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Roger the Ripped Kangaroo Dead at 12

12/10/2018 6:20 AM PST
Breaking News

Australia just lost a true legend ... Roger the ripped kangaroo has died at 12 years old.

Roger -- AKA Kangaroo Jacked -- lit the internet on fire back in 2015 after pics of him crushing a metal bucket with his hands went viral.

The 6'7", 200-lb. 'roo was living at the Kangaroo Sanctuary in Australia ... and his videos and pictures showing off his Schwarzenegger-esque physique were a big hit on the web.

"Sadly Roger has passed away of old age," owner Chris Barnes announced on Facebook. "He lived a lovely long life and was loved by millions around the world."

Barnes rescued and raised Roger as a joey after his mother was killed in a car accident ... and in 2016 announced the kangaroo was dealing with arthritis and vision loss.

"We will always love you and miss you Roger"

Pour one out for Roger. This one hurts.

MLB's Luis Valbuena & Jose Castillo Killed in Car Accident ... in Venezuela

12/7/2018 12:40 PM PST
Breaking News

12:40 PM PT -- Venezuelan authorities believe Valbuena and Castillo may have been victims of robbers who throw rocks onto roads to cause cars to crash and then steal from people inside the vehicle.

Yaracuy governor Julio León Heredia announced 4 suspects have been arrested after they were found with the players' belongings.

MLB infielders Luis Valbuena and Jose Castillo were killed in a car crash in Venezuela on Thursday ... after a car they were riding in veered off the road.

According to local reports ... 33-year-old Valbuena and Castillo, 37, were leaving their Venezuelan league game with Cardenales de Lara in Yaracuy when their driver either hit or swerved to avoid a rock ... and drove off the road.

The man driving the car was the chauffeur of their teammate, Carlos Rivero -- who survived the crash.

Photos of the accident have surfaced ... showing the van totally damaged and flipped on its side.

Valbuena -- who most recently played for the Angels this past season -- has been in the majors since 2008 ... and has also played for the Astros, Cubs, Indians and Mariners.

Valbuena hit 25 home runs with Houston in 2015.

Castillo played 5 seasons in the MLB with the Pirates, Giants and Astros.

The MLB released a statement Friday morning, saying, "We are saddened by the tragic news that Luis Valbuena and former major leaguer José Castillo have died in a car accident."


Originally Published 6:23 AM PT

Mac Miller 1st Grammy Nom ... for Best Rap Album

12/7/2018 7:32 AM PST
Breaking News

Another reason for Mac Miller's fans to celebrate his life and music -- the late rapper just got his first ever Grammy nomination.

The Recording Academy announced Friday morning Mac Miller's "Swimming" is nominated for rap album of the year. The album's got hefty competition ... going up against Cardi B (Invasion of Privacy), Nipsey Hussle (Victory Lap), Pusha T (Daytona) and Travis Scott (Astroworld).

"Swimming" peaked at no. 3 on the Billboard charts when it was released back in August. It returned to the top 10 following his death in September.

TMZ broke the story ... Mac died from an accidental overdose.

"Swimming" got rave reviews, including from Rolling Stone which said Mac revealed "himself to be a sympathetic, even winning presence."

BTW, Mac wasn't the only artist to earn a posthumous nomination. Chris Cornell -- nominated 4 previous times -- is up for best rock performance. Chris died by suicide in May.

'SpongeBob SquarePants' Creator Death Cert Reveals Ashes Spread Under the Sea

12/6/2018 9:08 AM PST

Stephen Hillenburg -- the creator of the hit Nickelodeon show "SpongeBob SquarePants" -- officially died of heart failure as a result of his ALS, but the more interesting tidbit ... his remains were scattered at sea -- and you gotta hope he'll rest in Bikini Bottom. 

According to Hillenburg's death certificate -- obtained by TMZ -- the animator's immediate cause of death was cardiopulmonary failure due to ALS -- the diagnosis which he publicly revealed in 2017. The document also reveals that Hillenburg was cremated and his ashes were scattered at sea -- at least 500 yards off the coast of California, to be more specific. 

As we reported ... Hillenburg died late last month after battling the fatal disease for more than a year. Nickelodeon called him "a beloved friend and long-time creative partner" and praised his seminal work on 'SBSP' as "a reminder of the value of optimism, friendship and the limitless power of imagination."

Hillenburg is survived by his wife and son. He was 57.

George H.W. Bush Celebs Pay Respects ... At Texas Funeral

12/6/2018 9:37 AM PST

You can clearly tell just how much George H.W. Bush was liked and respected simply by the incredible number of celebs who turned out for the late President's funeral in the Lone Star State.  

Reba McEntire sang "The Lord's Prayer" and The Oak Ridge Boys gave a powerful rendition of "Amazing Grace" during the funeral services Thursday at St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston.

Everything's bigger in Texas, including Houston sports stars -- past and present -- who turned out to say goodbye to 41 ...  former Rockets centers Yao Ming and Dikembe Mutombo towered over the crowd, while Texans defensive lineman J.J. Watt brought the muscle with Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Naturally, Chuck Norris was there, and legendary Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda made the trek from Los Angeles. 

Our 41st president, who died last Friday in Houston, will be buried at his Presidential Library at Texas A&M in nearby College Station. 

George H.W. Bush George W. Bush Breaks Down Eulogizing Dad at State Funeral

12/5/2018 7:45 AM PST

George H.W. Bush's state funeral just wrapped up at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. ... where his son -- 43rd President George W. Bush -- was brought to tears eulogizing his late father and former POTUS. 

Dubya delivered an incredibly emotional tribute to his dad, which ended with him choking up and having to step back from the lectern. It was a powerful moment, and fellow mourners gave 43 a big round of applause as he went back to his seat.

Presidential funerals are always extraordinary for the rare gathering of ex-Presidents. Trump, Obama, Clinton and Carter are all there ... and seated RIGHT next to each other. 

Trump's attendance was not initially a lock, but he reportedly decided to attend after discussions with the Bush family, and getting assurances he wouldn't be bad-mouthed. Interesting to note, this is the first time Hillary Clinton and Trump will be in the same space since the election. 

Also, Michelle Obama wrote in her new book she would never forgive Donald Trump for sparking the birther movement. Sooo ... tense moments.

The former President's body has been lying in State at the Capitol since Monday ... and a steady stream of dignitaries, politicians and celebrities have shown up to pay respects. 

Our 41st President died last Friday in Houston. He was 94.

George H.W. Bush Will Puts George W. and Jeb in Charge

12/5/2018 7:02 AM PST

George H.W. Bush's will has been filed in probate court and it lists two of his sons -- former President George W. Bush and former Governor Jeb Bush -- as executors. 

The will, filed in Texas Tuesday -- obtained by TMZ -- used to list Barbara as the executor, but when she died on April 17, it was turned over to George and Jeb. The two brothers are also in charge of Barbara's estate.

As for H.W.'s financial situation, the docs don't get specific -- everything was put into a trust -- but the amount is listed as more than $50,000 ... a number that surely downplays 41's actual worth.

H.W. died in Texas Friday ... his health was declining in recent years and was in and out of the hospital several times. He was admitted to ICU at the Houston Methodist Hospital back in January 2017 due to pneumonia. Barbara was also admitted with her own health issues.

As we reported ... his former service dog, Sully, has been by his casket at several places leading up to George Sr.'s funeral Wednesday. 

Dynamite Kid Ex-WWE Superstar Dies at 60

12/5/2018 5:58 AM PST
Breaking News

The Dynamite Kid -- one half of the famed British Bulldogs tag team duo -- has died, his family announced Wednesday. 

The wrestler -- real name Tommy Billington -- had been battling health issues for years though his exact cause of death has not been revealed.

He turned 60 years old on Wednesday ... the same day he passed away. 

Dynamite made his WWF debut back in 1984 and famously wrestled stars like Bret "The Hitman" Hart and Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart

His biggest moment was winning the tag team championship with British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith at Wrestlemania II back in 1986.

The duo defeated The Dream Team of Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake and Greg Valentine on the same night Hulk Hogan defeated King Kong Bundy in a steel cage match. 

Dynamite Kid's nephew, Davey Boy Smith Jr. -- a former pro wrestler himself -- issued a statement on his passing Wednesday morning, 

"It deeply saddens me to announce the passing of Tom Billington the 'Dynamite Kid.' I was really happy and glad I got to see Dynamite one last time last June in the UK."

"Dynamite was certainly an inspiration to myself and many others and really revolutionized professional Wrestling as we now [sic] it today. He flew high, and gave it his all every match. Thanks for everything and sad to have lost another family member. Rest In Peace Dyno."

'ANTM' Alum Jael Strauss Dead at 34 2 Months After Stage 4 Breast Cancer Diagnosis

12/4/2018 1:48 PM PST

Former 'America's Next Top Model' contestant Jael Strauss has died just two months after announcing she'd been diagnosed with cancer.

Sources close to the model -- who competed on season 8 of the reality show -- tell us she died in hospice Tuesday around 11 AM after taking a turn for the worse Monday night. We're told she'd been unconscious for a few days, and her family recently stopped allowing visitors.

Jael decided to stop chemotherapy around Halloween and went into hospice on Thanksgiving, saying on Facebook, "First night in hospice. So many things I never knew about life. Or death. So many things."

The model went public with her cancer diagnosis in October earlier this year with a heartbreaking Facebook post, revealing she'd been diagnosed with "incurable" stage 4 breast cancer. 

At the time, Jael wrote to her followers ... "I was gonna write some long thing but some of you guys deserve to know, On October 2nd I was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer."

She continued ... "It has aggressively spread throughout my body and is incurable. With treatment it may prolong my life longer than the 'few months' doctors said I could make it. I don't want to die. I need another one of those miracles that I got back in 2013."

Jael appeared on Dr. Phil in 2012 to tackle her addiction issues, and celebrated 5 years of sobriety this past August on IG. Her caption read in part ... "I know a few things to be true: Miracles are real, Recovery is possible for everyone no matter how far gone you think you are, We are never too broken to be put back together, Service work feels better than the greatest high, Sobriety makes you weirder not normal and I'd be dead if it weren't for all the love and forgiveness I've been showered with by my friends and family."

A GoFundMe was started for Jael about a month ago that's raised more than $18k of a $30k goal to fund her treatment. Jael's family and friends tell TMZ in a statement ... "The one blessing was that we were able to show her how loved she was before she passed. She brought so much light to people."

She was 34. RIP

Troy Gentry Deadly Chopper Crash Blamed on Pilot

12/4/2018 2:06 PM PST

Troy Gentry died as a result of his helicopter pilot's error ... according to investigators.

The National Transportation Safety Board concluded the pilot cut the engine too soon as he attempted to make an emergency landing back in September 2017.

As we reported, Troy -- one half of the country music group Montgomery Gentry -- and the pilot were killed when they crashed in a field in Medford, NJ.

According to the NTSB's report, the pilot's mistake led to an uncontrolled descent and instead of landing at nearby Flying W Airport, the chopper crashed in the woods. The report included dialogue between the pilot and experts on the ground assisting him with the landing.

The pilot had intended to pull off a maneuver he said he had done before -- cutting the engine and attempting to glide to the ground. However, experts had advised a shallow, run-on landing. 

Troy was 50.

Michael Avenatti Said Something Nice About Prez Trump!!! (Well ... Nice-ish)

12/4/2018 12:04 PM PST

Michael Avenatti didn't skip a beat as he paid President Trump a compliment. Yes, you read that correctly, but we admit it was a pretty backhanded one.

We got Avenatti hitting up Craig's Monday night in WeHo and wanted to get his 2 cents about Trump's plan to attend Wednesday's memorial service for former Prez George H.W. Bush. As you know ... Trump also paid his respects Monday in the Capitol Rotunda.

Trump is not expected to speak at Wednesday's service, but will meet privately with the Bush family. Still, the fact he's decided to honor President Bush has Avenatti -- perhaps the most harsh Trump critic -- giving 45 props. We're pretty sure it's the first time ever.

Also, it's official now ... we won't see them go head-to-head in 2020, because Avenatti said he's decided NOT to run after his family asked him to stand down.

Of course, he still vows to keep fighting for Trump's ouster from the White House ... and to rep Stormy Daniels "and others against Donald Trump and his cronies."

George H.W. Bush Service Dog Sully Won't Leave His Side

12/4/2018 9:11 AM PST

Prepare to have your heart melted ... yes, that's Sully, the still loyal companion to President George H.W. Bush, remaining by the late President's side after a last-minute change of plans kept the pup in D.C. 

Sully showed up Tuesday at the U.S. Capitol, sitting in front of Bush's casket at the Capitol Rotunda, along with people who benefited from the ADA passage under our 41st President. 

Seems Sully couldn't bear to leave Bush just yet ... as we reported, the service dog was supposed to be returned to America's VetDogs and head up to New York to prepare for his next assignment after flying with Bush's casket from Houston to D.C.

But, Sully shocked everyone -- in a good way -- when he pawed his way into the Capitol, where Bush is lying in state.  

Just look at that super cute tail wag. Yes, Sully is still a very good boy. 

Ex-Red Robin CEO Dead by Suicide

12/4/2018 8:08 AM PST

Michael J. Snyder -- known for being the first franchisee of the Red Robin restaurant chain, who later became CEO -- has died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head ... TMZ has learned.

Yakima County Chief Deputy Coroner Marshall Slight tells us ... Snyder committed suicide with a high-powered gun Sunday in Washington state. We're told he shot himself on a bench in the front yard of his home.

Slight says police responded to a 911 call and found Snyder's body ... no suicide note was left behind.

Michael and his brother became the first Red Robin franchisees in 1979 and went on to open 14 of the burger restaurants in Washington, Colorado and Idaho. Snyder merged his franchise company with the parent company in 2000 ... and took over as CEO and President.

He was ousted in 2005, though, after an internal investigation discovered he had misused funds and charter planes. He reportedly remained the largest individual shareholder of the company.

Snyder was 68.

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