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Papua New Guinea’s “father of the nation” Sir Michael Somare, its first prime minister, dies aged 84 on 26 February.

March

Reggae legend Bunny Wailer passes away on 2 March aged 73.

South African Zulu king Goodwill Zwelithini, 72, dies on 12 March.

Madagascar’s former leader Didier Ratsiraka, instigator of a socialist revolution on the Indian Ocean island, dies aged 84 on 28 March.

April

Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, the 99-year-old husband of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, dies on 9 April.

American rapper DMX, 50, dies the same day.

Bernie Madoff, mastermind of the largest financial scam in history, dies in jail in North Carolina on 14 April aged 82.

Two days later British actress Helen McCrory -- who starred in “Peaky Blinders”, “Harry Potter” and “The Queen” -- dies of cancer aged 52.

Chad’s President Idriss Deby, 68, dies from battle wounds the day after his election for a sixth term on 20 April.

Legendary German soprano Christa Ludwig, 93, passes away on 24 April.

Fashion designer Alber Elbaz of Lanvin fame dies in Paris aged 59 from Covid-19 the same day.

May

Nigeria’s Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau, of unknown age, is killed during infighting between rival factions of the extremist group on 19 May.

June

“Africa’s Gandhi” Kenneth Kaunda, 97, Zambia’s founding president, dies on 17 June.

Former US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the architect of the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan after the World Trade Center attack of 2001, dies aged 88.

July

Richard Donner, director of the first “Superman” movie and as well as “The Goonies”, dies on 5 July aged 91.

Two days later much-loved Bollywood veteran Dilip Kumar passes away at 98.

August

The leader of the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara, Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi, 48, is killed by French forces on 17 August.

Former Chadian president Hissene Habre dies a week later from Covid-19 at 79. He was serving a life sentence in Senegal for crimes against humanity.

Charlie Watts, the drummer of the Rolling Stones, dies aged 80 on 24 August.

Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, dies on 29 August. The Belgian was 79.

The same day Lee “Scratch” Perry, the wildly influential Jamaican singer and Bob Marley’s producer, dies aged 85.

September

Renowned Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis, 96, who scored the 1964 film “Zorba the Greek” and resisted military dictatorship in Greece, dies on 2 September.

Actor Jean-Paul Belmondo, star of “Breathless” and one of postwar French cinema’s biggest names, dies aged 88 on 6 September.

Michael K. Williams, who played Omar in the cult US television series “The Wire”, dies the same day of an accidental overdose aged 54 in New York.

The founder of Peru’s Maoist Shining Path rebel group, Abimael Guzman, 86, dies in prison on 11 September.

Algeria’s longest-serving president Abdelaziz Bouteflika dies on 17 September aged 84.

October

Kenya’s world record-holding runner Agnes Tirop, 25, is stabbed to death at her home on 13 October. Her husband is later charged with her murder.

Colin Powell, a war hero and the first Black US secretary of state whose reputation was sullied by the invasion of Iraq, dies from complications from Covid-19 aged 84 on 18 October.

November

FW de Klerk, the last president of apartheid South Africa, dies aged 85 on 11 November. He freed Nelson Mandela from prison and later shared a Nobel Peace Prize with him.

Zambia-born bestselling novelist Wilbur Smith, 88, who chronicled dramatic adventures on the African continent, passes away two days later.

Formula One pioneer Frank Williams, 79, dies on 28 November.

December

Lamine Diack, who presided over global athletics from 1999 to 2015 but was later convicted for corruption, dies on 3 December aged 88.

Bob Dole, a World War II hero who became a five-term US senator and the Republican Party’s 1996 presidential nominee, passes two days later aged 98.

Gothic novelist Anne Rice, 80, best known for writing “Interview with the Vampire,” follows on 11 December.

Lucia Hiriart, the widow of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, dies five days later at the age of 98.

British architect Richard Rogers, known for designing some of the world’s most famous buildings including Paris’ Pompidou Centre, dies at 88 on 18 December.

American rapper Drakeo the Ruler, or Darrell Caldwell, 28, dies after being stabbed on 19 December.

Joan Didion, the beloved US essayist and pioneer of “new journalism”, dies at 87 on 23 December.

South Africa’s anti-apartheid icon Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a tireless campaigner against injustice, dies on 26 December at age 90.

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