Greg Giraldo is dead today after overdosing on prescription drugs yesterday, says TMZ. The standup comedian was a judge on the comedy reality television series Last Comic Standing. It’s been stressed that his death was an accidental one and not the result of an intentional overdose or suicide attempt.
Giraldo’s death (he was forty-four) at the hands of legal medications adds his name to an unfortunate yet growing list of celebrities (and surely non-celebrities as well) who have recently passed away in a similar manner, including actress Brittany Murphy earlier this year. The late Michael Jackson also died as a result of legal drug overdose, although in his case the drugs being administered by his doctor may not have been dispensed in a legal manner (a whole other issue).
Last night I noticed a television ad for a legal drug whose makers disclaimed that “the exact way” in which the drug works is unknown. I mused at the time that I bet heroin was being marketed in a similar manner a hundred years ago, back when it was both legal and considered beneficial.
I’m not about to say we should start banning drugs that work just because there are risks involved. I’d likely be dead myself by now if not for the fact that I’ve been taking a particular stomach medication (formerly prescription-only, now available OTC) on a daily basis for the past fifteen years. I’ve been taking the drug for nearly as long as it’s existed, and I knew all along that there would be side effects which weren’t discovered until later – and that’s turned out to be exactly the case. But on the other hand, it’s kept me alive and surgery-free all these years, so these things are always a trade-off.
I wouldn’t want to speculate about Greg Giraldo’s death until the specifics and details become known: what drug? How risky was it? Was he taking more than prescribed? Was his doctor negligent in prescribing it? Was the FDA negligent for approving it?
But those are all questions for another day. Right now all I can say is that Greg Giraldo was a funny guy – and one way or the other, he should still be with us. Rest in peace.
Twitter is dying in 2010, unreliable to the point of quickly regressing back to the “toy” status that the social network faced back in 2007, an ignominy that it earned back then for the same reason that it’s staring the same fate in the face today. The site’s reliability, which had improved dramatically over the past two years to the point of being essentially a non-issue, has now slipped back into the proverbial toilet. Twitter’s “status” page, once forgotten due to the fact that it was no longer needed, has posted a stunning twenty-one service updates in the past month detailing the various and sundry ways in which service has failed. From a Twitter user standpoint downtime is now expected, tweets go missing, searches time out, and posting a tweet now comes with the very real possibility that you could be literally talking to yourself.
Longtime Twitter users are bound to shrug and wonder what the big deal is, as downtime and unreliability defined Twitter as a platform back in its early 2007-2008 days, with the service having never been properly reliable from the start and then having been completely mowed under by the mainstream/celebrity invasion, and only truly getting its act together in 2009. Newer users who joined Twitter after it finally did figure out how to stay routinely up and runnin are now getting their first taste of what it was like to be a Twitter early adopter. Of course back then, having as many as five thousand followers was almost unheard of; for a time it was believed that Robert Scoble could crash Twitter simply by tweeting, as he did in fact have five thousand followers in contrast to the typical user, who had a few dozen (in contrast, today Britney Spears and Ashton Kutcher have five million followers apiece).
So what’s gone wrong? Twitter status updates to a good job of describing what’s not working, but rarely state why it’s not working, suggesting that the folks at Twitter either don’t want to say or simply don’t know. However, the onslaught of unreliability seems to be traceable back to the day a few months ago in which Twitter was hacked by the loophole which caused users to be able to force other users to follow them back; as an emergency counter measure all accounts were frozen such that no one could follow anyone and all follower/following numbers were temporarily reset to zero. Even after the embargo was lifted, it feels like Twitter’s reliability has never been the same since.
While June 2010 is shaping up to be the worst month in Twitter’s history, here’s hoping they can figure out what’s wrong in terms of reliability and still pull it out before users begin jumping ship. In the mean time, however, Twitter is dying in terms of being a reliable useful tool and has instead been relegated – for now, at least – back to the undesirable status of a sometimes-working toy.
Jimmy Dean, the country music singer who was better known to a younger generation for his eponymous line of sausage products, has passed away at the age of eighty-one. In addition to a sufficiently influential country artist to have been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and a visible spokesman for his Jimmy Dean sausage products, he was also an actor, variety show host, and Air Force veteran, according to CNN.
Legendary UCLA college basketball coach John Wooden has died, after having been in gravely ill condition since yesterday. The ninety-nine year old Wooden had suffered several medical setbacks in recent years but – until now – invariably bounced back from them. Wooden’s death is currently being reported by several reliable sources. At the height of his career, Wooden and his UCLA teams won ten NCAA basketball championships in twelve years, a level of dominance generally considered not to have been matched before or since in any college sport by any other coach. As such, even in passing, John Wooden’s legacy is cemented – as evidenced by the fact that news of his death propelled his name into Twitter’s trending topics this evening despite the fact that Wooden coached his last UCLA game before the typical Twitter user was born.
Rue McClanahan died today, leaving only one of the four Golden Girls actresses alive. McClanahan was the youngest of the four by far, having been born in 1934, while Estelle Getty was born in 1923 and Bea Arthur and Betty White were both born in 1922. In fact McClanahan, who portrayed Blanche Devereaux on The Golden Girls, was twelve years younger than White, who at eighty-eight was the oldest of the four, and now sadly the only one alive. The timing of McClanahan’s death comes even as Betty White continues to see a career resurgence, having recently hosted Saturday Night Live and now set to co-star in new sitcom Hot in Cleveland.
Rue McClanahan had been diagnosed with breast cancer thirteen years ago but had recovered, and ultimately died of a massive stroke today. Her last work as an actress was on Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns in late 2009.
Dennis Hopper, whose latter-year career was perhaps best defined by his creepy-but-cool villain in the movie Speed, passed away yesterday after a long batter with prostate cancer. Hopper’s evil character in Speed was motivated to greed and murder by, so he claimed, the fact that when he retired from a long thankless career, all he was given was a gold watch as a parting gift – which he then repurposed into a bomb. In contrast, Hopper himself had a distinguished acting career which saw him remain not only famous but relevant in the eyes of multiple movie-going generations. So as we go about choosing how long and how well to remember him, thereby setting the stage for whether the next generation knows his name or not, let’s keep in mind that Hopper earned far more than the proverbial gold watch that his Speed character was saddled with. Let’s try to posthumously give Hopper a better parting gift.
Dennis Hopper died today, finally succumbing to prostate cancer today after having been reportedly “near death” for an extended period of time. The actor had been known for a long, distinctive career which included 1969′s “Easy Rider” rebel and 1994′s “Speed” villain. Hopper was consistently known for his “cool” characters whether portraying the good guy or the baddie, and managed to maintain that aura even in the latter years of his career. Rest in Peace.
Hopper’s death follows a string of high profile deaths in 2010 including Gary Coleman yesterday, Lena Horne and Slipknot’s Paul Gray earlier this week, Ronnie James Dio earlier this month, and Brittany Murphy earlier this year, among others.
The twittverse paid tribute to the late Gary Coleman this evening by not only making his name the top trending topic, but also pushing his famed catchphrase “What you talkin bout Willis” onto the trending list as well. The quip first entered the zeitgeist a generation ago as Coleman’s pint size character Arnold Drummond propelled the quip into popularity. Coleman died earlier today from a head injury sustained when he fell at his house earlier this week. Despite a lack of major acting roles of late, Gary had remained in the public eye in various ways including a run for governor of California against Arnold Schwarzenegger; one can’t help but wonder in hindsight if the late Gary Coleman might have done a better job.
If it seems like celebrities are dying off at a faster rate these days than in the past, it’s likely because there are now far more celebs to go around, with everything from the internet to five hundred television channels providing new paths to stardom. But Gary Coleman, who died earlier today from complications from a fall, was an old-school celebrity in that he got famous before we entered the era in which seemingly everyone is famous. In that sense his death reminds me of that of Michael Jackson late last year. While the two deaths are similar only in that they were both “accidental” in wildly different senses of the word, the forty-two year old Coleman and the fifty year old Jackson were both icons of the eighties who came from an era when being well known was a lot harder to pull off and there weren’t that many celebrities to keep track of. In losing Gary Coleman, we lose yet another link to a simpler era, back when we were living in the relative dark ages and didn’t even know it.
Gary Coleman has died from complications of the brain hemorrhage he suffered earlier this week and being taken off life support just minutes ago, according to a report from HuffPo. File this under headlines we had hoped we wouldn’t have to write. Coleman was a prominent actor in the eighties and has remained a part of pop culture ever since. He will be missed. Our condolences to his wife and family. Rest in Peace.
Coleman portrayed adopted child Arnold Drummond on the television series Diff’rent Strokes. His character was immortalized by the adoption of his catch phrase “What you talking about Willis?” which was routinely directed at his character’s on-screen brother.
24 has spent the past eight seasons twisting plots in every way possible and killing off nearly every character the show has ever introduced, meaning that there’s very little the show could do in its later seasons that would surprise us, as pretty much everything was on the table. About all we’ve really known is that the show could never kill off Kiefer Sutherland’s character Jack Bauer, because there would effectively be no show if they did. So even as most of the show’s inaugural season cast of characters now reside in a graveyard, we’ve known each time that Jack was in peril that he’d invariably survive it – even when one season closed with him in a coma. But now that 24 is ending? The show, known for its ever more over-the-top shockers ranging from killing off Jack’s wife to killing off at least one U.S. President, could literally do anything at the end of tonight’s series finale. Think movie endings. Jack Bauer could die. The world could explode in a nuclear mushroom cloud. Jack and Chloe O’Brien could end up together as the last two people left on earth. Jack’s daughter Kim Bauer, one of the very few original characters still alive, could turn out to have been a terrorist all along.
Actually, the word “movie” may be the only thing that keeps the show’s bloodthirsty writers in check tonight. If longstanding rumors of a 24 movie are indeed true, then the show would need to keep Jack alive, and some semblance of a world around him for the movie to take place in. And if a 24 movie is a hundred percent certain, then we could be in for the mother of all surprises tonight – a series ending cliffhanger.
Slipknot’s Paul Gray, who was found dead in an Iowa hotel today, has left behind not only his wife Brenna Gray but also a child to be. The bass player and his wife had been expecting, and she’s scheduled to give birth in September. There is still no word on what caused the death of the thirty-eight year old Gray, who had been with Slipknot since its inception.
More information on Paul Gray’s death can be found here.
Slipknot bassis Paul Gray has been found dead in a hotel in Iowa, according to local authorities. Gray was a founding member of the band and had been with the group since 1995. Despite the report, there’s no mention one way or the other on either Slipknot’s official website or the band’s MySpace page. The band is originally based out of Des Moines, Iowa, and generally perform while wearing masks – hence the above photo. Slipknot had released a greatest hits package in late 2009 and currently has no tour dates scheduled. The band’s Facebook page, which has more than a million fans, was last updated six days ago, and their Twitter page was last updated ten days ago with Nashville flood relief information.
The husband of the late actress Brittany Murphy has been found dead a mere five months after the actress herself was also found dead. The body of Simon Monjack was discovered at home, with “natural causes” listed as the preliminary cause of death. The thirty-nine year old Monjack was a writer, director, and producer. Murphy had died at the same home late last year due to a prescription drug overdose.
Retired major league baseball pitcher Jose Lima died this morning of a heart attack at the stunningly young age of thirty-seven, according to ESPNEWS. Lima’s early death is driven home by the fact that he was still an active pitcher a mere four years ago, and at thirty-seven was younger than several players who are still active in the league. Jose Lima pitched for several MLB teams over the years including the Detroit Tigers, Houston Astros, New York Mets, Kansas City Royals, and the Los Angeles Dodgers – leading the Dodgers into the playoffs in 2004. Further details of Lima’s death are still forthcoming.
After posting brief condolences on Twitter yesterday regarding the death of Ronnie James Dio, fellow heavy metal legend Ozzy Osbourne released a longer statement today expressing how “saddened” he was at Dio’s passing and saying that metal has lost one of the genre’s “greatest voices.” Although never bandmates, Osbourne and Dio have often been lumped together due to the fact that they were lead singers for legendary heavy metal outfit Black Sabbath at different times; Dio took over after Osbourne was fired in 1979 before leaving himself in 1982 to form his own band Dio, with both singers subsequently reuniting with Sabbath at different points of the years.
In just over a day since the world learned that heavy metal singer Ronnie James Dio had died, fans around the world have poured onto Facebook that they “like” the late singer and his music – to use the social networking’s new technology, which months ago would have seen them instead designating themselves as “fans.” No matter what you call them, more than a third of a milling people have hit the like button on Ronnie James Dio’s Facebook page. The number is growing quickly enough that repeatedly reloading the page in immediate succession sees count grow by several new fans which each reload. Meanwhile, fans are also paying tribute to the late singer in a more concrete way by purchasing so many copies of Dio’s classic “Holy Diver” album in iTunes that it’s surged to number three on the rock albums chart. While some will likely lament that Ronnie couldn’t be around to witness the outpouring himself, it’s a fitting sendoff for an individual whom many of the genre’s most popular artists have tagged as one of the best heavy metal singers of all time.
Ronnie James Dio died yesterday despite by all accounts having taken care of himself over the years. And yet Ozzy Osbourne, who seemingly never had any concept of taking care of oneself, is still with us. Over the years Ozzy has abused his own body so badly that some have suggested that it’s physically impossible for him to still be alive, while Ronnie was struck down by stomach cancer, which no amount of clean living could have prevented. It’s an odd juxtaposition for the two singers, who never worked together but will always be compared to each other due to the fact that they both fronted the legendary band Black Sabbath at different times. In fact, Ozzy’s reputation precedes him so severely that some people apparently heard the news that a Black Sabbath singer had died, and naturally assumed it was Ozzy – hence all the people who’ve been googling for “Ozzy still alive?” and such.
Both singers had been enjoying a renaissance of late, with Ronnie reuniting with his Black Sabbath bandmates under the new name Heaven and Hell, and Ozzy introducing himself to a new generation via Ozzfest and The Osbournes (and, come to think of it, reuniting with Black Sabbath himself through Ozzfest). But while Ozzy still has the chance to continue adding to his own legacy, Ronnie’s is now left to history. And while the two will always be remembered in tandem due to their Sabbath connection, what’s perhaps more important is that they’ll always be remembered.
Ozzy Osbourne is still alive and well. On any other day that might sound like the opening line of a joke. But we’ve seen a disturbing number of people land on Beatweek.com today after hitting search engines with queries like “Is Ozzy Osbourne dead?” and “Did Ozzy die today?” – so we want to make it clear as possible that Ozzy is alive and well. The singer who died today is Ronnie James Dio, who took Ozzy’s place in Black Sabbath after Ozzy’s departure.
Not that the clarification should make fans of heavy metal any less sad, as the loss of Ronnie today is a major one. There’s no attempt at whimsy or comparison in this post, or anything beyond an attempt to help set the record straight for some folks who have clearly managed to somehow mishear or misinterpret today’s sad news – probably not helped by the fact that the news broke on a weekend. The confusion may have come from the fact that Ozzy did post a response regarding Ronnie’s passing today via Twitter.
Ronnie James Dio replaced Ozzy Osbourne as Black Sabbath’s lead singer three decades ago. But if there was any animosity between the two, Ozzy isn’t showing it here on the day of Dio’s death, as Ozzy took to Twitter moments ago so simply say “Rest In Peace Ronnie”. The two veteran heavy metal pioneers flip-flopped the lead singer slot in Sabbath, with Osbourne being the band’s original frontman, Ronnie James Dio taking over after Ozzy was fired in 1979, and then Ozzy reuniting with the band in 1997 after Ronnie had already departed.
Other hard hock heavyweights such as Slash and Tom Morello have also weighed in on Ronnie’s passing.