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Top 20 Notable People Who Suddenly
Died in 2011

Dead Celebrities

With the end of 2011 approaching, it is time to celebrate some of the notable personalities who suddenly died this year. In 2011 we lost some influential people in the world of technology, athletics, show business, music, and politics. This article will examine 20 influential personalities who suddenly died in 2011. It doesn't include people who passed away after a long illness or from old age, such as Svetlana Alliluyeva, Elizabeth Taylor, Andy Rooney, and Nikolai Andrianov.

20. Ryan Dunn
Age: 34 Years

Ryan Dunn

Ryan Dunn was an American reality television personality and daredevil best known for being a member of the Jackass and Viva La Bam crews. Dunn took part in the characteristic stunts that made Jackass famous. He is featured in all three of the films. In 2006, while seeking treatment for an injury sustained during a stunt, Dunn became depressed, and eventually cut off all contact with his friends for nearly two years. In the world of Jackass, the fact would remain a secret to the public until after his death. However, it was somewhat noticeable when Dunn did not appear in Jackass 2.5 or any subsequent events until the third movie.

Passed Away

On June 20, 2011, at around 2:30 a.m. EDT, Ryan Dunn and Zachary Hartwell, a production assistant on Jackass Number Two, were killed when Dunn's Porsche 911 GT3 came off the road and hit a tree in West Goshen Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania. Hours before the accident, Dunn posted a photo to his Twitter account showing himself drinking at a West Chester bar. After the accident, Ryan was identified in the police report as the vehicle's driver. A subsequent toxicology report showed that he had a blood alcohol level of 0.196%, which is more than twice the state's legal limit of 0.08%. Preliminary investigations suggested that the car had been traveling between 132 and 140 miles per hour (212 and 230 km/h) in a 55 miles per hour (89 km/h) zone. On November 28, 2011, MTV aired an hour-long tribute to Dunn, where several details of his life previously unknown to the public were revealed.

19. John Delaney
Age: 42 Years

John Delaney

John Delaney was an Irish businessman and the founder and CEO of the trading exchange website Intrade. Intrade is a popular site that lets its members speculate on the outcomes of non-sports-related future events. The company was founded by John Delaney in 2001 and acquired by Tradesports in 2003. Market participants are currently betting that there is a 61 percent chance that President Obama will be re-elected in 2012 and a 50 percent chance that the third Twilight movie will have the highest box-office returns for 2011. Intrade says that it has more than 100,000 registered users and that it handles hundreds of millions of dollars in trades annually.

Passed Away

John Delaney was a keen mountaineer who scaled several of the world's highest peaks. In May of 2011, Delaney decided to take a second expedition to Everest, having been beaten back by bad weather on his first attempt to climb the mountain. Delaney was traveling with a team of eight climbers, eight sherpas, and two guides. On the final day of the climb the group left high camp at 27,230 feet, trying to reach the summit.

At around 28,870 feet, Mr. Delaney began having problems. He was taken down to 28,700 feet, where John collapsed and was later pronounced dead. Delaney came within 50 yards of the summit of Mount Everest before losing consciousness. Because of the dangerous conditions at that elevation, his body will remain on the peak.

18. Randy Savage
Age: 58 Years

Randy Savage

Randall Poffo, better known by his ring name "Macho Man" Randy Savage, was an American professional wrestler. From 1973-2005, Randy spent time with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and World Championship Wrestling (WCW). Savage held twenty championships during his professional wrestling career. He won six world heavyweight championships between the WWF and WCW. In addition, he won the ICW World Heavyweight Championship three times and the USWA Unified World Heavyweight Championship once.

WWE has named Savage the greatest champion of all time and credited him with bringing "a higher level of credibility to the title through his amazing in-ring performances." Aside from championships, Savage was the 1987 WWF King of the Ring and the 1995 WCW World War 3 winner. He was recognized by wrestling fans for his distinctively deep and raspy voice, his ring attire (often comprising sunglasses, a bandanna or head band, flashy robes, and a cowboy hat), and his signature catch phrase ("Ooh yeah!").

Passed Away

On the morning of May 20, 2011, Randy Savage died after suffering a sudden massive heart attack while driving with his wife in Seminole, Florida, a town on the Pinellas County side of the Tampa Bay area. Savage became unresponsive and lost control of his vehicle, crashing into a tree. Savage and his wife had been wearing their seatbelts and suffered only minor physical injuries in the crash. Tests conducted by the Pinellas-Pasco Medical Examiner's Office revealed that Savage had suffered from an enlarged heart and advanced coronary disease and determined his official cause of death to be "atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease."

17. Bubba Smith
Age: 66 Years

Bubba Smith

Charles "Bubba" Smith was an American professional football player who became an actor after his retirement from the sport. Smith first came into prominence at Michigan State University, where he twice earned All-American honors as a defensive end on the Spartans football team. Bubba had a major role in a 10-10 draw with Notre Dame in 1966 that was billed as "The Game of the Century." He was one of only three players to have his jersey number retired at Michigan State. Smith was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1988.

Bubba Smith played nine years in the National Football League (NFL) with the Baltimore Colts (19671971), Oakland Raiders (19731974), and Houston Oilers (19751976). He was the first selection of the 1967 NFL Draft and was the Colts' starting left defensive end for five seasons. He played in Super Bowls 3 and 5, the latter with the winning side. Smith was named to two Pro Bowls and was a First-Team All-Pro in 1971. Despite being 6 feet 7 inches (2.01 meters) tall and weighing 265 pounds (120.20 kilograms), Bubba's tremendous speed and quickness usually caused him to draw two blockers.

During his acting career, Bubba Smith mainly specialized in comedic roles in films, television advertisements, and programs. For about a decade following his retirement from football, he appeared in various commercials for Miller Lite. Bubba is best-known for his role as Moses Hightower in the first six Police Academy movies.

Passed Away

Bubba Smith was found dead in his Los Angeles home by his caretaker on August 3, 2011. He died from acute drug intoxication and heart disease. Phentermine, a weight-loss drug was found in his system. Smith's heart weighed more than twice that of an average human heart, albeit he was obviously well above average in many respects.

16. Pete Postlethwaite
Age: 64 Years

Pete Postlethwaite

Pete Postlethwaite was an English stage, film and television actor. He starred in over 55 films in his career. Postlethwaite played the mysterious lawyer, Mr. Kobayashi, in The Usual Suspects. He appeared in Alien 3, In the Name of the Father, Amistad, The Last of the Mohicans, Brassed Off, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, The Shipping News, The Age of Stupid, The Omen, Inception, Clash of the Titans, The Town, and Romeo and Juliet. Steven Spielberg called Postlethwaite "the best actor in the world" after working with him on The Lost World: Jurassic Park. In 1993, Postlethwaite received an Academy Award nomination for In the Name of the Father, and was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the 2004 New Year's Honors List.

Passed Away

Pete Postlethwaite was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1990, and had one testicle removed. He died of pancreatic cancer at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital on January 2, 2011. Pete's last role was in the 2011 comedy film titled Killing Bono.

15. Mika Myllyla
Age: 42 Years

Mika Myllyla

Mika Myllyla was a Finnish cross country skier who competed from 1992 to 2005. He won six medals at the Winter Olympics, earning one gold medal (1998: 30 km), one silver medal (1994: 50 km), and four bronzes. Myllyla also won a total of nine medals at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships, including four gold medals, three silvers, and two bronze medals. Mika was on his way to becoming one of the greatest stars in cross country skiing history until he was caught doping in the Finnish 2001 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships scandal. He was caught taking hydroxyethyl starch (HES), a blood plasma expander usually used to cover up the use of erythropoietin (EPO) in athletes.

Passed Away

On July 5, 2011, Mika Myllyla was found dead at his home in Kokkola, Finland. According to the police investigation, no foul play was involved in his death and it was ruled an accident. In the years preceding his passing, Myllyla was involved in alcohol-related problems which were extensively covered by Finnish tabloid papers.

14. Rafiq Tagi
Age: 61 Years

Rafiq Tagi

Rafiq Tagi was an Azerbaijani journalist who worked for Sanat newspaper until police arrested him and Sanat editor Samir Sadagatoglu for an article titled Europe and Us. The article was published in 2006 and provoked protests in Iran. Tagi was accused of promoting religious hatred and was sentenced to four years in jail by an Azerbaijani court for instigating religious hostility. The work was deemed to be critical of Islam and the Prophet Muhammad. Tagi and Sadagatoglu were both pardoned and released on December 28, 2007, having served 8 months.

Passed Away

Rafiq Tagi died on November 23, 2011, from a knife injury received four days earlier in a car park near his home. In an interview held just one day prior to his death, Rafiq Tagi stated the attack could have been an act of retaliation for the article "Iran and the Inevitability of Globalization" he had published on November 10, 2011, in which he criticized Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for "discrediting Islam." On December 15, 2011, the European Parliament passed a resolution that condemned the murder of Rafiq Tagi.

13. Nate Dogg
Age: 41 Years

Nate Dogg

Nate Dogg was an American musician. He is noted for being a member of the rap trio 213. During his lifetime, Nate had a successful solo career and collaborated with artists such as Dr. Dre, Warren G, Tupac, and Snoop Dogg on many hit releases. In 1990, 213 recorded their first demo in the back of the famed V.I.P record store in Long Beach. The demo was heard by Dr. Dre at a house party and he was instantly hooked on the soulful voice of Nate. Nate Dogg made his debut on The Chronic and was well-received by fans and critics alike. He would go on to sign with Death Row Records in 1993.

Passed Away

On December 19, 2007, Nate Dogg suffered a stroke. On January 18, 2008, it was officially reported that the stroke had rendered the left side of his body paralyzed. Doctors believed Nate would make a full recovery, and his voice was not affected. In September 2008, Nate Dogg suffered a second stroke and died on March 15, 2011 in Long Beach, California. On March 17, his attorney Mark Geragos confirmed that the cause of death was from complications of multiple strokes.

12. Erhard Loretan
Age: 52 Years

Erhard Loretan

Erhard Loretan was a Swiss mountain climber. He was born in Bulle in the canton of Fribourg and began his climbing career at the age of 11. Loretan was the third person to have climbed all 14 eight-thousanders, a feat he accomplished at the age of 36. He made his first expedition to the Andes in 1980 and began his conquest of the 8,000 metres (26,247 ft) peaks in 1982 with the deadly Nanga Parbat. In 1986, together with Jean Troillet, Loretan made a revolutionary ascent of Mount Everest in only 43 hours, climbing by night and without the use of supplementary oxygen. In 1995, he climbed the last of the peaks, Kangchenjunga.

A list of the mountains Erhard Loretan scaled includes Nanga Parbat, Gasherbrum I, Gasherbrum II, Broad Peak, Manaslu, Annapurna, K2, Dhaulagiri, Mount Everest, Cho Oyu, Shisha Pangma, Makalu, Lhotse, and Kangchenjunga. In 2003, Loretan was convicted of the manslaughter of his seven-month-old son, after shaking him for a short period of time. He was given a four-month suspended sentence. Publicity of the case raised awareness of the danger of shaking children due to weak neck muscles.

Passed Away

Erhard Loretan died on his 52nd birthday while climbing the Grunhorn in the Swiss Alps. He had been leading a client up the summit ridge of the Grunhorn when the pair fell. Loretan was pronounced dead at the scene. His 38-year-old Swiss client was flown to a hospital in serious condition.

11. Samuel Wanjiru
Age: 24 Years

Samuel Wanjiru

Samuel Wanjiru was a Kenyan athlete, who specialized in long distance running. He became a professional at a young age and broke the world record in the half marathon when he was 18 years old. In 2007, Wanjiru broke the 20 kilometers (12 mi) road running record and improved the half marathon record by over twenty seconds. He moved to the full marathon and won the event at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in an Olympic record time of 2:06:32, becoming the first Kenyan to win the Olympic gold in the marathon.

The following year, Samuel Wanjiru won both the London Marathon and Chicago Marathon, running the fastest marathons ever recorded in the United Kingdom and United States, respectively. Wanjiru had an erratic personality and was arrested by Kenyan police at his house in Nyahururu in December 2010 and charged with threatening to kill his wife and illegally possessing an AK-47 rifle. He denied both the accusations and claimed that he was being framed.

Passed Away

On May 15, 2011, Samuel Wanjiru died from a fall off a balcony at his home in Nyahururu, a town in the Rift Valley, about 150 kilometers (93 mi) northwest of the capital of Kenya, Nairobi. Wanjiru appeared to have suffered internal injuries after the fall and was confirmed dead by doctors at a nearby hospital after attempts to revive him failed. Police said Wanjiru's wife, Triza Njeri, had come home to find him in bed with another woman. She locked the couple in the bedroom and ran outside. Wanjiru then leapt from the balcony. Police are unsure if Wanjiru intended suicide, jumped out of rage, or was attempting to go after his wife.

10. Lee Roy Selmon
Age: 56 Years

Lee Roy Selmon

Lee Roy Selmon was a Hall of Fame NFL football defensive lineman. In 1972, Selmon joined brothers Lucious and Dewey on the University of Oklahoma defensive line. He blossomed into a star in 1974, anchoring one of the best defenses in Sooner history. Oklahoma was NCAA Division I-A national football champions in 1974 and 1975. Selmon won the Lombardi Award and the Outland Trophy in 1975. OU Head Coach Barry Switzer called him the best player he ever coached, and College Football News placed him as the 39th best college player of all time. Lee Roy became known as "The Gentle Giant."

In 1976 Lee Roy Selmon was the first player selected in the NFL draft and the first-ever pick for the expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. During his NFL career, Selmon went to six straight Pro Bowls and was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1979. A back injury in 1984 made the season his last, and the Bucs retired his number, 63, in 1986. In January 2008, Selmon was voted by a panel of former NFL players and coaches to Pro Football Weekly 's All-Time 3-4 defensive team along with Harry Carson, Curley Culp, Randy Gradishar, Howie Long, Lawrence Taylor, and Andre Tippett.

From 1993-2001 Lee Roy Selmon served as an assistant athletic director at the University of South Florida under Paul Griffin. When Griffin moved to take the same position for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Selmon stepped up and took over the athletic department at USF. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1988 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1995. To date, he is the only Hall of Famer to have earned his credentials primarily in Tampa Bay.

Passed Away

Lee Roy Selmon suffered a massive stroke on September 2, 2011, which left him hospitalized in extremely critical condition. On September 4, 2011, Selmon died from complications of the stroke. His funeral was held the next day at Idlewild Baptist Church. It was attended by former teammates, the current Buccaneer team, the USF football team, other members of the NFL, and the general public. The USF football team wore a #63 decal on their helmets for the 2011 season, as did the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Both teams conducted a ceremony to honor Selmon the weekend following his passing.

9. Kara Kennedy
Age: 51 Years

Kara Kennedy

Kara Kennedy was the oldest daughter of U.S. Senator Edward "Ted" Kennedy. She was the niece of President John Kennedy and Senator Bobby Kennedy. During her lifetime, Kara served on numerous charities and was a television producer. In 2002, at age 42, she was diagnosed with lung cancer. She was initially told the disease was inoperable, but found a surgeon at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston who was willing to remove part of her right lung in an effort to save her life.

The operation was successful and Kennedy resumed an active life that included regular running and swimming. On August 12, 2009, Kara accepted the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama on behalf of her father. Ted Kennedy died thirteen days later on August 25. He was diagnosed with brain cancer in May 2008.

Passed Away

On September 16, 2011, Kara Kennedy suffered a heart attack and died in a Washington D.C. health club after her daily workout. Ms. Kennedy became yet another member of America's most famous political family that, across two generations, has died young.

8. Joe Frazier
Age: 67 Years

Joe Frazier

Joe Frazier, also known as Smokin' Joe, was an Olympic and Undisputed World Heavyweight boxing champion, whose professional career lasted from 1965 to 1976, with a one-fight comeback in 1981. In 1964, Frazier won an Olympic gold medal for the U.S. boxing team and emerged as the top contender in the heavyweight division. On February 16, 1970, Frazier faced WBA champion Jimmy Ellis at Madison Square Garden for the heavyweight championship. Frazier won the fight by a TKO when Ellis' trainer Angelo Dundee would not let him come out for the 5th round following two 4th round knockdowns (the first knockdowns of Ellis' career).

On March 8, 1971, Joe Frazier fought Muhammad Ali, who had launched a comeback in 1970 after a three year suspension from boxing. The match was labeled the "Fight of the Century" and was the first meeting of two undefeated heavyweight champions. Ali (310) had not officially lost his title in the ring, but rather been stripped of it because of his refusal to be inducted into the Armed Forces. Frazier won the battle via a 15 round unanimous decision. Two years later Joe lost his title when he was knocked out by George Foreman. Frazier continued his career, beating Joe Bugner, losing a rematch to Ali, and beating Quarry and Ellis again. His last world title challenge came in 1975, but Frazier was beaten by Ali in their brutal rubbermatch. He then retired in 1976 following a second loss to Foreman.

Passed Away

Joe Frazier was diagnosed with liver cancer in late September 2011. Within a few weeks, the cancer had metastasized. By November 2011, he was under hospice care, where he died on November 7. Upon hearing of Joe Frazier's death, Muhammad Ali said, "The world has lost a great champion. I will always remember Joe with respect and admiration." Frazier's private funeral service took place on November 14, 2011 at the Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church in Philadelphia.

7. Dan Wheldon
Age: 33 Years

Dan Wheldon

Dan Wheldon was a British racing driver from England. He was the 2005 Indy Racing League IndyCar Series champion, and winner of the Indianapolis 500 in both 2005 and 2011. Wheldon's six victories in 2005 broke the record for the most wins in one season (under IRL sanction), previously held by Sam Hornish, Jr. His victory at Indy was the first for an Englishman since Graham Hill in 1966. In 2011, Dan Wheldon won the Indianapolis 500 with Bryan Herta Autosport racing. After the race, he was very emotional due to the recent news that his mother had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. The event was Wheldon's first series win in three seasons.

Passed Away

On October 16, 2011, Dan Wheldon was competing at the 2011 IZOD IndyCar World Championship at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. During lap 11 of the race he was involved in a 15-car accident. In the crash, Dan's car hit the catch fence before landing back on the track. Wheldon was extricated from the car and airlifted to a local hospital with what were described as "unsurvivable injuries." He was later pronounced dead on arrival. An autopsy concluded that Wheldon died of blunt force trauma to the head. After Wheldon's death, Michael Andretti revealed that he had officially signed with Andretti Autosport on the morning of October 16, 2011, for a multiyear deal to replace driver Danica Patrick starting in the 2012 season.

6. Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros
Age: 40 and 41 Years

Hetherington and Hondros

Timothy Hetherington was a British-American photojournalist. He was best known for the documentary film Restrepo (2010), which covers the Afghanistan war. The film examines the time that Sebastian Junger and Hetherington spent in Afghanistan on assignment during the war. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2011. During his career, Hetherington spent a lot of time in West Africa documenting political upheaval and its effects on daily life in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, and other countries. Hetherington won the 2007 World Press Photo competition for his picture of a tired American soldier covering his face with his hand following a day of fighting in the Korengal valley, Afghanistan.

Chris Hondros was an American Pulitzer Prize-nominated war photographer. Following the September 11 attacks, Hondros took pictures at ground zero. He also followed Sen. John Kerry's presidential campaign in 2004 and covered Hurricane Katrina and the 2010 Haiti earthquake. His work has appeared on the covers of magazines such as Newsweek, the Economist, New York Times, Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times.

Passed Away

On April 20, 2011, Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros were in the city of Misrata, Libya, covering the front lines of the Libyan Civil War when they were fatally wounded by a mortar attack. The men were in a convoy traveling with a collection of rebel fighters when they were attacked. Hetherington tweeted the previous day, "In besieged Libyan city of Misrata. Indiscriminate shelling by Qaddafi forces. No sign of NATO." Just days after Hetherington's death in Misrata, the Libyan city of Ajdabiya renamed its largest square after him. "We have named the square after this hero and I now consider Tim as one of our martyrs."

5. Lokomotiv Yaroslavl Plane Crash

Lokomotiv Yaroslavl Team Photo

The Lokomotiv Yaroslavl plane crash occurred on September 7, 2011, when a Yak-Service Yakovlev Yak-42, carrying the players and coaching staff of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl professional ice hockey team, crashed near the Russian city of Yaroslavl. The aircraft ran off the runway before lifting off, failed to gain altitude, struck a tower mast, caught fire and crashed 2 km (1.2 mi) from Tunoshna Airport. Of the 45 people on board, 43 died at the scene.

Lokomotiv Yaroslavl is a member of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), which is Russia's top ice hockey league. The team was on its way to Minsk, Belarus, to start the 201112 season. All players from the main roster and four from the youth team were on board the aircraft. Because of the tragedy, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl chose to cancel their participation in the 201112 KHL season. The club would instead participate in the 201112 season of the Russian Major League (VHL), the second-ranked ice hockey league in Russia.

Investigation of the crash focused on pilot error and technical failures. Testing determined that pilot error was the cause of the crash as a braking force was found to have been applied by the chief pilot during takeoff, namely the pilot stepped on the brake pedals before raising the nose wheel during takeoff.

Passed Away

At the time of the crash, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl was one of the top ice hockey teams in Russia, originally established in 1959. The team won the Russian Open Championship in 1997, 2002, and 2003. They were finalists in 2008 and 2009, making it to the third round of the playoffs in four straight seasons. In all, 26 team players were killed in the crash.

4. Amy Winehouse
Age: 27 Years

Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse was an English singer-songwriter known for her powerful deep contralto vocals and eclectic mix of musical genres. Winehouse's 2006 follow-up album, Back to Black, received six Grammy Award nominations and five wins. The achievement tied the record for the most wins by a female artist in a single night. Amy became the first British female to win five Grammys, including three of the shows biggest awards, Best New Artist, Record of the Year, and Song of the Year.

By 2008, Amy Winehouse displayed signs of continued drug and alcohol abuse. Unfortunately, the behavior was often reinforced by her fans and Winehouse became a staple in popularity polls due to her eccentric lifestyle. During this time, Amy was charged with assault on numerous occasions and was filmed taking drugs. On June 23, 2008, Mitch Winehouse indicated that his daughter had early stage emphysema and that her lungs were operating at 70 percent capacity. He also said that Amy was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat. Mitch Winehouse said that these problems had been caused by her chain smoking and crack cocaine use.

Passed Away

On July 23, 2011, two ambulances were called to Amy Winehouse's home in Camden, London. She was pronounced dead at the scene and shortly afterwards, the Metropolitan Police confirmed that Amy Winehouse had died. In August of 2011, it was announced that Amy's toxicology report came back with "no illegal substances" at the time of death. On October 26, 2011, a coroner ruled that alcohol poisoning was the cause of Winehouse's death.

On the day in question, her bodyguard said that he observed Amy drinking moderately, laughing, listening to music, and watching TV at 2am. At 10am he observed Winehouse lying on her bed and tried unsuccessfully to rouse her. This did not raise much suspicion because she usually slept late. Shortly after 3pm he checked on her again and observed her lying in the same position as before and subsequently discovered she was not breathing and had no pulse. In August 2011, Winehouse's album Back to Black became the UK's bestselling record of the 21st century.

3. Muammar Gaddafi
Age: 69 Years

Muammar Gaddafi

Muammar Gaddafi was the official ruler of the Libyan Arab Republic from 1969 to 1977 and then the "Brother Leader" of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya from 1977 to 2011. Gaddafi seized power in a bloodless military coup in 1969 and served as the country's head of state until 1977, when he stepped down from his official executive role as Chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council of Libya, and claimed to be a symbolic figurehead.

After seizing power, Gaddafi abolished the Libyan Constitution of 1951 and established laws based on his political ideology. In 2011, the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya state he established was overthrown in a civil war which consisted of an uprising aided by a NATO intervention. Gaddafi's 41-year leadership prior to the uprising made him the fourth longest-serving non-royal leader since 1900, as well as the longest-serving Arab leader.


During the 2011 Libyan civil war, Muammar Gaddafi retained control over parts of Libya, most notably the city of Sirte. Gaddafi's forces initially held out in the battle for Sirte against NATO's bombing attacks and the NTC's advances. However, Gaddafi was captured by members of the Libyan National Liberation Army (NLA) after his convoy was attacked by NATO warplanes as Sirte fell on October 20, 2011. Gaddafi was subsequently beaten and killed by NLA fighters.

2. Steve Jobs
Age: 56 Years

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs was an American businessman and inventor widely recognized as a charismatic pioneer of the personal computer revolution. He was co-founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Apple Inc. Jobs previously served as chief executive of Pixar Animation Studios and became a member of the board of directors of The Walt Disney Company in 2006, following the acquisition of Pixar by Disney.

In the late 1970s, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak engineered one of the first commercially successful lines of personal computers, the Apple II series. Jobs directed the computers aesthetic design and marketing. Over the years, he directly oversaw the development of the iMac, iTunes, iPod, iPhone, and iPad and the company's Apple Retail Stores. Jobs earned only $1 a year as CEO of Apple, but held 5.426 million Apple shares, as well as 138 million shares in Disney. Forbes estimated his net wealth at $8.3 billion in 2010, making him the 42nd wealthiest American.

Passed Away

In 2003, Steve Jobs was diagnosed with a rare form of pancreatic cancer. It was initially treated, but Jobs reported a hormone imbalance and underwent a liver transplant in 2009. Since that time his appearance thinned and Jobs' health rapidly declined. Apple reported his prognosis as "excellent" until January of 2011 when they announced that Jobs had been granted a medical leave of absence. On October 5, 2011, Steve Jobs died in his Palo Alto home. His death certificate listed respiratory arrest as the immediate cause of death, with "metastatic pancreas neuroendocrine tumor" as the underlying cause.

1. Osama bin Laden
Age: 54 Years

Osama bin Laden

Osama bin Laden was the founder of the militant Islamist organization Al-Qaeda, which is the jihadist group responsible for the September 11 attacks on the United States and numerous other mass-casualty terrorist attacks against civilian and military targets. Bin Laden was a member of the wealthy bin Laden Saudi family, and an ethnic Yemeni Kindite. He was on the American Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) Ten Most Wanted Terrorists list for his involvement in the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings and September 11 attacks. From 2001 to 2011, bin Laden was a major target of the War on Terror, with a US$25 million bounty on his head by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.


On May 2, 2011, Osama bin Laden was shot and killed inside a private residential compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, by U.S. Navy SEALs and CIA operatives in a covert operation ordered by United States President Barack Obama. Shortly after his death, bin Laden's body was buried at sea. Al-Qaeda acknowledged his death on May 6, 2011, vowing to retaliate.

Honorable Mentions

Salvatore Montagna
Age: 40 Years

Salvatore Montagna

Salvatore Montagna was an acting boss of the Bonanno crime family of New York City, and the Sicilian faction-leader of the Bronx section. At the time of his death, he had been associated with the Rizzuto crime family of Montreal and was a dual citizen of Italy and Canada. It is unclear when Montagna was inducted into the Bonanno crime family. However, it is believed to have happened under the leadership of Boss Joseph "Big Joe" Massino. In the early 1990s Montagna got married to Kellice Gucciardo, which related him to the Gambino and the Genovese crime families by marriage.

During his time in the United States, Salvatore Montagna started a small metalworking company called Matrix Steel Co., located at 50 Bogart Street in Bushwick, Brooklyn. The company manufactures structural and rail mill products, gray and ductile iron foundry crucibles, casting machines, sizing or embossing presses, foundry mold machines and foundry dies. Montagna was given the nickname, "Sal the Iron Worker." In 2009, he was detained by the USCIS and deported back to Canada. In 2011, following the assassinations of several major Rizzuto mobsters, Montagna was identified as one of three men trying to fill the resulting power vacuum, if not take over the Montreal Mafia himself.

Passed Away

The water-drenched body of Salvatore Montagna was found on November 24, 2011, on the shore of Ile Vaudry on the L'Assomption River, in the city of Repentigny, Quebec, Canada, on Montreal's north shore region. He was killed by a single gunshot. It appeared that Montagna was shot in Charlemagne and then crossed the narrow frigid river to Ile Vaudry in a desperate attempt to elude the shooter.

Knut (Polar Bear)
Age: 4 Years


Knut was a polar bear who was born in captivity at the Berlin Zoological Garden. He was rejected by his mother at birth and raised by zookeepers. Knut was the first polar bear cub to survive past infancy at the Berlin Zoo in more than 30 years. At one time the subject of international controversy, the bear became a tourist attraction and commercial success for the zoo. Fans worldwide rallied in support of his being hand-raised by humans. Children also protested outside the zoo, and e-mails and letters that expressed sympathy for the cub's life were sent from around the world.

Knut became the center of a mass media phenomenon dubbed "Knutmania" that spanned the globe and spawned toys, media specials, DVDs, and books. Because of this, the cub was largely responsible for a significant increase in revenue, estimated at about five million euros, at the Berlin Zoo in 2007. Attendance figures for the year increased by an estimated 30 percent, making it the most profitable year in the zoos 163-year history.

Passed Away

On March 19, 2011, Knut collapsed and died in his enclosure at the zoo. Witnesses reported that the bear's rear left leg began shaking, and he became agitated before convulsing several times and falling backwards into the pool. Approximately 600 to 700 zoo visitors witnessed Knut's death. A statement indicated that there were "significant changes in the bear's brain, which may be regarded as a reason for the sudden death." On April 1, 2011, pathology experts announced that Knut's immediate cause of death was from drowning.

The bear's apparent seizure was due to his suffering from encephalitis, a swelling of the brain likely triggered by an infection. It is unknown what infection caused the swelling, but pathologists believe it was a virus. It was also announced that had Knut not drowned after collapsing, he would not have survived the encephalitis. Knut's sudden death caused an international outpouring of grief. Hundreds of fans visited the zoo after the bear's death, leaving flowers and mementos near the enclosure.

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Copyright The List Blog - Top 10, All Rights Reserved       Posted December 27, 2011