Remembering those we lost in 2012

8:52 AM, Dec 28, 2012   |    comments
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Photo Gallery: Notable deaths in 2012
(File Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for ATI)

(WXIA) -- From music superstars to television legends to space pioneers, the world lost many great people in 2012.

PHOTOS | Notable deaths in 2012

The nation was stunned when Whitney Houston died in a Beverly Hills hotel room on Feb. 11; the six-time Grammy winner was only 48. She is among several musicians who passed away this year, including R&B singer Etta James on Jan. 20; The Monkees' Davy Jones on Feb. 29; Beastie Boys member Adam Yauch on May 4; disco queen Donna Summer on May 17; Bee Gees member Robin Gibb on May 20; "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" crooner Andy Williams on Sept. 25; jazz legend Dave Brubeck on Dec. 5; Mexican-American pop star Jenni Rivera on Dec. 9; and "Rescue Me" singer Fontella Bass on Dec. 26.

Comedian Andy Griffith (whose eponymous show still airs on 11Alive) died in North Carolina on July 3 at age 86, while Academy Award-winning actor Ernest Borgnine passed away July 8 at age 95. Other Hollywood greats we lost in 2012 include "Soul Train" creator Don Cornelius on Feb. 1; Sleepless in Seattle director Nora Ephron on June 26; "The Jeffersons" star Sherman Hemsley on July 24; Top Gun director Tony Scott on Aug. 19; comedienne Phyllis Diller on Aug. 20; The Green Mile star Michael Clarke Duncan on Sept. 3; "Dallas" and "I Dream of Jeannie" actor Larry Hagman on Nov. 23; "The Odd Couple" funnyman Jack Klugman on Dec. 24; and "Thunderbirds" creator Gerry Anderson on Dec. 26.

The first celebrations of 2013 won't be the same without Dick Clark to ring in the new year; the legendary television personality died Apr. 18 at age 82.

More creative souls who passed this year include Berenstain Bears co-creator Jan Berenstain on Feb. 24; painter Thomas Kinkade on Apr. 6; Where the Wild Things Are author Maurice Sendak on May 8; hairstylist Vidal Sassoon on May 9; Fahrenheit 451 author Ray Bradbury on June 5; and longtime Cosmopolitan editor Helen Gurley Brown on Aug. 13.

Two trailblazing astronauts died in 2012. The first American woman in space, Dr. Sally Ride, passed away July 23 at age 61, while Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, died Aug. 25 at age 82.

Other notables who passed away in 2012 are former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno on Jan. 22; conservative columnist Andrew Breitbart on Mar. 1; "60 Minutes" correspondent Mike Wallace on Apr. 7; Rodney King, whose beating by LAPD officers helped spark the 1992 Los Angeles riots, on June 17; U.S. ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens on Sept. 11; longtime U.S. senator Arlen Specter on Oct. 14; former presidential candidate George McGovern on Oct. 21; and retired Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, who led the coalition that drove Saddam Hussein's forces out of Kuwait in 1991, on Dec. 27.

Natalee Holloway, the Alabama teenager who disappeared in Aruba in 2005, was declared legally dead on Jan. 12.

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