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updated: 3/23/2013 5:21 PM

Notable deaths last week

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  • Associated Press/Oct. 25, 1977Cleveland Cavaliers' Walt Frazier, left, and New York Knicks' Ray Williams vie for the ball during the second half of an NBA basketball game at New York's Madison Square Garden.

      Associated Press/Oct. 25, 1977Cleveland Cavaliers' Walt Frazier, left, and New York Knicks' Ray Williams vie for the ball during the second half of an NBA basketball game at New York's Madison Square Garden.

  • Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe

      Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe

 
From news wire reports

Boris Berezovsky, a self-exiled and outspoken Russian tycoon who had a bitter falling out with Russian President Vladimir Putin, has been found dead in southeast England. He was 67.

In recent years, the one-time Kremlin powerbroker-turned-thorn in Putin's side fended off attacks on his character and on his fortune -- sometimes successfully, sometimes not -- in cases that often bore political undertones.

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Thames Valley police said Berezovsky's death was being treated as unexplained.

A mathematician-turned-Mercedes dealer, Berezovsky amassed his wealth during Russia's chaotic privatization of state assets in the early 1990s. In return for backing former Russian President Boris Yeltsin, he gained political clout and opportunities to buy state assets at knockdown prices, making a fortune in oil and automobiles.

He also played a key role in the rise of Yeltsin's successor, Vladimir Putin, but later fell out of favor with the new leader and fled to Britain to seek political asylum in the early 2000s.

Former New York Knicks and New Jersey Nets guard Ray Williams has died at the age of 58.

A first-round selection in the 1977 National Basketball Association draft by the Knicks from the University of Minnesota, Williams spent the initial four of his 10 seasons in New York. He also played for the Nets, the Kansas City Kings, the Boston Celtics, the Atlanta Hawks and the San Antonio Spurs before retiring after the 1986-87 season.

Chinua Achebe, the Nigerian novelist, essayist and poet who largely invented modern African fiction and shaped generations of writers worldwide, foremost with his groundbreaking book "Things Fall Apart," has died at 82.

Achebe had made his home in the United States since 1990 following injuries from a car crash in Lagos that left him paralyzed from the waist down.

With singular mastery and poetry, Achebe attempted to describe what he knew: the struggle of his fellow Igbo people in southeastern Nigeria to adjust to the British colonialism eroding their way of life. The theme of conflict between traditional values and modern culture would define his work.

Renowned Cuban pianist Bebo Valdes, a composer and bandleader who recorded with Nat "King" Cole, was musical director at Havana's legendary Tropicana Club and a key participant in the golden age of Cuban music, has died in Sweden at age 94.

Harlon Hill, the former star receiver for the Chicago Bears whose name adorns the NCAA Division II player of the year trophy, has died. He was 80.

Hill, who attended North Alabama, was the NFL rookie of the year in 1954 after being drafted in the 15th round by the Bears, and became the first winner of the Jim Thorpe Trophy as the NFL's most valuable player in 1955.

George Lowe, the last surviving climber from the team that made the first successful ascent of Mount Everest, has died at age 89.

Mezzo-soprano opera star Rise Stevens, who sang with the Metropolitan Opera for more than 20 years spanning the 1940s and 1950s, has died. She was 99.

Pietro Mennea, an Olympic sprint champion from Italy who held the world record in the 200 meters for 17 years, has died. He was 60.

Harry Reems, the male star of the 1972 cultural phenomenon "Deep Throat," which brought pornography to mainstream audiences, has died at age 65.

Doctors haven't determined his cause of death but Reems had multiple health issues, including pancreatic cancer, his wife said.

Bangladesh's figurehead president, Zillur Rahman, has died at a hospital in Singapore. He was 84.

He was a "Grand Master" of horror and rats were one of his specialties.

British horror writer James Herbert, whose best-selling spine-tinglers included "The Rats" and "The Fog," has died at age 69.

His first novel, "The Rats" -- which depicted London being overrun by mutant flesh-eating rodents -- took 10 months to complete and was published in 1974. It sold 100,000 copies in three weeks and was later turned into a film.

He went on to write 23 novels, selling 54 million copies around the world.

Michael Rhodes, an American opera singer and highly sought-after vocal coach who trained stars including German tenor Jonas Kaufmann, has died at the age of 89.

Henry Bromell, an Emmy Award-winning executive producer for the TV series "Homeland," has died, a representative said Tuesday. He was 65.

Fran Warren, whose 1947 recording of "A Sunday Kind of Love" was one of the classic hits of the big band era, has died. She was 87.

Elizabeth Cheval, the founding chairman of Illinois-based investment firm EMC Capital Management Inc. and a breakout star of a 1980s experiment in whether successful trading can be taught, has died. She was 56.

She died on March 9 at Beijing United Family Hospital, three days after suffering a brain aneurysm during a business trip to China, according to her sister, Susan Mack. She lived in Lake Forest, Illinois.

With average annual returns of 107 percent, Cheval was the top futures money manager for the five-year period ending in 1990, Crain's Chicago Business reported.

Alternative singer-songwriter Jason Molina has died at his home in Indianapolis. He was 39.

His record label, Indiana-based Secretly Canadian, says he stopped touring in 2009 "to deal with severe alcoholism."

British actor Frank Thornton -- best known as Captain Peacock in the long-running television comedy "Are You Being Served?" -- has died at age 92.

Olen Burrage, who was acquitted in the case of three civil rights workers killed by Ku Klux Klansmen in Mississippi in the 1960s, has died. He was 82.

She inspired a novel and a movie starring Robert Redford when in 1949 she lured a major league ballplayer she'd never met into a hotel room with a cryptic note and shot him, nearly killing him.

After the headlines faded, Ruth Ann Steinhagen did something else just as surprising: She disappeared into obscurity, living a quiet life unnoticed in Chicago until now, more than a half century later, when news broke that she had died three months earlier.

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