Deaths in 2009
Estelle Bennett of the 1960s girl group The Ronnettes, known for their hit song “Be My Baby”, died in February, 2009. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-er’s body was found in her New Jersey apartment on February 11, 2009. Since the Ronette’s break-up in 1966, Bennett had suffered from mental illness and a bout of homelessness.
The most talked about death this year, Michael Jackson passed away on June 25 at 50 years old from heart failure. Jackson had been given a number of prescription drugs administered to him, including propofol and lorazepam. His untimely death shook the entire world.
E. Lynn Harris
New York Times best-selling author E. Lynn Harris died at 54 on July 23, 2009. Harris is credited with introducing the world to the secret lives of Black gay men in America with his books, “Invisible Life” and “A Love of My Own.”
NBA player turned jazz musician, Wayman Tisdale, passed away on May 15, 2009 at St. John Medical Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma after he complained of having difficulty breathing. Tisdale was fighting cancer.However, it is undetermined if his death was due to the disease.
Mike Tyson’s 4-year-old daughter (not pictured) Exodus died on May 26 after being hospitalized from an accident with a treadmill in her Phoenix, Arizona home. Exodus was on taken off life-support on May 26. A heart broken Mike Tyson spoke about the death of his “angel” on an episode of “The Oprah Show” that aired on October 11.
Chicago blues legend Koko Taylor passed on at age 80 on Wednesday June 3, 2009, after complications arose from a gastrointestinal surgery.Taylor had hoped she would die on stage.
Former Tennessee Titans quarterback Steve LaTreal McNair was found dead from multiple gunshot wounds, along with the body of a woman named Sahel Kazemi, in a Nashville condominium on July 4. The police declared his death a murder-suicide, with Kazemi as the shooter.
On August 1, 2009 the first Black supermodel, Naomi Sims, died of cancer. She was 61.
A.J. Jewell, ex-fiancee of Kandi Burress, from Total, who stars in “Real Housewives of Atlanta”, died on October 2, 2009 from severe head injuries, suffered during a fight that broke at at a strip club in Atlanta, Georgia.
Margaret Bush Wilson
Activist, attorney and former NAAP National Board of Directors Chair Margaret Bush Wilson passed away on August 11, 2009. Wilson also chaired historically African American colleges, Talladega and St. Augustine’s College.
Willie Maxine Perry
Willie Maxine Perry, mother of actor/director Tyler Perry, died at age 64 on December 8, 2009.
Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chris Henry died on December 17 after suffering severe injuries in a car accident when he fell off of the back of a pick-up truck, being driven by his fiancee Loleini Tonga. Henry was 26 and left behind three children.
Alaina Reed Hall Amini
Remembered for her roles on 80s sitcom, “227”, and “Sesame Street”, actress Alaina Reed Hall-Amini died on December 17, 2009 at age 63 after battling with breast cancer.
Ann Nixon Cooper
Former activist Ann Nixon Cooper died at age 107 on December 22. Nixon Cooper got huge attention last year when Obama thanked the former Atlanta, GA resident who voted for the president, during his acceptance speech.
Attorney, politician and entrepreneur Percy Ellis Sutton died on Saturday December 26, 2009 at age 89. Sutton is remembered for his work as Malcolm X’s lawyer and as one of the esteemed Tuskegee Airmen in World War II, founder of the Inner City Broadcasting Company, owner of the famed Apollo theater, and co-owner of The Amsterdam News. Sutton also served on the New York State Assembly as Manhattan borough president in the late 60’s.