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‘Dirty Dancing’ star Patrick Swayze dies at 57

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APTOPIX People Patrick Swayze

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LOS ANGELES – Patrick Swayze personified a particular kind of masculine grace both on and off screen, from his roles in films like “Dirty Dancing” and “Ghost” to the way he carried himself in his long fight with pancreatic cancer.

Swayze died from the illness on Monday in Los Angeles, his publicist said. He was 57.

“Patrick Swayze passed away peacefully today with family at his side after facing the challenges of his illness for the last 20 months,” Annett Wolf said in a statement Monday evening. She declined to give details.

Fans of the actor were saddened to learn in March 2008 that Swayze was suffering from an especially deadly form of cancer. He continued working despite the diagnosis, putting together a memoir with his wife and shooting “The Beast,” an A&E drama series for which he had already made the pilot.

Swayze said he chose not to use painkillers while making “The Beast” because they would have taken the edge off his performance. The show drew a respectable 1.3 million viewers when the 13 episodes ran this year, but A&E said it reluctantly decided not to renew it for a second season.

When he first went public with the illness, some reports gave him only weeks to live, but his doctor said his situation was “considerably more optimistic” than that. Swayze acknowledged that time might be running out given the grim nature of the disease.

“I’d say five years is pretty wishful thinking,” Swayze told ABC’s Barbara Walters in early 2009. “Two years seems likely if you’re going to believe statistics. I want to last until they find a cure, which means I’d better get a fire under it.”

And that’s exactly what he did. In February, Swayze wrote an op-ed piece in the Washington Post titled, “I’m Battling Cancer. How About Some Help, Congress?” in which he urged senators and representatives to vote for the maximum funding for the National Institutes of Health to fight cancer as part of the economic stimulus package.

He also appeared in the September 2008 live television event “Stand Up to Cancer,” where he pleaded: “I keep dreaming of a future, a future with a long and healthy life, a life not lived in the shadow of cancer, but in the light. … I dream that the word `cure’ will no longer be followed by the words `is impossible.'”

Celebrities and fans inspired by Swayze’s struggle poured out their condolences, including C. Thomas Howell, who costarred with Swayze in “The Outsiders,” “Grandview U.S.A.” and “Red Dawn.”

“I have always had a special place in my heart for Patrick,” he said. “While I was fortunate enough to work with him in three films, it was our passion for horses that forged a friendship between us that I treasure to this day.”

Others used Twitter to express their sadness, and “Dirty Dancing” was a top trending topic Monday night, trailed by other Swayze films.

Demi Moore, who played Swayze’s fiancee in “Ghost,” wrote: “Patrick you are loved by so many and your light will forever shine in all of our lives.” Moore’s husband, Ashton Kutcher, tweeted: “RIP P Swayze” and linked to a YouTube clip of the actor poking fun at himself in a classic “Saturday Night Live” sketch, in which he played a wannabe Chippendales dancer alongside the corpulent — and frighteningly shirtless — Chris Farley.

Larry King wrote: “Patrick Swayze was a wonderful actor & a terrific guy. He put his heart in everything. He was an extraordinary fighter in his battle w Cancer.” King added that he’d do a tribute to Swayze on his CNN program Tuesday night.

A three-time Golden Globe nominee, Swayze became a star with his performance as the misunderstood bad boy Johnny Castle in “Dirty Dancing.” As the son of a choreographer who began his career in musical theater, he seemed a natural to play the role.

A coming-of-age romance starring Jennifer Grey as an idealistic young woman on vacation with her family and Swayze as the Catskills resort’s sexy (and much older) dance instructor, the film made use of both his grace on his feet and his muscular physique.

It became an international phenomenon in the summer of 1987, spawning albums, an Oscar-winning hit song in “(I’ve Had) the Time of My Life,” stage productions and a sequel, 2004’s “Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights,” in which he made a cameo.

Swayze performed and co-wrote a song on the soundtrack, the ballad “She’s Like the Wind,” inspired by his wife, Lisa Niemi. The film also gave him the chance to utter the now-classic line, “Nobody puts Baby in a corner.”

Swayze followed up with the 1989 action flick “Road House,” in which he played a bouncer at a rowdy bar. But it was his performance in 1990’s “Ghost” that showed his vulnerable, sensitive side. He starred as a murdered man trying to communicate with his fiancee, with great frustration and longing, through a psychic played by Whoopi Goldberg.

“Ghost” provided yet another indelible musical moment: Swayze and Moore sensually molding pottery together to the strains of the Righteous Brothers’ “Unchained Melody.” It also earned a best-picture nomination and a supporting-actress Oscar for Goldberg, who said she wouldn’t have won if it weren’t for Swayze.

“When I won my Academy Award, the only person I really thanked was Patrick,” Goldberg said in March 2008 on the ABC daytime talk show “The View.”

Swayze himself earned three Golden Globe nominations, for “Dirty Dancing,” “Ghost” and 1995’s “To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar,” which allowed him to toy with his masculine image. The role called for him to play a drag queen on a cross-country road trip alongside Wesley Snipes and John Leguizamo.

His heartthrob status almost kept him from being considered for the role of Vida Boheme.

“I couldn’t get seen on it because everyone viewed me as terminally heterosexually masculine-macho,” he told The Associated Press then. But he transformed himself so completely that when his screen test was sent to Steven Spielberg, whose Amblin pictures produced “To Wong Foo,” the director didn’t recognize him.

Among his earlier films, Swayze was part of the star-studded lineup in Francis Ford Coppola’s 1983 adaptation of S.E. Hinton’s novel “The Outsiders,” alongside Rob Lowe, Tom Cruise, Matt Dillon, Ralph Macchio, Emilio Estevez and Diane Lane. Other ’80s films included “Red Dawn,” “Grandview U.S.A.” and “Youngblood,” once more with Lowe, as Canadian hockey teammates.

In the ’90s, he made such eclectic films as “Point Break” (1991) in which he played the leader of a band of bank-robbing surfers, and the family Western “Tall Tale” (1995) in which he starred as Pecos Bill. He appeared on the cover of People magazine as its “Sexiest Man Alive” in 1991, but his career tapered off toward the end of the 1990s, when he went to rehab for alcohol abuse. In 2001, he appeared in the cult favorite “Donnie Darko,” and in 2003 he returned to the New York stage with “Chicago”; 2006 found him in the musical “Guys and Dolls” in London.

Swayze was born in 1952 in Houston, the son of Jesse Swayze and choreographer Patsy Swayze, whose films include “Urban Cowboy.”

He played football but also was drawn to dance and theater, performing with the Feld, Joffrey and Harkness Ballets and appearing on Broadway as Danny Zuko in “Grease.” He turned to acting in 1978 after a series of injuries.

Within a couple years of moving to Los Angeles, he made his debut in the roller-disco movie “Skatetown, U.S.A.” The eclectic cast included Scott Baio, Flip Wilson, Maureen McCormack and Billy Barty.

Off-screen, he was an avid conservationist who was moved by his time in Africa to shine a light on “man’s greed and absolute unwillingness to operate according to Mother Nature’s laws,” he told the AP in 2004.

Swayze was married since 1975 to Niemi, a fellow dancer who took lessons with his mother; they met when he was 19 and she was 15. A licensed pilot, Niemi would fly her husband from Los Angeles to Northern California for treatment at Stanford University Medical Center.
Source: Yahoo News

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World’s oldest person dies in Los Angeles at 115

Obit Oldest PersonLOS ANGELES – Although she liked her bacon crispy and her chicken fried, she never drank, smoked or fooled around, Gertrude Baines once said, describing a life that lasted an astonishing 115 years and earned her the title of oldest person on the planet.

It was a title Baines quietly relinquished Friday when she died in her sleep at Western Convalescent Hospital, her home since she gave up living alone at age 107 after breaking a hip.

She likely suffered a heart attack, said her longtime physician, Dr. Charles Witt, although an autopsy was scheduled to determine the exact cause of death.

“I saw her two days ago, and she was just doing fine,” Witt told The Associated Press on Friday. “She was in excellent shape. She was mentally alert. She smiled frequently.”

Baines was born in Shellman, Ga., on April 6, 1894, when Grover Cleveland was in the White House, radio communication was just being developed and television was still more than a half-century from becoming a ubiquitous household presence.

She was 4 years old when the Spanish-American War broke out and 9 when the first World Series was played. She had already reached middle age by the time the U.S. entered World War II in 1941.

Throughout it all, Baines said last year, it was a life she thoroughly enjoyed.

“I’m glad I’m here. I don’t care if I live a hundred more,” she said with a hearty laugh after casting her vote for Barack Obama for president. “I enjoy nothing but eating and sleeping.”

Her vote for Obama, she added, had helped fulfill a lifelong dream of seeing a black man elected president.

“We all the same, only our skin is dark and theirs is white,” said Baines, who was black.

The centenarian, who worked as a maid at Ohio State University dormitories until her retirement, had outlived all of her family members. Her only daughter died of typhoid at age 18.

In her final years, she passed her days watching her favorite TV program, “The Jerry Springer Show,” and consuming her favorite foods: bacon, fried chicken and ice cream. She complained often, however, that the bacon served to her was too soft.

“Two days ago, when I saw her, she was talking about the fact that the bacon wasn’t crisp enough, that it was soggy,” Witt said.

She became the world’s oldest person in January when Maria de Jesus died in Portugal at 115.

The title brought with it a spotlight of attention, and Baines was asked frequently about the secret to a long life. She shrugged off such questions, telling people to ask God instead.

“She told me that she owes her longevity to the Lord, that she never did drink, she never did smoke and she never did fool around,” Witt said at a party marking her 115th birthday.

At the party, Baines sat quietly, paying little attention as nursing home staffers and residents sang “Happy Birthday” and presented congratulatory notices from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sen. Dianne Feinstein and others. But she laughed when told the Los Angeles Dodgers had given her a cooler filled with hot dogs.

With Baines’ death, 114-year-old Kama Chinen of Japan becomes the world’s oldest person, said Dr. L. Stephen Coles of the Gerontology Research Group, which tracks claims of extreme old age. Chinen was born May 10, 1895.

The oldest person who ever lived, Coles said, was Jeanne-Louise Calment, who was 122 when she died Aug. 4, 1997, in Arles, France.

Source: Associated Press

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AP Source: Coroner rules Jackson’s death homicide

LOS ANGELES – Michael Jackson’s death has been ruled a homicide caused by a mix of drugs meant to treat insomnia, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press, while his personal doctor told investigators he was actually trying to wean the King of Pop off the powerful anesthetic that did him in.

Forensic tests found the anesthetic propofol combined with at least two sedatives to kill Jackson, according to the official, who spoke Monday on condition of anonymity because the findings have not been publicly released. Based on those tests, the Los Angeles County Coroner has ruled the death a homicide, the official said.

The coroner’s homicide ruling does not necessarily mean a crime was committed. But it makes it more likely criminal charges will be filed against Dr. Conrad Murray, the Las Vegas cardiologist who was caring for the pop star when he died June 25 in a rented Los Angeles mansion.

Through his lawyer, Murray has said he administered nothing that “should have” killed Jackson.

Murray told investigators that Jackson stopped breathing about 10 minutes after he relented and finally gave in to his patient’s demands for propofol around 10:40 a.m., following a night-long regimen of sedatives that did not work, according to court documents unsealed Monday.

A search warrant affidavit unsealed in Houston, where Los Angeles police took materials from one of Murray’s clinics last month as part of their manslaughter investigation, includes a detailed account of what detectives say Murray told them. Manslaughter is homicide without malice or premeditation.

The doctor said he’d been treating Jackson for insomnia for about six weeks with 50 milligrams of propofol every night via an intravenous drip, the affidavit said. Murray said he feared Jackson was becoming addicted to the anesthetic, which is supposed to be used only in hospitals and other advanced medical settings, so he had lowered the dose to 25 milligrams and added the sedatives lorazepam and midazolam.
The rest of the article here.
Another video from his great artistic activity.


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Coroner says Jackson died from lethal dose of propofol

HOUSTON (Reuters) – Pop star Michael Jackson died from a lethal dose of the powerful anesthetic propofol given in a cocktail of drugs, leading authorities to suspect his doctor of manslaughter, court documents showed on Monday.

The “Thriller” singer suffered cardiac arrest and died on June 25 at age 50. Since then, an investigation by state and federal agencies have focused on Conrad Murray, Jackson’s personal doctor who was at his bedside the day he died.

The findings, contained in a warrant to search Murray’s home and offices, paint a picture of an insomniac pop star who could not sleep without heavy medication. Jackson sought out propofol — routinely used to sedate patients and anesthetize them before surgeries such as a colonoscopy — and called it his “milk.”

“The Los Angeles Chief Medical Examiner-Coroner, Dr. (Lakshmanan) Sathyavagiswaran, indicated that he had reviewed the preliminary toxicology results and his preliminary assessment of Jackson’s cause of death was due to lethal levels of propofol (diprivan),” according to a warrant to search Murray’s offices issued by California.

The document was unsealed and released by the Harris County District Clerk in Houston, where Murray has an office. U.S. agents raided the office on July 22.

In an affidavit seeking the warrant, Houston police officer E.G. Chance said U.S. agents had gathered “items constituting evidence of the offense of manslaughter that tend to show that Dr. Conrad Murray committed the said criminal offense.”

Murray’s attorney, Ed Chernoff, was not available to comment.

In a statement, a representative said Jackson’s family has “full confidence in the legal process, and commends the ongoing efforts of the L.A. County Coroner, the L.A. District Attorney and the L.A. Police Department.”
The rest of the article here.
Let’s remember one again how great he was!


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Michael Jackson’s dad says burial set for August 29

Michael Jackson’s father has said the “King of Pop” will be buried at a Los Angeles cemetery on August 29, which would have been his 51st birthday, a newspaper reported on Monday.
Joe Jackson told the New York Daily News that the plan was finalized in recent days..

Media reports last week said Jackson, who died June 25 of cardiac arrest, was buried in a private ceremony in early August. But those reports were based on unnamed sources and never confirmed by Jackson family representatives..

A Jackson family spokesman was not immediately available Monday to comment on the Daily News story, nor was a spokesman at Los Angeles’ Forest Lawn cemetery, where Joe Jackson said his son would be buried..

A public memorial for the singer was held in July, but there was never an official confirmation that the “Thriller” singer was buried after the event..

The reason behind Jackson’s cardiac arrest remains a mystery. The Los Angeles County Coroner’s office has completed its autopsy report but its findings remain sealed until police conclude their investigation..

Los Angeles police are looking into the role prescription drugs may have played in Jackson’s death and the actions of doctors who were treating him in the weeks before he died.
Source: Reuters
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Russian fighter jets sold off for $5

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian investigators are probing the illegal sale of four fuselages of MiG-31 interceptor fighter jets that were sold off for as little as $5 (2.98 pounds), although worth $3.7 million each, RIA news agency said on Thursday.

Corruption is rife across Russia, with the country’s President Dmitry Medvedev repeatedly pledging to launch crackdowns and repeatedly complaining this week about officials who demand bribes.

The sale came to light after an anti-corruption check was carried out to see whether regulations were followed during the sale of items from the Sokol Aircraft Construction plant located in the Russian Volga city of Nizhny Novgorod, RIA reported.

“As a result, long-range supersonic interceptor aircraft that were not for sale were purchased by a dummy firm,” prosecutors were quoted as saying by RIA. It did not say where the jet bodies had been found.

Source: Reuters

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John Travolta’s son, sixteen years old died in his father’s arms on friday

http://www.travolta.com/
Story photo: Travolta says he is heartbroken at son’s death
Travolta’s teenage son has died after injuring himself at the actor’s vacation home. Police spokeswoman Loretta Mackey says 16-year-old Jett Travolta hit his head in a bathtub Friday Jan. 2, 2009. She said he was declared dead at Rand Memorial Hospital on Grand Bahama Island.

FREEPORT, Bahamas – John Travolta and Kelly Preston are “heartbroken” over the death of their chronically ill 16-year-old son, who collapsed at the family’s vacation home on Grand Bahama, the actors said Sunday.

Police Superintendent Basil Rahming has said a caretaker found Jett Travolta unconscious in a bathroom late Friday morning and he was later pronounced dead at a Freeport hospital. The youth was last seen entering the bathroom on Thursday, according to Rahming’s police statement.

“We are heartbroken that our time with him was so brief. We will cherish the time we had with him for the rest of our lives,” Travolta and Preston, his wife, said in their first public statement since Jett’s death.

“Jett was the most wonderful son that two parents could ever ask for and lit up the lives of everyone he encountered,” said a statement posted Sunday on Travolta’s Web site.

“We have received many messages of condolence from around the world and we want to thank everyone for their prayers and support. It has meant so much to us. It is a beautiful reminder of the inherent goodness in the human spirit that gives us hope for a brighter future.”

Preston and Travolta have said that Jett became very sick when he was 2 years old and was diagnosed with Kawasaki Syndrome, an illness that leads to inflamed blood vessels in young children. Preston blamed household cleaners and fertilizers, and said that a detoxification program based on teachings from the Church of Scientology helped improve his health, according to People magazine. Others said Jett was prone to seizures.

Michael McDermott, an attorney for the actor, said Sunday that although Jett was last seen Thursday and found the following day, he doesn’t believe that the teen was in the bathroom for a substantial amount of time.

“The police left the impression that the boy was unsupervised. No. There were two nannies with him for the entire evening,” McDermott told The Associated Press. “They made it seem like he was sent to the condo and nobody checked in on him until the next morning.”

“(Jett) was spectacularly supervised,” said McDermott, who said he has not had the chance to talk to the two nannies himself.

McDermott said he had no knowledge of Jett’s medical history but “understood he had a history of seizures.” It is unclear whether Jett was taking medication for that.

The Bahamas’ health minister, Dr. Hubert Minnis, has said that a second, U.S.-certified pathologist will fly in at dawn Monday to assist with the teenager’s autopsy.

“I have spoken to (Travolta) and informed him that the government is doing everything it can,” Minnis said Sunday, adding he could not disclose further specifics about the autopsy.

About a dozen security guards and Bahamian police officers patrolled Sunday around the luxury Old Bahama Bay resort community where Travolta and Preston remained inside their home. The white-sand beach in front of the suites was closed.

The couple also have an 8-year-old daughter, Ella Bleu.

Travolta, 54, is trying to finish funeral arrangements and hopes to fly his son’s body to Florida by midweek, McDermott said. Travolta and Preston, 46, have a house in Ocala, Florida.

The Church of Scientology, established in 1945 by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, has attracted numerous celebrity followers, and among its more famed members is Travolta, who has long been one of Hollywood’s biggest names.

_____
Associated Press Writers Lisa Orkin Emmanuel in Miami and David McFadden in San Juan, Puerto Rico, contributed to this report.

Sursa: omg.yahoo.com_

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