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updated: 4/12/2014 7:53 PM

Notable deaths: Iconic Hollywood great; Obama's aunt; WWE superstar

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  • Entertainer Mickey Rooney in May 1987.

      Entertainer Mickey Rooney in May 1987.

  • James Hellwig, aka The Ultimate Warrior.

      James Hellwig, aka The Ultimate Warrior.

  • Michigan State forward Adreian Payne, right, hoists the net with Lacey Holsworth, who lost her battle with cancer this past week.

      Michigan State forward Adreian Payne, right, hoists the net with Lacey Holsworth, who lost her battle with cancer this past week.
    Associated Press

  • Finance Minister Jim Flaherty.

      Finance Minister Jim Flaherty.

  • Bob Geldof with his daughters Pixie, left, and Peaches.

      Bob Geldof with his daughters Pixie, left, and Peaches.

 
From Daily Herald news wire reports

Mickey Rooney's approach to life was simple: "Let's put on a show!" He spent nine decades doing it, on the big screen, on television, on stage and in his extravagant personal life.

A superstar in his youth, Rooney was Hollywood's top box-office draw in the late 1930s to early 1940s. He epitomized the "show" part of show business, even if the business end sometimes failed him amid money troubles and a seesaw of career tailspins and revivals. Pint-sized, precocious, impish, irrepressible -- perhaps hardy is the most-suitable adjective for Rooney, a perennial comeback artist whose early blockbuster success as the vexing but wholesome Andy Hardy and as Judy Garland's musical comrade in arms was bookended 70 years later with roles in "Night at the Museum" and "The Muppets."

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Rooney died at age 93 surrounded by family at his North Hollywood home, police said. The Los Angeles County Coroner's office said Rooney died a natural death.

Edmond Harjo, one of the last surviving members of a group of American Indians who used their Native languages to outmaneuver the enemy during World Wars I and II, died last week in Oklahoma. He was 96.

The Ultimate Warrior put on his signature airbrushed trench coat, shook the white ring ropes, and, for a few fleeting minutes, the wrestler billed as hailing from Parts Unknown was back home in the wrestling ring.

Less than 24 hours later, Warrior, one of the most colorful stars in pro wrestling history, was dead. He was 54.

The father of an 8-year-old girl with cancer who befriended Michigan State basketball star Adreian Payne says his daughter has died.

Matt Holsworth says Lacey Holsworth died at their St. Johns, Mich., home late Tuesday "with her mommy and daddy holding her in their arms."

Lacey met Payne during one of her hospital stays two years ago, and their friendship quickly blossomed and strengthened.

President Barack Obama's aunt Zeituni Onyango, who was denied asylum in the United States but stayed illegally for years, has died at age 61.

Onyango had been treated in recent months for cancer and respiratory problems, Cleveland attorney Margaret Wong said. Onyango, a half-sister of Obama's late father, moved from Kenya to the U.S. in 2000 and was denied asylum by an immigration judge in 2004. She remained in the country illegally, living in Boston public housing.

Peaches Geldof, the wild-child second daughter of Irish singer Bob Geldof who filled the pages of British tabloids with her late-night antics as she partied through the world of fashion and celebrity, was found dead at age 25.

Peaches Geldof had admitted using drugs in the past but said in a 2009 interview that she had quit.

John Pinette, the chubby stand-up comedian who portrayed a hapless carjacking victim in the final episode of "Seinfeld," has died. He was 50.

Otis McDonald, the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit that prompted the U.S. Supreme Court decision that forced Chicago to abandon its 28-year ban on handguns, has died at the age of 80, a family spokesman said.

After the court decision, McDonald remained active in the gun rights movement in Illinois, speaking out in favor, for example, of the state allowing people to carry concealed weapons in public before such a law was passed last year after a federal court ruling forced the state to enact concealed carry legislation. Illinois was the last of the 50 states to allow concealed carry.

Peter Matthiessen, a rich man's son who spurned a life of leisure and embarked on extraordinary physical and spiritual quests while producing such acclaimed books as "The Snow Leopard" and "At Play in the Fields of the Lord," has died at 86.

Jesse Winchester, a U.S.-born singer who established himself in Montreal after dodging the Vietnam War and went on to write songs covered by the likes of Elvis Costello, Jimmy Buffett and Joan Baez has died of cancer. He was 69.

Dominique Wilkins hopes young fans take the time to learn about Lou Hudson.

Wilkins says they'll discover "Sweet Lou" was one of the best shooting guards in NBA history. Hudson, the smooth-shooting Hawks star who averaged more than 20 points during 13 NBA seasons, died Friday. He was 69.

British comic author Sue Townsend, who created angst-ridden teenage diarist Adrian Mole and sent Queen Elizabeth II into exile on a public housing estate, has died after suffering a stroke. She was 68.

Richard Hoggart, a distinguished cultural historian and a significant witness in the court case that ended British censorship of "Lady Chatterley's Lover," has died at age 95.

Ron Pundak, an Israeli academic and peace activist who was instrumental in initiating peace talks with the Palestinians in the 1990s, has died. He was 59.

Former Canadian finance minister Jim Flaherty, a fixture on the world financial stage who stepped down just three weeks ago, has died. He was 64. Mike Harris, Ontario's former premier and a friend, said he suffered a massive heart attack.

Mary Cheever, an accomplished author and poet best known as the enduring spouse and widow of John Cheever, has died, surviving by decades a husband who used their lasting, marriage as an inspiration for some of his most memorable stories. She was 95.

Arthur Napoleon Raymond Robinson, a former Trinidad and Tobago prime minister who was held hostage for days and shot during a bloody 1990 coup attempt, died Wednesday after a prolonged illness. He was 87.

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