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WWE Hall of Famer George 'The Animal' Steele Dead at 79

2/17/2017 8:00 AM PST
Exclusive Details

0217_remembering_george_animal_steele_launchWWE Hall of Famer George "The Animal" Steele died Thursday night in Florida from kidney failure ... George's wife, Patricia, tells TMZ Sports.

Patricia tells us George had been in and out of hospice care since April.

George had some legendary bouts with Randy Savage back in the day -- and other wrestling greats are reacting to the sad news. Hulk Hogan said, "My brother, only love, only grateful."

George was 79.

Super Bowl Champ Leonard Myers Dead At 38 After Cancer Battle

2/17/2017 6:57 AM PST
Breaking News

0217-leonard-myers-gettyFormer Miami Hurricane and NFL player Leonard Myers is dead at 38 after losing a battle with cancer ... this according to the University of Miami.

Myers was a standout at Miami before going on to win a Super Bowl with the New England Patriots in 2001 ... Tom Brady's first year as the Pat's QB, when the team defeated the St. Louis Rams.

Myers made headlines off the field in 2005 when he sold his championship ring on eBay for $32,600.

R.I.P.

Paul Walker Death Lawsuit Porsche Celebrated Carrera Crashes

2/15/2017 4:11 PM PST
EXCLUSIVE

0215-paul-walker-tmz-01A Porsche employee gleefully shared news with fellow employees of a slew of crashes of the Porsche Carrera GT -- the model in which Paul Walker died -- saying it would boost the value of the remaining cars.

In new legal docs obtained by TMZ, lawyers in Meadow Walker's wrongful death lawsuit against the car company revealed Porsche concealed emails from them ... emails about the Carrera.

One of the lawyers for Paul's daughter was reviewing company emails on his office computer that were heavily redacted. The lawyer was shocked when he reviewed the same emails on his iMac home computer and found he could see the portions that were not visible on the office computer.

Among the emails from 2006, an employee wrote as many as 200 of the 1280 Carrera GTs which Porsche had produced had been "totaled" in the first 2 years they were sold ... 2004 - 2006.

The Porsche employee who wrote the email goes on to say, "This would be great news to the remaining owners as the GT becomes more rare."

The employee also told this story ... "Another Carrera bites the dust as a bodyshop mechanic who claimed he was going less than 30 MPH smashed into a telephone poll. Looks like he was going more than 30 to me!"

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There's another email from another employee who is reacting to the number of wrecks, saying, "This is in the back of my head every time I get behind the wheel of one of these. It's just hidden behind the shit-eating grin!"

Paul died in 2013 when he was a passenger in a Carrera GT that swerved out of control, hit a lamp post and tree and then burst into flames.

We reached out to Meadow's lawyer, Jeffrey Milam, who told us, "Any ethical company would have withdrawn the car from the market -- or, at the very least, warned the public about its dangers."

The lawyers are asking the judge to impose sanctions on Porsche for allegedly deliberately hiding the emails from them.

We called Porsche ... so far, no response.

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Ricki Lake Ex-Husband Christian Evans Dead

2/14/2017 4:27 PM PST
Breaking News

0214-ricky-lake-ex-husband-death-getty-01Ricki Lake's ex-husband, Christian Evans, has died, and Ricki is calling him a man the world did not understand.

Ricki posted notice of Christian's death, saying "he succumbed to his life long struggle with bipolar disorder."  

She went on, "The world didn't understand this man, but I did ... For anyone who has ever lost a family member or friend to mental illness, my heart goes out to you."

Christian claimed in the divorce Ricki defrauded him in negotiating the prenup and tried setting it aside. The divorce became final in 2015.

It was Ricki's second divorce.  They were married for 2 1/2 years before splitting.

Tom Cruise Mother Dead at 80

2/13/2017 11:53 AM PST
Breaking News

0213_tom_cruise_mom_tmz-2Tom Cruise's mother, Mary Lee South -- who in recent years had battled health issues -- died in her sleep.

The former special education teacher was the driving force behind Tom's pursuit of acting. He frequently credited her for inspiring him.

She died last week and a service was already held ... which Tom and his 3 sisters attended.

We last saw her back in 2013 when we tried getting her to spill some Christmas secrets.

People first reported the death.

Mary Lee was 80.

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Debbie Reynolds Dance Studio To Become Museum

2/13/2017 12:40 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

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Debbie Reynolds' memorabilia and costume collection has found a home ... her North Hollywood dance studio, which is being turned into a museum.

Todd Fisher, Debbie's son, tells us the studio has 6 rooms for dancing, and now 2 of them will house her collection. Renovations are underway.

Some of the items ... Debbie’s SAG Life Achievement Award and Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, along with costumes from ‘Molly Brown’ and "Singin' in the Rain."

Todd says they'll consider transferring some items to the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures when it eventually opens, but for now it'll all live in the studio.

Debbie opened the place in 1979 and a bunch of celebs, including Lucille Ball, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Bette Midler, Cher, Usher and Mariah Carey, rehearsed there.

TMZ broke the story ... Debbie died of a stroke in December just days after her daughter, Carrie Fisher, passed away from cardiac arrest. Debbie was 84.

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Al Jarreau Dead At 76

2/12/2017 9:41 AM PST
Breaking News

0212-al-jarreau-remembering-launch-GETTY-02Al Jarreau, famed R&B and jazz singer, died Sunday morning ... according to his reps. 

The 7-time Grammy winner had been hospitalized recently in Los Angeles. Amid his medical battle ... he announced he would be retiring. He'd been touring almost non-stop for 50 years.

A message on his website says he passed away while in the hospital. The announcement doesn't say what he died from -- but Al had fought through respiratory and cardiac issues in recent years.

Just last week, Al's son said his father was singing "Moonlighting" to one of his nurses. 

Jarreau won 7 Grammy's for a slew of hits through the '70s and '80s including "Mornin'," "After All, "We're In This Love Together" and, of course, that theme to the immensely popular "Moonlighting" TV theme.

Al successfully crossed over from jazz to R&B and soul music ... many times in his career. He was also one of the featured vocalists on "We Are the World" -- right between Willie Nelson and Bruce Springsteen.

#RIP 

Syracuse Player Fab Melo Dead At 26

2/11/2017 7:44 PM PST
Breaking News

0211-fab-melo-syracuse-GETTY-01Syracuse basketball standout Fab Melo has died unexpectedly in Brazil.

According to reports out of the country, 26-year-old Melo died Saturday in his sleep ... an official cause is not yet known. Melo recently began a career playing professionally in Brazil, where he was from.

Melo played two seasons for The Orange and was named the Big East Defensive Player of The Year after his sophomore season. He was drafted by The Boston Celtics 22nd overall in the 2012 NBA draft but struggled as a pro.

Melo's college coach, Jim Boeheim tweeted, "I'm very sorry to hear about the passing of Fab Melo. He was a kind, genuine person who was committed to doing his best while he was at Syracuse."

WWE's Chavo Guerrero Sr. Dead At 68

2/11/2017 2:25 PM PST
Breaking News

0211-chavo-guerrero-sr-jr-twitterWWE wrestler Chavo Guerrero Sr. has died after a battle with liver cancer.

Guerrero's son, Chavo Jr. -- who also wrestled -- announced his father's death Saturday, saying, "Today the world lost a true rebel. He did things "HIS" way. Not always right, not always wrong, but He always followed what he believed in." Junior says Chavo was diagnosed with liver cancer last month. 

Chavo Sr. was a staple in the legendary Guerrero wrestling family and the brother of WWE wrestler Eddie Guerrero, who died in 2005 of heart failure. 

Guerrero Sr. was 68.

RIP

Detroit Tigers Owner Mike Ilitch Dies Founded Little Caesars Pizza Too

2/10/2017 4:09 PM PST
Breaking News

0210-Mike-Ilitch-gettyDetroit Tigers owner Mike Ilitch -- who also founded Little Caesars Pizza -- has died at 87 ... his family confirmed.

Ilitch was worth a fortune ... reportedly more than $6 BILLION.

He also owned the Detroit Red Wings ... who won 4 Stanley Cups under his ownership. 

“My father was a once-in-a-generation entrepreneur, visionary and leader, setting the tone for our organization and our family” ... Ilitch's son said in a statement.

Ilitch's family says he died at a local hospital.

George Michael 911 Call 'He's in Bed, Dead'

2/10/2017 3:58 PM PST

George Michael's boyfriend calmly called 911 on Christmas Day and informed the dispatcher, "I've been trying to wake him up for the last hour but it's not possible. He's gone."

Fadi Fawaz discovered Michael's body in bed and told dispatchers the singer was "cold and he's blue ... and he's very stiff."

Fawaz sounds distressed but held it together. He was under a cloud of suspicion after he reportedly said he had spent Xmas Eve sleeping in his car and not at George's home. After the first autopsy proved inconclusive, cops interviewed Fawaz for hours but cleared him of any wrongdoing.

He still has not been buried as authorities continue to investigate cause of death.

FYI ... in England, emergency calls are 999, not 911.

'Battlestar Galactica' Star Richard Hatch Dead at 71

2/7/2017 3:33 PM PST
EXCLUSIVE

0207-richard-hatch-remembering-launch-Richard Hatch -- best known for playing Captain Apollo on the original "Battlestar Galactica" TV series -- has died ... family sources tell TMZ.

We're told Hatch had pancreatic cancer and went into hospice care a few weeks ago.

The actor, writer and producer began working in television in 1970 when he joined the cast of "All My Children" ... before landing a starring role on 'BG' in 1978. He was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a TV series in 1979.

Hatch made several guest appearances in the '80s on shows like "Murder, She Wrote," "The Love Boat" and "Fantasy Island." He also returned to the "Battlestar Galactica" franchise in a re-imagined series in 2004 as the character Tom Zarek.

Hatch was 71 years old.

RIP

Jenni Rivera Estate Univision Series Is Killing Her Rep To the Tune of $10 MIL!

2/7/2017 7:41 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

02079-jenni-rivera-su-numbre-logo-tmz-03Jenni Rivera is getting dragged through the mud by a Univision TV series about her life, and it's all because her former manager's got loose lips ... according to a new lawsuit.

Jenni Rivera Enterprises filed the suit against Univision over "Su Nombre Era Dolores, La Jenn Que Yo Conoci" (for gringos that's "Her Name Was Dolores, the Jenn That I Knew") -- which started airing last month. JRE says the show is based on a tell-all book written by Pete Salgado ... who was Jenni's "on and off manager" for many years.

According to the docs, obtained by TMZ, Salgado had signed a non-disclosure agreement with the late singer, and his collaboration with the weekly TV series' producers is a flagrant breach of that contract. JRE points out Univision promoted the series as a look at Jenni's life through Salgado's eyes.

JRE adds the show is filled with defamatory scenes about Jenni and her 5 children ... although it doesn't specify any scenes. It's suing for at least $10 million in damages.

We don't know how accurate it is, but we'll say this ... some of the show comes off like soft porn.

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