Rush Limbaugh, 70, the right-wing radio megastar whose slashing, divisive style of mockery and grievance reshaped American conservatism, denigrating Democrats, environmentalists, “feminazis” (his term) and other liberals while presaging the rise of Donald Trump, died Wednesday at home in Palm Beach, Florida.
Limbaugh had revealed a diagnosis of advanced lung cancer last February. A day later, Trump awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, during the State of the Union address.
Dr. Bernard Lown, 99, a Massachusetts cardiologist who invented the first reliable heart defibrillator and later co-founded an anti-nuclear war group that was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize, died Tuesday. The Lithuania-born doctor’s health had been declining from congestive heart failure. He died in his Boston-area home.
Lown, who was a professor at Harvard University and a physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, was also an outspoken social activist, founding Physicians for Social Responsibility in 1960 and later co-founding International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War in the 1980s, which was awarded the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize for raising awareness about the consequences of nuclear war during the height of Cold War tensions between the U.S. and the Soviet Union.
Arne Sorenson, 62, the first nonfamily member to be chief executive officer of Marriott International and who oversaw Marriott International’s global expansion and transformed it into the world’s largest hotelier, died Monday. The cause was pancreatic cancer.
Johnny Pacheco, 85, the Dominican-born bandleader who co-founded the record label Fania, sometimes called the Motown of salsa, making it into a worldwide sensation, died on Monday in Teaneck, New Jersey. Pacheco, a gifted flutist, led the Fania All Stars, salsa’s first supergroup working with the hottest talents of the 1960s and ’70s, including Celia Cruz, Willie Colón, Hector Lavoe and Rubén Blades.
Carlos Menem, 90, who during 10 years as Argentina’s flamboyant, scandal-ridden president engineered a stunning economic turnaround only to be blamed for an even more dramatic financial collapse after he left office, died Feb. 14 from a urinary tract infection at a clinic in Buenos Aires.
James Ridgeway, 84, an investigative reporter who exposed corporate dirty tricks, environmental polluters and the horrors of solitary confinement in prison systems, died on Feb. 13 after a brief illness. In a career that spanned six decades, Ridgeway wrote for The New Republic, The New York Times, The Nation, The New York Review of Books, Ramparts, Hard Times and Mother Jones and was the Washington correspondent of The Village Voice for 30 years.
Ridgeway’s longest crusade was against solitary confinement, which was the subject of a 2016 book he edited with Jean Casella and Sarah Shourd. “These are the stories of 16 people, mostly in their own words, who describe the miserable realities and humiliations of their lives in tiny boxes, buried in holes 23 hours a day, sometimes for years at a time,” Ridgeway said in an interview in 2019. “Solitary confinement in America is a national scandal of human rights violations.”
Leslie E. Robertson, 92, structural engineer of the World Trade Center whose work came under intense scrutiny after the complex was destroyed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, died Feb. 11 at home in San Mateo, California. He was in his early 30s and something of an upstart when he and his partner were chosen to design the structural system for what were then, at 110 stories, the tallest buildings ever built.
Patricia Lynch, 82, an investigative television journalist who specialized in exposing cults and their leaders, including Lyndon LaRouche, a political extremist who ran for president eight times, died Feb. 3 at her home in Manhattan. The cause was complications of Alzheimer’s disease.
Lynch was one of the first women to be named an investigative producer for “NBC Nightly News,” joining its investigative unit in 1977. In nearly 20 years at NBC, she won two Emmys and shared in an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University award for investigative journalism.