TIME remembrance

First Black NBA Player Earl Lloyd Passes Away Aged 86

Earl Lloyd
Edward Kitch—AP Earl Lloyd, Oct. 30, 1972.

The Virginia native was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003

Earl Lloyd, the first black professional NBA player, passed away Thursday at the age of 86.

Known as “the Big Cat,” the 6’5″ forward made his league debut in October 1950, playing for the Washington Capitals. During his legendary career, Lloyd averaged 8.4 points during 560 regular-season NBA games.

Lloyd was also twice included in the CIAA All-America team and was three-time all-conference selection. Lloyd retired in 1960, after serving in the U.S. army, playing for the Detroit Pistons and winning the 1955 NBA championship for the Syracuse Nationals. He was also the NBA’s first black assistant coach in 1968 and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003.

Born in Alexandria, Va., Lloyd is survived by a wife and three sons.

[Charleston Gazette]

TIME Television

Parks and Rec Co-Producer Harris Wittels Has Died, Aged 30

The cause of death has not been confirmed, but police responded to a 911 call about a possible drug overdose

Harris Wittels, a co-executive producer and writer on Parks and Recreation, was found dead in his home in Los Angeles on Thursday.

The 30-year-old was discovered by his assistant around 12 p.m. on Thursday, and police subsequently responded to a 911 call about a possible drug overdose, writes the Hollywood Reporter. The cause of death has not yet been confirmed, however.

In addition to writing and producing Parks and Rec, which airs its series finale next week, Wittels had a small on-screen role, playing an employee from the animal-control department.

He also worked on series such as Eastbound and Down and The Sarah Silverman Program, was a stand-up comedian and is credited with coining the term “humblebrag,” meaning a boast disguised as modesty.

Tributes to the young writer-comedian poured onto Twitter.

[THR]

TIME People

This Husband Passed Away But Arranged to Send His Wife Flowers Every Valentine’s Day

Close up of bouquet of roses
Jamie Grill—Tetra images RF/Getty Images

Now that is true love

A devoted husband took romance to an ethereal level on Valentine’s Day by sending his wife a bouquet of flowers from beyond the grave.

Jim Golay, from Casper, Wyo., was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor almost exactly one year ago. He wanted to make Valentine’s Day special for his wife but he knew he wasn’t going to be around for much longer, reports KCWY13.

So before he died, Golay hatched a plan with the local florists to send Shelley Golay a bouquet of flowers each Valentine’s Day for the rest of her life, just to remind her how much he loved her.

“He’s such an amazing man and he just can love beyond boundaries,” Shelley Golay said. “There is no boundaries with him, even in death. He’s just amazing.”

The flowers arrived two days before Valentine’s Day. When Shelley saw they were from her deceased husband, she phoned the florists and found out about his eternal Valentine’s Day plan.

[KCWY13]

Read next: Watch a Husband Surprise His Wife With the One Thing She Always Wanted

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Education

Princeton Receives $300M Rare Book Collection, University’s Largest Gift Ever

Blair Hall on the campus of Princeton University
John Greim—Getty Images Blair Hall on the campus of Princeton University on Aug. 5, 2012

Donation includes the earliest Bible prints, the original print of the Declaration of Independence and Beethoven's signed music sketchbook

Princeton University declared Monday that it received a donation of books and manuscripts worth approximately $300 million, amounting to the most generous gift in its history.

Class of 1936 alumnus William Scheide died last year at age 100, bequeathing a 2,500-volume rare book and manuscript collection to the Ivy League university. The haul includes historic treasures like the six earliest prints of the Bible and the original printing of the Declaration of Independence. He also gifted the 1746-founded seat of learning with Beethoven’s music sketchbook, signed by the composer himself.

It is “one of the greatest collections of rare books and manuscripts in the world today,” said Princeton President Christopher Eisgruber in a statement. “I cannot imagine a more marvelous collection to serve as the heart of our library.”

The collection will be fully digitized to increase its accessibility to the public, which can view it upon request. It will remain in Princeton’s Firestone Library.

TIME Music

1980s Pop Pioneer Steve Strange Has Died

He pioneered a look and sound that inspired many of the era's biggest acts, including Boy George and Duran Duran

Steve Strange, the former lead singer of popular 80s band Visage, best known for their breakout single Fade to Grey, died of a heart attack in Egypt on Thursday.

Strange, 55, was in a hospital in Sharm-el-Sheikh, the BBC reported.

Born Steve Harrington, Strange co-founded the Blitz Club in London’s trendy Soho district, a venue that pioneered the New Romantic movement and gave several top U.K. acts of the 1980s — including Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet and Boy George’s Culture Club — a stepping stone on their way to global stardom.

Members of all three bands expressed their condolences on social media.

TIME Bizarre

13 Weirdly Morbid Vintage News Stories

What were they thinking?

In the earlier days of TIME, the magazine ran a weekly round-up of local news items of note — and, as we pointed out earlier this month, it’s proof positive that funny flubs and weird happenings have always had the ability to go viral, albeit at a slightly slower pace than they do today.

But that “Miscellany” column, in the 1920s and ’30s, wasn’t just a repository of the benignly strange. On a regular basis, it also featured deaths and killings (and, as seen above, freak accidents that result in mere permanent blindness) that we can only hope weren’t meant to be funny. Here are a few of the strangest, most macabre items we could find.

TIME Crime

Mommy Blogger Stands Trial Accused of Killing Her 5-Year-Old Son With Salt

Lacey Spears
Westchester County District Attorney’/AP This undated photo provided by the Westchester County District Attorney’s office shows Lacey Spears, who was indicted June 17, 2014, in White Plains, N.Y., on charges of depraved murder and manslaughter in the death of her son, 5-year-old Garnett-Paul Spears.

Lacey Spears tweeted updates on her son's worsening condition

A mommy blogger is on trial outside New York City regarding the death of her 5-year-old son, whom she allegedly poisoned with high levels of salt while sharing his worsening medical condition over the Internet.

Lacey Spears, 27, of Scottsville, Ky., has been charged with the depraved murder and manslaughter of Garnett-Paul Spears. She allegedly fed him salt through a hospital tube at the Westchester Medical Center in White Plains, N.Y., precipitating a spike in his sodium levels that led to seizures, brain swelling and eventually death.

“This mother was intentionally feeding her child salt at toxic levels,” said prosecutor Doreen Lloyd, according to the Associated Press.

Spears, originally from Alabama, kept her social-media followers apprised of Garnett-Paul’s worsening medical condition during the last few days of his life, writing “My sweet angel is in the hospital for the 23rd time” and “Please pray he gets to come home soon.”

On her son’s final day, she wrote, “Garnett the great journeyed onward today at 10:20 a.m.”

The trial continues.

[AP]

TIME Saudi Arabia

Global Leaders Pay Respects After the Death of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah

President Obama meets King Abdullah in Saudi Arabia
Kevin Lamarque—Reuters U.S. President Barack Obama meets with King Abdullah at Rawdat al-Khraim (Desert Camp) near Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, March 28, 2014.

"An important voice who left a lasting impact on his country"

U.S. President Barack Obama paid tribute to Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah on Friday, hailing the late monarch’s contributions to peace in the Middle East and the relationship between the two allies.

“As our countries work together to confront many challenges, I always valued King Abdullah’s perspective and appreciated our genuine and warm friendship,” Obama said in a statement. “The closeness and strength of the partnership between our two countries is part of King Abdullah’s legacy.”

Former President George H.W. Bush also released a statement calling Abdullah “a wise and reliable ally, helping our nations build a strategic relationship and enduring friendship,” according to CBS News.

Messages came in from leaders around the world, with British Prime Minister David Cameron and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi both expressing regret at Abdullah’s demise. Cameron, who visited Saudi Arabia in 2012, said he was “deeply saddened” and expressed hope that the “long and deep ties between our two Kingdoms will continue,” while Modi took to Twitter to commemorate “an important voice who left a lasting impact on his country.”

Abdullah’s spearheading of the Arab Peace Initiative, which was cited by both Obama and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry as one of his key achievements, was also included in U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s condolence message as “a tangible legacy that can still point the way towards peace in the Middle East.”

TIME Health Care

Clinic Loses Accreditation After Joan Rivers’ Death

Joan Rivers-Death Investigation
Tina Fineberg—AP Yorkville Endoscopy seen in New York, Sept. 5, 2014.

The clinic has been cited for multiple errors in its care of the late comedian

The New York clinic where TV personality Joan Rivers underwent vocal cord surgery, before her sudden deterioration and death, will lose its federal accreditation at the end of the month.

As of Jan. 31, Yorkville Endoscopy will no longer receive Federal funds for services given to Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, the Huffington Post reports.

Earlier this past year, the New York State Department of Health determined that the clinic made multiple errors during Rivers’ care. Rivers died on Sept. 4 after suffering brain damage from lack of oxygen after she quit breathing during surgery only a few days earlier.

An employee of the clinic also reportedly took a photo of Rivers during the surgery.

The clinic released a statement, saying: “We are continuing to work with all regulatory bodies. We intend to communicate with CMS and appropriate authorities to have the decision reversed. Yorkville continues to be a licensed facility and perform procedures while cooperating with the regulatory process.”

TIME Addiction

Alcohol Poisoning Kills 6 Americans a Day

CDC says alcohol poisoning deaths are a greater problem than previously thought

America has a drinking problem, with 2,200 people dying each year from alcohol poisoning. That’s an average of six alcohol-related deaths a day, a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report says.

Alcohol poisoning happens when people drink an excessive amount of alcohol in a short amount of time, causing high levels of alcohol in the body to interfere with and even shutdown parts of the brain that are critical for controlling vitals like heart rate, body temperature, and breathing. Eventually, that can lead to death.

Over 38 million Americans binge drink an average of four times a month, and consume an average of eight drinks per binge, according to the new CDC Vital Signs report. Interestingly, the report shows that the majority of alcohol poisoning deaths happen in adults between the ages of 35 and 64, and 76% of those who die are men, revealing binge drinking is not a behavior solely observed among young people. The CDC reports that while the most deaths occur among non-Hispanic whites, American Indians and Alaska Natives have the most deaths per million people. The death rates also vary widely state to state. For example, alcohol poisoning deaths in Alaska add up to 46.5 deaths per million residents, and in Alabama it’s 5.3 per million residents.

The CDC says the report shows alcohol poisoning deaths are a greater problem than previously believed, and that the numbers are likely an underestimate since alcohol-related deaths are known to be underreported. Alcoholism was a factor in 30% of the deaths and other drug use was a factor in only 3%.

“Alcohol poisoning deaths are a heartbreaking reminder of the dangers of excessive alcohol use, which is a leading cause of preventable deaths in the U.S.,” CDC principal deputy director Ileana Arias said in a statement.

In response, the CDC is calling for more members of the medical community to screen and talk to their patients about alcohol, since numbers show only one in six U.S. adults has reported ever talked about their drinking with a health professional. States with stronger alcohol policies also have less binge drinking, and should partner with community workers including police and health workers for better programs, CDC says.

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