Radio and TV personality Kidd Kraddick, 53, died of cardiac disease on July 27 in New Orleans. Kraddick’s unexpected death occurred while he was at a charity golf tournament for “Kidd’s Kids,” an organization he started for chronically ill and terminally ill children. Kraddick, a three-time winner of Billboard magazine’s air personality of the year, began broadcasting in Dallas in 1984 and eventually spread to nearly 100 cities. Days before his death, Kraddick did a special segment in which he explained what he would say if he was on his deathbed.
Former congresswoman and ambassador Lindy Boggs, died of natural causes on July 27 at age 97. Boggs, the mother of journalist Cokie Roberts, served nine terms in Congress after she won a special election in 1973 to replace her late husband, House Majority Leader Thomas Hale Boggs Sr. The first Louisiana woman elected to Congress, Boggs was known as an ardent supporter of civil rights and served as U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See from 1997 to 2001.
Energy pioneer George P. Mitchell, known as the father of hydraulic fracturing—or “fracking”—died on July 26 at age 94. Mitchell, a philanthropist and one of the wealthiest men in America, was born to poor Greek immigrants in Galveston, Texas, and spent the 1980s and ’90s developing a way to economically extract oil and natural gas that geologists had long known was trapped in underground formations of shale rock. Mitchell founded the Houston suburb of The Woodlands in 1974.
The world’s longest-reigning monarch, Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej, 85, left a Bankok hospital on Aug. 1 after four years of treatment. Doctors released Bhumibol, who was admitted in 2009 for lung inflammation, along with his wife, Queen Sirikit, 80, who was hospitalized last year for poor blood flow to the brain. Thousands of well-wishers lined the streets as the couple was driven back to the royal palace, where more fans awaited their arrival. Bhumibol, who ascended to the throne in 1946 at age 18, is worth about $30 billion.
Thousands of Ecuadorians attended the funeral of Christian “Chucho” Benítez on Aug. 2, days after the country’s star footballer died of cardiac arrest at age 27. Benítez’s sudden death came after he played his first game with El Jaish, a soccer club in Qatar, and sparked debate about why a string of professional players have died in their primes over the last decade. Benítez, whose wife is left with twin 4-year-olds, spent the past several years playing for clubs in England and Mexico City, where fans held a mass in his honor.
Former Wheaton College professor Donald Ratcliff, 62, pleaded guilty on Aug. 5 to aggravated child pornography possession in exchange for nine other charges being dropped. Authorities arrested Ratcliff in March of last year after finding on his home computer more than 500 illegal images, which police said he was making available for download on the internet. Wheaton fired Ratcliff, the author of several books on the spiritual development of children, two weeks after his arrest. The plea deal makes it possible he will evade a prison term.