Sarah Burke, Canadian freestyle skier, Jan. 19.
Joe Paterno, former Penn State Football coach, Jan. 22.
Thomas Kinkade, artist, April 6.
Rodney King, died June 17. When a mostly white jury acquitted the police officers who were recorded on video beating Rodney King, it set off the 1992 Los Angeles riots. On the third day of the riots, Rodney King made a public appearance, making his now famous plea, “Can’t we all get along?”
On June 17, 2012, his fiancee, Cynthia Kelley, who had previously served as a juror in King’s civil law suit against the City of Los Angeles, found him at the bottom of a swimming pool in Rialto, California.
Maria Cole, widow of singer Nat King Cole and mother of Natalie Cole, died July 10.
Celeste Holm, actess, July 15.
Sally Ride, first American woman to fly in space, July 23.
Gore Vidal, July 31, author.
Helen Gurly Brown, Cosmopolitan magazine publisher, Aug. 13.
Rev. Sun Myung Moon, founder of the Unification Church, Sept. 2.
J Christopher Stevens, US Ambassador to Libya, Sept. 11.
Gary Collins, Actor, TV and radio host, Oct. 13.
Emanuel Steward, boxing trainer who trained the likes of Sugar Ray Leonard, Julio Cesar Chavez, Leon Spinks, Evander Holyfield and Wladimir Klitschko, Oct. 25.
Larry Hagman, actor, known for his role in Dallas, Nov. 23.
Hector “Macho” Comacho, boxer, Nov. 24. The first time I saw Macho Camacho fight in the early 1980s, his hands moved so fast, they actually blurred. Unfortunately, his life moved as fast as his hands. He was known for his quickness in the ring and his flamboyant lifestyle out it. He became the first boxer to be recognized as “septuple champion.”
He called the ring home up until 2008 when he won his last major fight, the World Boxing Empire middleweight championship. But even prior to that he had problems with the law, drug abuse, and criminal charges. He was arrested for burglary in 2005, a charge to which he would later plead guilty.
In 2011 he was shot at by carjackers in San Juan, but was not injured. In the fall of 2012, he was in Florida on charges of physically abusing one of his sons.
On November 20 he was shot and seriously wounded while sitting in a car in his native Bayamón, PR. The childhood friend he was with was killed. His mother requested the doctors remove him from life support four days later after he was declared brain dead.
After lying in state for two days in Santurce, San Juan, Puerto Rico, his remains were transported to New York for burial at request of his mother and sisters. A champion lost to senseless gun violence (facts thanks to Wikipedia, have you made a tax deductible donation to them for 2012).