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Black Entertainer

Jimmy Ruffin, Motown singer, 'What Becomes of the Brokenhearted', dies 78

Jimmy Lee Ruffin (May 7, 1936 – November 17, 2014) was an American soul singer, and elder brother of David Ruffin of The Temptations.

He had several hit records between the 1960s and 1980s, the most successful being the Top 10 classics, "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" and "Hold On (To My Love)".

After leaving the Army in 1964, he returned to Motown, where he was offered the opportunity to join the Temptations to replace Elbridge Bryant. However, after hearing his brother David, they hired him for the job instead so Jimmy decided to resume his solo career.

Jimmy Ruffin cause of death.

Living in the Las Vegas, Nevada area, on October 17, 2014, it was reported that Jimmy was gravely ill and had been taken into an intensive care unit at a Las Vegas hospital. Ruffin died on November 17, 2014, in Las Vegas, aged 78.

Cause of death was not releases.

Jimmy Ruffin - What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted (1965)

Jim Kelly, Actor In 'Enter The Dragon,' Dies 67

James Milton "Jim" "the Dragon" Kelly (May 5, 1946 – June 29, 2013) was an American athlete, actor, and martial artist who rose to fame in the early 1970s. He was best known from his performance as Williams in the 1973 film Enter the Dragon.

Kelly became the first Black martial arts film star.

In 2004, he appeared with NBA star LeBron James in the Nike commercial "Chamber of Fear", a similarity of the Bruce Lee film Game of Death.

Kelly resided in southern California and worked as a professional tennis coach. He was still a popular draw at conventions such as the 2009 San Diego Comic-Con International.

Jim Kelly cause of death

Jim Kelly died of cancer on June 29, 2013 at his home in San Diego, California.  Jim Kelly was 67 years old at the time of his death

Most Unrecognized BADASS Jim Kelly

Bobby 'Blue' Bland, Blues Legend, Dies 83

grammy winner

Robert Calvin "Bobby" Bland (January 27, 1930 – June 23, 2013), also known as Bobby "Blue" Bland, was an American singer of blues and soul. He was an original member of the Beale Streeters, and was sometimes referred to as the "Lion of the Blues". Along with such artists as Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, and Junior Parker, Bland developed a sound that mixed gospel with the blues and R&B. An imitator of Frank Sinatra, he was also known as the “Sinatra of the blues”, his music being influenced by Nat King Cole.

Bobby Bland was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1981, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992, and received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997.

Bobby 'Blue' Bland cause of death

Bobby 'Blue' Bland died on June 23, 2013 at his home in Memphis after an illness.  Bobby 'Blue' Bland was 83 years old at the time of his death.

Bobby Blue Bland-Members Only

Chris Kelly of rap duo Kris Kross dies 34

On May 1, 2013 Chris Kelly, AKA "Mac Daddy", was found unresponsive in his Atlanta home. Kelly was pronounced dead around 5 pm on the south campus of the Atlanta Medical Center. He was 34 years old. A drug overdose is suspected.

Kris Kross was an American rap duo of the 1990s comprising Chris "Mac Daddy" Kelly and Chris "Daddy Mac" Smith. The duo was best known for their hit 1992 song "Jump", which was #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for eight weeks and was certified double platinum as a single. Kris Kross was also noted for their fashion style, which consisted of wearing their clothing backwards.

Kris Kross- Jump

Bobby Rogers, co-founder of Motown group the Miracles, dies 73

Bobby Rogers (February 19, 1940 – March 3, 2013), born Robert E. Rogers, was an American soul singer and songwriter, notable as a member of Motown Records' first signed act and first million selling group The Miracles from 1956 until 2011. He was inducted along with the other members of the Miracles - with the exception of Smokey Robinson - in 2012 to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Rogers was the grandfather of R&B singer Brandi Williams from the R&B girl group Blaque.

In addition to his work in The Miracles, Rogers was a part-time Motown songwriter; his most notable composition, authored with bandmate Smokey Robinson, was The Temptations' first hit single, "The Way You Do the Things You Do". Rogers also co-wrote The Temptations' 1965 hit "My Baby", Mary Wells' hit, "What Love Has Joined Together", The Contours' 1965 hit "First I Look at the Purse", (later covered by the J Geils Band), Marvin Gaye's 1966 Top 40 hit, "One More Heartache" and The Miracles' own 1964 Top 40 hit, "That's What Love Is Made Of", and their 1966 hit, "Going to a Go-Go". He is also noted for doing co-lead vocals on The Miracles' 1962 Top 10 smash, "You've Really Got a Hold on Me", and singing lead on the group's 1964 song, "You're So Fine And Sweet".Bobby was also reputed to be the group's best dancer, and was responsible for many of the Miracles' onstage routines,until the arrival of famed Motown choreographer Cholly Atkins.

Bobby Rogers cause of seath

Bobby Rogers died due to complications of diabetes on March 3, 2013.  Bobby Rogers was 73 years old at the time of his death.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction in 2012 (controversy)

In 1987, Smokey Robinson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist. However, in a decision that has since sparked much scrutiny, debate, and controversy, the other original members of The Miracles were not inducted. This proved a source of many protests from angry Miracles fans.

On February 9, 2012, after a 26 year wait, it was announced rest of The Miracles would be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame alongside Smokey Robinson. This induction occurred on April 14, 2012.  This induction occurred without the usual process of nomination and voting, under the premise that the entire group should have been inducted with Smokey Robinson back in 1987.

Smokey Robinson & The Miracles - You Really Got A Hold On Me
Bobby Rogers is the tallest gentleman with glasses

Jewel Akens, 60's Singer, 'Birds and the Bees' Dies 79

Jewel Eugene Akens (September 12, 1933, Houston, Texas – March 1, 2013, Inglewood, California) was an American singer and record producer.

One-hit-wonder singer Jewel Eugene Akens recorded "The Birds And The Bees" in 1965, on the Era Records label. The single went to Number 3 in the Billboard Hot 100 chart that year, and Number 2 on the Cash Box chart. It reached Number 29 in the UK Singles Chart. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. But the follow-up, "Georgie Porgie" only reached Number 68.

Jewel Akens cause of death

Jewel Akens died from complications of back surgery.  Jewel Akens was 79 years old at the time of his death. He is survived by his wife, Eddie Mae.

Jewel Akens - The Birds & The Bees

Fontella Bass, Singer, 'Rescue Me', Dies 72

Fontella Bass (July 3, 1940 – December 26, 2012) was an American soul singer, best known for the 1965 R&B hit "Rescue Me", which she also co-wrote.

Her health started fading after a series of strokes beginning in 2005.

Fontella Bass cause of death

Fontella Bass died at a St. Louis hospital from complications of a heart attack suffered in early December 2012. Fontella Bass was 72 years old at the time of her death

Fontella Bass - Rescue Me (Shindig 1965)

Major Harris, R&B singer, The Delfonics, dies 65

Major Harris III (February 9, 1947 – November 9, 2012) was an American R&B singer, associated with the Philadelphia soul sound and The Delfonics (early 1970s-1974).

In the early 1970s, he took over from Randy Cain as a member of The Delfonics; he quit the group to go solo in 1974. Signing with Atlantic Records, Harris scored a string of R&B hits in the United States, including the Top Ten single "Love Won't Let Me Wait", which peaked at #5 in the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and #37 in the UK Top 50. Written by Bobby Eli and Vinnie Barrett, "Love Won't Let Me Wait" was awarded a gold disc by the R.I.A.A. on 25 June 1975.

When his success as a soloist subsided, Harris returned to the Delfonics, and continued to tour with one of two touring ensembles that used the name in the 1990s and 2000s. Major was a cousin to the late Philadelphia record producer and arranger, Norman Harris.

Harris died in a Richmond, Virginia hospital from congestive heart and lung failure at the age of 65

Major Harris - Love won't let me wait

Natina Reed, Singer and 'Bring It On' actress, dies 32

Natina Tiawanna Reed (October 28, 1979 – October 26, 2012) was an American actress, rapper, singer, teen idol and songwriter in the R&B trio Blaque. On most of Blaque's songs, Reed is featured as a rapper, except on "Mind of a King" where she sings the song entirely on her own. She is also known as Blaque's rapper. Reed was a protégée of the late rapper Left Eye.

Reed contributed her own raps to many of Blaque's past singles, including "808", "Can't Get it Back" and "Bring It All to Me" (remix)

In 2001, Reed was engaged to rapper Kurupt. In 2002, she gave birth to their son Tren Brown after the group was dropped from their label. Reed and Kurupt were separated.

Reed was the cousin of former Destiny's Child member Farrah Franklin.

Natina Reed cause of death

Reed died on October 26, 2012, two days shy of her 33rd birthday, in a car accident as she was walking on a state highway in Atlanta, Georgia.

The accident happened about 10:30 p.m. near Lawrenceville, Georgia on U.S. Highway 29 near Hamilton Road. No charges are expected, said Gwinnett police. Police and firefighters arrived to find a bystander performing CPR on Reed at the scene. She was pronounced dead a short time later at Gwinnett Medical Center. A preliminary investigation indicates that Reed was in the roadway when she was struck. Only the vehicle's driver and a passenger witnessed the impact. The driver of the vehicle was determined to be not at fault, and there are no charges pending.

Blaque - Bring it All to Me (Natina Reed rapping)

R. B. Greaves, Singer, 'Take a Letter Maria', dies 68

Ronald Bertram Aloysius "R. B." Greaves III (November 28, 1943 - September 27, 2012) was a singer who had chart success in 1969 with the pop single "Take a Letter Maria". A #2 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, this single sold one million copies and earned a gold certification from the Recording Industry Association of America. Greaves also had a Top 40 pop hit a year later with "Always Something There to Remind Me"

R. B. Greaves cause of death
Greaves passed away in Los Angeles.  Cause of death was not released.
R. B. Greaves was 68 years old at the time of his death.

R.B. Greaves -Take A Letter Maria

Michael Clarke Duncan, Actor, 'Green Mile' dies 54

Michael Clarke Duncan (December 10, 1957 – September 3, 2012) was an American actor, best known for his breakout role as John Coffey in The Green Mile, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe. He is also recognized for his appearances in famous motion pictures such as Armageddon, The Whole Nine Yards, Brother Bear, and Daredevil as well as voice acting roles in works such as Delgo.

Michael Clarke Duncan Cause of Death
Michael Clarke Duncan was 54 at the time of his death.

Michael Clarke Duncan died of myocardial infarction (heart attack).  He suffered a myocardial infarction on July 13 and never fully recovered.

On August 6, 2012 Michael Clarke Duncan was moved from the intensive care unit but remained hospitalized following his July 13 heart attack.

On July 13, 2012, Duncan was sent to the hospital after suffering from a heart attack. It was reported that his girlfriend, Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth, potentially saved his life by performing CPR before he was transported to the hospital.

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Myocardial infarction (MI) or acute myocardial infarction (AMI), commonly known as a heart attack, results from the interruption of blood supply to a part of the heart, causing heart cells to die.

Craig Ferguson 4/20/11C Late Late Show Michael Clarke Duncan

Sherman Hemsley, Comedian, 'George Jefferson', dies 74

Sherman Alexander Hemsley (February 1, 1938 - July 24,2012) was an American actor, most famous for his role as George Jefferson on the CBS television series All in the Family and The Jeffersons, and as Deacon Ernest Frye on the NBC series Amen. He also played Earl Sinclair's horrifying boss, a Triceratops named B.P. Richfield, on the Jim Henson sitcom Dinosaurs.

The characters of Hemsley and co-star Isabel Sanford were secondary on All in the Family, but were given their own spin-off series, The Jeffersons, less than two years after Hemsley made his debut on the show. The Jeffersons ran 11 seasons through 1985.

Sherman Hemsley cause of death
Sherman Hemsley dies in his home in El Paso, Texas.  Cause of death is not known.
Sherman Hemsley was 74 years old a the time of his death.

Celebrity Deaths

 George Jefferson & Helen Willis 'GET DOWN!'

Ms. Melodie, Rap pioneer, KRS-One's ex-wife, dies 43

Ramona Parker (1969 – July 17, 2012), known as Ms. Melodie, was an emcee married to KRS-One in July 1987, and was associated with his group Boogie Down Productions (BDP) until the couple's divorce in 1992. She was raised in the Flatbush section of the New York City borough of Brooklyn.

Her first release was the 1988 12-inch single "Hype According to Ms. Melodie", which, like most of her records, was produced by KRS-One. While they began recording her debut album, Ms. Melodie and the rest of BDP appeared in the Keenen Ivory Wayans film I'm Gonna Git You Sucka. Her only album, Diva, would be released the following year by Jive/RCA Records and was largely produced by KRS-One, with contributions from Sam Sever and the Awesome 2's DJ Teddy Tedd. The single "Wake Up, Wake Up" reached the Top 20 of Billboard's Hot Rap Singles chart; the music video to its follow-up single "Live on Stage" was a hit on video stations. She is the older sister of former BDP member Harmony.

Ms. Melodie Cause of death
According to news reports, she died on July 17, 2012. The cause of death is unknown.
Ms. Melodie was 43 years old at the time of her death.

Ms. Melodie - Communication 1989

Maria Cole, widow of Nat Cole, mother of Natalie Cole, dies 89

* Her last name is also known as Ellington.  She was not married to Duke Ellington.

Maria Hawkins Cole (August 1, 1922 – 10 July, 2012) was the widow of singer Nat King Cole and mother of singer Natalie Cole. She was also a jazz singer who worked most notably with Count Basie and Duke Ellington. She met Nat King Cole while they were both singing at the Zanzibar club.

Maria Cole cause of death
Maria Hawkins Ellington was born in Boston and was the niece of Charlotte Hawkins Brown. She died in a nursing home in Boca Raton, Florida, after a short battle with cancer on July 10, 2012.
Maria Cole was 89 years old at the time of her death

Herb Reed, last original member of the Platters, dies 83

The Platters was also known as "Herb Reed's Platters"

Herb Reed (August 7, 1928 – June 4, 2012) was an American musician, vocalist and founding member of The Platters, who were known for their hits during the 1950s and 1960s. Reed, who was the last surviving original member of the group, which he co-founded with four other musicians in 1953, is credited with creating The Platters' name. Reed thought of the group's name after noticing that DJs in the 1950s called their records, "platters."

Herb Reed cause of death
Reed toured throughout his career. He performed as many as 200 concerts per year until 2012, when he stopped due to declining health. He died from complications from several ailments, including heart disease, at a hospice in Boston on June 4, 2012.  Herb Reed was 83 year old at the time of his death.

The Platters were one of the most successful vocal groups of the early rock and roll era. Their distinctive sound was a bridge between the pre-rock Tin Pan Alley tradition and the burgeoning new genre. The act went through several personnel changes, with the most successful incarnation comprising lead tenor Tony Williams, David Lynch, Paul Robi, Herb Reed, and Zola Taylor. The group had 40 charting singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart between 1955 and 1967, including four # 1 hits.

Herb Reed Tells the Platters Story

The Platters and the voice of Herb Reed in ''Blues in the night''

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