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Black celebrities we lost in 2019

Iconic movie director John Singleton (Photo credit: / Featureflash Photo Agency)

Rising rap renegade Juice WRLD reminded us again about the fragility of life and the hazards of abusing powerful prescription medication. WRLD, who was born Jarad Anthony Higgins, passed away suddenly at a Chicago airport on Dec. 8, 2019, after reportedly ingesting a lethal amount of opioids.

(Photo credit: A.R. Shaw for Steed Media)

One of the most shocking and surprising deaths in the world of entertainment occurred on March 31, rapper and businessman Nipsey Hussle, 33, died outside the business he and his brother owned, The Marathon Clothing store, at the famous intersection of Crenshaw Boulevard and Slauson Avenue in South Los Angeles.

Just a month later, iconic Boyz N the Hood and Baby Boy director John Singleton, 51, succumbed to a major stroke he had suffered after returning from Cosa Rica.

Urbanites also witnessed the massive voids created by others we lost in music, entertainment, sports, the corporate world and politics, from newcomers to pioneers, including two legislative giants in the U.S. House of Representatives — John Conyers, D-Michigan, 90, and Elijah Cummings D-Maryland, 68 — who died within months of each other.

Venerated Michigan Congressman John Conyers (Photo source: [email protected])

In addition to Juice WRLD, Hussle, Singleton, Cummings and Conyers, here is a list of  other notable stars from across our community and the culture who we lost in 2019:

Frank Robinson, baseball legend, 83

Bushwick Bill, rapper, 52

Kristoff St. John, actor, 52

Willie Brown, Hall of Fame NFL player, 78

Andre Williams, R&B legend, 82

Robert Mugabe, former Zimbabwe president, 95

LaShawn Daniels, Grammy-winning songwriter, 41

Pernell “Sweetpea” Whitaker, world champion boxer, 55

Desmond Amofah, popular YouTuber known as Etika, 29

Irving Burgie, singer-songwriter, 95

Edna Smith Primus, civil rights lawyer, 75

The Rev. Clay Evans, civil rights leader and gospel recording artist in Chicago, 94

The Rev. George Clements, civil rights advocate in Chicago, 87

Barbara Hillary, nurse-turned-historic explorer, 88

Harrison Dillard, four-time Olympic champion,

Charles Rogers, former NFL football star, 38

Bernard J. Tyson, health care CEO, 60

Jessye Norman, soprano opera singer, 74