George McGovern once joked that he had wanted to run for president in the worst way -- and that he had done so.
A proud liberal who had argued fervently against the Vietnam War as a Democratic senator from South Dakota and three-time candidate for president, McGovern died at a Sioux Falls hospice, at age 90.
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"I am a liberal and always have been," McGovern said in 2001. "Just not the wild-eyed character the Republicans made me out to be."
Former President Bill Clinton got his start in politics when he signed on as a campaign worker for McGovern in 1972 and is among the legion of Democrats who credit him with inspiring them to pursue public service.
"I believe no other presidential candidate ever has had such an enduring impact in defeat," Clinton said in 2006 at the dedication of McGovern's library in Mitchell, S.D. "Senator, the fires you lit then still burn in countless hearts."
Russell Means spent a lifetime as a modern American Indian warrior. He railed against broken treaties, fought for the return of stolen land and even took up arms against the federal government.
Means, who died from throat cancer at age 72, helped lead the 1973 uprising at Wounded Knee -- a bloody confrontation that raised America's awareness about the struggles of Indians and gave rise to a wider protest movement that lasted for the rest of the decade.
Means said his most important accomplishment was the proposal for the Republic of Lakotah, a plan to carve out a sovereign Indian nation inside the United States.
With his rugged good looks and long, dark braids, he also was known for a handful of Hollywood roles, most notably in the 1992 movie "The Last of the Mohicans," in which he portrayed Chingachgook alongside Daniel Day-Lewis' Hawkeye.
Emanuel Steward, earnest yet easygoing, proved rough and tough wasn't the only way to win in boxing.
With a twinkle in his eyes, a smile on his face and a soothing voice, Steward developed unique bonds in and out of the ring with a long line of champions that included Thomas Hearns, Lennox Lewis, Oscar De La Hoya and Wladimir Klitschko.
Steward, owner of the Kronk Gym in Detroit and an International Boxing Hall of Fame trainer, has died at 68.
Even though Steward had a lot of success with Hearns, some of his setbacks from his corner were among the most memorable in the sport. Hearns was knocked out in the 14th round by Sugar Ray Leonard in 1981 -- Steward said that was the most painful experience of his life -- and Hearns was on the short end of a three-round fight with Marvin Hagler in 1985 that is considered one of the best bouts in boxing history.
"He brought the very, very best out of me," Hearns once said of Steward.
Steward also trained actor Wesley Snipes for his role as a boxer in "Undisputed" and worked since 2001 as a boxing analyst for HBO.
German composer Hans Werner Henze, whose prolific and wide-ranging work included a wealth of operas and 10 symphonies, has died at 86.
His operas ranged from the 1950s "Ein Landarzt" ("A Country Doctor"), based on a story by Franz Kafka, to "L'Upupa," written in 2002 and the only opera for which Henze wrote his own libretto.
Eloy Gutierrez-Menoyo, who went from rebel commander fighting alongside Fidel Castro to a foe launching commando raids against the island before settling inside Cuba as a moderate, pro-dialogue dissident, has died at 77.
Jacques Barzun, a pioneering cultural historian, reigning public intellectual and longtime Ivy League professor who became a best-selling author in his 90s with the acclaimed "From Dawn to Decadence," has died. He was 104.
"The outbreak of war in August 1914 and the nightmare that ensued put an end to all innocent joys and assumptions," Barzun wrote. "By the age of ten -- as I was later told -- my words and attitudes betrayed suicidal thoughts; it appeared that I was 'ashamed' to be still alive."
"From Dawn to Decadence," summing up a lifetime of thinking, offered a rounded, leisurely and conservative tour of Western civilization, with numerous digressions printed in the margins. Barzun guided readers from the religious debates of the Reformation to the contemporary debates on beliefs of any kind.
Les Smith, the Seattle-area businessman who was part of the group that brought Major League Baseball back to Seattle in 1977, has died. He was 93.
Award-winning fine art photographer Dody Weston Thompson, one of the founders of the prestigious photographic journal "Aperture," has died in Los Angeles. She was 89.
Thompson favored creating sharp-focus, realistic photographs of natural objects in the style popularized by photography icons Ansel Adams and Edward Weston, both of whom she assisted.
Margaret Osborne duPont, the winner of more than 30 Grand Slam singles and doubles titles spanning three decades, has died, She was 94.
DuPont won the singles title at Wimbledon in 1947, the U.S. National Championship (now the U.S. Open) singles title from 1948 to 1950 and the French singles title in 1946 and 1948.
Ex-Detroit Tigers pitcher Leslie Mueller, known for taking the mound for more than 19 innings in one game, has died at age 93 in a nursing home in the southern Illinois city of Belleville.
Mueller signed with the Detroit Tigers out of high school in 1941. After military service during World War II, Mueller returned to the Tigers, going 6-8 during the team's 1945 World Series championship season.
Mueller is best known for pitching 19 2/3 innings during a game against the Philadelphia Athletics, which ended after 24 innings in a 1-1 tie.
Aung Gyi, an army officer who helped install Myanmar's military dictatorship but later became a founder of its pro-democracy movement, has died at age 93.
Two-time Olympic pole-vaulter George Mattos has died at age 83.
Jeff Blatnick, who overcame cancer to win a gold medal in Greco-Roman wrestling at the 1984 Summer Olympics and went on to a career as a sports commentator and motivational speaker, died of h eart failure Wednesday in New York state at age 55.
The images are haunting: naked and emaciated children at Auschwitz standing shoulder-to-shoulder, adult prisoners in striped garb posing for police-style mug shots.
One of several photographers to capture such images, Wilhelm Brasse, has died at the age of 95. A Polish photographer who was arrested and sent to Auschwitz early in World War II, he was put to work documenting his fellow prisoners, an emotionally devastating task that tormented him long after his liberation.
Brasse, who was born in 1917 and was not Jewish, was sent to Auschwitz at 22 as a political prisoner for trying to sneak out of German-occupied Poland in the spring of 1940.
At the war's end, with the Soviet army about to liberate Auschwitz, the Germans ordered the photos destroyed. Brasse and others refused the order and managed to save about 40,000 of them.
Judge Betty Binns Fletcher, considered a liberal stalwart of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for decades, has died at age 89.
Arminta Jones, the mother of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, has died. She was 90.
Paul Kurtz, a well-known voice for the idea that decisions and behavior should be guided by science and reason over religion, has died. He was 86.
The secular humanist philosopher died Saturday at his home in the Buffalo suburb of Amherst.
Kurtz also took on psychics, astrologers and anything related to the paranormal through the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and The Skeptical Inquirer magazine, both of which he founded.
The oldest known survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp -- a teacher who gave lessons in defiance of his native Poland's Nazi occupiers -- has died at the age of 108.
Antoni Dobrowolski was among the Poles engaged in an underground effort to teach young Polish students, and he was arrested by the Gestapo and sent to Auschwitz in June 1942.
"Auschwitz was worse than Dante's hell," he recalled in a video made when he was 103.
Alfred Kumalo, a South African photographer whose work chronicled the brutalities of apartheid and the rise of Nelson Mandela, has died at age 82.
A doctor says Indian Hindi movie mogul Yash Chopra has died more than a week after he contracted dengue fever. He was 80.
Known as "King of Romance," Chopra had a Bollywood career that spanned five decades with major hits including "Deewar" (Wall), "Dil To Pagal Hai" (Heart Is Mad) and "Chandni" (Moonlight).
E. Donnall Thomas, a physician who pioneered the use of bone marrow transplants in leukemia patients and later won the 1990 Nobel Prize in medicine, has died in Seattle at age 92.