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End of story: 2011

End of story: 2011

Sultan bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud (1929 – 2011)

The crown prince of Saudia Arabia and the next to succeed to the throne, Prince Sultan bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud died in October 2011. Fighting cancer and Alzheimer’s the crown prince was under treatment in New York and later in Morocco.

He was made the heir apparent in 1982 when his brother Abdullah Abdul-Aziz was crowned King in 2005. Before that he was the Minister of agriculture (1953), Minister of transport (1955), Minister of Defense (1962) and Deputy Prime Minister (1982).

Betty Ford (1918 – 2011)

First Lady of the United States of America during the presidency of her husband Gilford Ford died in July 2011. Known to be candid she played an active role in shaping social policy during her husband’s presidency. Betty Ford was often criticized for her liberal approach in framing these policies. A supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment she supported the cause of Breast Awareness and was an advocate of the Woman’s Movement and raised awareness regarding alcohol abuse.

After the election of Jimmy Carter as the President of the United States of America she led an active public life and founded the Betty Ford Centre in which she was constantly engaged in philanthropic activities.

Nusrat Bhutto (1929 – 2011)

Buried next to her husband in Garhi Khuda Baksh, the former First Lady and Chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party died in Dubai this year after a long struggle with Alzheimer disease. An advocate of democracy and women rights and mother of the only female Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nusrat Bhutto was conferred the title of Mother of Democracy after her death. Her democratic struggles within a military regime led to several hardships in her life. She endured the execution of her husband, the death of her sons and the assassination of her daughter, which makes her a courageous and inspirational figure for the women of Pakistan.

Sathya Sai Baba (1926 – 2011)

Proclaiming to be the reincarnation of Sai Baba of Shirdhi, Sathya Sai Baba was a spiritual guru and mystic. Worshipped by some for his miracles and criticized by others for being deceptive, he had garnered a huge lobby of supporters who believed in his divinity and accepted him as their spiritual guide. His followers included distinguished names like cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, Cabinet ministers, industrialists and a Supreme Court justice. He had been able to amass a following of 6 million people and his charitable trust was valued at $8.9 billion. Known for his philanthropic acts his trust had established schools, colleges, hospitals and a piped drinking water project that served 750 residents of the villages in India. As his followers mourn the death of their guide his charitable trust will continue its philanthropic activities uninterrupted.

Andy Rooney (1919 – 2011)

The celebrated host of A few minutes with Andy Rooney, writer and journalist died in November 2011. As an American Journalist he was one of the first few who visited the Nazi concentration camps in Germany in World War II and wrote about them. In his 1995 memoir of the war he chronicles monumental and historical experiences in the war that shaped him as a journalist. Joining CBS as a writer he appeared on “A few minutes with Andy Rooney” first in 1978 as an end of show segment on 60 minutes.  His whimsical and satirical take on everyday issues like the price of groceries, bottled water brands and the types of milk became hugely popular.  His last appearance on 60 minutes was in October 2011 and he died 5 weeks later.

Dennis Ritchie (1941 – 2011)

Creator of the C programming language and a key player in shaping the digital era, Dennis Ritchie died in October 2011 due to prolonged illness related to heart disease and prostate cancer. A scientist and developer of UNIX and the C programming language, his revolutionary contribution to the field of programming languages has enabled the development of operating systems, embedded systems and several other programming languages that are influenced by C.  He received the Turing rewards, IEEE Richard W. Hamming Medal, National medal of Technology and was made Fellow of the Computer History Museum. Without his contributions the advances in technology and computer hardware and software would have not materialized.

Steve Jobs (1955 – 2011)

Steve Jobs, Founder and CEO of Apple Inc. died in October 2011 after battling with prostate cancer. In 1976, the seed for a multibillion dollar company and a unique idea had been planted in the humble surroundings of the Jobs’ family garage. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak founded Apple and financed it by selling Jobs’ Volkswagen and Wozniak’s scientific calculator. The idea was to develop a personal computer that was accessible to the common user with no technological background. For further financial support, after being turned down from Atari and Hewlett-Packard because ‘they were not through college as yet’, they found an investor from Fairchild Semiconductor, Mike Markkula. Seeing the potential of a mouse driven graphical user interface, in 1984 Jobs released the first commercially successful small computer with a graphical user interface – the Macintosh.  One of the first to venture into the smartphone and the tablet PC industries in 2007, iPhone and the iPad are iconic products produced by Apple.

Amy Winehouse (1983 – 2011)

Winner of five Grammy awards in 2006 for her album Back to Black and nominated for the Mercury Prize for her critically acclaimed debut album Frank in 2003, Amy Winehouse tragically died of alcohol poisoning in July 2011 at the age of 27. By 2005 her personal life was spiraling downwards amid drug abuse, depression, alcoholism and eating disorders. Her musical success seemed to push her further into an abyss of despair and alcoholism. She also spent time in jail due to assault charges periodically in 2006, 2007 and 2008.

However, despite the controversy Winehouse remained a musical success as she won the 2008 Grammy Awards for Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for her single Rehab and her album Back to Black won the Best Pop Vocal Album award. She also won a Grammy in the Best New Artist category and was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for the most Grammys won by a British Female artist.

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