room at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on February 11. Toxicology reports determined the cause of death to be accidental drowning due to chronic cocaine use and heart disease. She had been scheduled to perform at the Grammy Awards the next day. Houston’s sister-in-law, Pat, claimed that the singer had been murdered, but later retracted her claim. A private investigator later came forth with evidence he said proved that Houston had been murdered to settle a drug debt.
Larry Hagman – Best known as oil baron J.R. Ewing on Dallas and Major Anthony “Tony” Nelson on I Dream of Jeannie, Larry Hagman died on November 23 from complications of throat cancer. Hagman had already filmed several six episodes of the second season of TNT’s continuation of Dallas, with the last being the episode that will air on February 25, 2013, but Ewing’s funeral will not be shown until the March 11 episode. Hagman was a staunch advocate of marijuana and said that it was better than alcohol and tobacco. He even said he wanted his remains to be spread across a field that had been planted with wheat and marijuana.
Ravi Shankar – Ravi Shankar, who brought Indian music to the West, died at 92 on December 11. He had been admitted to Scripps Memorial Hospital on December 6 after complaining that he was having difficulty breathing. The cause of death was upper-respiratory and heart issues. Shankar was the father of contemporary jazz singer Norah Jones (born Geethali Norah Jones Shankar) and sitarist and composer Anoushka Shankar. Jones and her father did not have much of a relationship while she was growing up, but she did say he would be “greatly missed.”
Michael Clarke Duncan – “Hollywood’s gentle giant” passed away at age 54 from respiratory failure on September 3. He had previously suffered a heart attack on July 13. Duncan is probably best known for his role as John Coffey in The Green Mile, which earned him several award nominations. He also appeared in Armageddon, The Whole Nine Yards, and Daredevil. Duncan had been dating — or was engaged to, by some accounts — former Apprentice participant Omarosa.
Hector “Macho” Camacho – “Macho” Camacho died on November 24 in San Juan, Puerto Rico after being shot in the face while sitting in a car in his hometown of Bayamón. He had been declared brain dead a day after the shooting, but his family struggled with the decision to take him off of life support for a few days. His mother finally requested that he be removed from life support on November 23. He died the next day following a heart attack. He was 50 years old.
Milt Campbell – Milt Campbell, the first black Olympic decathlon winner, died at 78 on November 2. He had been battling prostate cancer for a decade. He won the silver medal in the decathlon at the 1953 Olympics in Helsinki when he was 18, and then won the gold four years later in Melbourne. Campbell played one season for the Cleveland Browns in 1957 alongside Jim Brown, and was inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1999.
Emanuel Steward – Emanuel Steward was a former boxer, trainer, and commentator. He passed away on October 25, with colon cancer being reported as a contributing factor to his death. He had been undergoing surgery for diverticulitis, a stomach disorder, at the time. News of his death broke on TMZ that same day, but the family quickly said that he was not dead, causing the website to pull the story. The story, while premature, did turn out to be true later on that day. Steward trained Lennox Lewis, Tony Tucker, and Wladimir Klitschko, among others.
Whose death were you most sad to hear about in 2012?