Notable deaths of 2011 Here are some of the many remarkable people — political leaders, business leaders, visionary thinkers, scientists, athletes, artists, entertainers of various sorts, journalists, old soldiers, diplomats, despots, humanitarians and terrorists — who died during the year.
After years of speculation about North Korean leader Kim Jong Il declining health, the leader passed away Dec. 19, 2011. He was 69.
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Vaclav Havel, a Czech writer who was imprisoned by his country’s communist rulers, only to become a symbol of freedom and his nation’s first president in the post-communist era, died Dec.18 at his weekend home in the northern Czech Republic. He was 75.
Grammy-winning singer Cesaria Evora, known as the “Barefoot Diva,” died at age 70 on her native island of Cape Verde.
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Christopher Hitchens, who had lIved in Washington since 1982, was a self-styled contrarian who often challenged political and moral orthodoxy. He released his memoir, "Hitch-22," in 2010. He was 62.
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The Washington Post
As the maverick owner and coach of football's Oakland Raiders, the Hall of Famer helped turn the NFL into the nation's most popular sports league. He was 82.
See more photos Al Davis
Read Al Davis Obit.
The Grammy-winning singer-songwriter great talent was overwhelmed by her turbulent life and struggles with alcoholism and drug addiction. She was found dead in her home in London. She was 27.
See more photos Amy Winehouse
Read Amy Winehouse Obit.
The longtime journalist so dreaded the day he had to end his signature “60 Minutes” commentaries about life’s large and small absurdities that he kept going until he was 92. He died a few weeks after his final appearance.
See more photos Andy Rooney
Read Andy Rooney Obit.
Antoinette Pinchot Bradlee
Her understated beauty, quiet charm and second marriage, to future Washington Post executive editor Benjamin C. Bradlee, placed her on an elite social plateau in the nation’s capital in the late 1950s and 1960s. She was 87.
Read Antoinette Pinchot Obit.
The radical cleric, one of the most influential al-Qaeda operatives wanted by the United States, was killed in September in an airstrike in northern Yemen. He was 40.
See more photos Anwar al-Awlakio
The Washington Post
The Frito-Lay executive invented the crunchy, triangular tortilla chips known as "Doritos," a fingertip-licking snack of choice for legions of couch-lounging football fans, highway-cruising truck drivers and munchie-craving college kids. He was 97.
Read Arch West Obit.
The accomplished and controversial first female director of the National Institutes of Health was also a past president of the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross. She was 67.
Read Bernadine Healy Obit.
Sarah L. Voisin
The Washington Post
The daredevil pilot was a three-time national aerobatics champion and became known as the “fastest woman on Earth” when she set speed records in airplanes and automobiles. She was 85.
Read Betty Skelton Obit.
Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
The extravagant fashion designer and boutique owner happily and unabashedly made wealthy men look rich, feel rich and smell rich. He was 71.
Read Bijan Pakzad Obit.
The English author was a milkman in his late 40s and a part-time volunteer who read stories to blind children when he was inspired to write the "Redwall" series of children's books that have sold millions of copies. He was 71.
Read Brian Jacques Obit.
The Washington Post
The former Afghan president was appointed last year to head a commission trying to broker a peace deal with the Taliban. He was killed in his Kabul home in a suicide bombing, Afghan officials said. He was 71.
See more photos Burhanuddin Rabbani
Read Burhanuddin Rabbani Obit.
Clair E. George
The widely respected veteran of the CIA’s clandestine service oversaw global espionage activities for the agency in the mid-1980s. He was later convicted of lying to Congress during investigations into the Iran-contra scandal. He was 81.
Read Clair E. George Obit.
The Washington Post
The ruggedly handsome actor played the young John F. Kennedy as a wartime skipper in "P.T. 109" (1963) and won an Oscar for his sympathetic portrayal of the mentally disabled title character in "Charly" (1968). He was 88.
See more photos Cliff Robertson
Read Cliff Robertson Obit.
The Virginia-born artist's deceptively simple scrawls, smudges and sculptural shapes made him one of the most significant artistic figures of the past 50 years. He was 83.
See more photos Cy Twombly
Read Cy Twombly Obit.
Bell, a wide-ranging scholar and writer, coined the terms "post-industrial" and "the information society" and predicted the collapse of communism, the rise of the Internet and other significant trends in economics and culture. He was 91.
Read Daniel Bell Obit.
United Press International
The British racer and two-time Indianapolis 500 winner died in a fiery 15-car wreck at Las Vegas Motor Speedway when his car flew over another and smashed into a wall. He was 33.
See more photos Daniel Wheldon
Read Daniel Wheldon Obit.
The dusky-voiced stage and film actress displayed her forthright sensuality as the wench Molly in "Tom Jones" and endured a tempestuous marriage to actor Sean Connery. She was 78.
Read Diane Cilento Obit.
Throughout her 69-year marriage to comedian Bob Hope, Dolores Hope oversaw their charitable giving and played a key role in establishing the Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, Calif. She was 102.
Read Dolores Hope Obit.
Don Kirshner, a tireless rock-and-roll publisher, promoter and all-around impresario, died Jan. 17 in Florida at age 76. Kirshner first came to prominence in the 1950s as a songwriting partner and, later, manager of the multi-talented Bobby Darin, a buddy from the Bronx.
Read Don Kirshner Obit.
For The Washington Post
The daughter of former vice president Walter Mondale made a reputation for herself as an entertainment reporter, radio show host and gossip magnet. She was 51.
Read Eleanor Mondale Obit.
The voluptuous, violet-eyed actress lived a life of luster and anguish and spent more than six decades as one of the world’s most visible women. She was known for her two Academy Awards, eight marriages, ravaging illnesses and work in AIDS philanthropy. She was 79.
See more photos Elizabeth Taylor
Read Elizabeth Taylor Obit.
Gilbert 'Gil' Cates
The producer and director oversaw a record 14 Academy Awards ceremonies and founded the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles. He was 77.
Read Gilbert ‘Gil’ Cates Obit.
Mark J. Terrill
The Swedish craftsman's cinematography helped set the visual tone for filmmakers as varied as Ingmar Bergman and Walt Disney. He was 100.
Read Gunnar Fischer Obit.
H. Gobind Khorana
Khorana rose from poverty in rural India to become one of the world’s foremost biochemists. He shared a Nobel Prize for helping unravel how genetic information is used to make proteins. He was believed to be 89.
Read H. Gobind Khorana Obit.
News and Publication/The University of Wisconsin
Dickens was a troubadour of hard times whose raw, heartfelt songs about coal miners and the life of the downtrodden made her a revered figure in country and bluegrass music. She was 75.
Read Hazel Dickens Obit.
Herbert A. Hauptman
Hauptman won the Nobel Prize in chemistry for developing pathbreaking techniques used to determine the molecular structure of chemical compounds. He had a lasting impact on research into anti-cancer drugs and other pharmaceuticals. He was 94.
Read Herbert A. Hauptman Obit.
Courtesy of the Hauptman Woodward Medical Research Institute
The former Japanese pitching star had a disappointing career with the New York Yankees and other major league teams. He was found dead in a Los Angeles suburb in an apparent suicide. He was 42.
See more photos Hideki Irabu
Read Hideki Irabu Obit.
Hubert J. Schlafly Jr.
Schlafly, a television engineer, played a key role in developing satellite television, and he aided countless politicians and performers when he helped invent the teleprompter. He was 91.
Read Hubert J. Schlafly Jr. Obit.
Barco Library, The Cable Center
The former pathologist, dubbed "Dr. Death" in the 1990s for his right-to-die campaign, participated in more than 130 physician-assisted suicides. He was convicted in 1999 of second-degree murder and paroled in 2007. He was 83.
See more photos Jack Kevorkian
Read Jack Kevorkian Obit.
The self-made billionaire built his fortune promoting California chardonnays from his Kendall-Jackson winery. He was 81.
Read Jess Jackson Obit.
Boxer Joe Frazier is seated in the corner of the ring. The former heavyweight champion died after a brief fight with liver cancer. He was 67. The family issued a release confirming the boxer's death on Monday, Nov. 7, 2011.
See more photos Joe Frazier
Read Joe Frazier Obit.
The composer won five Academy Awards for his work on films including "Born Free," "Out of Africa" and "Dances With Wolves." He was 77.
Read John Barry Obit.
Gen. John Shalikashvili
The Polish-born Army officer rose to chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He commanded NATO and U.S. forces in Europe and coordinated U.S. troop interventions in Bosnia, Haiti and Zaire (now known as Congo) in the 1990s. But he may have left his greatest mark by making the military a powerful force for humanitarian relief worldwide. He was 75.
See more photos Gen. John Shalikashvili
Read Gen. John Shalikashvili Obit.
The eldest child of the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy was a filmmaker and television producer. She died after a workout at a health club in Washington. She was 51.
Read Kara Kennedy Obit.
Madame Ngo Dinh Nhu
The first lady of South Vietnam during the 1950s and early 1960s, her sharp tongue and scalding temper made her an influential and deeply feared political figure. She was 86.
Read Madame Ngo Dinh Nhu Obit.
Madelyn Pugh Davis
Davis helped define the TV sitcom as the co-writer of every episode of "I Love Lucy," the 1950s series that showcased the antics of the scatterbrained housewife played by Lucille Ball. Davis, shown with Ball and Desi Arnaz, was 90.
Read Madelyn Pugh Davis Obit.
Gaddafi, who ruled Libya for more than 40 years, became the first Arab ruler to be slain by his people in the wave of uprisings that has come to be known as the Arab Spring. He was believed to be 69.
See more photos Moammar Gaddafi
Read Moammar Gaddafi Obit.
The Gestapo called her "the White Mouse" for the way she deftly avoided Nazi traps. Nancy Wake was one of the most effective British agents working in German-occupied France during World War II. She was 98.
Read Nancy Wake Obit.
As songwriting partners, Nick Ashford and his wife, Valerie Simpson, wrote chart-topping rhythm-and-blues hits for Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross, and then went on to become singing stars themselves in the 1970s and 1980s as Ashford & Simpson. He was 70.
Read Nick Ashford Obit.
The Washington Post
Osama bin Laden
The al-Qaeda leader, the world's most wanted terrorist, was killed in a daring raid by CIA officers and Navy SEALs on his hideaway in Pakistan. His death came nearly a decade after the Sept. 11, 2011, attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon.
Read The Hunt for Osama bin Laden
Patricia Dunn, 58, the former Hewlett-Packard chairwoman who authorized a boardroom surveillance probe that sullied her remarkable rise from investment bank typist to the corporate upper class, died Dec. 4 at her home in Orinda, Calif.
Read Patricia Dunn Obit.
Pauline Betz Addie
Addie was one of the preeminent tennis players of the 1940s, but her career came to an abrupt halt after she won four U.S. Open titles and the 1946 women’s singles championship at Wimbledon. She was 91.
Read Pauline Betz Addie Obit.
Holbrooke, a foreign policy adviser to four Democratic presidents, brokered the 1995 peace accords that ended the war in Bosni and was special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan under President Obama. He was 69.
See more photos Richard Holbrooke
Read Richard Holbrooke Obit.
Richard "Dick" Winters
Winters was a decorated Army officer whose courageous leadership through some of the fiercest combat of World War II was featured in the best-selling book and HBO miniseries "Band of Brothers." He was 92.
Read Richard “Dick” Winters Obit.
Robert Sargent Shriver Jr.
The founding director of the Peace Corps led numerous anti-poverty programs in the 1960s, served as ambassador to France and ran unsuccessfully for vice president. Shriver, shown here with his wife, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, was 95.
See more photos Robert Sargent Shriver Jr.
The "Jackass" star and his cast mates made Americans cringe and snicker with the vulgar stunts showcased by their multimillion-dollar TV and movie franchise. He was killed in a car crash. He was 34.
See more photos Ryan Dunn
Read Ryan Dunn Obit.
Taseer, the governor of Pakistan's Punjab province, was assassinated after advocating leniency for a Christian woman sentenced to death under Pakistan's blasphemy law. He was 66.
See more photos Salman Taseer
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The head of the nonprofit Central American Resource Center in the District fought to obtain legal amnesty for refugees. He was 49. His wife, Wendy Solorzano, and daughter, Joan Camila Solorzano, are shown here.
See more photos Saul Solorzano
Read Saul Solorzano Obit.
Sarah L. Voisin
The Washington Post
The audio equipment tycoon bought Newsweek magazine for $1 from The Washington Post Co. in 2010, and he was married to former Democratic congresswoman Jane Harman. He was 92.
See more photos Sidney Harman
Read Sidney Harman Obit.
The Washington Post
The American director elicited outstanding performances from many of the screen's greatest actors and was himself considered one of the finest directors never to win an Oscar. He was 86.
See more photos Sidney Lumet
Read Sidnet Lumet Obit.
The photographer and film-maker died after being wounded while reporting in Libya. He was 40.
Read Time Hetherington Obit.
Tom Wilson Sr.
The creator of "Ziggy" had a knack for turning sweet and round cartoon characters into commercial juggernauts. He was 80.
Read Tom Wilson Sr. Obit.
The popular Georgetown socialite was found unconscious and unresponsive in her Georgetown rowhouse in August, and her husband, Albrecht Gero Muth, 47, has been charged with murder in her death. She was 91.
See more photos Viola Drath
Read Viola Drath Obit.
Sandy Schaeffer Hopkins/MAI
Maathai won the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize after sparking an international movement for women’s rights and environmental preservation by teaching poor Kenyan women to plant trees. She was 71. She is shown here with Oprah Winfrey and Tom Cruise.
Read Wangari Maathai Obit.
William Donald Schaefer
Schaefer was a formidable and enduring figure in Maryland politics, serving during a long career as Baltimore mayor, governor and state comptroller. He could be impatient, autocratic, antic and even offensive, but he had many friends and loyal followers.
See more photos William Donald Schaefer
Read William Donald Schaefer Obit.