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Milestones Feb. 5, 2007

3 minute read
Clayton Neuman, Harriet Barovick and Elisabeth Salemme

KILLED. Hrant Dink, 52, prominent Turkish newspaper editor who championed the rights of ethnic Armenians; by a gunman who shot him as he was leaving his office; in Istanbul. Dink angered many Turks by challenging the official version of how hundreds of thousands of Armenians died during World War I, insisting that the dead were victims not of famine but of genocide. A suspect, Ogun Samast, 17, was arrested.

DIED. Lilly Rodriguez, 59, scrappy, pioneering athlete who in the 1970s helped popularize and legitimize boxing and kickboxing for women by winning a string of featherweight titles in both sports and defying skeptics who expected, in her words, “foxy boxing”; of complications from an infection; in Los Angeles.

DIED. Denny Doherty, 66, winsome, bohemian lead vocalist and founding member of the Mamas and the Papas, the seminal 1960s pop foursome known for its tuneful harmonies on such hits as California Dreamin’, Monday, Monday and Dedicated to the One I Love; after a short illness following stomach surgery; in Mississauga, Ont. The collegial but incestuous group–which included arranger-songwriter John Phillips, his wife Michelle and Cass Elliot–famously began to self-destruct after the disclosure that Doherty and Michelle Phillips had been having an affair.

DIED. Ryszard Kapuscinski, 74, stylish Polish writer whose textured, empathic coverage of Africa brought him global acclaim; of unknown causes; in Warsaw. As the lone Africa correspondent for the Polish Press Agency in the 1950s and ’60s, he witnessed widespread unrest as nations began to break free from colonial rule. Among his best known books was The Emperor, which chronicled the last days of Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie. “I wish I could convey what Africa was like,” he said. “I have experienced nothing like it.”

DIED. E. Howard Hunt, 88, aide to Richard Nixon who engineered the Watergate break-in; in Miami. A CIA operative from 1949 to ’70 and the author of more than 80 spy novels, Hunt served 33 months in prison for his role in the scandal, which exploded when one of the burglars was found to have Hunt’s White House telephone number in his address book. Hunt had previously helped orchestrate another famous break-in, at the office of the psychiatrist treating Daniel Ellsberg, the defense analyst who leaked the Pentagon papers. In 1997 Hunt declared bankruptcy, blaming, among other things, Watergate fines and legal fees. “I think I’ve paid my debt to society,” he said.

DIED. Abbé Pierre, 94, French Catholic priest who stubbornly championed the homeless in France and abroad; in Paris. In 1954 he won national attention after coming across a woman who had frozen to death on a Paris street, her eviction papers in hand. His frantic cry on the radio–“Friends! Help!”–prompted volunteers to donate blankets for other homeless people and pressured the government to offer some 12,000 units of housing.

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