UPDATED: 12:55 p.m. ET, Jan. 21 —
The new year has gotten off to a sad start with the deaths of several notable Black folks.
Most recently, legendary jazz saxophonist Jimmy Heath died of natural causes on Jan. 19. He was 93 years old.
Prior to that, the Jan. 9 death of Yolanda Carr, whose daughter, Atatiana Jefferson, was killed in her own home by police in Texas in November, was announced. Carr’s death came a couple of months after Jefferson’s father also died. His death was attributed in part to a broken heart while Carr’s cause of death was not immediately confirmed. Studies have shown a direct correlation between people affected by police brutality and the deterioration of their health that “can lead to conditions such as diabetes, stroke, ulcers, cognitive impairment, autoimmune disorders, accelerated aging, and death.”
Legendary sports journalist Roscoe Nance also died Jan. 9 at the age of 71, according to an obituary published on the website of a funeral home in Alabama. Nance covered HBCU sports up until his death but was also an NBA reporter at one point. He was inducted into the SWAC Hall of Fame in 105, calling the honor “the highlight of my career,” according to the HBCU Gameday website.
The new year began tragically with the suspected drug overdose death on Jan. 1 of Nick Gordon, who was most famous for his relationship with Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston’s daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown. He was only 30.
1. Jimmy Heath jazz saxophonist, 93Source:Getty
Jimmy Heath, a jazz saxophonist who played with the genres greats including John Coltrane and Miles Davis, died from natural causes at the age of 93.
Pictured: Heath plays tenor saxophone while performing with his Big Band at the 4th Annual Charlie Parker Jazz Festival in Tompkins Square Park in New York, New York, Aug. 25, 1996. (Photo by Jack Vartoogian/Getty Images)
2. Yolanda Carr, mother of Atatiana JeffersonSource:S. Lee Merritt
Yolanda Carr, the mother of Atatiana Jefferson, who was shot and killed by a Texas police officer inside of her home, died Jan. 9.
Carr’s death followed the death of Jefferson’s father, meaning the police officer effectively wiped out two generations of one family in just a few short months with his misguided shooting of Jefferson in November 2019.
3. Roscoe Vance, journalist, 71
The legendary sports journalist who covered the NBA and HBCU sports died Jan. 9 at the age of 71.
4. Nick Gordon, ex-boyfriend of Bobbi Kristina, 30Source:Getty
Nick Gordon, who was most famous for his relationship with Bobbi Kristina, died on Jan. 1 of an overdose. He was 30 years old.