2011 Obituaries

Compiled Stacey Palmer | 12/19/2011, 9:13 p.m.
Patrice O'Neal...

Patrice O'Neal - Veteran stand-up comic Patrice O'Neal, who expanded his following through TV and radio, died 11/29/2011 in a New York-area hospital from complications of a stroke he suffered last month. He was 41.

Heavy D, the large-and-in-charge rhymer who rose to fame with a string of hits in the late '80s and early '90s, has died in Los Angeles on 11/08/2011. He was 44. , the rapper was reportedly rushed to the hospital around noon, and pronounced dead a short time later.

Joe Frazier, who died 11/7/2011, after a brief battle with liver cancer at the age of 67, will forever be linked to Ali. But no one in boxing would ever dream of anointing Ali as The Greatest unless he, too, was linked to Smokin' Joe.

Fred Shuttlesworth, who survived bombings, beatings and that 1963 encounter with the fire hose that left him with chest injuries, in the civil rights movement died 10/05/11 at 89 at Princeton Baptist Medical Center in Birmingham.

Jessy Dixon, a gospel legend and major influence on generations of soul singers, died at the age of 73 in his Chicago home, NPR reports. According to the New York Times, Dixon had been ill for several years but his family has declined to reveal the cause of death.

Vesta Williams Big-voiced R&B diva Vesta Williams, perhaps best-known for her 1980s hits Don't Blow A Good Thing& and Congratulations, has been found dead of a possible drug overdose 9/22/10 in a Southern California. She was 53 years old.

Nick Ashford, one-half of the legendary Motown songwriting duo Ashford & Simpson that penned elegant, soulful classics for the likes of Diana Ross and Marvin Gaye and funk hits for Chaka Khan and others, died 8/22/11 at age 70, from throat cancer.

Former NFL star Bubba Smith, who went from feared defensive end on the field to endearing giant in his successful second career as an actor, died 8/3/11. He was 66. LA coroner's spokesman Ed Winter said Smith was found dead at his Baldwin Hills home. Cause of death unknown.

Delois Barrett Campbell, a member of the award-winning Barrett Sisters trio who electrified audiences worldwide with their powerful gospel harmonies, died 8/2/11. She was 85. Campbell died at a Chicago hospital after a long illness, daughter Mary Campbell said.

John MackeyAge: 69 John Mackey revolutionized the tight end position, his incomparable ability to catch passes off the line of scrimmage. The Hall of Famer for the Baltimore Colts died at age 69. No cause was given.