On This Day

Historical Figures Who Died in 2021

  • Jan 4 Albert Roux, French chef and restaurateur (Le Gavroche, 1st Michelin three-starred restaurant in Britain), dies at 85 [1]
  • Jan 6 Satya Paul, Indian fashion designer and entrepreneur who invented the modern sari, dies of a stroke at 79 [1]
  • Jan 9 Isaak Markovich Khalatnikov, Russian physicist, dies at 101
  • Jan 10 David Barclay, British hotel magnate (The Ritz) and multi-billionaire, dies at 86

Sheldon Adelson

Jan 11 Sheldon Adelson, American business magnate (CEO of Las Vegas Sands casino company) and major political donor to the GOP and Israel, dies at 87 [1]

  • Jan 11 William Edgar Thornton, American medical doctor, USAF officer, and astronaut (STS-8, STS-51B), dies at 91
  • Jan 13 Siegfried Fischbacher, German American entertainer and magician (Siegfried and Roy), dies at 81 [1]
  • Jan 25 Barry Heywood, British director of the British Antarctic Survey, dies at 83
  • Feb 2 Tom Moore, English army captain knighted for raising £32 million for the NHS, dies with COVID-19 at 100
  • Feb 6 George P. Shultz, American economist, and statesman (Secretary of State, 1982-89; Secretary of the Treasury, 1972-74), dies at 100 [1]

Larry Flynt

Feb 10 Larry Flynt, American magazine publisher (Hustler), dies of heart failure at 78

  • Feb 13 Olle Nygren, Swedish speedway rider (World Team Cup 1960; World C'ship 1954 3rd; World Longtrack C'ship 1961 runner-up), dies at 91
  • Feb 13 Frank Orr, Canadian sports author and journalist (Hockey Hall of Fame; Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award; Toronto Star), dies at 84
  • Feb 17 Murray Weideman, Australian rules football CHF (Collingwood VFL premiers 1953, 58 [c]; B&F 1957, 61, 62; Victoria 1956-60) and coach (Collingwood 1975-76), dies at 85
  • Feb 22 Lawrence Ferlinghetti, American beat poet (Coney Island of the Mind), dies at 101 [1]
  • Feb 24 Tom Foley, Irish racehorse trainer (trainer Danoli, "the People's Champion"), dies from cancer at 74
  • Feb 26 John Mallard, English medical physicist (developed MRI and PET scans), dies at 94
  • Mar 3 Yuri Rozanov, Russian sports broadcaster (NTV Plus, Match TV; TEFI Award 2012), dies from cancer at 59
  • Mar 6 Louis Ottens, Dutch engineer, developed the audio cassette tape, and worked on the compact disc, dies at 94 [1] [2]
  • Mar 8 Norton Juster, American architect and children's author (The Phantom Tollbooth; The Dot and The Line), dies at 91 [1]
  • Mar 8 Fergal McCann, Irish Gaelic football coach and trainer (All-Ireland Championship 2005, 08; Tyrone), dies from cancer at 47
  • Mar 17 John Magufuli, Tanzanian politician, President of Tanzania (2015-2021) dies in office at 61
  • Mar 18 Jerzy Prokopiuk, Polish philosopher and anthroposophist, dies at 89
  • Mar 21 Nawal el-Saadawi, Egyptian feminist writer and activist (Women at Point Zero), dies at 89 [1]
  • Mar 25 Beverly Cleary, American Newberry Medal winning writer of children's and young adult fiction (Ramona series, 1955-99), dies at 104
  • Mar 25 Larry McMurtry, American Pulitzer Prize winning novelist (Lonesome Dove), and Academy Award-winning scriptwriter (Brokeback Mountain), dies at 84 [1]
  • Mar 25 Bill Brock, American Republican politician (Senator from Tennessee, 1971-77; US Secretary of Labor, 1985-87), dies at 90
  • Mar 30 G. Gordon Liddy, American Watergate felon and radio host, dies at 90

Prince Philip

Apr 9 Philip Mountbatten, Duke of Edinburgh and consort of Great Britain's Elizabeth II, dies at 99

  • Apr 9 Ramsey Clark, American lawyer, US Attorney General (1967-69) and activist, dies at 93

Bernie Madoff

Apr 14 Bernard "Bernie" Madoff, American fraudster and financier who committed the largest fraud in US history, dies in prison of natural causes at 82

  • Apr 16 Charles Geschke, American computer scientist, inventor and businessman (co-founder of Adobe Systems), dies of cancer at 81
  • Apr 18 Iain Watson Gallaway, New Zealand sports broadcaster (Radio Sport; Halberg Award) and author ("Not a Cloud in the Sky"), dies at 98

Walter Mondale

Apr 19 Walter Mondale, American politician (US Senator from Minnesota (D), 1964-76 ; 42nd Vice President, 1977-81), dies at 93

  • Apr 20 Idriss Déby, Chadian politician and military officer (President of Chad, 1990–2021), dies of injuries inflicted on a battlefield at 68
  • Apr 24 Sarolta Monspart, Hungarian orienteering competitor (first non-Scandinavian female to win World C'ship 1972; 14 x national titles), dies at 76
  • Apr 28 Michael Collins, American Major General USAF/astronaut (Gemini 10, Apollo 11), dies of cancer at 90 [1]
  • Apr 29 Shiyiwe Mantfombi Dlamini Zulu, Queen of the Zulu nation, dies a month after becoming regent at 65
  • May 6 Kentaro Miura, Japanese manga author (Berserk), dies at 54
  • May 8 Bo, Obama family's Portuguese water dog and "First Dog" of the White House, dies of cancer
  • May 8 Helmut Jahn, German-American architect who designed the O'Hare United Airlines Terminal and the Thompson Center in Chicago and One Liberty Place in Philadelphia, killed when struck by cars while bicycling at 80 [1] [2]
  • May 19 Abubakar Shekau, Nigerian Islamist militant (leader of Boko Haram), dies detonating a suicide vest
  • May 23 Eric Carle, American illustrator, collage artist, and writer of children's books (The Very Hungry Caterpillar), dies of kidney failure at 91
  • Jun 3 F. Lee Bailey, American criminal defense attorney (Sam Shepard; Boston Strangler; Patty Hearst; OJ Simpson), dies at 87
  • Jun 9 Gottfried Böhm, German architect (1986 Pritzker Prize), dies at 101 [1]
  • Jun 13 Ziona Chana, Indian head of a Christian sect and 'world's largest family' (38 wives, 89 children), dies at 76 [1]
  • Jun 17 Kenneth Kaunda, 1st President of Zambia (1964-91), dies at 97
  • Jun 19 Champ, Biden family pet and First Dog, dies at The White House at 13
  • Jun 24 Benigno Aquino III, 15th President of the Philippines (Liberal Party: 2010-16), dies of diabetes related kidney failure at 61
  • Jun 26 Mike Gravel, American politician (US Senator (D) - Alaska, 1969-81), and peace activist (Pentagon Papers), dies at 91
  • Jun 27 Noel Furlong, Irish businessman and poker player (World Series of Poker main event 1999), dies at 83
  • Jun 29 Donald Rumsfeld, American politician (US Congress, 1963-69; Nixon Whitehouse, 1969-74; Secretary of Defense, 1975-77 & 2001-06), dies at 88
  • Jun 29 Carlos Vilar, Argentine sailor (Snipe World Championships gold 1948, 51), dies from COVID-19 at 91
  • Jul 2 Naïm Kattan, Canadian novelist and essayist, dies at 92
  • Jul 7 Jovenel Moïse, Haitian politician, President of Haiti (2017-21), assassinated at 53
  • Jul 7 Carlos Reutemann, Argentine auto racer (World F1 Drivers C'ship 1981 runner-up; 3 x third) and politician (governor of Santa Fe 2003-21), dies from a digestive hemorrhage at 79
  • Jul 9 Jehan Sadat [Safwat Raouf], Widow of Anwar Sadat and 1st Lady of Egypt (1970-81), dies at 87 [1]
  • Jul 9 Boris Dmitriyevich Andreyev, Russian cosmonaut, dies at 80
  • Jul 10 Gwendolyn Faison, American politician (Mayor of Camden, New Jersey, 2000-10), dies at 96
  • Jul 19 Layne Flack, American poker player (6 x World Series of Poker bracelets), dies at 52
  • Jul 19 Jenny Lynn, American bodybuilder (IFBB Figure Olympia 2006, 07; Figure International 2003, 04, 05), dies from a seizure at 49
  • Jul 25 Robert Parris "Bob" Moses, American civil rights activist (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)), and educator (The Algebra Project), dies at 86
  • Jul 26 Mike Enzi, American accountant, and politician (US Senator for Wyoming (R), 1997-2021), dies from injuries in a bicycling accident at 77
  • Jul 29 Carl Levin, American attorney and politician (U.S. Senator from Michigan, 1979-2015), dies at 87
  • Aug 22 Rod Gilbert, Canadian Hockey Hall of Fame right-wing, 1960-78 (NY Rangers; first NYR to have # retired), dies at 80

Hissène Habré

Aug 24 Hissène Habré, Chadian politician and convicted war criminal, Dictator of Chad (1982-90), dies in prison at 79 [1]

  • Sep 1 Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Separatist leader in Kashmir (headed resistance against Indian rule), dies at 92 [1]
  • Sep 4 Willard Scott, American weather forecaster (Today Show), dies at 87
  • Sep 16 Clive Sinclair, British consumer electronics inventor (Executive pocket calculator; ZX Spectrum computer), dies of cancer at 81 [1]
  • Sep 17 Michael J. Fitzgerald, American technical writer and novelist (Song of Falling Leaves), dies at 63
  • Sep 22 Roger Michell, British stage and screen director (Blue/Orange; Notting Hill; Hyde Park On Hudson), dies at 65
  • Sep 22 Jay Sandrich, American Emmy Award-winning television director (The Mary Tyler Moore Show; Soap; The Cosby Show), dies at 89
  • Sep 26 Ndakasi, Congolese mountain gorilla whose photobomb went viral, dies of illness at Virunga National Park at 14 [1]
  • Sep 29 Dom Alexandre José Maria dos Santos, Mozambican Roman Catholic Cardinal, Mozambique's 1st black priest, dies at 97 [1]

Colin Powell

Oct 18 Colin Powell, American General and 1st Black US Secretary of State (2001-05), dies from complications of COVID-19, blood cancer, and Parkinson's disease at 84 [1]

  • Oct 26 Glen Tuckett American college basbeall coach (Brigham Young Uni 1959-76) and administrator (BYU athletic director 1976-94), dies at 93
  • Oct 30 Bert Newton, Australian radio, television, and stage personality (Good Morning Australia; Logie Award ceremonies; 20-1), dies at 83
  • Nov 1 Aaron Beck, American psychiatrist (father of cognitive behavioural therapy), dies at 100 [1]
  • Nov 2 Tomas Leandersson, Swedish ten-pin bowler (FIQ World C'ships 1999; World Tenpin Team Cup 1994; World Games 1993), dies at 55
  • Nov 5 Russell Ebert, Australian Rules midfielder (4 x Magarey Medals; 6 x Port Adelaide FC B&F; Australian Football HOF) and coach (SA 1996-98), dies of leukemia at 72

F. W. de Klerk

Nov 11 F. W. de Klerk, South African President (1989-94) and winner of the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize with Nelson Mandela, dies of cancer at 85

  • Nov 28 Mustafa Cengiz, Turkish businessman and sports administrator (president Galatasaray S.K. 2018-21), dies from cancer at 71
  • Nov 30 C. Herbert Oliver, American clergyman and civil rights activist (Inter-Citizens Committee), dies at 96

Bob Dole

Dec 5 Bob Dole, American politician (Senate Republican leader, 1985-96, Presidential candidate, 1996), dies of lung cancer at 98

Anne Rice

Dec 11 Anne Rice, American Gothic novelist (Interview With A Vampire), dies of complications from a stroke at 80

  • Dec 14 Ken Kragen, American television producer (The Smothers Brothers), music artist manager (Lionel Richie; Kenny Rogers), and charity organizer (USA for Africa - "We Are The World"), dies at 85
  • Dec 25 Thomas Lovejoy, American conservation biologist who coined the term "biodiversity", dies at 80

Desmond Tutu

Dec 26 Desmond Tutu, Anglican Archbishop of South Africa and 1984 Nobel Peace Prize winner, dies at 90

  • Dec 26 Sarah Weddington, American attorney (represented "Jane Roe" in Roe v. Wade before US States Supreme Court), dies at 76

Harry Reid

Dec 28 Harry Reid, American attorney and politician (U.S. Senator from Nevada, 1987-2017; U.S. House of Representatives, 1983-87), dies of pancreatic cancer at 82 [1]