A chronology of those who died in 2012
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By The Associated Press
- Bob Anderson, 89, a former British Olympic fencer, movie sword master, fight director and stunt man whose pupils ranged from Errol Flynn to Sean Connery and who staged and acted in fights in "Star Wars" and "Lord of the Flies," in West Sussex, England. No cause of death was given.
- Yaffa Yarkoni, 86, a singer who belted out wartime songs only to become a critic of the Israeli military late in life, in Tel Aviv of Alzheimer's disease.
- Kiro Gligorov, 94, the first democratically elected president of Macedonia who served two terms at the helm of the country in the 1990s as it became independent from Yugoslavia, in Skopje in his sleep.
- Carlos Soria, 62, a career Argentine politician who for 21 days realized his dream of governing the western province of Rio Negro, near General Roca, Argentina of gun shoot wounds to the head.
- Gordon Hirabayashi, 93, a sociologist who refused to be sent to internment camps that kept more than 100,000 Japanese-Americans captive during World War II and was vindicated four decades later when a U.S. court overturned his conviction and concluded that the U.S. government's interment polices had been based on political expedience, not any threat to national security. In Edmonton, Alberta. No cause of death was given.
- Josef Skvorecky, 87, a Czech exile and author who published works by Vaclav Havel and Milan Kundera that had been banned by communist authorities in their native country, in Toronto. No cause of death was given.
- Lowell Randall, 96, a pioneer rocket scientist who helped launch the U.S. space program and tested intercontinental ballistic missiles, in Las Cruces, New Mexico, of natural causes.
- Eve Arnold, 99, a world-traveling American-born photojournalist whose subjects ranged from the poor and dispossessed to Marilyn Monroe, in London. No cause of death was given.
- Alexis Weissenberg, 82, a Bulgarian-born pianist whose love of music from the age of 3 saved him and his mother in a German-guaarded camp and carried him to the heights of 20th century performances with Herbert von Karajan and Leonard Bernstein, in Lugano, Switzerland, after a long illness.
- Malam Bacai Sanha, 64, the president of the small West African nation of Guinea-Bissau who took power about two years ago after the previous president was assassinated, in Paris. No cause of death was given but he was frequently hospitalized abroad.
- Jerome Rubin, 86, who helped bring to market the commercial online database known as LexisNexis and the display technology behind millions of Amazon Kindles and other e-readers, in New York after a stroke.
- Ruth Fernandez, 92, a pioneer Puerto Rican singer who broke racial and gender barriers and was later elected a senator for the U.S. territory, in Puerto Rico of septic shock and pneumonia.
- Gevork Vartanian, 87, a former Soviet intelligence agent who helped derail a Nazi plot to assassinate allied leaders at a 1943 conference in Tehran, in Russia of an unspecified illness.
— Charles Price II, 80, a former U.S. ambassador to Britain who coordinated friendly relations between President Ronald Reagan and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, in Indian Wells, California. No cause of death was disclosed.
— Rauf Denktash, 87, the former Turkish Cypriot leader whose determined pursuit of a separate state for his people and strong opposition to the divided island's reunification defined a political career spanning six decades, north of Nicosia of multiple organ failure after being in poor health for seven months.
— Manuel Fraga Iribarne, 89, a blunt-talking politician who founded Spain's ruling conservative party and ignited divisive reactions as the last surviving minister from Gen. Francisco Franco's right-wing regime, in Madrid of heart failure.
— Jimmy Castor, 71, a New York funk and soul saxophonist, singer and songwriter whose tune, "It's Just Begun," morphed over 40 years into an anthem for generations of hip-hoppers and mainstream musical acts, in Los Vegas, Nevada of apparent heart failure.
— Ruthilde Boesch, 94, whose more than three-decade singing career took her to the world's top opera stages, in Vienna. No cause of death was given.
— Etta James, 73, a singer whose performance of the enduring classic "At Last" was the embodiment of refined soul but who had tempestuous relationships with her family, her men and the music industry, in Los Angeles, of complications from leukemia.
— Eiko Ishioka, 73, a bold, Academy Award-winning visual artist whose surreal and sensual costumes were worn by Broadway actors, Olympic athletes, Cirque du Soleil performers and movie stars like Jennifer Lopez, in Tokyo of pancreatic cancer.
— Roy J. Britten, 92, a pioneering molecular biologist who discovered the crucial fact that humans and animals have multiple copies of some DNA segments, in Costa Mesa, California of pancreatic cancer.
Charla Krupp, 58, a popular American author and commentator on fashion and beauty whose best-sellers included "How Not to Look Old" and "How to Never Look Fat Again" in New York of breast cancer.
Theo Angelopoulos, 76, an award-wining Greek film director known for his slow and dream-like style during a career that spanned more than 40 years, near Athens port of Piraeus after being hit by a motor cycle.
— Paavo Berglund, 82, one of Finland's most prominent conductors internationally known for numerous recordings of works by Jean Sibelius, in Helsinki after a long illness.
— Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans, 91, heiress to a vast Gilded Age fortune built on tobacco and member of the family that endowed Duke University, in Durham, North Carolina. No cause of death was given.
— Dick Kniss, 74, a bassist who performed for five decades with the American folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary and co-wrote the John Denver hit "Sunshine on My Shoulders," near Saugerties, New York of pulmonary disease.
— Miguel Nazar Haro, 87, who led Mexico's domestic spy agency and was accused of being behind the disappearances of alleged leftist guerrillas in the 1970s, in Mexico City. No cause of death was given.
— Dimitra Arliss, 79, who played a hired killer alongside Robert Redford and Paul Newman in the caper comedy "The Sting," and appeared on Broadway, in Los Angeles of complications from a stroke.
— Kevin H. White, 82, the former Boston mayor who led the city for 16 years including racially turbulent times in the 1970s and was credited with putting it on a path to prosperity, in Boston. He had Alzheimer's disease.
— Ian Abercrombie, 77, a veteran British stage and screen actor who appeared in American television sit coms and was the voice of Chancellor Palpatine in "Star Wars: The Clone Wars," in Los Angeles of complications from kidney failure. He had recently been diagnosed with lymphoma.
- Jonathan "Jack" Idema, 55, a former Green Beret convicted of running a private jail in Afghanistan where he tortured terrorism suspects, in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo of AIDS.
- Oscar Luigi Scalfaro, 93, a past president of Italy who held the post during the sweeping corruption scandal of the early 1990s that reshaped the country's post-war political landscape, in Rome. No cause of death was given.
— Anthony Bevilacqua, 88, the retired cardinal who headed the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia and was an uncharged central figure in a child sex-abuse case that involves the alleged shuffling of predator priests to unwitting parishes, in Philadelphia, apparently of natural causes.
— King Stitt, 72, a pioneer in rap reggae, in Kingston, Jamaica. He had prostate cancer and diabetes.