Al Kaline MLB Hall Of Famer Dead At 85 ... 'Mr. Tiger'

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3:22 PM PT -- Detroit Tigers CEO Christopher Ilitch penned an emotional statement after Kaline's death Monday, writing, "Baseball lost a Titan today."

"Anyone who knew Al Kaline would describe his gentle soul and passion for baseball as an unbelievably powerful combination, making home one of the most respected players in Major League Baseball history."

Ilitch added, "The impact of his life is wide-reaching, and he will be greatly missed by millions in Detroit, the state of Michigan and across the baseball community."

Al Kaline -- an MLB Hall of Famer who was affectionately known as Mr. Tiger -- has died at the age of 85.

A family friend of the Detroit legend confirmed the news with the Detroit Free Press on Monday ... although a cause of death was not immediately known.

Kaline was an unbelievable baseball player for the Tigers from 1953-1974 ... making 18 All-Star games and earning 10 gold gloves.

The former outfielder logged 3,007 hits, had a career batting average of .297 and slugged 399 home runs. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1980 ... and his No. 6 was retired by the Tigers that same year.

Kaline also has a statue at Comerica Park in Detroit.

"Such a kind and generous man who meant so much to so many," former Tigers ace Justin Verlander said Monday. "I hope you knew how much I enjoyed our conversations about baseball, life, or just giving each other a hard time."

"I am honored to have been able to call you my friend for all these years.  R.I.P. Mr Tiger, Al Kaline."

The baseball legend worked in some capacity with the Tigers up until his death ... holding various roles as either an announcer, coach or front-office exec.

#RIP

Originally published -- 1:01 PM PT

Honor Blackman Pussy Galore in 'Goldfinger' ... Dead at 94

Honor Blackman -- one of the first iconic, and perhaps most iconic Bond girls of the movie franchise -- has died.

The 1960s and '70s movie and TV star -- who was considered a bonafide bombshell in her day -- passed away peacefully at her home in Lewes, Sussex, surrounded by loved ones. Her family says she died of natural causes, unrelated to the coronavirus.

Her fam says, "As well as being a much-adored mother and grandmother, Honor was an actor of hugely prolific creative talent; with an extraordinary combination of beauty, brains and physical prowess, along with her unique voice and a dedicated work ethic, she achieved an unparalleled iconic status in the world of film and entertainment and with absolute commitment to her craft and total professionalism in all her endeavours she contributed to some of the great films and theatre productions of our times."

Honor starred as Pussy Galore opposite Sean Connery in 1964's "Goldfinger," which was the first smash hit Bond film to emerge from the series at that point. Pussy was the leader of a group of acrobatic women who worked for the villain, but she falls in love with 007, naturally, and helps him defeat Goldfinger. They also memorably banged under a parachute.

The actress' other huge role was as Cathy Gale in 'The Avengers' -- not the Marvel series you know today, but the black and white show from the '60s. It was a British espionage show, and Honor played one of John Steed's bright and beautiful assistants.

Her acting career went way beyond those two projects, though ... Honor has 115 credits to her name dating back to the 1940s. She had prominent roles on shows like "Probation Officer," "The Four Just Men," "ITV Play of the Week," "The Lives of Benjamin Franklin," "Never the Twain," "Doctor Who," "The Upper Hand," "Coronation Street," and others.

Of course, she's also worked in countless films over the years.

Honor was 94.

RIP

'My 600-lb Life' James King Dead at 49

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James King, a fan favorite from "My 600-lb Life," died in a Nashville hospital ... according to his family.

James passed away on Friday after several different past battles with his health, including sepsis and cirrhosis of the liver. He last appeared on the popular TLC series back in the summer of 2018.

The news wasn't good for James back then ... he'd actually gained weight from his initial appearance on the show. He was 791 pounds when he made his debut, but by 2018, he was 840 pounds.

He lived in Paducah, Kentucky ... and it's unclear right now why he'd been admitted to the hospital in Nashville.

James had recently kept a relatively low profile on social media. Most of his posts were gushing over his 2 most recently born grandchildren.

He is survived by his wife, Lisa Raisor King, 4 daughters, 2 sons and 19 grandchildren.

James was 49.

RIP

'Jaws' Actress Lee Fierro Alex Kintner's Mom Dies at 91 ... Coronavirus Complications

The actress who played the mother of the kid who got eaten in "Jaws," has passed away by a threat that's becoming more real and dangerous than a great white ... COVID-19.

Lee Fierro -- who portrayed Alex Kintner's mom, Mrs. Kintner, in the 1975 classic film -- has passed away due to complications from coronavirus ... according to Martha's Vineyard Times, which first reported her death. The first "Jaws" was shot on location there in Mass.

Fierro doesn't have very many acting credits to her name outside of the 'Jaws' franchise -- in which she reprised her role twice -- but she had an iconic few scenes in the first flick, notably her freak-out on the beach when Alex's blood and shorts wash up on the beach.

Perhaps even more iconic ... her confrontation with Roy Scheider, who played Chief Brody, whom she slapped across the face at Alex's wake. She was pissed he let beachgoers hit the sand despite knowing there was a shark on the loose. Her son was the second-known attack, and as Chief Brody noted ... she wasn't wrong for her criticism of him.

According to the outlet, Fierro was being housed at an assisted living facility in Ohio -- where her family is said to be holding a small ceremony in her honor because of social distancing restrictions.

She was 91. RIP

NFL Legend Tom Dempsey Dead at 73 From Coronavirus

Tom Dempsey, a legendary NFL kicker who is best known for a spectacular game-winning field goal, died Saturday from complications from the coronavirus.

Dempsey, who was born without toes on his right foot and without fingers on his right hand, was able to excel as an NFL kicker with the help of specially-designed shoes.

As for the legendary kick, it went down in 1970.  Dempsey was the kicker for the New Orleans Saints when they played the Detroit Lions, and he shattered the field goal record by 7 yards, propelling it 63 yards. The record has since been matched by 5 kickers and it was shattered -- actually more like broken -- by Denver Bronco kicker Matt Prater in 2013, when he scored a field goal from 64 yards.

Dempsey also played for the Eagles, the Rams, the Oilers and the Bills during his 11-year career.

The Saints said, "The New Orleans Saints family is deeply saddened and heartbroken at this most difficult time. Tom's life spoke directly to the power of the human spirit and exemplified his resolute determination to not allow setbacks to impede following his dreams and aspirations." He exemplified the same fight and fortitude in recent years as he battled valiantly against illnesses but never wavered and kept his trademark sense of humor."

As for how Dempsey contracted the virus ... he was living in a New Orleans retirement home where 15 patients have died from the disease. Louisiana has really gone through it ... more than 12,400 confirmed cases. New Orleans, where many contracted the virus during Mardi Gras, has had 153 deaths so far.

Dempsey grew up in CA and played football at Palomar College in SoCal. After calling it quits with the Saints, he became an oilfield salesman, and later became a high school football coach and a car dealership manager.

Dempsey had been battling dementia for years.

He's survived by his wife and 3 kids.

Dempsey was 73.

RIP

Vanessa Bryant Kobe's Hall of Fame Honor ... Pinnacle of His Career

WE'RE DEEPLY MOVED
ESPN

Vanessa Bryant just told the world how proud she is of Kobe, who has been honored as the next Basketball Hall of Fame inductee.

Vanessa sat with daughter Natalia as she fought back tears, saying how proud she was of Kobe's posthumous accomplishment.

Kobe will be inducted as part of the class of 2020, and Vanessa says it's the pinnacle of her late husband's storied NBA career, that spanned 20 years with the Lakers.

Vanessa says, "It's an incredible accomplishment and honor, and we're extremely proud of him. Obviously, we wish he was here with us to celebrate, but it's definitely the peak of his NBA career and every accomplishment that he had as an athlete was a stepping stone to be here."

The Lakers praised Kobe, saying, "All of us can trust that this basketball Hall of Fame honor is one Kobe would, and will, deeply appreciate."

Kobe Bryant Hall of Fame Class of 2020 ... With KG, Duncan

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Kobe Bryant will be inducted into the Pro Basketball Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2020 -- alongside Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan.

Players become eligible 4 seasons after their last game -- and with Kobe retiring in 2016, this was his first opportunity to get in.

The ceremony (which will be formally announced on Saturday) will take place at The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA in August, according to Shams Charania.

It's a no-brainer -- Kobe is widely considered one of the greatest players of all time ... during his 20-year run with the Lakers, Kobe won 5 NBA titles and made the All-Star team 18 times!

Need more stats? He was also a 2-time NBA Finals MVP, the 2008 NBA MVP, 2-time NBA scoring champ, 9-time NBA All-Defensive Team and he won the Dunk Contest in '97!

Of course, Kobe passed away on Jan. 26 in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, CA. He was only 41.

Many of Kobe's friends and family members have talked about how important it was for Kobe to get in the HOF. Shaquille O'Neal even spoke about it on "Inside the NBA" in the days after Kobe's death.

"The fact that we're not gonna be able to joke at his Hall of Fame ceremony, we're not gonna be able to say, 'Haha, I got 5 (championships), you got 4,' the fact that we're not gonna be able to say, 'If we would've stayed together, we could've got 10' ... those were the things you can't get back."

The ceremony will undoubtedly be emotional. No word yet on who will speak on Kobe's behalf.

Bill Withers 'Lean On Me' Singer Dead at 81

Bill Withers -- the soulful singer-songwriter known for his string of hits in the '70s -- has died from heart complications ... according to his family.

Withers died Monday in Los Angeles, but his family announced it Friday morning, saying ... "We are devastated by the loss of our beloved, devoted husband and father. A solitary man with a heart driven to connect to the world at large, with his poetry and music, he spoke honestly to people and connected them to each other."

The 3-time Grammy Award winner's death comes as the world is turning to his sweet music for inspiration and encouragement during the coronavirus pandemic ... especially his 1972 hit, "Lean On Me."

Quarantined residents in a Dallas apartment building sat in their windowsills a couple weeks ago, singing the song to lift their spirits.

Withers began recording and performing just 2 years prior in 1970, scoring his first smash single with "Ain't No Sunshine" from his debut album, "Just As I Am" ... released in 1971. The song won the Grammy for R&B song of the year.

He'd go on to land several other hits -- including "Use Me," "Just the Two of Us" and "Lovely Day" -- until he withdrew from making music in 1985 to live a more private life.

Bill was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015, and his songs have been endlessly sampled for other artists' hits from the '90s into this century.

His family says ... "As private a life as he lived close to intimate family and friends, his music forever belongs to the world."

Withers was 81.

RIP

6/6/18
THE LAST TIME WE SAW HIM
TMZ.com

Pop Smoke Chaos, Confusion During 911 Call ... 'Hello? ... Listen to Me!!!'

Exclusive
911 AUDIO
TMZ.com

Moments after Pop Smoke was shot someone called 911, but the only thing the dispatcher on the other end could hear was pandemonium and no one willing to provide details.

TMZ's obtained the 911 call made from the Hollywood Hills rental property where the rapper was shot and killed in February. The call began with commotion in the background and the 911 dispatcher continually asking, "Hello?"

Finally, someone desperately answered the dispatcher but offered little to no details. The dispatcher tried to find out if the shooter or shooters were still on the scene ... but the caller interrupted with, "I can't talk to you anymore?"

The dispatcher fired back, "Listen to me. I'm gonna tell you how to help this person."

ATTEMPTING CPR
BACKGRID

TMZ broke the story ... the budding rapper was brutally gunned down at a house owned by 'RHOBH' star Teddi Mellencamp.

As we've reported ... the murder remains a mystery as investigators struggle to find neutral witnesses. It appears the murder was a targeted hit and not a robbery ... but our law enforcement sources say they're still having trouble coming up with a motive.

MLB's Ed Farmer White Sox Broadcaster Dead at 70

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Chicago White Sox radio announcer Ed Farmer -- who played 11 seasons in the Majors -- died Wednesday night, the team announced. He was 70 years old.

Details surrounding his death have not been revealed. We're working on it.

Farmer was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 5th round of the 1967 Draft -- and went on to pitch for the Tigers, Phillies, Orioles, White Sox and more. He made the American League All-Star team in 1980.

He eventually transitioned over to the broadcast booth in 1992 where he spent nearly 30 years calling games for his beloved White Sox.

During his life, Farmer suffered from polycystic kidney disease -- in which cysts cluster around the kidneys, sometimes affecting their ability to function properly.

On the field, you might remember Farmer's issues with Al Cowens.

Famer hit Cowens with a pitch in a game in 1979 -- breaking his jaw and messing up his teeth.

Farmer insisted it wasn't intentional, but Cowens didn't buy it -- and when they played against each other the following season, Cowens charged the mound and attacked Farmer.

Farmer filed assault charges against Cowens -- but later agreed to drop the case if Cowens would shake his hand. Wild stuff.

As for the White Sox, the team issued a statement about Farmer's passing saying, "We mourn the death of Ed Farmer who passed away Wednesday night."

"Farmer worked as a radio broadcaster for the Chicago White Sox for nearly 30 years, played 11 seasons in the major leagues, including three with his hometown White Sox, and was a strong advocate for organ donation."

RIP.

Nick Cannon 1 Year Later, Marathon Lives With Custom Nipsey Paint Job on Impala

Nick Cannon still has Nipsey Hussle in his thoughts and all over his classic car ... thanks to this sweet new artwork.

Nick recently got his 1964 SS Impala's trunk repainted with a custom tribute to the late rapper -- who was gunned down in South L.A. a year ago Tuesday. It's pretty clear, for Nick ... the Marathon continues, indeed.

We're told the actor/host/rapper/comedian commissioned Jr's Kustoms to do the airbrush paint job about 2 months ago ... apparently in anticipation of the anniversary. At the moment, the car's sitting in Nick's Ncredible Motorsports warehouse in Los Angeles.

Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.

Interesting that Nipsey is still top of mind for Nick ... who made a vow of sorts shortly after the murder.

At the time Nipsey had been working on a documentary about Dr. Sebi -- a controversial self-described healer, who claimed to have the cure for several fatal ailments.

Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.

Nick implied he would pick up the baton and actually finish the film about Sebi and dropped a trailer for the project Tuesday ... we're told he's close to finishing the whole thing up.

Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.

Still, here's hard proof Nipsey's vision and legacy are still a priority for Nick.

Skate Legend Jeff Grosso Dead at 51 Tony Hawk Pays Tribute

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7:11 AM PT -- Law enforcement tells TMZ Sports ... Grosso passed away Tuesday at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach, California. We're told there is no obvious cause of death at the moment. An autopsy is expected to be performed.

Skateboarding legend Jeff Grosso -- one of the biggest skate stars of the '80s -- has died. He was only 51.

Thrasher Magazine's Michael Burnett confirmed the news ... saying on Tuesday, "Today we have the terrible task of saying a heartbreaking goodbye to beloved verticalist, commentator and friend of the mag, Jeff Grosso."

The details surrounding Grosso's death are unclear. We're working on it. He is survived by his 8-year-old son Oliver, who Burnett mentions in his tribute to Jeff.

"Jeff went from number-one amateur to '80s superstar to cautionary tale and back again. His latest role as lovable curmudgeon, host of his own history-packed web series and keeper of skateboarding’s righteousness, unafraid to offend or annoy in his quest to educate, was by far his greatest – second only to being Oliver’s dad."

The "cautionary tale" is a reference to Jeff's struggles with substance abuse. He talked openly about issues with pain pills and heroin. In fact, Jeff OD'd 3 times before 2017.

"He will be sorely, sorely missed. Our hearts go out to his family and many friends. RIP," Burnett said.

Jeff shot to skate stardom in the '80s and went on to host "Vans' Love Letters to Skateboarding."

Jeff was also BELOVED by skate legends like Tony Hawk -- who paid tribute to Grosso.

"Jeff was a true skateboarder at his core, and a great wealth of entertainment, insight and valuable philosophy to a younger generation. I was lucky enough to skate with him over the last four decades and occasionally featured on his Vans’ Love Letters series.”

Hawk continued ... "One of the last times we spoke, we talked about how ridiculous it is that we still get to do this for a living and that anyone even cares what we do or think in terms of skateboarding at our age."

"I believe Jeff is a big reason that anyone truly cares, and skateboarding was lucky to have him as an ambassador and gatekeeper to its history. He was also a great father, which is obvious in his last social media post. Thank you Jeff, words cannot describe how much we will miss you."

Originally Published -- 6:56 AM PT

Vanessa Bryant Celebrates Release Of Kobe's New Book ... 'The Wizenard Series'

Breaking News

The next installment of Kobe Bryant's best-selling book series is here ... and Vanessa is paying tribute to her husband's work on the bittersweet day.

The book, "Season One" is a follow-up to Kobe's NYT Bestselling work, "The Wizenard Series: Training Camp" ... which focuses on a young hooper named Reggie, who dreams of being a basketball superstar.

Vanessa celebrated the news on Instagram Tuesday ... saying, "Welcome back to Dren! We hope you are all ready to catch up with the West Bottom Badgers for another magical basketball season."

The book shares a quote from the late Kobe Bryant after the title page ... which says, "To young athletes who commit to doing the hard work. The process always pays off."

The book's author, Wesley King, reflected on the book drop -- saying, "Official release day. Bittersweet without my collaborator, but grateful to see the words live on. This is a book about chasing your dreams."

Of course, Kobe's second act after basketball was just taking off ... from business partnerships to winning an Oscar for the short film, "Dear Basketball."

#RIP

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