Aretha Franklin Dies; Legendary Singer was 76

Aretha Franklin, one of the most successful and influential solo artists in music history, died on Thursday morning after a lengthy battle with cancer.

She was 76 years old.

A number of reporters and outlets had warned the public ahead of time that Franklin’s time was sadly near, as multiple sources confirmed over the weekend that the legendary artist was gravely ill.

She ended up passing away while under hospice care in her Detroit home.

She was surrounded by friends and family members at the time.

In an unusual move, a tribute concert produced by Live Nation and spearheaded by Sony Music Chief Creative Officer Clive Davis, who signed Franklin to Arista Records in 1980, was actually announced prior to her passing.

The event will likely be titled “Clive Davis Presents: A Tribute to Aretha Franklin” and is scheduled to be at Madison Square Garden in New York City on November 14.

The legendary singer had not performed for an audience since November of 2017.

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Sources had even said that Franklin’s weight plummeted down to 85 pounds by the time she passed away.

Ahead of scheduled concerts in March and April of this year, the singer was forced to cancel the performances under doctor’s orders.

Dubbed The Queen of Soul decades ago, Franklin has been cited by contemporary superstars such as Beyonce and Mariah Carey as being a major influence and role model.

Her rundown of achievements is almost too long to list in one place.

But we’ll give it a shot…

– Franklin was nominated for 44 Grammy Wwards.

– She won 18 Grammy Awards over the course of her career.

– This figure represents the third-most Grammys ever won by an individual.

– From 1968 through 1975, she won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance every single year.

– Along with her most well-known song, “Respect,” the singer shot to fame with hits including “Natural Woman,” “I Say A Little Prayer” and “Chain of Fools,” many of which remain relevant today.

– Franklin was the first woman to be inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

– She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush in 2005.

– In 2010, she was named in the greatest singer of all time by Rolling Stone. 

Before Franklin even passed away, as soon as news broke that she was seriously ill, tributes and notes of sorrow started pouring forward on social media.

Missy Elliott summed it up well on Twitter when she wrote the following on Monday morning:

My prayers are with Aretha Franklin & her family during this difficult time. We MUST CELEBRATE the Living Legends while they are here to see it. So many have given us decades of Timeless music.

In 2017, after 56 years as a singer and songwriter, Franklin said she was retiring, saying at the time:

“I feel very, very enriched and satisfied with respect to where my career came from, and where it is now.

I’ll be pretty much satisfied, but I’m not going to go anywhere and just sit down and do nothing. That wouldn’t be good either.”

Expect the messages of sorrow and sympathy to continue for many hours, days and weeks.

What a career and what a woman.

May Aretha Franklin rest in peace.


David Rothenberg: “Burn Boy,” Considered a Son to Michael Jackson, Dies at 42

Michael Jackson was the closest thing to a father figure that Dave Dave, who was born David Rothenberg, ever had. Dave even spoke at MJ’s funeral.

Dave, who survived a horrific attack decades ago and was an inspiration to others, has passed away.

Once known as “burn boy” for the injuries that covered 90% of his body, Dave was 42 years old.

Dave died of heat exhaustion on the 15th of July,” Dave’s friend Justin revealed on Instagram.

Justin, who goes by Lil’ Eric and has worked with celebrities like Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber, shared this grim news.

“Our friendship started with a hug,” Justin tells RadarOnline. “And that his how he started every friendship.”

“He got that from his father figure, Michael Jackson,” Justin explains.

“Michael taught him to love unconditionally,” Justin says. “And he did.”

Justin took to Instagram to explain how he made this tragic discovery.

“Last night, I called my good friend Dave,” Justin writes. “And his mother picked up the phone and we talked.”

There is no good way to find out that your friend has died.

“It wasn’t what I expected or who I expected,” Justin admits. “But she told me that Dave had passed away on July 15th.”

This is only now going public.

“I am going to be talking to her today,” Justin continued on Instagram. “She was very tired last night.”

“And there will be a funeral/memorial I will be attending sometime in the near future,” Justin wrote at the time.

“I know dave had a lot of people who loved him,” Justin says. “And knows of his story from the early 80s.”

In 1983, David’s father doused him in kerosene and set him on fire. The burns covered 90% of his body.

Michael Jackson was a friend and a father figure to Dave, who changed his name to Dave Dave after surviving the tragic ordeal.

Justin acknowledges that he and Dave were different people.

“The one thing that we had in common was we didn’t have many friends,” Justin says. “People that we could trust and he knew that and felt that about me and I knew that about him.”

“He talked to my mother several times on the phone,” Justin shares. “And was a very close friend of mine.”

This is just heartbreaking.

Justin writes: “He was helping me with promotion with my career and other things as we was preparing for his own music and working together.”

“I am deeply saddened today,” Justin writes. “And my friend will be missed by many I’m sure.”

To compound the tragedy, it’s been noted that Dave’s burn injuries make him extra vulnerable to heat exhaustion.

In other words, one might argue that he died from the injuries he received back in 1983.

“He was loved by many,” Justin writes to his followers before addressing his late friend. “And I thank you for being apart of my life and being my friend Dave !!!!”

“RIP brother,” Justin concludes.

Dave Dave Memorial Pic

Justin also shared a couple of photos from Dave Dave’s memorial.

“My amazing friend,” Justin writes on Instagram. “It was great getting together to meet everyone today.”

“Your memorial was beautiful,” Justin shares. “Your mother has given me many hugs.”

We are sure that he was a tremendous comfort to her.

“As I got to meet your other friends your ‘energy’ was beautiful,” Justin shares in reference to this image.

Dave Dave Energy Photo

“I am posting this with your mother and your uncle and Marna in your mother’s house,” Justin shares.

He tagged the late Michael Jackson in the photo. Dave had spoken at Michael Jackson’s funeral.

“I thank everyone who loved my friend,” Justin writes. “He was amazing and touched so many lives!!!!! Including mine.”

“Thank you,” Justin concludes. “Always in my heart. My brother I love you”


Lyric McHenry Dies, Friends and Loved Ones React in Shock

The world of reality television was dealt a tragic and awful blow on Tuesday night.

Former EJNYC star Lyric McHenry was found dead in New York City, with details of her passing causing those who knew her well to react in stunned silence and/or shocked sorrow.

According to various outlets, McHenry was discovered at 5 a.m. on a sidewalk in the Bronx.

She was wearing nothing but a pajamas top and there was a small bag of cocaine on her person.

Authorities therefore suspect that McHenry died of a drug overdose.

Along with the actual narcotics found at the scene, this belief was fortified by the many Instagram photos and videos shared by McHenry and her friends late Monday night, all of which documented their night out in New York.

Here are two examples of such photos:

lyric pic

McHenry, her sister Maya (who also is friends with EJ Johnson and who also appeared on the aforementioned E! reality series in 2016) and some pals hit up multiple well-known Big Apple hot spots during their celebration.

Lyric was only 26 years old at the time of her death.

And, according to The New York Daily News, she was 20 weeks pregnant.

Just horrible.

Those who knew McHenry well are not taking the news of her passing well, for obvious and understandable reasons.

Dorothy Wang, who starred alongside EJ Johnson and who was close friends with McHenry, Tweeted the following after learning of Lyric’s death:

Rest In Peace Lyric McHenry. You were an angel amongst us.


Wang was a cast member on E!’s Rich Kids of Beverly Hills for four seasons and EJNYC was a one-season spinoff of this program.

Wang also called out reports about McHenry’s death that did NOT include all of her accomplishments, insiders or social media users who only focused on the overdose.

“Lyric was a Stanford graduate, scholar, activist, an intelligent, caring, friend, sister, daughter, and member of society!!!” wrote Wang.

It’s true: she also volunteered on the Obama campaign when she was 15 years old.

“Working for this campaign made my awkward stage at 15 so much doper,” wrote McHenry as a caption to the picture below, adding:

Thank you to the Obamas for inspiring us, leading with love and intellect, bringing art and artists to the White House, and also Sasha and Malia.”

Radar Online, meanwhile, writes that McHenry’s mom reacted in such hysterics upon hearing that her daughter died that she had to be hospitalized.

The 26-year-old’s mother, Jennifer, was “crying and fell to the ground and we had to catch her,” a source said about the sad situation.

This is what the New York Police Department wrote in regard to what transpired yesterday:

“On Tuesday, August 14, 2018 at approximately 0505 hours, police encountered a 26-year-old female, unconscious and unresponsive, lying on the sidewalk in the vicinity of Undercliff Avenue and Boscobel Place, within the confines of the 44 Precinct.

“There were no obvious signs of trauma observed.

“EMS responded to the location and transported the aided female to Bronx Lebanon Hospital, where she was pronounced deceased. The Medical Examiner will determine the cause of death.

“The investigation remains ongoing.”

And this is what EJ Johnson, the son of basketball legend Magic Johnson, wrote on social media on August 6 and McHenry and her impending birthday:

Happy birthday to my best friend who has strutted with my in princess gowns since day 1 @lyric_leighwords cannot express how much I love and appreciate you in my life.

Your constant love, respect and companionship gives me the confidence to live my truth every single day and I am so blessed that even as baby divas we recognized the greatness in each other.

I love you #leoseason #teamthis.

May Lyric McHenry rest in peace.


Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart Dies; Wrestling Champion Was 63

We regret to inform you that we have some devastating news out of the world of professional wrestling.

It has been reported and then confirmed that former WWE champion Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart, a member of one of the most famous wrestling dynasties in history, has passed away.

Neidhart was 63.

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Jim Neidhart, on top of his own career, was also the father of Total Divas star Natalya Neidhart.

B Brian Blair took to Twitter to first share this heartbreaking news.

“So sad to announce the passing of my friend and longtime colleague, Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart,” Blair wrote on Twitter in the morning on Monday, August 13.

Blair’s tweet continued: “Your thoughts and prayers for the family are deeply appreciated!”

The grim news has since been confirmed by multiple outlets.

Neidhart’s cause of death has not yet been reported.

Jim Neidhart Ladder Gif

Neidhart won his “The Anvil” moniker from throwing a literal anvil.

In high school, he had been a shot put shampion. 

When he entered his professional wrestling career, Stu Hart prompted him to enter and win an anvil toss at the Calgary Stampede.

Neidhart did just that, tossing an anvil 11 feet and 2 inches.

Anvils, for the record, can weigh between 75 and 500 pounds, depending upon their purpose.

Jim Neidhart Promo Gif

Neidhart’s wrestling career took off, under the tutelage of the legendary Stu Hart.

He joined the World Wrestling Federation in 1985.

He teamed up with Bret Hart, becoming one half of the Hart Foundation — and winning the Tag Team Championship twice.

Neidhart was then part of the Hart Foundation in the ’90s.

Also in the ’90s, Neidhart feuded with Stone Cold Steve Austin in what has been described as one of the formative feuds of the Attitude Era.

In the late ’90s, he spent time in WCW. He appeared on Impact Wrestling as recently as 2009.

Jim Neidhart 02

Neidhart has not wrestled with WWE since 2007.

In February of 2010, he was inducted into the Legends Pro-Wrestling Hall of Fame.

He is survived by his wife, Ellie, and their three daughters: Jennifer, Natalie, and Kristen

Natalie is better known as Natalya, the wrestler with WWE who is also a star on Total Divas. Her father was a frequent guest star on the reality series.

Our hearts go out to his family and his loved ones after this sudden news.

At present, Bret Hart is the only surviving member of the ’90s Hart Foundation.


Charlotte Rae Dies; Facts of Life Star Was 92

Charlotte Rae, the star of two classic and beloved sitcoms, died Sunday at her home in Los Angeles.

She was 92 years old.

Charlotte Rae image

The veteran actress revealed in April of 2017 that she had been diagnosed with bone cancer, telling People Magazine at the time:

“About seven years ago, I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer – which is a miracle that they found it because usually it’s too late. My mother, sister and my uncle died of pancreatic cancer.

“After six months of chemotherapy, I was cancer-free. I lost my hair, but I had beautiful wigs. Nobody even knew.”

She added at the time:

“Nobody ever knew. So now, at the age of 91, I have to make up my mind. I’m not in any pain right now. I’m feeling so terrific and so glad to be above ground.

“Now I have to figure out whether I want to go have treatment again or opt for life.”


Rae rose to television fame as Mrs. Garrett (affectionately known as “Mrs. G”) on Diff’rent Strokes, the wise and kind house keeper for Mr. Drummond.

She then played this same role on Facts of Life, which ran from 1979 through 1988.

There’s actually be talk of late of revising this series, which focuses on Mrs. Garrett serving as the caretaker for quartet of students at Eastland School for Young Women.

Rae was born in Milwaukee and got her start in the entertainment industry via the theater and radio.

She first starred on the small screen as Sylvia Schnauser, the wife of Al Lewis’ Officer Leo Schnauser on Car 54, Where Are You?.

Despite her two Tony Award nominations and single Emmy Award nominations, it wasn’t until legendary producer Norman Lear cast Rae in Diff’rent Strokes that her career took off.

older ra

Rae proceeded to o guest star on programs such as ER, Pretty Little Liars, Sisters, and The King of Queens, while appearing in films such as Don’t Mess with the Zohan and Tom and Jerry: The Movie.

Her final regular gig was voicing “Nanny” in the animated 101 Dalmations: The Series, which aired from 1997-98.

In 2011, The Facts of Life cast reunited for the TV Land Awards, where Rae took home the Pop Icon award.

In 2015, Rae released a memoir titled The Facts of My Life, which documented her 44 years of sobriety, along with the discovery that that her husband, John Strauss, was bisexual.

Tweeted Todd Bridges, who starred on Diff’rent Strokes as Willis, one of the two kids Mrs. G helped raise:

Different Strokes would not have been the same without you #CharlotteRae. You were loved by everyone on our show and you were loved by everyone on the facts of life will miss you “My heart is full of Pain” Rest in peace my friend.

He added the following as a tribute:

on strokes

“I love life. I’ve had a wonderful one already,” said Rae 18 months ago after confirming her second cancer diagnosis.

“At 91, every day is a birthday. [In my book] I want to tell everybody to celebrate every day, to savor the day and be good to yourself, love yourself, and then you can be good to others and be of service to others.”

This amazing life has now come to an end.

May Charlotte Rae rest in peace.


Jessica Vogel, Former Hell’s Kitchen Star, Dies at 34

Very sad news today out of the world of reality television:

Jessica Vogel, a former contestant on the Fox hit Hell’s Kitchen, died on Monday in New Jersey.

She was 34 years old.


This very sad piece of news was confirmed by NorthJersey.com, which spoke to Vogel’s fiance, John Michael Keyser.

He told the website that the chef’s “heart gave out” while she was being treated at a local hospital for colitis, which is an illness that causes inflammation in the digestive tract.

“We were planning to open a restaurant together,” Keyser told this outlet. “My heart is breaking.”

Vogel attended culinary school at Johnson & Wales in Denver.

She began her cooking career by working in the kitchen of Kevin’s Thyme in Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey, prior to becoming a pastry chef at Grange in Westwood and Christine Nunn’s Picnic on the Square in Ridgewood.

While working at a creperie and bakery in California, Vogel auditioned for Hell’s Kitchen, making her debut on the series in March of 2014.

She finished her run on the popular program in 12th place.

During this stint, Jessica impressed Gordon Ramsay with her rosemary-crusted venison loin with roasted potatoes and Brussels sprouts.

“Venison is one of the most difficult proteins to cook and you absolutely nailed it,” the notoriously hard-to-please celebrity chef told Vogel at the time.

“When she set her mind on something there was no way to stop her,” reads Vogel’s obituary on Legacy.com, adding:

“Jessica was fearless when it came to work, never backing down from a challenge.”

Vogel’s family said in this obituary that Jessica had battled issues with alcohol and drugs over the years.

“She recently committed to living a better life and had graduated from an inpatient rehabilitation program with hopes of regaining control of her life,” they said.

“Unfortunately, the damage done over the years was too great and she died, like she lived, a fighter.”

Vogel also appeared on the Food Network show Cutthroat Kitchen with Alton Brown in 2016 — appears to have written about her experience with alcoholism in a now-deleted 2017 Medium post.

“I’m weeks away from 34 years old and got told I drink too much and have cirrhosis,” she wrote.

“Did it stop me from pouring shots of alcohol? Nope. Did my lifestyle of sex, drugs and foie gras come to a born again Christian revelation? F-ck that noise.

“Life is a blaze of glory. I don’t know if you want an adventure tale, but I’m here and ready to tell. My name is Jess and I’ve lived to tell about it. To be continued…”

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Fair Lawn-based chef Christine Nunn, who occasionally writes for The Record and NorthJersey.com, said she knew Vogel well.

“She knew more about the Bergen County dining scene than just about anyone,” Nunn told the latter website.

“She was really a talented chef who never reached her potential. It’s a shame.”

Vogel is survived by her parents, Donna Bruchmann and Mark Vogel, and her sister, Caitlin Johnstone.

May she rest in peace.


Nicholas “Duffy” Fudge Dies; Wicked Tuna Star was 28

Very sad news today out of the reality TV universe:

Nicholas “Duffy” Fudge, a recurring cast member on the popular series Wicked Tuna, was found dead last Thursday, July 19.

He was only 28 years old.

fudge tribute

The Nat Geo program confirmed the discovered alongside a photo of Fudge in a tweet on its official Twitter account yesterday.

We’ve shared the Tweet above and it reads:

.@NatGeoChannel and @Pilgrim_Studios were saddened to learn that Wicked Tuna cast member Nicholas “Duffy” Fudge passed away this week.

Duffy was the first mate on Captain Tyler McLaughlin’s fishing vessel, Pinwheel. We join his family and friends in mourning his untimely loss.

Nicholas had been a crew member on the show since 2013. He was based out of New Hampshire.

On the Wicked Tuna Facebook page, the post mentioning his passing read as follows:

Duffy was the first mate on Captain Tyler McLaughlin’s fishing vessel, Pinwheel, and has appeared on both Wicked Tuna and our spinoff series Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks.

We join Duffy’s family and friends in mourning his untimely loss.

As of this writing, the case of death is unknown.

Wicked Tuna first aired in April of 2012.

It tracks fisherman out of Gloucester, Massachusetts who risk life and limb on the North Atlantic waters in order to track down bluefin and earn a huge payday in exchange.

According to Fudge’s obituary in the New Hampshire Union Leader, the reality star “may have been the victim of decompression sickness.”

He was born in Topsfield, Massachusetts and resided in Greenland, New Hampshire at the time of his death.

He was a graduate of Portsmouth High School in New Hampshire and was an impressive athlete.

the fudge

Fudge “excelled in any sport he played, and among his favorites were fishing, hockey, lacrosse, skiing, snowboarding, and surfing,” reads the obituary.

It added at one point:

“As a child, Nick began tuna fishing with his father and grandfather.

After becoming one of the top sport fishermen in the country, he earned a place on the National Geographic reality show Wicked Tuna for multiple seasons.

“Nick also treasured the environment and he took seriously his responsibility to protect it.”

Fudge is survived by his parents; his brother Cody; his girlfriend; his paternal grandfather; his maternal grandparents; and several aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.

w. tuna

In the wake of this terrible news, many fans of the show left comments on the online obituary.

“So sorry for the loss of your loved one. Loved watching Duffy on Wicked Tuna. The show will not be the same without him. May you all find comfort during this painful time,” one fan wrote.

Another added:

“Duffy was a great guy, I love watching the Pinwheel… [Pray] for the family and his friends.”

NatGeo aired a moment of silence during Sunday’s episode in Fudge’s honor.

May he rest in peace.