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ESPN's John Saunders Dead at 61

8/10/2016 8:07 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Breaking News

0810_john_saunders_remembering_launchBeloved ESPN host John Saunders has passed away unexpectedly at 61 ... this according to ESPN. 

The details surrounding Saunders' death are unclear -- but officials tell us he died in New York and there is NO suspicion of foul play. 

Saunders joined ESPN in 1986 and went on to co-host "NFL Primetime." He also anchored "SportsCenter."

ESPN tweeted, "We are heartbroken to report longtime ESPN personality John Saunders has died. He was 61."

Adam Schefter tweeted, "Sickened and saddened to hear of loss of our colleague and friend, John Saunders. What a nice man. What a great man."

Saunders is survived by wife, Wanda, and daughters, Aleah and Jenna.

Story developing ...  

Amy Winehouse Look-alike is Father Approved

8/8/2016 8:38 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

0808-mitch_winehouse_amy_winehouse_LOOKALIKE-akmAmy Winehouse's dad gave his late daughter's look-alike the ultimate blessing ... posing arm-in-arm.

Mitch joined up with Frankie Jordan over the weekend during an event for the Amy Winehouse Foundation. Frankie's the star of the tribute show "Dear Amy."

#RIPAmy #WeMissYou

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Muhammad Ali Temporary Gravestone at Burial Site

8/8/2016 7:35 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Exclusive Details

0808-muhammad-ali-grave-site-SPLASH-01So many people are flocking to the gravesite where Muhammad Ali is buried, the cemetery has put up a temporary headstone to help guide fans to the right spot ... TMZ Sports has learned. 

The headstone is a basic look -- the boxer's name etched in black stone. 

Cemetery staffers say the stone will be replaced with a permanent one -- which is currently being made. 

In the meantime, we're told there has been a "steady stream of fans" visiting the cemetery -- and to keep them from aimlessly wandering the grounds, the staff put down the temporary stone.

Ali died back in June -- no word on when the permanent stone will be completed. 

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Ex-NASCAR Driver Bryan Clauson Dies After Bad Crash

8/8/2016 5:54 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Breaking News

0808-bryan-clauson-getty-01Bryan Clauson -- one of the top short-track dirt-car drivers in the world -- died Sunday following injuries sustained in a bad crash from a race on Saturday ... officials confirm. 

The 27-year-old was racing in the 39th Belleville Midget Nationals in Kansas when he made contact with another car and flipped several times. His car was then slammed into by another car. 

Clauson was airlifted to a nearby hospital -- but died from his injuries the following day. 

Clauson's family issued a statement saying, "Our Bryan fought to the end with the same desire that he demonstrated behind the wheel of all the various race cars he would park in victory lane."

"However, we were more proud of our Bryan that took a moment to make a young fan's day, or demonstrated his uncommon kindness and appreciation toward his friends, family and fans."

Clauson had made 26 starts in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. 

Sergey Kovalev I Fight To Honor Boxer Who Died By My Hands

8/6/2016 12:45 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

Light heavyweight boxing champ Sergey Kovalev says he's driven to be a champion by the memory of Roman Simakov ... the man who died 3 days after fighting Sergey back in 2011.

We talked to Kovalev about Conor McGregor revealing he's been seriously disturbed by the fact he trained MMA fighter Charlie Ward for a match where the opposing fighter ended up dead.

That's when Kovalev opened up to us ... saying after Simakov slipped into a coma and died three days following their 2011 fight, he immediately decided to dedicate the rest of his career to his memory.

"I will be champion for me and him ... this helped me and still helps me to fight."

You gotta check out the clip -- Sergey says there's one thing he wishes and thinks about every time he steps into the ring.

"I hope he's proud of me."

Prince Paisley Park to be Sold! Family Ready to Fight It

8/5/2016 1:04 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0805-pasiley-park-prince-launch-7Prince's famous Paisley Park mansion could soon hit the open market, but there's a legal beef brewing that might squash the whole thing ... TMZ has learned. 

The bank managing Prince's estate filed docs asking the court to let it sell a bunch of Prince's properties, and Paisley Park is the clear gem on the list.

It's not up for sale yet, but as the bank says in the docs ... "The properties that the special administrator is currently anticipating will be sold, and the appraised value of same are listed in spreadsheet attached as Exhibit A." 

The appraised value for the more than 60,000 square feet of Paisley Park is listed at just over $7 million -- and the bank's already hired a real estate agent.

This could get messy. Sources close to the family tell us Prince's heirs will do everything they can to block the administrators from selling the legendary home and studio. We're told they'd rather turn it into a museum.

Stay tuned.

BMX Legend Dave Mirra Suffered From 'Heavy Drug Abuse' ... Family Said

8/5/2016 10:13 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0805-dave-mirra-getty-02BMX legend Dave Mirra suffered from depression and heavy drug abuse before he died ... his family told law enforcement. 

TMZ Sports has obtained the medical examiner's report -- confirming the 41-year-old shot himself in the head on Feb. 4th with a .38 Smith & Wesson revolver. 

Witnesses told police Mirra had been hanging out at his friend's house that day when he walked out and went to his truck. His friends went to search for him and found him dead in his truck in the driveway, with the gun in his right hand.  

"Per family, he had been recently suffering from depression and heavy drug abuse."

According to the toxicology report, Mirra did NOT have traces of drugs in his system at the time of his death -- however, he did have a small amount of alcohol in his bloodstream. 

Mirra is survived by his wife and two young daughters. 

After his death, Mirra was diagnosed with CTE -- a brain condition believed to be caused by repeated head trauma.

The medical report included a diagram of Mirra's body showing he was covered in scars due to injuries suffered over the years.

The M.E. noted 5 previous scars on Mirra's head alone -- including 4 to the back of his head.

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'The Big Lebowski' David Huddleston Dies at 85

8/4/2016 4:59 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Breaking News

0804_David-Huddleston_launchDavid Huddleston -- the actor who played "The Big Lebowski" -- died Tuesday of kidney and lung disease ... according to his wife.

He died on Tuesday at his home in Sante Fe.

Huddleston is most famous for playing the title role in the 1998 Coen Brothers cult classic, alongside Jeff Bridges. He was a popular character actor in TV and movies for 50 years and has a ton of credits to his name. He also played Ben Franklin in the Broadway play "1776."

The L.A. Times first reported his death.

Huddleston is survived by his wife, Sarah. He was 85.

Lil Wayne Rushed to Toya and Daughter After Family Tragedy

8/4/2016 12:47 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0804-lil-wayne-toya-wright-reginae-carter-tmz-instagram-01Lil Wayne dropped everything as soon as he heard about Toya Wright's brothers being killed in New Orleans Sunday ... and hopped on a jet that same day to be by her side.

We're told Weezy was completely devastated over the death of his ex's brothers, and wanted to get to Toya and their daughter as soon as he could to pay his respects. He's been in NOLA since Sunday and just left Thursday.

Lil Wayne was especially close to Toya's brother, Rudy, who used to live with Wayne.

The service for Toya's brothers is Friday, but we're told Wayne will not attend -- only because he doesn't want to turn it into a media circus.

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A Tribe Called Quest NYC Street Changed ... Phife Dawg's the Name Now

8/4/2016 12:39 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Exclusive Details

0804-malik-phife-dawg-taylor-way-TMZ-01The plan to co-name a NYC boulevard after A Tribe Called Quest took a slight left turn -- but it still praises late rapper, Phife Dawg

Linden Blvd in Queens -- which Tribe rapped about all the time -- will also be known as Malik "Phife Dawg" Taylor Way.

The original plan was to name it A Tribe Called Quest Blvd, but councilman Daneek Miller's chief of staff tells TMZ ... Phife's widow requested it be changed to honor Phife alone. City officials signed off on July 14.  

Phife Dawg -- onstage call him Dynomutt -- passed away back in March. No word yet on exactly when the new signs will go up. 

Conor McGregor MMA Fighter's Death Is 'F****d Up' 'I Helped Train a Guy to Kill'

8/3/2016 9:00 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Breaking News

0803-conor-mcgregor-tmz-02"Damn ... I still can't believe that kid is dead" -- Conor McGregor

The UFC superstar is opening up about the death of Portuguese MMA fighter Joao Carvalho -- who died from injuries he sustained during a fight in Dublin back in April.

Conor was cageside at the fight ... since Joao's opponent was McGregor's training teammate, Charlie Ward. Conor and Charlie had been working out together at the Straight Blast Gym in Ireland. 

"It's f****d up," Conor said to Men's Health magazine ... "I wasn't just watching that fight. I helped train a guy to kill someone, and then someone wound up dying."

"This is a f*****g dangerous game. People call it a sport, but it's fighting. I'm just making sure it ain't me. And that's f****d up."

McGregor says he hopes MMA officials and referees all over the world can learn from Joao's death -- to make sure something like this doesn't happen to anyone else. 

Busch Gardens Flamingo Park Visitor Busted For Deadly Attack

8/3/2016 9:04 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Breaking News

0803-pinky-flamingo-busch-gardensPinky the flamingo -- one of the biggest draws at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay -- had to be euthanized after a man allegedly got into the bird's enclosure and slammed it to the ground.

The Orlando man reportedly reached into the famous dancing flamingo's pen Tuesday night. Busch Gardens security detained the suspect until police arrived. He was booked for felony animal cruelty.

The theme park released a statement saying it was forced to euthanize Pinky due to her injuries. Pinky was 19, and one helluva dancer.

#RIP

Anton Yelchin's Parents Sue Chrysler ... Your Defective Shifter Killed Our Son

8/2/2016 11:33 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Breaking News

Anton Yelchin's parents blame Fiat Chrysler's faulty gear shift for the death of their son who suffered greatly as he was trapped against a gate ... this according to a new lawsuit. 

According to legal docs obtained by TMZ ... Irina and Viktor Yelchin say a defective e-shift gear selector led to the death of the "Star Trek" star after the actor got out of the vehicle, apparently believing he left his Jeep in park.

The suit claims Anton suffered after impact before ultimately succumbing to his injuries. According to the suit, "Yelchin was crushed and lingered alive for some time, trapped and suffocating until his death." 

The Yelchins claims echo those in previous lawsuits against the automaker, where vehicles have crushed drivers who get out thinking the vehicle is in park.

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