Catherine Baker Knoll, Pa. lieutenant governor
Catherine Baker Knoll, the first woman to be elected as Pennsylvania's lieutenant governor, has died. She was 78.
Knoll died Wednesday at National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington, D.C., where she was recovering from treatment for cancer, Gov. Ed Rendell said.
A former schoolteacher and Democratic veteran, Knoll served two terms as state treasurer beginning in 1988. When she won re-election in 1992, she received one of the largest vote totals ever for a statewide Democratic candidate. Associated Press
Miriam Makeba, S. African singing legend
Miriam Makeba, the “Mama Africa” whose sultry voice gave South Africans hope when the country was gripped by apartheid, died Monday. She was 76.
The Pineta Grande clinic in Castel Volturno, near the southern city of Naples, said Makeba died of a heart attack after collapsing on stage in Italy.
In her dazzling career, Makeba performed with musical legends from around the world – jazz maestros Nina Simone and Dizzy Gillespie, Harry Belafonte, Paul Simon – and sang for world leaders such as John F. Kennedy and Nelson Mandela.
Her distinctive style, which combined jazz, folk and South African township rhythms, managed to get her banned from South Africa for more than 30 years, although she insisted she wasn't trying to be political – she was just singing about her life.
Makeba collapsed after singing one of her most famous hits “Pata Pata,” her family said. Her grandson, Nelson Lumumba Lee, was with her as well as her longtime friend, Italian promoter Roberto Meglioli.
The first African to win a Grammy award, Makeba started singing in Sophiatown, a cosmopolitan neighborhood of Johannesburg that was a cultural hot spot in the 1950s before its black residents were forcibly removed by the apartheid government. Associated Press
Mitch Mitchell, drummer Jimi Hendrix Experience
Mitch Mitchell, drummer for the legendary Jimi Hendrix Experience of the 1960s and the group's last surviving member, was found dead in his hotel room. He was 61.
An employee at Portland's Benson Hotel called police after discovering Mitchell's body Wednesday.
Erin Patrick, a deputy medical examiner, said Mitchell apparently died of natural causes. An autopsy was planned.
Mitchell was a powerful force on the Hendrix band's 1967 debut album “Are You Experienced?” as well as the trio's albums “Electric Ladyland” and “Axis: Bold As Love.” He had an explosive drumming style that can be heard in hard-charging songs such as “Fire” and “Manic Depression.”
The Englishman had been drumming for the Experience Hendrix Tour, which performed Friday in Portland. It was the last stop on the West Coast part of the tour.