As 2012 comes to a close, we thought it best to take a look back on some of the legends we’ve lost this past year.
An American icon, Neil Armstrong was the first person to walk on the moon, which he famously stated to be “one giant leap for mankind.” Armstrong actually went to space twice, and his 1966 mission as commander of Gemini 8 was nearly a fatal one. He survived to make his famous trip in Apollo 11 just a few years later, solidifying his place in American history. Armstrong died Aug. 25 of heart surgery complications. He was 82 years old.
The loss of Jenni Rivera, or “La Diva de la Banda,” is easily one of the most shocking deaths of the year. At 43 years old, Rivera’s musical talent transcended cultural and national borders. The fiery bilingual artist impressively tailored her traditional Mexican music to the modern ear. She also appeared on television as a coach on “The Voice Mexico” and on her own show “I Love Jenni.” The widespread respect and admiration for Rivera heightened the tragic circumstances of her death. She was traveling over northern Mexico in a private plane when it crashed unexpectedly on Dec. 9, leaving no survivors.
The iconic Whitney Houston needs little introduction. She was a recipient of six Grammy Awards, had 11 number one Billboard hits and progressed to become an actress as well. While the exact circumstances of her death remain hazy, fans and music enthusiasts around the world mourned the loss of such an unmatchable voice. She died on Feb. 11, and was appropriately remembered the next day at the Grammys. It was a fitting scene to see fellow musicians pay tribute to Houston at the same event that she dominated during her career.
Though he isn’t necessarily a household name, Ravi Shankar was an influential figure in musical history. Some call him the “godfather of music,” and many remember him for his influence on the Beatles. Shankar taught George Harrison to play the sitar, which was a major fixture in Rubber Soul, Revolver and Sgt. Pepper. Regardless, Shankar indeed brought a new sound and playing style to the West and exposed us to the beauty and intricacies of Indian music. Shankar died on Dec. 11 at 92 years old.
“Where The Wild Things Are” was a staple story of my childhood and I know I’m not alone. However, Sendak’s career truly sprung from his illustrations for books like “Little Bear.” His style in both literature and illustration was notably magical yet dark at the same time, the remnants of a childhood of Jewish-Polish immigrants enshrouded in the horror of the Holocaust. Sendak went on to win many awards for his work (including the Hans Christian medal for illustration and the Caldecott Medal). He died at age 83 on May 8.
Read more about Dr. Joseph Murray and his accomplishments here.
Donna Summer was a popular disco singer, known for songs like “Love to Love You Baby” and “She Works Hard for the Money.” It is interesting to note that Summer died from lung cancer. She was not a smoker and attributed her illness to exposure of the dust cloud resulting from the Sept. 11 attacks in New York City.
Read more about Donna Summer and her life here.
Read more about Any Griffith here.
Read more about Sally Ride’s life and accomplishments here.
A legendary soul/jazz/blues/too-fluid-to-be-categorized singer, Etta James won six Grammy Awards and 17 Blues Music Awards in her lifetime. Her most recognizable singles are “At Last,” “Something’s Got a Hold on Me” and “Tell Mama.”
Read more about Etta James and her life here.
Cover Photo Source: Jessica Keating Photography via Flickr
Photo Source 1: NASA via Wikimedia Commons
Photo Source 2: Julio Enriquez via Wikimedia Commons
Photo Source 3: Mark Kettenhofen via Wikimedia Commons
Photo Source 4: Alexandra Ignatenko via Wikimedia Commons
Photo Source 5: Jennifer H via Flickr
Photo Source 6: Harvard Medical School via Wikimedia Commons
Photo Source 7: Casablanca Records via Wikimedia Commons
Photo Source 8: CBS Television via Wikimedia Commons
Photo Source 9: NASA via Wikimedia Commons
Photo Source 10: John K. Addis via Wikimedia Commons
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://wpmaster.sjadv.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2013/04/Our-Space-The-San-Jose-Group.png[/author_image] [author_info] Kara is a Junior Executive at SJG. She earned a BA in English and a minor in Spanish from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Outside the office, Kara can be found searching for hidden music talent in Chicago.[/author_info] [/author]