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Brittany Murphy


10 November 1977 – 20 December 2009 (Aged 32)

Murphy was an American actress most recognized for her starring roles in 8 Mile, Sin City, and Girl, Interrupted.

Among her other, most famous films are Clueless, Drop Dead Gorgeous, and Happy Feet, as well as voicing the character of Luanne Platter on the television series King of the Hill from 1997 to 2009.

Tragically, Murphy died at the age of 32. Initially, the cause of death was reported as a heart attack, but her death was later attributed to acute pneumonia and severe anemia.

Curiously, her husband, Simon Monjack, died five months later, with the coroner’s report stating Monjack’s death also to be from acute pneumonia and severe anemia, the same as his wife’s death five months earlier in the same house.

John Hughes


18 February 1950 – 6 August 2009 (Aged 59)

Hughes was a successful American director and screenwriter, responsible for some of the most successful comedy films of the 1980s and early 90s such as the National Lampoon films, The Breakfast ClubFerris Bueller’s Day Off, and Pretty in Pink.

Hughes’ ability to portray honest depictions of small-town teenage life has seen his much-loved coming-of-age teen comedies endure the test of time.

Among his other, most famous films are Home Alone 1,2, & 3, Weird Science, Uncle Buck, Beethoven, 101 Dalmatians, and Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

Hughes helped to launch the careers of actors such as Macauley Culkin, Matthew Broderick, and the “Brat Pack”, which included Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, Andrew McCarthy, Demi Moore, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, and Ally Sheedy.

In 2009, Hughes suffered a fatal heart attack while out for a walk in New York City at the age of 59.

Norman Borlaug


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25 March 1914 – 12 September 2009 (Aged 95)

Borlaug was a remarkable American scientist and humanitarian who led initiatives around the world that contributed to the extensive increases in agricultural production, earning him the title “the Father of the Green Revolution.”

In the mid-20th century, Borlaug led the introduction of high-yielding, disease-resistant wheat varieties combined with modern agricultural production techniques to Mexico, Pakistan, and India.

These measures resulted in Mexico becoming a net exporter of wheat by 1963, while wheat yields nearly doubled in Pakistan and India between 1965 and 1970.

In recognition of his life’s work, Borlaug was awarded numerous honors, including the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize, the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal.

It is estimated that Borlaug’s efforts have saved the lives of up to one billion people around the world. Borlaug died of lymphoma at the age of 95.

Les Paul


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9 June 1915 – 12 August 2009 (Aged 94)

Paul was an American guitarist and inventor who was one of the pioneers of the solid-body electric guitar.

In 1941, Paul designed a solid-body electric guitar, but it was not ready for production by Gibson until 1952.

By which time, Leo Fender had already mass-produced the Fender Broadcaster, beating Paul to popular credit for the invention.

Although he was not the first to use the techniques, Paul is credited with contributing to many recording innovations, such as experimenting with overdubbing, delay effects, phasing effects, and multitrack recording.

Paul is one of a select few artists with a permanent, stand-alone exhibit in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Honored with numerous awards during his life, Paul has been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and is the only person to be inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

At the age of 94, Paul died from complications associated with pneumonia.

Natasha Richardson


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11 May 1963 – 18 March 2009 (Aged 45)

Richardson was an English-American actress who a Tony award winner for her role in Cabaret on Broadway in 1998.

Among her best-known films are in The Handmaid’s Tale, Patty HearstThe Parent TrapMaid in Manhattan, and Wild Child.

Richardson’s were steeped in the film industry, being the daughter of actress Vanessa Redgrave and director Tony Richardson, and the sister of actress Joely. She was married to the actor Liam Neeson.

During her life, Richardson played an active role in helping to raise millions of dollars in the fight against AIDS, following the death of her father Tony Richardson from AIDS-related causes in 1991.

Tragically, after falling multiple times while skiing in Quebec, Canada, her head injuries proved to be worse than she had presumed, turning fatal due to a lack of treatment.

It was concluded she died from blunt trauma to her head, aged 45.

Kim Dae-jung

(South Korean President)

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6 January 1924 – 18 August 2009 (Aged 85)

Dae-Jung was a South Korean politician who served as President of South Korea from 1998 to 2003.

In 2000, he received the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to restore democracy in South Korea and for trying to improve relations with North Korea.

He is the only Korean Nobel Prize recipient in history.

Kim came to power in the midst of an economic crisis and vigorously pushed economic reform and restructuring.

Through his leadership, Kim ushered in a new era of economic transparency and a greater role for South Korea on the world stage, including the hosting of the FIFA World Cup in 2002, jointly hosted with Japan.

Kim died as a result of multiple organ failure at the age of 85.