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'Ice Road Truckers' Star Darrell Ward Dies In Plane Crash At 52

8/29/2016 6:10 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

darrell_ward_facebook_launch"Ice Road Truckers" star Darrell Ward died in a plane crash Sunday.

Darrell had just left a truck show in Dallas where he met fans and friends, and was heading back to Missoula, MT to begin filming a pilot for his new documentary -- ironically and sadly about the recovery of plane wrecks.

Darrell was flying with a co-pilot when their Cessna single engine plane crashed on approach near the Rock Creek exit of Interstate 90.

The family said, "While many of you will share in this loss, we ask that you respect the family’s privacy during their time of grief. His manager and best friend M. Bob Stanton and long time friend Chuck Campbell are expected to make a lengthier statement shortly."

He was 52 years old.

RIP

Disney Alligator Attack Guest Sounded Warning Before Attack

8/22/2016 10:12 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0822-disney-land-gator-attack-grand-floridian-GETTY-01A guest at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort saw an alligator looming in the area where 2-year-old Lane Graves was playing ... and she even sounded the alarm to someone at the hotel.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Orange County Sheriff's Office released a final report -- obtained by TMZ -- about the circumstances surrounding Lane's death.

According to the report, Shawna Giacomini, a North Carolina tourist, told investigators she was on the beach at 8:15 PM with her 2 daughters, and the girls saw an alligator about 5 feet from the shore, near the marsh. The older daughter told the Walt Disney World AV/Movie Coordinator about the gator.

The trio went to the store, and when they returned at around 9 PM the attack had already occurred.

The report details the attack, explaining Lane went toward the water with his dad and a pail. The dad saw a splash, looked over and saw the gator had locked onto Lane's head. He tried pulling the gator's mouth open, to no avail, and the gator dragged Lane into deep water.

The cause of death was cranio-cervical trauma and drowning.

The report is damning because of the lack of signs warning of gators, which the authors call "predatory."

Lou Pearlman Died from Heart Issues

8/22/2016 9:45 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0822_lou_pearlman_launchLou Pearlman died from an ongoing cardiac problem ... TMZ has learned.

According to the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner's Office, the mastermind behind the Backstreet Boys and 'NSYNC ... died at a Miami hospital where he was scheduled to have heart surgery. 

We're told 62-year-old Pearlman had been transferred from his prison cell to have the surgery, but as we reported ... he died Friday -- before the procedure. He had a history of cardiac issues.

The official cause of death is listed as natural causes.

Prince No Conrad Murray in His Death

8/22/2016 9:30 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0602-prince-getty-3Prince's deadly dose of the powerful painkiller Fentanyl was NOT prescribed by a doctor, which means it's a near impossibility anyone will ever be charged with his murder.

Law enforcement sources confirm investigators have not turned up a prescription for the Fentanyl. The Fentanyl pills found at Paisley Park were in a bottle labeled hydrocodone -- and it's now believed they were illegally obtained.

Our sources tell us whoever gave Prince the drug would face a 3rd degree murder charge under Minnesota law. However, without a prescription, we're told Prince's doctors would be in the clear ... so there'll be no Conrad Murray-esque trial.

Investigators would have to track down the source of the illicit Fentanyl -- it's reportedly an epidemic problem in Minnesota -- for anyone to stand trial for murder.

It's still possible a doctor could get nailed for over-prescribing other opioids. Remember, we broke the story ... Prince nearly OD'd on Percocet 6 days before his death at Paisley Park. 

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'3 Doors Down' Ex-Guitarist Dead at 38

8/20/2016 2:01 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0820-matt-roberts-getty-01Matt Roberts, the former guitarist from 3 Doors Down has died of an apparent overdose ... TMZ has learned. 

Matt's dad Darrell tells TMZ he and Matt were just outside Milwaukee for a charity event where Matt was scheduled to perform. Darrell says Matt had rehearsal until 1 AM Saturday and the two went back to their hotel with an adjoining room. 

Darrell says he was woken up around 9 AM by detectives who informed Matt had passed away overnight. Darrell tells us prescription pills were involved ... but he believes the possible OD was accidental.

Matt left 3 Doors Down in 2012 for health issues concerning blood circulation in his body. 

Darrell tells us Matt was deeply loved by his friends and family and the loss is devastating.  

He was 38 years old. 

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Justin Bieber It's Tough Losing A Pal, So The Tab's On Me

8/20/2016 12:20 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0819-justin-bieber-getty-tmz-01Justin Bieber shelled out a few hundred bucks to cover the bar bill of a grieving group of strangers.

The Biebs was a few drinks in at Residuals Tavern in Studio City Tuesday when he noticed customers at a nearby table crying. Justin asked the bartender what was up, and he heard the saddest story.

One of the regulars at the bar -- a guy named JD who was in his late 20s -- had tragically died earlier that day when he fell from his fire escape.

Bieber was moved so he paid their tab, which came to a few hundred bucks.

And, no, it didn't end up on Instagram.

Corey Feldman Contacts Corey Haim's Ghost ... Haim's Mom On Warpath

8/20/2016 12:10 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0819_corey-feldman-and-corey-haim_tmz_gettyCorey Haim's mother is pissed off at Corey Feldman for claiming he talked to her dead son through a psychic because she says Feldman's the last guy on Earth Haim would want to hit up.

Feldman filmed an episode of "Hollywood Medium With Tyler Henry" and a promo shows him tearing up when Henry allegedly contacts his late BFF, who died in 2010.

But Judy Haim says Feldman's crying act was just that -- bogus tears, shed only for a paycheck.

Judy says her son had distanced himself from Feldman while trying to sober up in the years before his death. She thinks Feldman continues to play up the friendship because he's desperate to be relevant.

She says she's repeatedly asked Feldman to stop talking about her son and let him rest in peace. Obviously, no dice.


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'Rugrats' & 'Newhart' Star Jack Riley Dead at 80

8/19/2016 1:31 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Breaking News

0819_jack_riley_Stu-Pickles_gettyJack Riley -- the voice of "Rugrats" fave, Stu Pickles, and co-star of "The Bob Newhart Show" -- has died of pneumonia.

Jack famously played Elliot Carlin, one Newhart's super neurotic patients, during all 6 seasons of the classic '70s TV sitcom.

More recently he was the father of Tommy and Dil Pickles in the "Rugrats" cartoon series and movies. Jack also starred in several Mel Brooks movies and had tons of guest roles on huge TV shows such as "MASH," "Happy Days," and 'Mary Tyler Moore.'

Riley's wife told Deadline, Jack passed away Friday in Los Angeles. He was 80.

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Scott Weiland's Widow I'm Cashing in On Our Engagement Ring

8/16/2016 3:50 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

0816-scott-weiland-jamie-weiland-ring-TMZ-FACEBOOK-01Scott Weiland's widow is unloading her engagement rock on eBay, and the starting bid is a steal for any die-hard fans looking to pop the question.

Jaime Weiland, who married Scott in 2013, listed the white gold and diamond band for $8k and then promoted the listing on Facebook. If you're in the market, she says it's 2.74 carats. 

Jaime didn't provide a specific reason for dumping the ring, other than saying she was 8 months into a new chapter of her life, and the time was right. Scott died in December of an overdose, and she has an ongoing lawsuit against his estate for money she claims she's owed under their prenup.

The bling has zero bids right now, but people might be watching till the last minute to keep the price down ... y'know, the ole eBay hustle. 

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John McLaughlin Political Commentator Dead at 89

8/16/2016 1:53 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Breaking News

0816-John-McLaughlin-facebookLegendary political commentator Dr. John McLaughlin -- whose long-running show inspired famous 'SNL' spoofs -- has died ... just days after missing his program for the first time ever.

"The McLaughlin Group" -- a round table political discussion -- has been on the air for more than 34 years, and John hosted every weekly episode. During the airing this past weekend ... the show began with a slate explaining McLaughlin was "under the weather" and would not appear on the panel. His voice was heard though saying the familiar ... "Issue one."

McLaughlin was an ordained priest with a PhD in philosophy, who had also been a speech writer for Richard Nixon ... before his TV show launched in 1982.

The show released a statement announcing his passing, but did not specify what caused it.

Dana Carvey famously played the irascible host in a recurring "Saturday Night Live" skit.

McLaughlin was 89.

Muhammad Ali's Grandson Marshawn Lynch Consoled Me ... After Boxing Legend's Death

8/15/2016 4:45 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

Muhammad Ali's football star grandson says a call from his sports idol helped raise his spirits in the wake of his grandfather's death ... and that idol is Marshawn Lynch

Biaggio Ali Walsh joined the guys on the "TMZ Sports" TV show (airs Monday on FS1) -- and opened up about his relationship with Beast Mode and why it's meant so much to him.

"After the passing, he texted me and was like, 'How are you holding up?' ... and I really appreciated that. Especially him being one of my biggest idols. I look up to that guy."

FYI, Biaggio is one of the top high school running backs in the county and recently announced he'll attend Cal after his senior season

You gotta watch the whole interview tonight -- Biaggio also explains why he thinks his brother, Nico, will follow his grandfather's footsteps in the boxing ring.

'Star Wars' R2-D2 Actor Dead At 81

8/13/2016 10:22 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Breaking News

0813-kenny-baker-rexusa-01Kenny Baker, the man who brought "Star Wars" character R2-D2 to life, has died. 

According to a report by The Guardian, Baker had battled a long illness before passing away Saturday morning. Baker stood at 3ft 8in tall, and first became famous for playing the robot in 1977 in "Star Wars IV: A New Hope." 

Baker got back in the robot in "The Empire Strikes Back," "Return of The Jedi," and all of the franchises' prequel films. 

He was 81.

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Ahmad Rashad Remembers John Saunders 'Wonderful, Beautiful Man'

8/11/2016 6:28 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

The sports community is reeling from the sudden, shocking death of ESPN's John Saunders -- and Wednesday night, Ahmad Rashad explained why he was so loved. 

"I did know him personally. He was a wonderful, beautiful man."

NFL legend Tony Gonzalez also talked about the broadcaster -- saying, "He was part of my childhood."

"It's a sad day."

Saunders passed away Wednesday morning at his home in NY. He was 61. 

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