Carroll Shelby Died Suffering Heart, Decades after a heart condition forced him to retire from racing, Carroll Shelby still loved to drive muscle cars. Well into his 80s, the legendary car designer spent hours testing his last Mustang Shelby GT500, which sets a new record for horsepower and hits a top speed of more than 200 miles per hour.
A one-time chicken farmer, Shelby had more than a half-dozen successful careers during his long life: champion race car driver, racing team owner, automotive consultant and safari tour operator. His fabled Shelby Cobra sports car became an automotive and cultural icon, and he was later credited with injecting testosterone into Ford’s Mustang and Chrysler’s Viper.
We remember those who died in the sports world in 2012.
When Shelby died Thursday night in a Dallas hospital, he also was one of the nation’s longest-living heart transplant recipients, having received a heart on June 7, 1990, from a 34-year-old man who died of an aneurysm. Shelby also received a kidney transplant in 1996 from his son, Michael.
”What made him so unusual is he developed, literally, hundreds of cars,” said Craig Jackson, chairman and CEO of Barrett-Jackson Auction Company. ”This guy was 89 years old and he was still developing cars.”
Shelby first made his name behind the wheel of a car, winning France’s grueling 24 Hours of Le Mans sports car race with teammate Ray Salvadori in 1959. He had turned to the race-car circuit in the 1950s after his chicken ranch failed. He won dozens of races in various classes throughout the 1950s and was twice named Sports Illustrated’s Driver of the Year.
He already was suffering serious heart problems when he won Le Mans and ran the race ”with nitroglycerin pills under his tongue,” his longtime friend, Dick Messer, former executive director of Los Angeles’ Petersen Automotive Museum, once noted. Soon after his win at Le Mans, he gave up racing and turned his attention to designing high-powered ”muscle cars” that eventually became the Shelby Cobra and the Mustang Shelby GT500. (FOXSports)
Doug Dillard Lung Infection, Doug Dillard has died of a lung infection in Nashville, his family said. He was 75.The banjo icon died Wednesday, a publicist said.
With his brother Rod, Douglas Flint Dillard was part of The Dillards, a top-tier bluegrass band that helped popularize the genre in the 1960s and was inducted into the Bluegrass Hall of Fame in 2009.
The Dillards made regular appearances on television’s “The Andy Griffith Show” as The Darlings, with Griffith — as Sheriff Andy Taylor — frequently sitting in with the group. They have been credited with laying the groundwork for the development of country rock music, the Los Angeles Times said.
“I would put him at the very top level of proficiency on the banjo, right up there with Earl Scruggs,” Chris Hillman, a founding member of the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers, told the Times. “He was a great musician, and he greatly influenced me.”
Scruggs was a great influence on Dillard, who as a teenager wrote letters to Scruggs, and eventually helped incorporate early 1950s rock-and-roll into the Dillards’ bluegrass sound.
“Doug Dillard was a banjo icon,” actor and banjo man Steve Martin said in a written statement. “He, along with his group, the Dillards, influenced so many players … . He was fast, clean and a melodic player with his own style.” (Reality TV World)
Donna Summer Home Key West Diagnosed With Cancer, Donna Summer, one of the most renowned names in the world of disco music, has passed away at her home in Key West, Florida at the age of 63 after a long battle with lung cancer.
The singer, who first burst onto the world stage with her smash hit Love To Love You Baby back in 1975, was one of the most prominent artists of the mid-’70s disco era, though her career managed to continue strongly after disco went out of fashion, remaining a fixture on the charts through the 1980. She was reported to be working on a new album in recent times, a follow up to her last record, 2008′s Colors.
Summer is survived by her husband Bruce Sudano and her daughters Brooklyn, Amanda and Mimi. In a statement they say they “are at peace celebrating her extraordinary life and her continued legacy… Words truly can’t express how much we appreciate your prayers and love for our family at this sensitive time.”
Today Quincy Jones paid tribute, saying, “Your voice was the heartbeat and soundtrack of a decade.” (theMusic)
Gibb Colorectal Cancer At 62, One of the most beloved trios in pop history is now down to a single surviving member. Robin Gibb, 62, died Sunday of colorectal cancer — following twin brother Maurice, who died in 2003 after suffering a blocked intestine and cardiac arrest.
Robin, who had been hospitalized for pneumonia and underwent surgery to remove a growth from his colon, was central to the group’s success both as a songwriter and a vocalist. He was the original lead singer, and his tangy, tremulous tenor and older brother Barry’s deeper, breathier, falsetto-prone voice were constants as the Bee Gees traversed a wide range of musical styles.
Though the family act first gained attention in the ’60s for Beatle-esque pop tunes, they moved into orchestral rock and then the soaring disco that made them superstars in the late ’70s. Their contributions made 1977’s Saturday Night Fever soundtrack a No. 1 album for 24 weeks, earning them chart-topping singles in “Stayin’ Alive,” “Night Fever” and “How Deep Is Your Love.”
Gibb nodded to the Bee Gees’ different phases and the shifting tastes of pop audiences in his solo career, which predated the band’s commercial heyday and continued after his twin’s death.
In 1969, he had a No. 2 hit in the U.K. with the lush, pining “Saved By the Bell.” 1983’s lithe, danceable “Juliet” became a fan favorite, while 20 years later Gibb incorporated a rap segment into “Please,” a minor hit in England.
He also collaborated with Barry in writing “Woman in Love,” a No. 1 single for Barbra Streisand in 1980. The brothers collaborated on hits for artists ranging from Dionne Warwick (“Heartbreaker”) to Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers (“Islands in the Stream”). (Jackson Sun)
Claude Miller Death After Long Illness, French film director, producer and screenwriter Claude Miller, whose works include “The Best Way to Walk” and “Class Trip”, has died aged 70, his production company said Thursday.
Miller died Wednesday in Paris after a long illness, said Les Films du 24, one of his production companies.
“A sad day, Claude Miller is dead,” tweeted the Cannes Film Festival, at which Miller was awarded the special jury prize in 1998 for “Class Trip.”
Among other renowned works by the film-maker are “La Petite Voleuse” (The Little Thief) which starred Charlotte Gainsbourg; “Garde a Vue” (Custody) in 1981; and “Mortelle Randonnee” (Mortal Circuit) in 1983.
Alain Sussfeld, head of the UGC cinema chain which produced and distributed several of his films, paid tribute to one of France’s greatest directors of actors — a sentiment echoed by some of those who had appeared in his films.
Miller was a director “madly in love with actresses”, said Sandrine Kiberlain, who starred in “Alias Betty” (“Betty Fisher et autres histoires”).
Actor Michel Blanc, who appeared in “The Best Way to Walk”, remembered him as “someone very gentle, extremely attentive”.
European commissioner for culture Androulla Vassiliou paid tribute to Miller’s work both as a film-maker and as head of the EU-funded Europa Cinemas network. (AFP)
Clark Heart Attack Surgery, Just one day before entertainment legend Dick Clark died of a heart attack, “America’s oldest teenager” was on an operating table, his official death certificate reveals.
According to the document, obtained by TMZ, Clark underwent a procedure for “benign prostatic hyperplasia” on April 17, a surgery meant to alleviate an enlarged prostate.
“He had very minor prostate surgery,” Congressman David Dreier told Extra of his old friend’s quick death. “All of a sudden, he got a feeling in his arm about 9:30 (Wednesday) morning and he was gone by 11:15. It turned out to be a massive heart attack.”
His official cause of death was listed as a heart attack. Clark was 82.
Immediately following the announcement of his death at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, Calif., celebrities and longtime fans took to Twitter to express their grief.
“REST IN PEACE to the DICK CLARK!!” rapper Snoop Dogg tweeted. “U were pioneer n a good man!! Thank u sir.”
“Dick Clark was a great friend, true legend, & a master journalist,” fellow broadcast legend Larry King wrote. “Nobody did what he did better. It was a pleasure to be in his company.”
Ryan Seacrest, who had joined Clark to host “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” in 2005 and considered the TV host a mentor, expressed his gratitude.