In 2018, we lost many treasured people in our community, from icons like Aretha Franklin to America’s oldest World War II veteran Richard Overton to the untimely death of model Kim Porter.
As the year comes to a close, we say an official goodbye to the many we will miss. Rest in power.
1. Richard Overton, 112Source:Getty
Richard Overton was America’s oldest World War II veteran and the oldest man in the US. He was also the grandson of a Tennessee slave who moved to Texas upon emancipation. He passed away in Austin, Texas after being hospitalized with pneumonia.
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2. Aretha Franklin, 76Source:Getty
The legendary singer died at her home in Detroit on Aug. 16.
3. Charles Weldon, 78
Weldon was a theater icon who led the Negro Ensemble Company since 2005. He died December 7, 2018 at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City. He was also the ex-husband of the legendary Debbi Morgan.
4. Nancy Wilson, 81Source:Getty
Jazz legend Nancy Wilson died at the age of 81 on Dec. 13.
Pictured: Nancy Wilson backstage at Avery Fisher Hall on June 9,1978 in New York City, New York. (Photo by Ebet Roberts/Redferns/Getty Images)
5. Willie Naulls, 84Source:Getty
“Former NBA All-Star and champion Willie Naulls died Sunday at 84,” ESPN reported. “He died of respiratory failure caused by a rare immunological condition called Churg-Strauss syndrome, his wife said.”
Pictured: Willie Naulls, #6 of the New York Knicks, takes the shot as he is defended by Joe Graboski, #9 of the Philadelphia Warriors, during an NBA game on November 3, 1957 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. (Photo by Hy Peskin/Getty Images)
6. Olivia Hooker, 103Source:Getty
Olivia Hooker was one of the last surviving witnesses of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, which occurred in the Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa, also known as ‘Black Wall Street.’ She was the first African-American woman to enlist in the U.S. Coast Guard. Hooker passed away at the age of 103 of natural causes in White Plains, New York.
(Michael Noble Jr. for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
7. Kim Porter, 47Source:Getty
Model and actress Kim Porter died on Nov. 16 in Toluca Lake, California. She was 47 years old.
Pictured: Porter arrives at the White Party hosted by Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs and Ashton Kutcher to help raise awareness for Malaria No More ,held at a private residence on July 4, 2009 in Beverly Hills, California.
8. Willie McCovey, 80Source:false
The Hall of Fame first baseman who spent 19 of his 22 major-league seasons with the Giants passed away due to ongoing health issues on October 31, 2018. He was 80 years old.
9. Ntozake Shange, 70Source:false
The legendary playwright and poet, who is most known for the choreopoem “for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf,” passed away on October 27, 2018. She was 70 years old.
10. George Taliaferro, 91Source:false
George Taliaferro, who in 1949 became the first African-American player to be drafted by an NFL team, died Oct. 8 at the age of 91, according to ESPN.
11. Otis Rush, 84Source:Getty
Blues guitarist Otis Rush died Sept. 29. Pictured: Rush performs onstage at the Petrillo Band Shell in Chicago on June 8, 1985. (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)
12. George Walker, 96Source:Getty
George Walker, the first Pulitzer Prize-winning African-American composer composer, died Aug. 23 at the age of 96. Pictured: Walker at rehearsal with the Juilliard Orchestra Dec. 6, 2007. (Photo by Hiroyuki Ito/Getty Images)
13. Kofi Annan, 80Source:WENN
Nobel Peace Prize winner and former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan died at age 80 on August 17.
14. Ron Dellums, 83Source:false
Former Oakland Mayor from 2007 to 2011 Ron Dellums has passed away at 82 years old. Dellums advocated on behalf of poor, Black and LGBT communities.
15. Angela Bowen, 82Source:false
The dance teacher and gay activist died July 12.
16. Joe Jackson, 89Source:Getty
Joe Jackson, patriarch of music’s famed Jackson family, reportedly died June 27. He was 89.
17. XXXTentacion, 20Source:Getty
Rapper XXXTentacion died June 18, 2018. He was 20 years old.
18. Neal Boyd, 42Source:Getty
Neal E. Boyd, a pop opera singer and former winner of “America’s Got Talent” Season 3, reportedly died June 10. He was 42 years old.
19. Dorothy Cotton, 88Source:Getty
Dorothy Cotton, who was a leader in the civil rights era, died at the age of 88.
20. Jalal Mansur Nuriddin, 74Source:Getty
Jalal Mansur Nuriddin, a founding member of the Last Poets who was also known as the “Godfather of Rap,” died June 4. He was 74. Here he is photographed during an interview at Celluloid Records in London in 1984.
21. Dovey Johnson Roundtree, 104Source:false
Dovey Johnson Roundtree, “a pioneer of the civil rights movement who shattered color and gender barriers in the military, in transportation, and the African Methodist Episcopal Church,” died May 22, according to the Charlotte Observer. She was 104.
22. Velvalea Rodgers ‘Vel’ Phillips, 94Source:false
Vel Phillips, a civil rights leader and activist who was also the first Black judge in Wisconsin, first woman judge in the same state and a former secretary of state, among holding other elected positions, died. She was 94.
23. Doris Ward, 86Source:Getty
The “fierce advocate for racial and economic equality who became the first African American president of San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors” died April 14 in San Francisco, SFGate reported.
24. Yvonne Staples, 80Source:Getty
Staples, pictured second from right, a singer in her family group The Staples Singers, reportedly died April 10.
25. Cecil Taylor, 89Source:Getty
The “pianist who challenged the jazz tradition that produced him and became one of the most bracing, rhapsodic, abstract and original improvisers of his time” died April 5, the New York Times reported.
26. Donald McKayle, 87Source:Getty
Donald McKayle, “a modern dancer and choreographer who brought the Black experience in America to the Broadway stage in musicals such as ‘Raisin’ and ‘Sophisticated Ladies,'” died April 6, according to the Associated Press.
27. Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, 81Source:Getty
Former wife of Nelson Mandela and iconic South African activist Winnie Madikizela-Mandela passed away at 81 years old on April 2. She was known as the “Mother of the Nation.” Her assistant‚ Zodwa Zwane‚ said in a statement, “It is with profound sadness that we inform the public that Mrs. Winnie Madikizela-Mandela passed away at the Netcare Milpark Hospital‚ Johannesburg‚ South Africa on Monday April 2‚ 2018.” No word on what she died of, but she was suffering with a long illness, according to reports.
28. Linda Brown, 76Source:Getty
Linda Brown, who was an elementary school student at the center of the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court ruling that ended school segregation in the United States, reportedly died.
29. Les Payne, 76Source:false
Pioneering Black journalist Les Payne died March 20 at his home in Harlem, according to the New York Newsday, his longtime employer. He was 76.
30. Floyd J. Carter, Sr., 95Source:Getty
Tuskegee Airman Colonel Floyd J. Carter Sr. and longtime New York Police Department officer died March 8, 2018. He was 95.
31. Ensa Cosby, 44Source:false
Ensa Cosby, daughter of Bill Cosby, died from renal disease in Massachusetts on Feb. 23. She was 44.
32. Lerone Bennett Jr., 89Source:Getty
Lerone Bennett Jr. passed away on February 14. He was 89 years old. He was a scholar, author, social historian and activist. His best-known works include “Before the Mayflower” (1962) and “Forced into Glory” (2000). In addition, he was the longtime editor for Ebony and Jet, inspiring generations of Black journalists. Rest in peace.
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33. Reg E. CatheySource:Getty
The actor who gained widespread fame from his supporting role on the award-winning cable TV drama “The Wire” before moving on to “House of Cards” has reportedly died at the age of 59.
34. Lovebug Starski, 57Source:Getty
The legendary, pioneering DJ reportedly died in Las Vegas on Feb. 8. While he wasn’t as popular as his better-known contemporaries, such as Grandmaster Flash, he was just as influential, if not more, in shaping the sound of what would become hip-hop music in the 1970s. The Notorious B.I.G. famously dropped Starski’s name on his debut single, “Juicy.” May he rest in peace.
35. Olivia Cole, 75Source:Getty
Cole, a veteran actress who was best known for her breakout role in the “Roots” TV series, died at her home in San Miguel Allende, Mexico at the age of 75 on January 19. She received an Emmy for her performance on the hit miniseries based on Alex Haley’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book.
36. Wyatt Tee Walker, 88Source:Getty
Walker, (C) in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1961, with Martin Luther King, Jr. (R), and the Rev. Ralph Abernathy (L), died Tuesday, December 23. King’s former chief of staff, Walker was at an assisted-living facility near his home in Chester, Virginia.
37. Jesse ‘Smiley’ RutlandSource:WENN
Rutland, a co-creator of the Harlem Shake, was found shot dead in his Brooklyn home on Sunday, December 10. He was a member of the Crazy Boyz Dance Crew whose early 2000s upper-body-gyrating routine captured the attention of Sean Combs, who made it world famous.
38. Hugh Masekela, 78Source:Getty
Masekela, known as the father of South African jazz and who collaborated with artists such as Harry Belafonte, died Tuesday, January 23 in Johannesburg after a protracted battle with prostate cancer. His music served as the background for the anti-apartheid movement.
39. Edwin Hawkins, 74Source:Getty
Edwin Hawkins, known for gospel crossover hit “Oh Happy Day” in 1969, died after a long battle with pancreatic cancer Monday, January 15, in Pleasanton, Calif., east of San Francisco.