Historical Figures Who Died in 2017

  • Jan 1 Derek Parfit, British philosopher who specialized in problems of personal identity, rationality and ethics, dies at 74
  • Jan 2 John Berger, English art critic & author (Ways of Seeing), dies at 90
  • Jan 3 Igor Volk, Soviet cosmonaut (Soyuz T-12) & test pilot, dies at 79
  • Jan 4 Douglas Wass, British civil servant (Permanent Secretary to HM Treasury, 1974-83), dies at 93

Mário SoaresMário Soares (1924-2017)

Jan 7 17th President of Portugal (1986-96) and Prime Minister (1976-78 and 1983-85), dies after falling into a coma at 92

  • Jan 7 Nat Hentoff, American columnist and novelist (Village Voice, The Cold Society), dies at 91
  • Jan 8 Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, 4th President of Iran (1989-97) and de facto commander-in-chief of the Iranian military during the Iran-Iraq War, dies of a heart attack at 82
  • Jan 8 Roy Innis, American activist, leader of the Congress of Racial Equality, dies at 82
  • Jan 9 Warren Allen Smith, American gay rights activist and writer, dies at 95
  • Jan 9 Zygmunt Bauman, Polish-born sociologist (Modernity and the Holocaust), dies at 91

Clare HollingworthClare Hollingworth (1911-2017)

Jan 10 British war correspondent who was the first to report on the outbreak of WWII, dies at 105

  • Jan 10 Oliver Smithies, British biochemist (2007 Noble Prize for gene targeting), dies at 91
  • Jan 10 Steven McDonald, New York City Police Department patrolman who was shot and paralyzed in the line of duty, dies at 59
  • Jan 13 Antony Armstrong-Jones [Lord Snowdon], British photographer and ex-husband of Princess Margaret, dies at 86
  • Jan 14 Zhou Youguang [Zhou Yaoping], Chinese language scholar (father of pinyin), dies at 111
  • Jan 16 Eugene Cernan, American NASA astronaut (12th person on the moon), dies at 82
  • Jan 19 H. Boyd Woodruff, American microbiologist whose research led to antibiotics, dies at 99
  • Jan 21 Emma Tennant, English writer (Pemberley: Or, Pride and Prejudice Continued), dies at 79
  • Jan 23 Lee O’Denat, American internet entrepreneur (WorldStarHipHop.com), dies of heart disease at 43
  • Jan 25 Buchi Emecheta, Nigerian English writer (Price of Bride), dies at 72
  • Jan 25 Robert Garcia, American politician hit by Wedtech scandal (Rep-D-NY, 1978-83), dies at 84
  • Feb 1 Étienne Tshisekedi, Congolese opposition leader, dies at 84
  • Feb 1 Ken Morrison, English supermarket tycoon (Morrisons), dies at 85
  • Feb 5 Thomas Lux, American poet (Split Horizon), dies of cancer at 70
  • Feb 8 Ljubisa Beara, Bosnian general convicted of overseeing Srebrenica Massacre, dies in prison at 77
  • Feb 8 Peter Mansfield, British Physician whose discoveries led to MRI (2003 Nobel Prize), dies at 83
  • Feb 8 Tara Palmer-Tomkinson, British socialite, dies at 45
  • Feb 16 Dick Bruna, Dutch illustrator (Miffy books), dies at 89
  • Feb 17 Robert H. Michel, American politician (Rep-R-IL, 1957-95), dies at 93
  • Feb 18 Norma McCorvey, American abortion activist (Jane Roe in Roe vs Wade) who later became pro-life, dies at 69
  • Feb 19 Igor Shafarevich, Russian mathematician, dies at 93
  • Feb 21 Kenneth Arrow, American economist, (Nobel Prize 1972), dies at 95
  • Feb 22 Eni Faleomavaega, American-Samoan politician (3rd Lieutenant Governor of American Samoa), dies at 73
  • Feb 22 Fritz Koenig, German sculptor (Sphere at World Trade Center), dies at 92
  • Feb 23 Lord David Waddington, British politician (Home Secretary 1989-90), dies at 87
  • Feb 24 Faye Glenn Abdellah, American pioneer in nursing research and US government official (health services), dies at 97
  • Feb 25 Boaz Vaadia, Israeli-born sculptor who worked in America, dies of cancer at 65
  • Feb 26 Gerald Kaufman, British Labour MP, dies at 86
  • Feb 26 Joseph Wapner, American judge (People's Court), dies at 97
  • Feb 28 Nicholas Mosley, British novelist, biographer and son of Oswald Mosley, dies at 93
  • Mar 1 Paula Fox, American writer (The Slave Dancer), dies at 92

René PrévalRené Préval (1943-2017)

Mar 3 President of Haiti (1996-2001, 2006-2011), dies of cardiac arrest at 74

  • Mar 3 Stephen Ross, American economist (arbitrage pricing theory), dies at 73
  • Mar 4 Clayton Yeutter, American trade negotiator and Republican National chairman, dies at 86
  • Mar 4 Mother Divine [Edna Rose Ritchings], American cult leader of the International Peace Mission Movement, dies at 91
  • Mar 4 Thomas Starzl, American surgeon, performed 1st successful liver transplant, dies at 90
  • Mar 5 Anthony Beilenson, American politician (Rep-D-California, 1977-97), dies at 84
  • Mar 5 Leonard Manasseh, British architect (Rutherford School), dies at 100
  • Mar 7 Hans Dehmelt, German-born American physicist (Nobel Prize 1989), dies at 94
  • Mar 7 Lynne Stewart, American defense attorney (known for representing controversial, poor, and often unpopular defendants), dies at 77
  • Mar 8 Lou Duva, American boxing trainer, dies at 94
  • Mar 9 Howard Hodgkin, British abstract painter, dies at 84
  • Mar 10 Robert James Waller, American author (Bridges of Madison County), dies at 77
  • Mar 12 Luigi Barbarito, Italian prelate of the Roman Catholic Church, dies at 94
  • Mar 13 Eligio [Kika] De La Garza, American politician (Rep-D-Texas, 1965-97), dies at 89
  • Mar 16 Torgny Lindgren, Swedish writer (The Way of a Serpent), dies at 78
  • Mar 17 Derek Walcott, Caribbean poet (Omeros), Nobel Prize for Literature 1992, dies at 87
  • Mar 19 Jimmy Breslin, American author and columnist (NY Post, News, Newsday), dies at 88
  • Mar 19 Mary Maples Dunn, American college president (Smith College), dies at 85
  • Mar 20 David Rockefeller, American CEO (Chase Manhattan Bank) and philanthropist, dies at 101
  • Mar 20 George Weinberg, American psychotherapist (coined "homophobia"), dies at 87
  • Mar 20 Leticia Ramos-Shahani, Filipino Senator, lawmaker and women's rights activist who led the drafting of the international women’s bill of rights, dies of colon cancer at 87
  • Mar 21 Colin Dexter, English crime writer (Inspector Morse), dies at 86

Martin McGuinnessMartin McGuinness (1950-2017)

Mar 21 Irish Sinn Féin politician and IRA member, dies of the rare heart condition amyloidosis at 66

  • Mar 22 Francine Hughes Wilson, American domestic abuse victim "The Burning Bed" who changed pubic perceptions, dies at 69
  • Mar 25 Roberta Hazard, American retired Rear Admiral (US Navy), dies at 82
  • Mar 27 Chelsea Brown, American comedienne (Laugh-in, Matt Lincoln), dies at 74
  • Mar 27 David Storey, British novelist and playwright (This Sporting Life), dies at 83
  • Mar 28 Ahmed "Kathy" Kathrada, South African anti-apartheid activist and politician, dies at 87
  • Mar 29 Alexei Abrikosov, Russian-born American physicist (Nobel Prize 2003), dies at 88
  • Mar 30 Donald Harvey, American serial killer, healthcare worker who killed at least 37 patients, dies after being attacked in prison at 64
  • Mar 31 Gilbert Baker, American gay activist, designed the rainbow flag, dies at 65
  • Mar 31 James Rosenquist, American pop artist, dies at 83
  • Apr 1 Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Russian poet (Bratsk Station), dies at 83
  • Apr 8 Brian Matthew, British disc jockey (Saturday Club), dies at 88
  • Apr 8 Georgy Grechko, Soviet cosmonaut (Soyuz 17, 26, T-14), dies at 85
  • Apr 13 Zareh Baronian, Armenian theologian, dies at 75
  • Apr 24 Agustín Edwards, Chilean media tycoon (El Mercurio), dies at 89
  • Apr 24 Benjamin Barber, American political theorist (Jihad vs. McWorld), dies at 77
  • Apr 24 Robert M. Pirsig, American author (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance), dies at 88
  • Apr 26 Raj Bagri, Indian-British merchant in metal, dies at 86
  • Apr 27 Julius Youngner, American virologist, helped develop Salk polio vaccine, dies at 96
  • Apr 30 Ueli Steck, Swiss mountain climber, dies in a climbing accident in Nepal at 40
  • May 1 Mike Lowry, American politician (Rep-D-WA, 1979-89, Governor of Washington 1993-97), dies at 78
  • May 1 Stan Weston, American toy licensing agent, had concept for G.I. Joe, dies at 84
  • May 2 Abelardo Castillo, Argentine writer and novelist, dies at 82
  • May 2 Leo Thorsness, American Vietnam War pilot (Medal of Honor), dies at 85
  • May 4 William J. Baumol, American economist (Baumol’s cost disease), dies at 95
  • May 9 Qian Qichen, Chinese diplomat & vice premier, dies at 89
  • May 11 Jur Mellema, Dutch politician (CHU), dies at 93
  • May 12 Mauno Koivisto, President of Finland (1982-94), dies at 93
  • May 14 Elske ter Veld, Dutch politician (State Secretary for Social Affairs and Employment), dies at 72
  • May 15 Ian Brady [Ian Duncan Stewart], British serial killer (Moors Murders), dies in prison at 79
  • May 18 Jacque Fresco, American industrial designer & founder of the Venus Project, dies at 101
  • May 23 Alexander Burdonsky, Russian theater director and Joseph Stalin's grandson, dies at 75
  • May 25 Sir Alistair Horne, British historian and journalist (A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954–1962), dies at 91
  • May 26 Zbigniew Brzezinski, Polish-American national security advisor to President Carter (1977-1981), dies at 89
  • May 29 Constantine Mitsotakis [Konstantinos Mitsotakis], Prime Minister of Greece (1990 –1993), dies at 98

Manuel NoriegaManuel Noriega (1934-2017)

May 29 Panamanian general and dictator (1983-89), dies at 83

  • Jun 6 Adnan Khashoggi, Saudi businessman (arms dealing), dies at 81
  • Jun 10 Samuel V. Wilson, American ex-director of the Defense Intelligence Agency and former Army lieutenant general, dies of lung cancer at 93
  • Jun 13 A. R. Gurney, American playwright (The Dining Room), dies at 86
  • Jun 15 James W. McCord Jr., American CIA officer who led the Watergate break-in, dies of pancreatic cancer at 93
  • Jun 15 John Robert Jones [John Dalmas], American sci-fi author (White Regiment, Lizard War), dies at 90

Helmut KohlHelmut Kohl (1930-2017)

Jun 16 German chancellor (West Germany, 1982-90, unified Germany, 1990-98), dies at 87

  • Jun 18 Hope Ryden, American wildlife activist and photographer, dies at 87
  • Jun 18 Lord Joffe [Joel Goodman Joffe], South African-born British lawyer (instructing solicitor for Nelson Mandela’s defence team) and businessman, dies at 85
  • Jun 19 Brian Kenny, British Army officer, deputy supreme allied commander (Europe), dies at 83
  • Jun 25 Gordon Wilson, Scottish politician (Leader of the Scottish National Party), dies at 79
  • Jul 1 Norman Dorsen, American lawyer, human rights advocate and president of the American Civil Liberties Union, dies of complications from a stroke at 86
  • Jul 3 Spencer Johnson, American author (Who Moved My Cheese?), dies of pancreatic cancer at 78
  • Jul 5 Irina Ratushinskaya, Soviet dissident poet (Beyond the Limit), dies of cancer at 63
  • Jul 6 Thomas E. Sanders, American aerial cameraman (Living Daylights), dies at 63
  • Jul 7 Lala Rukh, Pakistani activist and abstract artist (Women’s Action Forum), dies at 69 [1]
  • Jul 10 Betty Dukes, American Walmart employee who fought against gender discrimination (2001 Betty Dukes v. Walmart lawsuit), dies at 67
  • Jul 12 Scharlette Holdman, American death penalty mitigation specialist, dies at 70

Liu XiaoboLiu Xiaobo (1955-2017)

Jul 13 Chinese writer and human rights activist, dies from liver cancer at 61

  • Jul 14 Maryam Mirzakhani, Iranian mathematician, dies of breast cancer at 40
  • Aug 3 Theodore "Ted" Stanley, American anesthesiologist and medical entrepreneur (created the fentanyl lollipop), dies at 77
  • Aug 5 Mark White, American politician, lawyer, and 43rd Governor of Texas (1983-7), dies at 77
  • Aug 9 Aili Jõgi, Estonian freedom fighter, dies at 86
  • Aug 9 Al McCandless, American Republican politician (Rep-R-CA 1983-95), dies at 90
  • Aug 10 Kim Wall, Swedish journalist killed investigating Danish inventor Peter Madsen, dies at 30 [or 11th Aug]
  • Aug 15 Vernon "Vern" Ehlers, American politician (Michigan House of Representatives), dies of complications from Alzheimers disease at 83
  • Aug 18 Brian Aldiss, British sci-fi author (Super-Toys Last All Summer Long, Helliconia trilogy), dies at 92
  • Aug 18 Bruce Forsyth, British entertainer and presenter (The Generation Game), dies at 89
  • Aug 19 Charles R. Bentley, American pioneer or polar science, dies from complications of Parkinson’s disease at 87
  • Aug 21 Thomas Meehan, American writer (Annie, The Producers, Hairspray), dies at 88
  • Aug 23 Susan Vreeland, American author (The Passion of Artemisia), dies at 71
  • Aug 23 [Jacob] "Jack" Rosenthal, American journalist and government official, dies of pancreatic cancer at 82
  • Aug 24 Charlie Robertson, American politician (mayor of York, Pennsylvania 1994-2002), dies of cancer at 83
  • Aug 31 Edward du Cann, British politician and Chairman of the Conservative Party (1965-67), dies at 93
  • Sep 3 John Ashbery, American poet (Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror), dies at 90
  • Sep 8 Pierre Bergé, French industrialist and co-founder of Yves Saint Laurent Couture House, dies at 86
  • Sep 12 Edith Windsor [née Schlain], American LGBT rights activist (lead plaintiff in United States v. Windsor), dies at 88
  • Sep 13 Pete Domenici, American politician, U.S. Senator from New Mexico (1973-2009), dies at 85
  • Sep 14 Basi, world's oldest giant panda in captivity, dies in Fuzhou, China, at 37
  • Sep 19 David Shepherd, British painter (paintings of steam locomotives), dies at 86
  • Sep 21 Liliane de Bettencourt, French heir to L'Oreal and richest woman in the world from 2016, dies at 94
  • Sep 24 Joseph M. McDade, American politician (Rep-R-Pennsylvania, 1963-1999), dies at 85
  • Sep 26 Robert Delpire, French publisher, editor and photographer, dies at 91

Hugh HefnerHugh Hefner (1926-2017)

Sep 27 American magazine publisher and businessman (Playboy), dies of natural causes at 91

  • Sep 28 Vann Molyvann, Cambodian architect (New Khmer architecture), dies at 90
  • Oct 1 Arthur "Art" Janov, American psychologist and psychotherapist notable for creating primal therapy (The Primal Scream), dies of natural causes at 93
  • Oct 1 Samuel I Newhouse Jr., American magazine publisher (Parade, Vogue, Vanity Fair), dies at 89
  • Oct 3 Isabella Karle, American scientist who was instrumental in developing techniques to extract plutonium chloride, dies from a brain tumor at 95

Jalal TalabaniJalal Talabani (1933-2017)

Oct 3 Iraqi-Kurdish politician and President of Iraq (2005-2014), dies at 83

  • Oct 3 Michel Jouvet, French neuroscientist and medical researcher who discovered the region of the brain that controls rapid eye movement (REM sleep), dies at 91
  • Oct 4 John Miller, American politician (Rep-R-WA, 1985-93), dies at 79
  • Oct 4 Liam Cosgrave, Irish politician (Fine Gael Party), dies at 97
  • Oct 8 Jerry Kleczka, American politician (Rep-D-WI, 1984-2005), dies at 73
  • Oct 9 Hervé Leroux, French fashion designer and founder of Hervé Léger fashion house, dies from a ruptured aneurysm at 60
  • Oct 12 Grape-kun, a Humbolt penguin from Tobu Zoo, who gained fame from the anime series "Kemono Friends", dies aged 21 (Miyashiro, Saitama Prefecture, Japan).
  • Oct 16 Daphne Caruana Galizia, Maltese journalist (Panama Papers), killed by a car bomb at 53
  • Oct 17 Julian May, American sci-fi author (Golden Torc, Magnificat), dies at 86
  • Oct 22 Paul J. Weitz, American test pilot and NASA astronaut (Skylab 2, STS-6), dies at 85
  • Oct 27 Jack Levy, English mechanical engineer, dies at 91
  • Oct 29 Dennis Banks, American activist (leader of the American Indian Movement), dies at 80
  • Nov 1 Ray Robinson, American magazine editor and biographer (Lou Gehrig), dies of a stroke at 96
  • Nov 3 Abdur Rahman Biswas, President of Bangladesh, 1991-96, dies at 91
  • Nov 6 Richard F. Gordon, Jr., American naval officer and astronaut (Gemini 11; Apollo 12), dies at 88
  • Nov 9 Fred Cole, American rock artist (The Lollipop Shoppe, Dead Moon, Pierced Arrows), dies from cancer at 69
  • Nov 17 Azzedine Alaïa, Tunisian-born fashion designer, dies at 82
  • Nov 17 Salvatore Riina, Italian mobster and chief of the Sicilian Mafia, dies at
  • Nov 18 Mother Flawless Sabrina [Jack Doroshow], American LGBT activist and drag queen who was a pioneer for transgender people and drag queens, dies at 78

Charles MansonCharles Manson (1934-2017)

Nov 19 American criminal, murderer and cult leader (Manson Family), dies of natural causes at 83

  • Nov 23 Fred van der Spek, Dutch 2nd chamber member (PSP), dies at 93
  • Nov 29 Slobodan Praljak, Bosnian Croat general & war criminal, commits suicide at 72

Marina PopovichMarina Popovich (1931-2017)

Nov 30 Soviet Air Force colonel, engineer and test pilot (102 world records), dies at 86

  • Dec 3 Ivan Chermayeff, British-born American graphic designer, dies at 85
  • Dec 3 John B. Anderson, American politician and 1980 Republican presidential candidate, dies at 95
  • Dec 4 Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemeni politician and 1st President of Yemen (1990-2012), is killed during the Battle of Sana'a at 75
  • Dec 4 Mary Louise Hancock, American politician and activist, dies at 97
  • Dec 5 Michael I, King of Romania (1927-1930 and 1940-1947), dies from cancer at 96
  • Dec 5 Surin Pitsuwan, Thai foreign minister and 12th Secretary General of ASEAN (2008-2012), dies from heart failure at 68
  • Dec 6 William H. Gass, American novelist and philosopher (Omensetter's Luck), dies at 93
  • Dec 11 Aline Griffith, American-born Spanish aristocrat, Countess of Romanones, spy and author, dies at 94
  • Dec 13 Bette Howland [Lee Sotonoff], American writer and literary critic (Blue in Chicago, The iron year), dies from multiple sclerosis and dementia at 80
  • Dec 14 Yú Guāngzhōng [Yu Kwang-chung], Taiwanese poet, essayist, and translator (Nostalgia), dies from respiratory failure at 89
  • Dec 15 Don Hogan Charles, American photographer and first African-American photographer hired by The New York Times, dies at 79
  • Dec 17 Robert G Wilmers, American banker (M&T Bank), billionaire and philanthropist, dies at 83
  • Dec 19 Clifford Irving, American novelist and investigative reporter (hoax autobiography of Howard Hughes), dies of pancreatic cancer at 87
  • Dec 20 Bernard Francis Law, Disgraced American cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church (1982-2002), dies at 86
  • Dec 21 Bruce McCandless II, American aviator, electrical engineer and astronaut who made the 1st untethered space walk (STS 41B, STS-31), dies at 80
  • Dec 23 Maurice Hayes, Irish politician (European Person of the Year 2003), dies at 90
  • Dec 28 Recy Taylor, American sexual assault victim, dies at 97
  • Dec 28 Sue Grafton, American author of detective novels ("A" Is for Alibi), dies at 77
  • Dec 29 John C. Portman Jr., American architect (Ivan Allen Award-1964), dies at 93