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Tragically Hip Singer Gord Downie Dead At 53 From Brain Cancer

10/18/2017 6:43 AM PDT
Breaking News

The Tragically Hip's frontman Gord Downie lost his battle with brain cancer Tuesday night. 

Gord was diagnosed with incurable glioblastoma after suffering a seizure in December of 2015. Instead of calling it quits, Gord and the rest of The Tragically Hip announced they'd be doing a final 15-date tour the following summer and played their final gig in Kingston, Ontario on Aug. 20, 2016.

The band produced 14 albums, at least half of which went to #1.

He continued to release solo albums until his death. His last album, the 23-song double album, "Introduce Yerself," will be released later this month. 

The Band said this ... "Gord knew this day was coming – his response was to spend this precious time as he always had – making music, making memories and expressing deep gratitude to his family and friends for a life well lived, often sealing it with a kiss… on the lips."

Gord was 53.

Ralphie May Talks Bronchitis, Health Problems Weeks Before Death

10/7/2017 2:10 PM PDT

Ralphie May was so sick a couple weeks before he died that he was forced to call in for a radio interview instead of being in studio ... and he sounded awful.

The comedian's interview with Albuquerque's "Carlos & Kiki in the Morning" from September 22 is telling -- he reveals he's been battling bronchitis for several days and is completely worn down. Still, he tells them he fought through it and did 8 shows in 6 days ... despite struggling to walk.

Ralphie's poor health didn't stop him from doing what he always did best during the call, though -- cracking jokes.

We broke the story ... May died of cardiac arrest Friday at a private residence in Vegas. He was 45.

RIP

Hugh Hefner's Wife Supportive Until the Very End

10/4/2017 9:52 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Hugh Hefner truly did have a ride or die by his side in Crystal Harris ... a pleasant surprise to family and friends initially skeptical of the 31-year-old's motives.

Playboy sources tell TMZ ... Crystal surprised the hell outta a lot of people when she stood by Hef's side in his declining years as he got older and became more frail. They actually called Crystal -- who at 26 married Hef in 2012 -- a pillar of strength.

Case in point ... Crystal was at Hef's doctor's appointments and the architect behind game and movie nights to keep his spirits high. When Hef was placed on bed rest, Crystal constantly was by his side.

The family initially was concerned that as Hef got older she wouldn't be there to support him, but she flipped the script with her attentiveness, and we're told the family's immensely grateful for her vigilance.

It's no wonder Hef wanted to take care of Crystal with a sick pad and $5 million long before his death ... she proved herself early on and remained a constant until Hef died peacefully last week.

He was 91. #RIP

Hugh Hefner Playboy Stake in Limbo Kids Wait for Their Payday

10/1/2017 1:00 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Hugh Hefner's most prized asset -- his ownership of Playboy -- could be in flux for a full year.

Hef sold his company, Playboy Enterprises, back in March 2011, but retained a 35% minority ownership in the company. Our Playboy sources tell us there were strings attached to Hef's shares in the company ... strings that affect his children.

We're told under the deal, Playboy Enterprises has one year from the time of Hef's death to buy back his shares, assuming his estate and Playboy can reach an agreement. If they can't, after one year Hef's 35% interest is up for grabs -- the highest bidder gets it.

Our sources say proceeds from the sale will go to Hefner's kids. Playboy insiders say Hef's shares should fetch around $45 million.

And our sources say ... it's likely Playboy Enterprises will make the deal sometime in the next year, because the shares aren't that attractive to an outsider, who would not have majority control nor would they have the power and influence wielded by Hef.

Gotta say ... $45 million's a lot of moola, but you'd think the guy who founded a globally iconic brand would reap a bigger payday.

Hugh Hefner Laid to Rest In Ultra Private Ceremony

9/30/2017 6:57 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Hugh Hefner went to his final resting place Saturday, but only a select few of his closest friends and family were on hand for the ceremony ... TMZ has learned.

Our Playboy sources tell us ... Hef's 4 children, his wife Crystal Harris and some key Playboy staffers attended the funeral at L.A.'s Westwood Village Memorial Park Saturday at noon. 

As we reported ... Hefner's crypt is directly to the left of Marilyn Monroe's -- he bought the burial spot for $75k in 1992. He'll have plenty of good company  ... the cemetery is filled with celebs, many with Playboy ties.

One of the people buried in the cemetery -- around 100 feet from Hef's crypt -- is Dorothy Stratten, a Playboy Playmate who was murdered in 1980 by her estranged husband when she was just 20 years old. Her boyfriend at the time of her death, famed director Peter Bogdanovich, railed against Hefner, blaming him and the "Playboy sex factory" for her demise.

'Let's Make a Deal' Host Monty Hall Dead at 96

9/30/2017 3:23 PM PDT
Breaking News

Television icon Monty Hall -- the co-creator and host of "Let's Make a Deal" -- died from heart failure at his home in Beverly Hills ... TMZ has learned.

Hall's daughter Joanna Gleason tells us ... he passed away Saturday morning surrounded by friends and family. We're told his health had been declining the past few years. Gleason says her dad was most proud of his show because it gave him the platform to help people.

The legendary game show host began his TV career in the 1950s by working on several children's shows. He moved on to host network game shows, and struck it big with 'Deal' in 1963 ... which ran for 13 years and returned for a short run in the '90s. It was rebooted in 2009 with Wayne Brady as host.

Hall also appeared as himself on popular shows like "The Hollywood Squares" and "Password All-Stars" ... and produced several more.

Monty was inducted into the American TV Game Show Hall of Fame in 2007, and will forever be associated with the catchphrase ... "What's behind Door No. 1?"

He was 96.

RIP

Hugh Hefner Photo Shows Mogul in Frail Health ... Months Before Death

9/29/2017 8:15 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Hugh Hefner was in failing health for years, and he steadily deteriorated in the final months of his life.

This pic was taken in January ... inside the Playboy Mansion. Although Hef was frail, using a walker to get around, he still hosted movie nights and invited people over. 

TMZ broke the story ... Hefner got a back infection 2 years ago and that became the linchpin for a variety of ailments that ultimately led to his death.

Hefner died Wednesday night at age 91. 

Hugh Hefner Tons of Playboy Ties and Celebs In His L.A. Burial Spot

9/28/2017 11:21 AM PDT

Hugh Hefner will be in good company in his final resting place -- the cemetery where he'll be buried is filled with more celebs than the Holmby Hills 'hood where he lived in the Playboy Mansion.

Hef bought the crypt next to Marilyn Monroe years ago at the Westwood Memorial Park Cemetery -- but she's just the start. Merv Griffin, Farrah Fawcett, Florence Henderson and Rodney Dangerfield are also nearby. 

Farrah graced the cover of Playboy in 1978 and then again 1995, when she also posed naked inside. There's also at least one other famous playmate of the month and centerfold buried there, too.

HINT: She was Playboy's "Miss January 1955."

Over on Hollywood Boulevard, a less permanent memorial went up Thursday morning ... the Chamber of Commerce placed a wreath over Hef's star.

Suge Knight I Think Tupac Is Still Alive!!! Listen Up, Ice-T & Soledad

9/21/2017 12:50 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Suge Knight is pouring fuel all over a legendary conspiracy theory by speaking out from jail to explain why he believes there's a good chance Tupac Shakur is alive.

The notorious Death Row Records CEO spoke to Ice-T and Soledad O'Brien -- on the phone from the L.A. County jail -- when he dropped the bombshell. Suge told them something about Pac's hospital stay after the 1996 shooting just doesn't add up for him.

TMZ got this exclusive clip from the special, "Who Shot Biggie & Tupac?" ... where Ice and Soledad lead an investigation into the unsolved murders and uncover new accounts of the shootings from people who were there. It airs Sunday, September 24 on Fox.

And we'll get Ice-T's reaction to Suge's theory on Friday's TMZ Live.

Frank Vincent Final Movie Will Honor Him With Character Changes

9/14/2017 10:37 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Frank Vincent won't get to play his final movie role, but he'll still be all over the project ... through the names of the film's 2 lead characters.

Frank was one of those leads in a movie called "Asbury Park." Krannel Pictures CEO, Dawn Krantz tells TMZ ... he was going to play Jimmy Two Shoes. The movie hasn't been shot yet, but Dawn says Frank was just starting to prep for the role. The other lead was named Big Mike.

Dawn says they've decided to change Jimmy's name to Frank, and Big Mike's to Vincent .. to honor their late star. She says there's no getting around recasting Frank's role -- the NJ native was such a big part of the film ... which is about '70s rock n' roll in Jersey.

As we reported ... Vincent died Wednesday after complications following heart surgery. He was 80.

'Shiloh' Star Blake Heron 911 Call ... 'He's Dead ... He's Dead'

9/12/2017 4:38 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Blake Heron, the actor who played Marty Preston in the 1996 movie, "Shiloh," was found on his couch, unresponsive, and his girlfriend tearfully called 911 to try to save him.

TMZ broke the story, Blake was found dead Friday morning ... of an apparent drug overdose.

In the 911 call, you hear the girlfriend say Blake's jaw is clenched, which is a sign rigor mortis has set in.

The dispatcher holds out hope and tells the girlfriend to get Blake on the floor and tells her how to do CPR. You hear her in agony, crying, "He's dead. He's dead."

Blake was 35.

Troy Gentry Helicopter Crash Questions Over Pilot's Decision to Hover

9/9/2017 11:01 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

The helicopter crash that killed country singer Troy Gentry is now under NTSB investigation, and we're told a central question will be whether the pilot should have attempted a landing instead of hovering with mechanical problems and waiting for emergency assistance.

Helicopter pilots at and around the Flying W Airport in Medford, New Jersey tell TMZ ... the pilot had options, though none were great.

You hear in the audio from first responders the pilot had mechanical problems and was waiting for emergency crews before attempting a landing. The chopper crashed before the responders arrived.

As one helicopter pilot in the area said, a hard landing often proves safer than hovering because low-flying helicopters with serious mechanical issues are extremely vulnerable while in the air. On the other hand ... he says because of the fire danger, you want the area foamed before touching down whenever possible.

The pilot also says there are beds of water nearby the crash scene, and putting a chopper in distress down in water is often a lot safer than hovering over ground.

The NTSB is investigating.

Tupac Shakur He Knew Who Pulled The Trigger

9/3/2017 12:50 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Tupac Shakur knew who killed him but his murder remains unsolved because the Las Vegas PD never wanted to solve it ... according to a new 2Pac special, and TMZ has the exclusive first clip.

Pac's getting his own 'Snapped: Notorious' documentary on Oxygen airing September 10. It'll run 2 hours with in-depth interviews from people who were the last to see him alive before he was fatally shot dead in a drive-by in 1996. They include close friends and rappers Danny Boy and Yo-Yo, DJ Mister Cee, Pac's first manager Leila Steinberg, music journalist Toure and others.

The trailer, obtained by TMZ, paints a vivid picture of Pac's last breaths on his deathbed in a Las Vegas hospital ... his finger shot off and nodding that he knew who did this to him.

A must watch for any 2Pac fan.

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