• FS1
    9:00 PM PST

    9:30 PM PST

Queen Latifah Mom Dies After Long Struggle with Heart Condition

3/21/2018 6:16 PM PDT

Queen Latifah's mom has died after a very long battle with a heart condition ... TMZ has learned.

Latifah revealed the sad news Wednesday, saying ... "It is with a heavy heart that I share the news my mother, Rita Owens passed away today ... She had struggled with a heart condition for many years and her battle is now over."

The rapper and actress told People in 2015 she would stay at her mom's home in New Jersey to help take care of her when she wasn't working in California.

Owens had reportedly been taking meds and was aided by a defibrillator implanted in her chest to avert a heart attack. She also had to maintain a very healthy diet to live with the condition.

Latifah says she's heartbroken, but knows her mother is now at peace.

WWE Superstar Mark Henry Friend Of 17-Yr-Old Austin Bomb Victim He Was 'So Full Of Life'

3/21/2018 10:44 AM PDT

WWE Superstar Mark Henry was personal friends with the 17-year-old boy senselessly murdered by an exploding package bomb last week in Austin.

TMZ Sports talked to '18 WWE Hall of Fame inductee -- who lives in Austin -- about the package bombings that terrorized the city ... injuring innocent people, and ending 2 lives.

Henry revealed he personally knew Draylen Mason -- an accomplished bass guitarist -- who was killed on March 12 when a package exploded in the kitchen of his home.

Draylen's mom was injured in the explosion ... but is expected to survive.

"It was just tragic to lose a kid like that, so young, and so full of life," Henry says ... "He was talented. Talented bassist. He traveled, and competed. It's just a hard loss." 

As for the man behind the reign of terror -- bomber Mark Anthony Conditt, 23 -- died this morning after he blew himself up as the FBI closed in on his location.

Aaron Hernandez Sexuality Didn't Make Him a Killer ... Says Marco Rubio

3/21/2018 6:48 AM PDT

Aaron Hernandez's self-hate for his alleged gay secret is NOT why he turned violent -- so says Marco Rubio.

We got the Florida senator out on Capitol Hill ... and asked what he made of the recent "Aaron Hernandez Uncovered" documentary, since he and Hernandez share the same alma mater (Florida).

Marco told TMZ Sports he hasn't had the chance to watch the whole thing, but with that said -- "I don't think that's relevant to killing somebody."

That "somebody" was Odin Lloyd ... a man some law enforcement officials believe Hernandez murdered in 2013 because he knew about Hernandez's sexuality.

Rubio clearly ain't buying that ... but on a related note, told us he sees positive momentum for gay athletes and politics having the platform to come out. 

Stevie Wonder Austin Bomber Is a Terrorist ... U.S. Should Go Aussie Route

3/20/2018 7:32 AM PDT

Stevie Wonder thinks America needs to be more like Australia if it's serious about curbing mass shootings, and other acts of domestic terrorism like the package bomber in Austin.

We got Stevie leaving Mr. Chow Monday night in Bev Hills -- just a few hours before the latest bomb, bound for Austin, went off at a FedEx facility. So far, 2 people have been killed by 5 different exploding packages, and police suspect the bomber's targeting black people.

Stevie told us the people sending the packages are "no different than terrorists" ... and urged politicians to look Down Under for a plan to combat the violence. 

Australia drastically changed its gun laws in 1996 after a mass shooting killed 35 people, and there haven't been any mass shootings since then.

Aaron Hernandez Tortured By Gay Secret

3/17/2018 12:50 AM PDT

Aaron Hernandez was gay -- according to several people close to him ... and his private struggle with his sexuality caused him great emotional pain that may have turned him violent. 

It's all part of the Oxygen documentary, "Aaron Hernandez Uncovered" -- which features interviews with Aaron's close friends, ex-girlfriends and members of his legal team. 

Aaron's college girlfriend, Alyssa Anderson, says she first learned Aaron had a relationship with a man while they were attending the University of Florida ... but he denied it at the time. It was only years later that Hernandez cryptically acknowledged her suspicions were true. 

George Leontire -- an openly gay member of Hernandez's defense team -- says he spoke with Hernandez at length about his sexuality and Aaron opened up like never before. 

"This man clearly was gay," Leontire said ... "[He] acknowledged it. Acknowledged the immense pain that it caused him."

Leontire added, "I think that he also came out of a culture that was so negative about gay people that he exhibited some self-hatred."

Hernandez never spoke publicly about being gay. He was engaged to a woman, Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez, and they had a daughter together.

Aaron was convicted of murdering Odin Lloyd in 2013 -- and there are some law enforcement officials who believe Hernandez executed Lloyd because he knew about Hernandez's sexuality.  

Hernandez ultimately killed himself in his prison cell in 2017. 

"Aaron Hernandez Uncovered" airs in 2 parts on Oxygen, Saturday March 17 and Sunday the 18th.

Tom Benson Dead at 90 Owned Saints & Pelicans

3/15/2018 2:19 PM PDT
Breaking News

Billionaire businessman Tom Benson -- who owned the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans -- has died, his family has confirmed. 

The 90-year-old passed away peacefully Thursday at Ochsner Medical Center in Louisiana with his wife, Gayle Marie Benson, at his side after falling ill with the flu. 

Benson started out as a bookkeeper at a Chevy dealership in New Orleans -- but went on to become a dealership owner and expanded the business into a billion-dollar empire. 

Benson bought the Saints in 1985 -- when they weren't exactly winners (remember the Aints?). The team posted their first winning record in 1987 and made the playoffs that year. Of course, they got better and won the Super Bowl in 2010. 

In 2012, Benson bought the New Orleans Hornets and changed the name to the Pelicans. 


Bill Nye Stephen Hawking Blew Our Minds!

3/15/2018 8:52 AM PDT

Stephen Hawking's contributions to science are almost too much for Bill Nye the Science Guy to grasp, because they require thinking beyond what actually exists. Yeah, buckle up.

We got Bill Wednesday at the U.S. Capitol, where he was repping for the Planetary Society. He says that's how he was able to meet the late, genius physicist/cosmologist.

Bill says Stephen's legacy isn't about any single discovery, it's more about changing the way people think about the cosmos, and he takes a stab at explaining it to our camera guy, too.

Basically, it's a SUPER brief history of Hawking's time on Earth.  

Joe McKnight Shooter Gets 30 Years in Prison ... for Manslaughter

3/15/2018 8:25 AM PDT
Breaking News

The man who shot and killed ex-NFL RB Joe McKnight could be spending the rest of his life in a prison cell. 

Ronald Gasser, 56, was just sentenced to 30 years behind bars ... less than 2 months after he was found guilty of manslaughter in a Louisiana courtroom. The maximum sentence he faced was 40 years.

Gasser was originally charged with 2nd-degree murder, but the jury elected for the lesser charge of manslaughter after more than 7 hours of deliberation back on Jan. 26.

McKnight -- who played for the Jets and Chiefs from 2010-2014 -- was gunned down by Gasser during a road-rage incident on Dec. 1, 2016, which ended when Gasser shot McKnight 3 times through his passenger side window. 

Joe was only 28.

McKnight's mother, Jennifer, gave a victim impact statement before the sentencing, saying -- "That day, you didn't have to do that. That didn't have to happen. It hurts. It's going to hurt a long time."

Michelle Quick, the mother of Joe's 8-year-old son, also addressed Gasser before leaving the courtroom in tears.

"It will be my life's mission to make sure my son, Jaiden, doesn't grow up with hate for you. Not because you don't deserve it, but because he should not have hate in his heart."

FYI, Gasser's lawyer's filed a motion for a new trial before the sentencing -- claiming he was clearly acting in self-defense -- but the judge rejected their proposal.

They're planning to appeal the 30-year sentence.

Big Pun Widow Sues Walmart ... They Ain't Playas, They Just Steal a Lot!

3/14/2018 2:52 PM PDT

Big Pun IS forever at Walmart, but his widow ain't happy about it ... so, she's filed a lawsuit against the retail giant.

Liza Rios is going after Walmart for a line of clothing and merch it sells which bear the late Bronx rapper's name and image. In the suit, she says some of the items straight-up jacked the trademark she got after Pun died in 2000 -- a Jordan-esque image of Pun soaring with a mic in his hand, instead of a basketball.

Most of the clothing and gear -- which includes phone cases, mugs and bags -- is made by a company called Redbubble, and Liza's suing them as well as Walmart.

According to the suit, obtained by TMZ, Walmart, Rebubble and other manufacturers are willfully infringing on her trademark ... because they have full knowledge of its existence, yet continue to use it without authorization. 

Ms. Pun is suing for all profits, and and injunction to block further sales.

She's also demanding $10 million in statutory damages from manufacturers Redbubble and Cloudflare, but not Walmart.

United Airlines New Pet Carrier Policy Coming After Dead Dog Tragedy

3/14/2018 12:59 PM PDT
Breaking News

United Airlines says its flight attendant did not hear or understand the woman whose dog was placed in an overhead bin -- but it's taking new steps to avoid a repeat disaster ... TMZ has learned.

United tells us by April it will start issuing "bright colored bag tags to customers traveling with in-cabin pets." The idea is the visual tag on a pet carrier will help flight attendants know for sure when someone's traveling with an animal.

The airline says that's exactly what didn't happen in the case of Catalina Robledo and her French bulldog, Kokito. United says after speaking to passengers and crew members, it believes Catalina did tell the flight attendant she had a dog in her tote bag carrier -- but the flight attendant "did not hear or understand [Catalina]."

United also repeated its earlier statement ... that the flight attendant did not knowingly place the dog in the overhead bin.

Olivia Munn I'll Never Fly United ... Nobody Should!!!

3/14/2018 11:21 AM PDT

Olivia Munn's had it with United Airlines, and vows to never fly with the company after its latest debacle ... which involved the death of a poor dog.

We got the actress at LAX Wednesday, who tells us she's done with United not only because it can't take care of animals ... but also because of its recent history of not being able to take care of all its human passengers.

Olivia's strongly encouraging everyone to stop flying with the airline, and not just for now -- but for good.

As we reported ... United Airlines may be on the hook for big damages over the death of a family's French Bulldog, Kokito, after a flight attendant shockingly made the dog stay in the overhead compartment.

United had another huge scandal after a doctor was violently dragged off a plane last April.

Fatal Helicopter Crash Victim's Family Sues

3/13/2018 3:44 PM PDT

The family of one of the victims of the New York City helicopter crash has sued the helicopter company, claiming the pilot failed to properly protect his passenger.

Trevor Cadigan was on the chopper that went down Sunday in the East River. He, along with the 4 other passengers, perished when the chopper sank. The pilot, Richard Vance, was the only survivor.

According to the lawsuit, the pilot allegedly failed to maintain proper control of the chopper, failed to properly perform emergency procedures and failed to properly secure personal items within the helicopter. There are reports the pilot claims a piece of luggage may have hit the fuel-control cutoff valve, which caused the chopper to lose power.

Perhaps the key to the lawsuit ... it alleges the helicopter company did not provide the appropriate number of knives, if any, to cut the passengers out of their nylon harnesses. The suit also claims the harnesses were attached from the back by a metal ring, which is a death trap because it does not permit passengers to reach and activate release mechanisms.

The suit also takes a shot at Vance, saying he didn't take reasonable steps to save his passengers after he secured his own release.

And the suit goes on ... the yellow inflatable pontoons did not properly and timely inflate to prevent the chopper from flipping on its side.

The lawsuit goes on to claim the helicopter company was negligent in removing the doors ... because such a modification is "inordinately dangerous and risky."

Christopher Darden The Glove DID Fit O.J. Finally Admitted It!!!

3/12/2018 12:53 PM PDT

O.J. Simpson copping to leaving the infamous bloody glove at the double murder scene is all former prosecutor Christopher Darden needed to hear to know he was right all along.

Darden, Marcia Clark's co-prosecutor in Simpson's trial of the century, tells us watching "O.J. Simpson: The Lost Confession?" proved Simpson and his dream team outsmarted the jury.

In particular, he says Johnnie Cochran's famous line, "If it doesn't fit, you must acquit" just doesn't hold up once you hear Simpson admit he must have left the glove "because they found the glove there." Darden famously came up with the plan to have Simpson try on the gloves in court ... which, of course, backfired on the prosecution.

As for Simpson's hypothetical accomplice named Charlie -- Darden has an explanation, and it's all about O.J.'s imagination.

Around the Web