10 Who Died Too Young
From Aaliyah to Tillman to Russert, they had more to offer
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 6, 2009 10:58 AM CST
Pat Tillman in 2003.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – In looking back at the '00s, the sad tales of luminaries who died too young stand out. Newsweek asked friends and admirers for their reflections:

  • Randy Pausch, d. 2008: "Despite it all," JJ Abrams writes, the "Last Lecture" professor "was radiant, kind, and good-humored."
  • Tim Russert, d. 2008: "There aren’t many shining examples these days—of anything," Brian Williams writes. "Tim was one."
  • Bernie Mac, d. 2008: The comedian's appeal was universal, McG writes. "A little white kid or a middle-aged black guy: everyone loved Bernie Mac."

  • Aaliyah, d. 2001: Timbaland, who worked with her on One in a Million, invokes the album's title: "No description could have been more fitting."
  • Dale Earnhardt, d. 2001: After the NASCAR legend's death, Darrell Waltrip parked next to "a big wreath with a 3 on it in Dale’s spot. I just about turned around and went home."
  • David Foster Wallace, d. 2008: The "generous spirit" of his work, Malcolm Jones writes, "rekindled the idea that, in the right hands, the art of fiction was still capable of almost anything."
  • Benazir Bhutto, d. 2007: The former PM of Pakistan "never gave up her culture," Madeleine Albright writes.
  • Heath Ledger, d. 2008: "The James Dean of his generation," writes Ramin Setoodeh.
  • Neda Agha Soltan, d. 2009: "All she wanted was to live the kind of life each of us takes for granted," writes Azar Nafisi.
  • Pat Tillman, d. 2004: The NFL star and soldier "died as he lived," John McCain writes, "as a most honorable man."

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