Big personalities we lost in 2017


A collage of big personalities that died in 2017. Source: Befunky collage

A collage of big personalities that died in 2017. Source: Befunky collage

PARIS - From German political colossus Helmut Kohl to rock pioneer Chuck Berry, here are some of the personalities who passed away this year.


- January 7: Former president Mario Soares, seen as the father of Portugal&39;s modern-day democracy, aged 92 in hospital.

- January 8: Iran&39;s former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a pugnacious moderate, aged 82 following a heart attack.

- February 1: Longtime DR Congo opposition chief Etienne Tshisekedi, aged 84, in Brussels, where he had gone for medical treatment.

- March 3: Haiti&39;s former president Rene Preval, an agronomist and champion of the poor, aged 74 after a cardiac arrest.

- March 21: Martin McGuinness, a one-time Irish Republican Army (IRA) commander who helped negotiate an end to the conflict in Northern Ireland, aged 66 in hospital from a rare heart condition.

- May 26: Zbigniew Brzezinski, the hawkish Polish-born former top aide to US president Jimmy Carter, aged 89.

- May 29: Former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, 83, in a Panama City hospital.

- June 16: Former German chancellor Helmut Kohl, celebrated as the father of German reunification and an architect of European integration, aged 87, at home.

- June 30: Simone Veil, an Auschwitz survivor who played a leading role in legalising contraception and abortion in France, aged 89 at her Paris home.

- July 13: Chinese dissident Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, 61, from liver cancer while in custody.

- September 4: Former ANC Youth League leader Sindiso Magaqa aged 35 at a Durban hospital

- October 3: Iraq ex-president and Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani aged 83 in Germany.

- December 4: Yemen&39;s ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh, ousted from power during the Arab Spring, slain by his former rebel allies, aged 75.

- December 8: Laloo Isu Chiba, an MK platoon commander and one of Ahmed Kathrada&39;s closes friend aged 87 at his home in Lenasia after a brief period of illness.

READ: &39;Mr Ollivander&39; John Hurt dies


- January 25: US television icon Mary Tyler Moore, aged 80 in hospital.

- January 25: British veteran actor John Hurt, known for his roles in "Elephant Man" and "Harry Potter", aged 77 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

- February 12: Jazz&39;s Al Jarreau, who won seven Grammy awards, aged 76, in hospital days after announcing his retirement.

- March 18: American Chuck Berry, a father of rock &39;n&39; roll, aged 90 at his home.

- May 23: British actor Roger Moore, television&39;s "The Saint" and 007 in seven James Bond films, aged 89 of cancer.

- June 27: British author Michael Bond, who created Paddington bear, aged 91 at his home.

- July 12: Legendary musician Ray Phiri, aged 70 lost his battle with lung cancer

- July 31: French actress Jeanne Moreau, of "Jules et Jim" fame, aged 89 at her Paris home.

READ: &39;Rhythm City&39; actor Dumi Masilela dies

- August 3: Rhythm City actor Dumi Masilela aged 29 after being shot during an attempted hijacking.

- August 8: US country music legend Glen Campbell, the "Rhinestone Cowboy" crooner, aged 81 suffering from Alzheimer&39;s Disease.

- August 20: American comedian and actor Jerry Lewis aged 91, at his home.

- September 15: US actor Harry Dean Stanton, who played the lead role in the film "Paris, Texas", aged 91.

- October 24: Rock pioneer and boogie-woogie pianist Fats Domino, at home aged 89.

- December 6: France&39;s best-known rock star Johnny Hallyday, aged 74 after a battle with lung cancer.

- December 25: Renowned South African musician and producer Robbie Malinga, aged 47 after battling pancreatic cancer following months of bad health, which saw the artist hospitalised a number of times.

READ: US actor Harry Dean Stanton dead at 91


- February 6: South African rugby legend Joost van der Westhuizen, aged 45, at his home after a five-year battle with motor neurone disease.


- March 20: David Rockefeller, banker, philanthropist and heir of the powerful US dynasty, aged 101 in his sleep at home.

- September 8: French fashion tycoon Pierre Berge, former partner of Yves Saint Laurent, aged 86 after a long illness at home.

- September 21: The world&39;s richest woman and l&39;Oreal heiress, Liliane Bettencourt, aged 94, at her home in Paris.


- May 19: US war photographer Stanley Greene, winner of five World Press Photo awards, in a Paris hospital aged 68, after a long illness.

- Veteran sports broadcaster Cebo Manyaapelo aged 50 after a long illness.

Not forgetting ...

- May 15: Britain&39;s "Moors Murderer" Ian Brady, imprisoned for life in 1966 for torturing and murdering five children, aged 79, at a high-security hospital.

- June 16: Christian Cabrol, a French cardiac surgeon known for performing Europe&39;s first heart transplant, aged 91 in a Paris hospital.

- November 20: Charles Manson, the cult leader behind a savage killing spree in the United States in the 1960s, aged 83 in a California hospital.