This page lists the obituaries of people who made news during their lifetimes. Obituaries of historians can be found here.
Frederick Chiluba, the first democratically elected president of Zambia, a man whose image as a defender of civil liberties was later tarnished by his efforts to suppress political opposition and accusations that he used millions of dollars of public money on his wardrobe and other extravagances, died Saturday in Lusaka. He was 68.
He suffered from chronic heart problems. His death was confirmed by his spokesman, Emmanuel Mwamba.
The son of a copper miner, Frederick Jacob Titus Chiluba — a diminutive man barely five feet tall — was Zambia’s president from 1991 to 2002. His ascent to high office was for a time considered a heartening success story in a poor, landlocked nation of 13 million people in southern Africa.
He left secondary school before graduation and was working as a low-paid bookkeeper when he joined a union, rising through the ranks in the labor movement until he became chairman of the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions in 1974.
The nation had won independence 10 years earlier. Kenneth Kaunda, a hero of the liberation struggle, was Zambia’s first president, but his single-party, socialist rule was an economic failure. In 1981, he jailed Mr. Chiluba and other labor leaders without charges after they instigated wildcat strikes....
Elena G. Bonner, the Soviet dissident and human-rights campaigner who endured banishment and exile along with her husband, the dissident nuclear physicist Andrei D. Sakharov, died Saturday in Boston. She was 88.
The cause was heart failure, said Edward Kline, a director of the Andrei Sakharov Foundation. He said Ms. Bonner had been in the hospital since February.
Maligned by the government and, for much of her life, cast aside by society, Ms. Bonner and her husband were considered royalty among the tight-knit and embattled community of dissidents who challenged Soviet authority.
Before and after exile, their modest Moscow apartment was a command center of sorts from which a seemingly quixotic, but in many ways successful, war against Soviet authoritarianism was waged.
Though Sakharov was better known, Ms. Bonner became a force in her own right, waging a tireless campaign to improve the lives of her people long after her husband’s death in 1989....
JOHANNESBURG — Edgar Z. Tekere, who was imprisoned for a decade with Robert Mugabe during the struggle to end white minority rule in Rhodesia, and later unsuccessfully challenged Mr. Mugabe’s political domination of what had become an independent Zimbabwe, died on June 7 in the eastern city of Mutare, Zimbabwe. He was 74.
The cause was prostate cancer, a family friend, Ibbo Mandaza, said.
In a memoir published in 2007, Mr. Tekere largely blamed Mr. Mugabe for building a nation whose people “live mostly in fear of their own government, of a state machinery, born out of the forces of liberation, but now, regrettably, more associated with ruthlessness and naked force.”
Mr. Tekere said he accepted his “share of responsibility” for the failure of his generation to establish institutions that would have safeguarded democracy....
John R. Alison, an ace fighter pilot in World War II who helped organize and lead a broad American air campaign that enabled British forces to bog down the Japanese in the jungles of Burma, died Monday at his home in Washington. He was 98.
His son David confirmed his death.
Mr. Alison, a retired Air Force Reserve major general, was a lieutenant colonel in what was then the Army Air Forces in late 1943 when Gen. Henry Arnold, commander of the Air Forces, assigned him and another lieutenant colonel to organize Operation Thursday, which is credited with having helped protect India from invasion by the Japanese. The other lieutenant colonel was Philip Cochran, the model for the character Flip Corkin in the popular comic strip “Terry and the Pirates.”
The two young officers came to General Arnold’s attention for their exploits before and in the early years of the war. Colonel Cochran, who died in 1979, had been a successful fighter group commander in North Africa....
Lawrence S. Eagleburger, a troubleshooting diplomat and senior foreign policy adviser to presidents who served the country for more than 40 years, including 42 days as secretary of state at the close of President George Bush’s term, died on Saturday in Charlottesville, Va. He was 80.
The cause was pneumonia, according to a spokeswoman for the family, Anaïs Haase, who said he died at the University of Virginia Medical Center after having a heart attack earlier in the week. He lived in Charlottesville, on a 40-acre estate.
Mr. Eagleburger, a Republican who rose to prominence as the top aide to Henry A. Kissinger in the Nixon and Ford administrations, was candid in his confidential advice and outspoken in his public comments, particularly regarding his unhappiness about the Iraq war started by President George W. Bush....
South Africa is mourning one of the leading lights of the anti-apartheid movement, Albertina Sisulu, who has died aged 92.
Mrs Sisulu was the widow of Walter Sisulu, a friend and mentor of former South African President Nelson Mandela.
A political figure in her own right, she was active in the women's league of the African National Congress (ANC).
ANC spokesman Brian Sokutu said Mrs Sisulu had dedicated her life to bringing democracy to South Africa....
Lawrence S. Eagleburger, the only career foreign service officer to rise to the position of secretary of state, was remembered Saturday for strengthening ties with allies and dealing with despots.
The diplomat died at 80, according to a statement from former President George H.W. Bush, who was Eagleburger's boss in late 1992 and January 1993.
Details of Eagleburger's death were not immediately available.
Eagleburger's historic assignments over a long career included the first Gulf War, bloody strife in the Balkans and the collapse of the Soviet empire....
Dr. Jack Kevorkian, the medical pathologist who helped dozens of terminally ill people kill themselves, becoming the central figure in a national drama surrounding assisted suicide, died on Friday in a Detroit-area hospital. He was 83.
The cause was not immediately known, but local media reported that he had suffered from kidney and respiratory problems and that his condition had been worsening in recent days. His death, at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich., was confirmed by Geoffrey Feiger, the lawyer who represented Dr. Kevorkian during several of his trials in the 1990s.
Dr. Kevorkian challenged social taboos about disease and dying, willfully defying prosecutors and the courts as he actively sought national celebrity. He spent eight years in prison after being convicted of second-degree murder in the death of the last of the more than 100 terminally ill patients whose lives he helped end....