'Trading Spaces' Frank Bielec Dead at 72

Exclusive

Frank Bielec, one of the stars of "Trading Spaces" has died ... TMZ has learned.

Frank's wife, Judy, tells TMZ, Frank passed away Friday ... a day after suffering a heart attack. He was taken to a hospital in Katy, Texas, and then transferred to a Houston hospital for specialized treatment. Frank died Friday in the Houston hospital.

Judy says the surgical team dissolved into tears when they couldn't save Frank.

Frank was an accomplished designer and appeared on the TLC show every season until 2008 when the show wrapped. He also appeared on the 2018 reboot.

No funeral service. Frank will be cremated -- ashes put inside a round wooden box and placed on top of a fireplace in their home.

Frank was an elementary school teacher back in the day, teaching classes in art and social studies. He got a masters of fine arts but eventually became disenchanted with the educational system -- he felt it focused too much on tests and not enough on what he called experimental learning.

Frank's next adventure was not television ... it was strictly floral. Frank became a florist, creating spectacular arrangements. It wasn't a passing thing ... Frank did it for 20 years.

He was also an artist ... accomplished enough to have his work displayed in galleries. Then, in 1989, he created a business called "Mosey 'n Me" with Judy, specializing in cross-stitches.

Frank had a soft spot for animals ... he rescued a dozen sugar gliders and any wildlife that happened to mosey onto his property ... well, they had a home.

He applied all that he learned over the years to his designs on "Trading Spaces," peppering every room with artistic touches ... stenciling, cross-stitching, drawing -- things like that.

Frank was 72.

RIP

Ahmaud Arbery's Parents Want to Speak with Trayvon Martin's

Exclusive

Ahmaud Arbery's murder case is drawing national attention and outrage similar to the slaying of Trayvon Martin in 2012 ... and TMZ's learned the parents of both young men want to meet.

Lee Merritt -- attorney for Ahmaud's mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones -- tells us ... the goal is to get both sets of parents together on a phone call soon, but so far, they've not been able to get schedules to line up.

We're told both sides have expressed interest in talking as they have something incredibly tragic in common -- losing children to violence, apparently racially motivated, and targeting unarmed young black men.

Merritt says a meeting of the 2 families will hopefully allow them to encourage each other, learn from each other and advocate for their sons. He's hoping Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton can provide guidance for Ahmaud's parents on handling the case, while also trying to recover from his death.

Of course, it will have to just be via a phone or video call for now due to the pandemic ... but we're told both sides are eager to make it happen.

The parents also have a legal connection -- Ahmaud's father's attorney is Ben Crump, who's worked with Trayvon's family.

IN COLD BLOOD

As you know ... Ahmaud was killed on a Brunswick, GA road back in February after being confronted by 2 armed white men -- Travis and Gregory McMichael -- who claim they thought he was a suspect in a series of recent burglaries. They weren't arrested until last week when video leaked of the incident, which has since been described as "modern-day lynching."

Trayvon was also unarmed when he was shot and killed by George Zimmerman in February 2012 during a physical confrontation. Zimmerman claimed self-defense and was acquitted of murder in the notorious "stand your ground" case.

Ahmaud Arbery Cops Encouraged Accused Murderer to be a Vigilante

Gregory McMichael, one of Ahmaud Arbery's alleged murderers, was a point person for cops just months before the killing ... because we've learned police told at least one neighbor if there was a trespass, he should call McMichael and not them.

According to text messages between an officer of the Glynn County Police Department and Larry English, the owner of the home under construction where Ahmaud's alleged killers claim he was trespassing, police told English to call Greg instead of cops whenever Larry needed assistance.

The officer texted Greg's phone number to Larry, informing him McMichael was his neighbor and instructing him to call Greg when his motion-activated camera catches someone at the construction site.

The text from Dec. 20 reads ... "Greg is retired Law Enforcement and also a Retired Investigator from the DA's office. He said please call him day or night when you get action on your camera."

Larry's attorney, Elizabeth Graddy, confirmed the text exchange is real ... and says she received it a couple days ago in a batch of emails.

As you know ... Gregory and his son, Travis McMichael, are charged with felony murder and aggravated assault in Ahmaud's February shooting death.

Gregory retired in 2019 after working as an investigator with Brunswick D.A. ... and he previously worked as a police officer in Glynn County.

2/11/20
WALKING THROUGH CONSTRUCTION

Remember ... Ahmaud's alleged murderers also came face to face with a young black man at the construction site less than 2 weeks before the fatal shooting, and another neighbor claims they confronted Arbery.

The text raises incredibly serious questions ... among them, why were police telling a homeowner to call a vigilante?

IN COLD BLOOD

In another strange twist, a local news station is reporting Greg leaked the shooting footage to a radio station.

Kobe Bryant Helicopter Crash Autopsy Shows Pilot Not High on Drugs or Alcohol

The L.A. County Coroner has just released the autopsy reports on the victims of the crash that took the lives of Kobe and Gigi Bryant, along with 6 other passengers and the pilot.

The documents reveal the obvious for the most part, so we're not going to go into detail. Suffice it to say, the helicopter slammed into a hillside at 184 MPH.

One thing that does stand out ... the autopsy report of the pilot, Ara Zobayan. Toxicology tests were performed and, according to the report, "Toxicological testing did not detect the presence of alcohol or drugs of abuse. Substances tested for include: benzodiazepines, cocaine, fentanyl, heroin, marijuana, opioids, phencyclidine, and amphetamines."

Vanessa Bryant and surviving family members of other passengers have sued the pilot and Island Express, which chartered the helicopter. Various pilots have said Zobayan should not have been flying at such a high rate of speed in blinding fog. The toxicology tests show the pilot had all of his faculties, although it remains unclear why he chose to fly that fast.

Carlos Santana Youngest Brother Jorge Dead at 68

Jorge Santana ... the youngest brother of famed guitarist Carlos Santana, and an accomplished musician on his own, has died ... TMZ has learned.

His rep John Regna tells TMZ ... Jorge died of natural causes. Jorge is the youngest of 3 brothers and the second one, after Carlos, to pick up a guitar. Jorge was 14 when he started playing in San Francisco. He'd ultimately join a band in the '60s with some high school friends dubbed The Malibus.

The band's name later was changed in 1970 to Malo ... with help from the band's frontman's mother who'd scream at them "Todos ustedes son malo!" meaning they're awful.

Malo signed with Warner Bros and its self-titled album included the top 20 hit "Suavecito" ... known as the Chicano national anthem played at carne asada kickbacks all over the country. The track was such a huge hit ... Malo would end up performing on "American Bandstand," in 1972.

Malo would produce 3 more albums before breaking up. Jorge had also been playing in a band called The Fania All-Stars, which ended up playing at the classic Yankee Stadium in 1973 in front of more than 63,000 in attendance.

Five years later, Jorge released 2 solo albums titled "Jorge Santana" and in 1979 he dropped "It's all About Love."

He also worked with his famous brother with his management company as a director of artist relations. Jorge toured with Santana but in the '90s and they got together for the 1994 album "Santana Brothers" that included their cousin, Carlos Hernandez.

Not too long ago, Jorge appeared live occasionally with Malo and performed in front of a crowd that immediately reminisced to their high school days in the '70s thanks to "Suavecito."

Jorge was 68. RIP

Ahmaud Arbery Legal Team Gets New Lead on Mystery Note ... Wants GBI to Investigate

Exclusive

Lawyers for Ahmaud Arbery's family aren't closing the book on that mysterious note left at the shooting scene -- they've gone to cops with new information that could tie its author to the case.

Attorney Lee Merritt, tells TMZ ... he and his team of investigators received what they believe is a credible tip claiming the note's author is someone who shares ties to Travis and Gregory McMichael and/or William "Roddie" Bryan.

You'll recall, the note says, "Ahmaud, I am so sorry. I should have stopped them. I am so sorry."

Merritt tells us the tip was anonymous, but it allegedly came from someone in Brunswick, GA -- and the person referenced the note's handwriting, saying it caught their attention.

There was no signature on the cryptic note -- or any other context -- but it certainly seemed to insinuate there's another witness out there.

Merritt says his team has shared the tip with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the D.A.'s Office.

The GBI said on Thursday it had already identified the author and determined he or she was not connected to the murder investigation -- but Merritt's tip could change that.

IN COLD BLOOD

As you know ... the McMichaels are still in jail after their arrests for murdering Ahmaud. The horrifying confrontation was captured on video by Bryan ... who denies any involvement with the McMichaels or tracking down Ahmaud.

Merritt says GBI has not told his team the identity of the person it already spoke to about the note. Stay tuned ...

UFC's Walt Harris Aniah's Watching Over Me ... In 1st Fight Back Since Tragedy

Exclusive
IT'LL BE AN EMOTIONAL NIGHT
TMZSports.com

"I love her so much, and I’m going to make her proud."

That's UFC star Walt Harris telling TMZ Sports how he'll honor his stepdaughter, Aniah Blanchard, Saturday when he returns the Octagon ... and it's definitely going to be emotional.

"There will probably be some tears shed, I’ll go ahead and let ya’ll know right now," Harris says.

As we previously reported, Walt's 19-year-old stepdaughter went missing back in October -- and after a high-profile search, her remains were found weeks later.

A suspect was arrested and he is now facing murder charges.

Walt -- the #9 ranked heavyweight -- is now set to fight Alistair Overeem on Saturday night ... and tells us getting back work is part of the grieving process.

"It's proof that you can go through the worst thing you can possibly think of in your life, and bounce back," Harris said.

"I’m so grateful to the UFC, and to the fans, and everybody who’s supported me through all of this. And, that’s kinda been my motivation, that's why I want to go in there and put a show on for them Saturday night and say thank you."

Harris said Aniah was his biggest fan who loved to watch him fight -- and he knows she'll be there in spirit on Saturday.

"I’m at peace, man. I love her so much, and I’m going to make her proud Saturday night."

Ahmaud Arbery Person Who Left Mysterious Note at Death Site ID'd

Exclusive Details

10:41 AM PT -- 5/14 GBI officials say it's ID'd the person who left this note and adds, "the individual is not connected to the Ahmaud Arbery murder investigation in any way." The investigation remains active and ongoing.

11:02 AM PT -- Arbery's family attorney, Lee Merritt, tells TMZ ... a picture of the note will be sent immediately to GBI agents along with investigators working for District Attorney Joyette Holmes.

Merritt calls the note a "critical piece of evidence" and says it's now part of Ahmaud's legal team's case file. He says investigators for the family are working on gathering more information about the note.

A strange note was left at the exact spot where Ahmaud Arbery was shot to death -- and it seems to imply there's a witness to his slaying who hasn't come forward yet.

This card was placed at the makeshift memorial for Ahmaud on the same street he was killed in February. Local news station, News4JAX, captured the photo of the card, and what it says is incredibly haunting.

The note reads, "Ahmaud, I am so sorry. I should have stopped them. I am so sorry." No name is signed at the bottom, and no other information or context is provided. It's also unclear when the card was left there.

IN COLD BLOOD

While the meaning is somewhat ambiguous, the most obvious possible takeaway from this is that there might've been a person witnessing the killing first-hand -- perhaps from a neighboring home nearby -- but only watched from afar instead of stepping in to help.

It could mean any number of things, though ... but it certainly appears somebody is feeling regret after the fact about something that could've been done to potentially save Ahmaud's life.

I WANT THE ULTIMATE PUNISHMENT
TMZ.com

Now, the McMichaels are facing murder and aggravated assault charges -- and a new prosecutor has been assigned to the case. As we reported ... Ahmaud's mother says she wants an eye for an eye here, demanding the death penalty for her son's killers.

Originally published -- 5/13 8:17 AM PT

Melissa Etheridge Son Beckett Cypher Dead at 21 ... From Opioid Addiction

Breaking News

6:08 PM PT -- Melissa says Beckett died due to an opioid addiction.

She says he struggled to overcome his addiction for years and finally succumbed.

Melissa Etheridge is grieving after announcing her son, Beckett Cypher, has died.

The Oscar and Grammy-winning rock star announced Wednesday her son with filmmaker Julie Cypher died. Melissa's team tweeted, "We’re sad to inform you that Melissa’s son Beckett passed away and there will not be a Concerts From Home show today. -- #TeamME."

Melissa had been performing Facebook Live concerts and offering virtual guitar lessons for just $10 during this pandemic quarantine. It's unclear at this time what led to Beckett's death.

Julie and Melissa had to 2 children via artificial insemination during their partnership. Their daughter, Bailey Jean, was born in February 1997, and Beckett in November 1998. For a while, the couple was reluctant to discuss who fathered the kids but they eventually revealed rock singer David Crosby is the biological father of both children.

Cypher -- who was previously married to Lou Diamond Phillips -- and Etheridge ultimately split in September 2000.

Beckett was 21.

RIP

Originally Published -- 3:13 PM PT

Ahmaud Arbery Murder Suspects Allegedly Saw Him Trespass Property ... 12 Days Before Shooting

2/11/20
WALKING THROUGH CONSTRUCTION

Ahmaud Arbery's alleged murderers came face-to-face with a young black man in their neighborhood less than 2 weeks prior to the shooting -- and now another neighbor claims it was Ahmaud they confronted.

Travis McMichael called police on February 11 at around 7:30 PM to report an unknown "lighter-skinned black male," wearing a red shirt and white pants, was trespassing on a construction site in Brunswick, GA ... this according to a police report obtained by TMZ.

IN COLD BLOOD

In the report, cops say McMichael told them he saw the black male cut across one property and enter the construction site. McMichael told cops he returned to the property and "observed the unknown male run back through the open house under construction toward the area of the back yard."

Cops responded and searched the property, but no one was there. They say the property owner, Larry English, told them "it appears the unknown male is only trespassing and plundering around as he has yet to see where anything has been taken." Cops say security footage of the incident circulated Facebook and a neighborhood watch app but nobody could identify the unknown black male.

Another neighbor, Diego Perez, says he was also present for the Feb. 11 incident, along with Travis and his father, Gregory, at the February 11 incident. It should be noted ... the police report never mentions Gregory or Diego.

Diego told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution he was there because Larry English -- who was out of town -- sent him the security cam footage, and asked him to go check it out.

But, Perez says he was also on the scene Feb. 23 right after Ahmaud was shot. He claims Ahmaud is the same person the McMichaels confronted 12 days earlier.

As we've reported ... Travis and Gregory were arrested for murder and aggravated assault shortly after the chilling video of Ahmaud's shooting leaked last week.

It's interesting that the younger McMichael described the Feb. 11 trespasser as "lighter-skinned' ... because Ahmaud had a darker complexion.

His mother is demanding the death penalty for the McMichaels. The Georgia Attorney General's also asking the Justice Department to get involved.

'Ink Master' Star Daniel Silva Photos of Fatal Car Crash Scene That Killed YouTuber Corey La Barrie

"Ink Master" star Daniel Silva was stretchered from the scene of the car wreck that killed YouTube star Corey La Barrie -- the accident for which Silva's now facing a murder charge.

Photos of the fatal car accident show an emergency worker rolling Silva -- whose eyes are closed -- away from his black McLaren sports car. The car's hood was up and the windshield was heavily damaged ... especially on the passenger's side.

We broke the story ... the crash happened in L.A. Sunday night when the McLaren somehow managed to hit a street sign and a tree. Silva and La Barrie had attended a party together beforehand to celebrate Corey's birthday, and we're told Silva was seen drinking before getting behind the wheel of the car.

Law enforcement sources say Silva allegedly tried to flee after the accident but was stopped by witnesses. La Barrie, the passenger, suffered significant injuries in the crash and died from them at the hospital.

His cause of death is listed as multiple blunt force injuries sustained in the accident.

Silva did not suffer life-threatening injuries, but we're told he's being treated for a broken hip. As we told you, he was arrested and booked for murder while at the hospital. Along with allegedly drinking before crashing the McLaren, it's believed Silva was traveling at a high rate of speed.

Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.

As for Corey ... his YouTube partner, Crawford Collins, broke his silence Tuesday about the tragedy. They created their channel, Corey & Crawford, in July 2019. They amassed 108,000 subscribers with more than 3.5 million views in their short time making vids together.

SOLO B-DAY BASH
itscoreylabarrie

La Barrie had just turned 25 before he was killed in the accident.

Ahmaud Arbery's Mother Wants Death Penalty for Son's Killers

Exclusive
I WANT THE ULTIMATE PUNISHMENT
TMZ.com

Ahmaud Arbery's mother says, since her son was killed, the people who took his life also deserve to lose theirs ... at the hands of the State of Georgia.

Wanda Cooper-Jones tells TMZ ... she would like prosecutors to seek death penalty sentences for Travis and Gregory McMichael ... the two men charged with Ahmaud's murder.

We spoke to Wanda Tuesday afternoon for TMZ Live ... and asked her if capital punishment was appropriate in this case. As Wanda put it, "Coming from my point of view, my son died, so they should die as well."

There may be several circumstances in this case that would allow the prosecutor to seek the death penalty, including this provision of Georgia law ... the death penalty can be sought if "the capital offense was outrageously or wantonly vile, horrible, or inhuman in that it involved torture, depravity of mind or an aggravated battery to the victim."

IN COLD BLOOD

Wanda told us she's already spoken to the newly appointed prosecutor, Joyette Holmes. During our interview, Wanda's attorney, Lee Merritt, didn't want her to disclose too much about her conversation with Holmes.

But, watch ... Wanda did make it clear she's confident she and Holmes are on the same page when it comes to getting justice for Ahmaud.

Mamba Sports Academy Removed 'Mamba' from Name ... At Kobe Estate's Request

Breaking News

2:14 PM PT -- Okay, some clarity on the move from The Sports Academy ...

Now, the TSA says the decision to remove "Mamba" from the name was a "mutual agreement made in accordance with the wishes of [Kobe's] estate."

TSA doesn't explain why Kobe's estate wanted "Mamba" out of the name -- but it makes a lot more sense.

In other words, if Vanessa asks you to remove the name, you remove the name.

The Mamba Sports Academy says it will honor Kobe Bryant's memory by removing the word "Mamba" from its name forever.

And, if you're confused ... you're not alone.

Kobe partnered up with The Sports Academy (a youth sports training business) in 2018 -- which led to the name change "Mamba Sports Academy."

Kobe was very involved with the Academy -- and was traveling to a MSA facility in Thousand Oaks, CA with his daughter, Gianna, and several other people when their helicopter crashed on January 26.

Now, Sports Academy founder and CEO Chad Faulkner says the company will make significant changes as a tribute to the NBA legend.

"Today, with respect for an unparalleled legacy, the Academy will retire the 'Mamba' in the Mamba Sports Academy name -- to raise it to the rafters, where it belongs," Faulkner said in a statement.

Faulkner expanded on his decision to ESPN's The Undefeated ... saying, "Our beliefs and thoughts are Kobe is one of one. 'Mamba' is one of one."

"And with that as we carry on as The Sports Academy, it's more appropriate to put Kobe in another Hall of Fame, if you will, and to really respect a legacy that is really unrivaled, frankly, and let that live on its own. We will continue to do the work we do."

"We were fortunate to learn from Kobe. We will carry on much of those learnings that we have in a respectful way."

Of course, there is another school of thought that Kobe would want the Academy to use his name because it would help to attract more young athletes ... but clearly Faulkner doesn't feel that way.

The Sports Academy has already changed its website to reflect its new name -- and says it will make changes to signage at its buildings in Thousand Oaks and Redondo Beach.

Originally published -- 9:50 AM PT

Ahmaud Arbery Killing Mom Wants Life Sentences for Everyone Involved ... Including Man Who Shot Video

Exclusive

Ahmaud Arbery's family and legal team know who they want punished for the killing of Ahmaud ... they want everyone involved with the case, from the accused murderers to law enforcement held accountable ... and they have specific punishments in mind.

Ahmaud's mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, tells TMZ ... "We want all parties involved to go to prison for life." She says this includes the 2 current murder suspects -- Gregory and Travis McMichael -- along with the man who recorded Arbery's slaying, William "Roddie" Bryan.

5/11/2020
TERRIFYING REPERCUSSIONS
FOX30

Wanda tells us she and Ahmaud's legal team believe Bryan was involved in the fatal incident, but as we reported ... he claims he had nothing to do with it. However, he has not explained why he was recording.

For his part, Ahmaud's family's attorney, Lee Merritt, wants everyone involved in Arbery's death convicted and "appropriately sentenced."

Merritt believes Bryan should be prosecuted along with the McMichaels ... "because he actively participated in the ambush according to previous statements by the McMichaels” and “because our forensic expert says that he was likely holding and brandishing a firearm."

Merritt adds that for justice to be done, members of the Glynn County Police Department who initially failed to investigate Arbery's killing and make any arrests need to be held accountable.

IN COLD BLOOD

He's also going after Jackie Johnson and George Barnhill, district attorneys involved in the case, for allegedly mishandling it at best ... or committing prosecutorial misconduct at worst.

Merritt tells us he believes Barnhill specifically should be disbarred by the Georgia State Bar, as well as removed from his position as District Attorney ... because of his role in both withholding information and actively attempting to taint the jury pool.

A new lead prosecutor has been appointed to the case by the Georgia Attorney General -- Joyette Holmes, the district attorney of the Cobb County Judicial Circuit.

Ahmaud's mom tells us Holmes called her to introduce herself and let her know she is taking over. Clearly, the expectations for her from Arbery's family are high.

Oprah Winfrey Pays Respects To Ahmaud Arbery's Mom ... Surprise Phone Call, Gift

Exclusive

Oprah quietly performed a super-kind gesture ... calling Ahmaud Arbery's mother to pay her respects on what would have been his 26th birthday.

Ahmaud's mom, Wanda Cooper-Jones, tells TMZ ... Oprah personally reached out Friday, offering condolences over her son's murder and wishing Ahmaud a happy birthday.

Wanda says she was in disbelief when she answered the phone to find Oprah on the other end. She's still not sure how O got her number -- O's got her ways -- but Oprah said she was thinking of Ahmaud's family on what should have been his special day.

Oprah also told Wanda she hopes the family gets justice, but stopped short of saying what she thinks justice would be. Wanda also says O was happy Ahmaud's murder suspects, Gregory McMichael and Travis McMichael, were finally arrested.

Oprah's not stopping with a cordial call ... Ahmaud's mom says she's sending something in the mail, but the contents remain a mystery.

WALKING FOR AHMAUD

O and her family also walked 2.26 miles Friday to honor Ahmaud on the day he would have turned 26.

As we reported ... lots of celebs showed their support for Ahmaud by walking 2.23 miles, which represents the date Arbery was shot and killed while jogging in Georgia on Feb. 23.

Ahmaud's mom tells us other celebs have reached out in an outpouring of support in the wake of her son's murder, which she calls "a senseless act."

Wanda says Gayle King called and offered kind words Thursday, and Rev. Jesse Jackson called and told her he wants to visit her and Ahmaud's family when it's safe to travel again.

Old news is old news!
Be First!

Get TMZ breaking news sent right to your browser!