Carol Ann Susi -- one of the central characters on "The Big Bang Theory" -- died Tuesday after battling cancer ... according to execs on the hit show.
Susi played Howard Wolowitz's mom who almost NEVER appeared on camera -- but whose voice was heard in just about every episode.
'Big Bang' executive producer Chuck Lorre said ... "The Mrs. Wolowitz character became a bit of mystery throughout the show's eight seasons. What was not a mystery, however, was Carol Ann's immense talent and comedic timing."
Susi's rep described her cancer as "aggressive" ... and added it was a brief battle.
Wolowitz's mother was only seen once on 'Big Bang' -- and it was just a quick glimpse during Howard's wedding. It's unclear how Lorre and producers will handle Susi's death on the show. Her character's had a central plot line this season.
Carol Ann Susi was 62.
Big Bank Hank Tribute
Women Fight for His Delight
... in Heaven Now
11/11/2014 6:00 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Death Due To Meth
11/11/2014 4:45 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
The lead singer of Survivor died from a stroke and methamphetamine abuse ... according to autopsy results.
Jimi Jamison had a narrowing of his arteries and cardiovascular disease ... according to the report -- however it lists the brain stroke as the ultimate cause of death. He died back in September at his home in Memphis.
Jamison took over as the band's frontman in 1984 -- after their biggest hit, "Eye of the Tiger" -- but was responsible for several other hits like ... "The Search is Over" and "Is This Love?"
Jamison was 63.
Sugarhill Gang Rapper
Big Bank Hank
Dies at 57
11/11/2014 7:35 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Big Bank Hank -- the Sugarhill Gang rapper best known as "the grandmaster with 3 MCs that shock the house for the young ladies" -- died early Tuesday morning ... TMZ has learned.
Hank -- born Henry Jackson -- had been suffering from cancer. We're told he passed away in the greater NYC area around 2 AM. Hank was one third of the famous Sugarhill Gang ... which had the first mainstream rap hit "Rappers Delight" in 1979.
His group mates Wonder Mike and Master Gee told TMZ ... "So sad to hear of our brother's passing. Rest in peace Big Bank."
Hank was 57 years old.
Dementia Hallucinations Triggered Suicide
11/11/2014 1:00 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Robin Williams' suicide was triggered by a horrible disease called Lewy Body Dementia ... sources connected with his family tell TMZ.
TMZ has obtained documents showing Williams was struggling with the disease, which is marked by abnormal protein deposits in the brain that disrupt normal function.
Lewy Body Dementia is a condition commonly associated with Parkinson's ... and people afflicted by both often get severe side effects from Parkinson's meds. Hallucinations are common, where patients see phantom objects, people or animals. The patients often try to converse with the illusions.
Robin's wife had told authorities shortly after his death he had been complaining about the meds and the way they made him feel.
Sources connected with the Williams family tell TMZ ... Lewy Body Dementia was the "key factor" they believe drove him to kill himself. We're told Robin's doctors agree that the disease was the critical factor leading to his suicide.
Critical Drug Missing
During Fatal Procedure
11/11/2014 12:40 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Joan Rivers would be alive today if the clinic where she stopped breathing had a proper crash cart ... sources connected with her family's legal team tell TMZ.
TMZ broke the story ... there were a number of screw ups, including doctor's notes that showed an alarming amount of Propofol in her body. We're told the notes were not accurate and there was nothing in the blood work to suggest Propofol killed Joan.
But the legal team believes the Yorkville Endoscopy Center did not have critical lifesaving equipment on the crash cart ... specifically a drug called Succinylcholine, used to relax a patient's trachea. The legal team believes Joan's vocal chords spasmed and closed shut. The drug would have instantly opened them.
To make matters worse ... the legal team says the doctors were asleep at the wheel, failing to identify "deteriorating vital signs."
Screw Up Over Propofol
During Fatal Surgery
11/10/2014 11:48 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Doctors who performed the procedure that led to Joan Rivers' death screwed up by not following the proper procedure before sedating her with Propofol ... according to a federal report.
The Dept. of Health and Human Services examined the Yorkville Endoscopy Center, where Joan stopped breathing. The Dept. found there's no record that the staff weighed Joan before administering the Propofol ... the point being, the amount of the sedative should be based on size.
The computer at the clinic also shows she was given a huge dosage of Propofol. A staff member told the Dept. she made a mistake inputting the dosage and put in more than twice the actual amount given to Joan.
And according to the report, Joan's personal doctor, Gwen Korovin, came into the operating room without authorization. The Dept. says she announced to the room, "I will go first" ... meaning she would do the first procedure on Joan.
And, according to the report, Joan only consented to an upper endoscopy procedure, but Dr. Korovin did more ... a laryngoscopy.
As for the now-famous selfie pic that Dr. Korovin took in the room ... according to the Dept. the doctor asked the staff to take the picture of her doing the procedure, saying Joan might have wanted it.
And finally ... the Dept. says the doctors didn't notice Joan was literally dying on the table. As her oxygen levels plummeted, they were oblivious.
Melissa Rivers tells TMZ she is "outraged by the misconduct and mismanagement."
Ex-NFL Star Orlando Thomas
Dead at 42
After Battle with A.L.S.
11/10/2014 7:47 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Former Minnesota Vikings star Orlando Thomas -- one of the best defensive backs in the league back in the '90s -- has died after battling ALS.
The 42-year-old -- who led the NFL in interceptions in 1995 -- revealed he was battling the disease in 2007 ... 3 years after he first began exhibiting symptoms.
Thomas was a stud in the NFL -- he was a 2nd round pick in the '95 Draft and was a key player on the 1998 Vikings team that went 15-1 and went all the way to the NFC championship. He retired in 2001.
Orlando's agent Mark Bartelstein issued a statement saying ... "Nobody's ever fought a battle like Orlando fought, with so much dignity -- I never saw anything like it. It's just incredible."
Bartelstein added, "He never had a sense of self pity, never felt sorry for himself, he was always worried about everyone else. He was just the most incredible person I've ever been around."
Suicide Triggered by Depression, Parkinson's, Paranoia
11/7/2014 10:36 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Robin Williams was struggling with his Parkinson's, anxiety, depression and paranoia just before he committed suicide ... this according the Coroner's report.
The paranoia has not been previously reported. According to the report -- obtained by TMZ -- the night before Robin died, he placed several wristwatches in a sock and gave them to someone because he was worried about their safe keeping.
Williams had 4 drugs in his system -- 2 anti-depressants, 2 caffeine compounds, (listed as a drug). The Coroner's report confirms what we were told by various people ... Williams was sober at the time of death.
When authorities found Robin's body ... they saw a closed bottle of Seroquel, a drug that treats schizophrenia, bipolar disorders and depression. It was prescribed a week before he died.
The 63-year-old comedian committed suicide Aug. 11 by hanging himself with a belt in his Marin County home. He had also attempted to cut his wrists with a pocket knife. The report says authorities found a damp, white washcloth on the bathroom sink counter with a "reddish substance" -- possibly blood.
According to the Coroner's report ... authorities asked Williams' wife if Robin was into autoerotica. She said he was not, but he worked on a movie several years ago in which the character who played Williams' son died of autoerotica, and the scene was "very difficult and emotional for Mr. Williams."
The report says the last outgoing call from Robin's phone was at 7:08 PM the night before he died. He had called his wife, and it lasted 38 seconds. She told authorities he called because he was picking up magazines for her at a bookstore.
The night before he died, Robin's wife said he seemed ok ... he had been rummaging through their closet and grabbed his iPad, which she thought was a good sign because he hadn't even watched TV or read anything in approximately 6 months ... which presumably is a manifestation of depression.
As for what Robin was looking at on his iPad ... the web browser had several tabs open to websites discussing medications, including Lyrica -- a seizure Rx -- and propranolol -- which treats blood pressure and tremors.
She says the last time she saw him -- at around 10:30 PM Sunday, she described his demeanor as "excited."
As for why Robin and his wife were in separate bedrooms, she told authorities he had been having trouble sleeping and would move around a lot in bed and talk loudly in his sleep.
As we reported ... Williams was getting treatment for severe depression shortly before his death. After he died, Robin's widow Susan Schneider revealed he was in the early stages of Parkinson's.
According to the report ... Williams had experienced Parkinson's symptoms since 2011 -- he had a tremor in his left arm and movement in his left hand had slowed. He had recently started taking levodopa to treat it.
Williams' wife wanted to see the body before it was removed from the house. They pulled back the sheets and she prayed over the body ... and Sheriff's deputies joined her.
Rotting in Norway
11/7/2014 11:38 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Casey Kasem's body is decomposing in a Scandinavian mortuary ... and his kids have gone to court before there's no body left to bury.
Kerri Kasem filed legal docs -- obtained by TMZ -- asking a judge to force Jean Kasem to bring Casey's remains back to the U.S.
Casey died in June, and his body has been rotting away in Norway since August.
Jean has not even had the body embalmed, according to legal docs.
The children are also worried an autopsy will be fruitless if the decomposition continues.They believe Jean's motive is to make an autopsy impossible so she will not be prosecuted for elder abuse ... something the LAPD is investigating.
In other words ... if time goes on and the body remains in Norway ... Jean could dodge a bullet.
Rapper Big Paybacc
Shot and Killed
Inside a McDonald's
11/7/2014 4:52 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Rapper Big Paybacc was shot and killed Thursday inside a McDonald's in Palmdale, CA and police say this was no random shooting ... it was personal.
The 38-year-old rapper (real name Habeeb Ameer Zekajj) was reportedly eating lunch at 12:30 PM when someone walked in and shot him once. Police say there were about 15 other customers inside at the time.
LA County Sheriff’s Department Lt. John Corina told reporters, "There was no altercation ... This guy just walked in through one door, shot him and left out another door. So it looked like something personal. He had something against this individual. It wasn’t like he shot up the McDonald’s. He just shot him and left."
His girlfriend told reporters he left behind three children.
Prosecutor Tom Sneddon
11/2/2014 7:02 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Tom Sneddon -- the prosecutor who tried twice to nail Michael Jackson on child molestation charges -- has died.
Sneddon -- who served as D.A. of Santa Barbara County for more than a quarter century -- famously lost the case against Jackson in 2005, in which Jackson was accused of plying his alleged victim with wine, sexually assaulting him at Neverland and holding his family hostage.
But Sneddon went after Jackson more than a decade before, trying to prosecute the singer for allegedly molesting a boy at Neverland. Jackson made the boy's civil case go away at a cost of $20 million and the boy and his family refused to cooperate with Sneddon, so the case went away.
Sneddon, who had 9 kids, fiercely believed Jackson was a child molester. For Jackson's part, in one of his tracks you hear him say, "Tom Sneddon is a cold man."
He died of cancer.
Static X Singer
Dies at 48
11/2/2014 7:30 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Static X singer Wayne Static has died at the age of 48.
The band released a statement late Saturday night about his death ... but no details surrounding how he passed away were given.
The band hit it big in '99 with their song "Push It" and their album went platinum. They went on to make 5 more ... but after breaking up in 2013, the front man pursued a solo career.
Wayne was set to co-headline tours with Powerman 5000 and Drowning Pool in the coming months.