Notable deaths: Kumba Yalá, Curtis Bill Pepper, Peaches Geldof

April 5
Kumba Yalá, ex-president of Guinea-Bissau

Kumba Yalá, former president of the tiny West African nation of Guinea-Bissau, died April 4, it was reported from the capital city of Bissau. He was 61, according to reports.

His personal physician announced the death but did not disclose the cause.

A former philosophy teacher, Mr. Yalá was elected in 2000 and ousted in a military coup three years later. As president, Mr. Yalá grew widely unpopular amid a general economic decline, failing to pay salaries of the civil servants and soldiers who would later overthrow him. He had run for the presidency again in 2012, but another coup kept the country from holding the runoff vote.

Guinea-Bissau has been wracked by coups and corruption ever since independence from Portugal in 1974.

Curtis Bill Pepper, journalist and author

Curtis Bill Pepper, a former foreign correspondent for Newsweek and author of several books, died April 4 at his home in Todi, Italy. He was 96.

Mr. Pepper’s wife, the American-born sculptor Beverly Stoll Pepper, confirmed the death but did not disclose the cause.

Mr. Pepper, known as Bill, was a West Virginia native who came to Italy during his Army service in World War II. He worked for the United Press and CBS before becoming Newsweek’s Rome bureau chief in 1958. He spent a decade in that assignment before moving on to a freelance career.

Mr. Pepper’s books included “The Pope’s Back Yard” (1966) and “Kidnapped!” (1978), about a proliferation of abductions for ransom in Italy. He recently finished his last book, “Happiness,” a collection of observations from the many notable figures he had interviewed in his career, including Mother Teresa, Marcello Mastroianni and David Ben-Gurion. It will be published this spring.

Peaches Geldof, model and fashion writer

Peaches Geldof, 25, a model, fashion writer and TV personality whose late-night antics made her a fixture of the British tabloids, was found dead on April 7. There was no immediate word on the cause of her death at her home in Wrotham, Kent, England.

She had admitted using drugs in the past but said in a 2009 interview that she had quit. She was the daughter of Bob Geldof, a onetime Irish rock star who is best known as the organizer of the 1985 Live Aid concert for Africa and the Live 8 concerts. Her mother, Paula Yates, died of a drug overdose in 2000.

Ms. Geldof left home at 16 and began writing columns for fashion magazines and newspapers and dabbled in television and modeling. She was well known among London’s young and trendy crowd.

Ms. Geldof was married twice, first to Max Drummey, the vocalist with Chester French, an American indie rock band, and later to musician Tom Cohen, with whom she had two sons.

— From wire services

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