Those We Lost In '07

Those We Lost In '07

Published February 11, 2008


  • Darrent Williams (Sept. 27, 1982 – Jan. 1, 2007) was an NFL player for the Denver Broncos. He also owned and served as CEO of the RYNO Entertainment record label in Fort Worth, Texas. Williams was killed in a drive–by shooting.
  • Alice Coltrane (Aug. 27, 1937 – Jan.12, 2007) was a jazz pianist and wife of the late music legend John Coltrane. An accomplished, organist, harpist, and composer, she was also trained in classical piano. She died of respiratory failure.
  • Jimmy Cheatham (June 18, 1924 – Jan. 12, 2007) was a trombonist and bandleader of the Sweet Baby Blues Band, known for its "Kansas City–style" jazz and blues sound. Cheatham performed with music greats, including Count Basie and Lionel Hampton.
  • Thornton James “Pookie” Hudson (June 11, 1934 – Jan. 17, 2007) was a singer for the pioneering R&B vocal group, The Spaniels.  Some historians consider Hudson to be the first true leader of a vocal group, since the act was the first to use stage positions of the primary singer at his own microphone, while the rest of the group shared a second mic.


  • Billy Henderson (Aug. 9, 1939 – Feb. 2, 2007) was an original member of The Spinners, a soul vocal group.
  • Joseph Edward “Joe” Hunter (Nov. 19, 1927 – Feb. 2, 2007) was known for his recording session work as a pianist in Motown Records' in–house studio band, the Funk Brothers.
  • Barbara McNair (March  4, 1934 – Feb. 4, 2007) was a singer and actress who appeared in film with Sidney Poitier and also performed on Broadway.
  • Willye White (Jan. 1, 1939 – Feb. 6, 2007) was a U.S. track and field competitor in five Olympics. She won a silver medal in the long jump while still a sophomore in high school in 1956. Sports Illustrated for Women later named White one of the 100 greatest women athletes of the 20th century.
  • Dennis “D.J.” Johnson (Sept. 18, 1954 – Feb. 22, 2007) was best known for his career with the NBA’s Boston Celtics, where he won three NBA championships and an NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award in 1979. He later coached the Los Angeles Clippers and served in other non–playing capacities. Johnson died of a heart attack.
  • Lamar J. Lundy, Jr. (April 17, 1935 – Feb. 24, 2007) played defensive end for the former Los Angeles Rams of the NFL. He was part of the “Fearsome Foursome” of defensive players on the team, considered to be one of the best squads in football history.
  • Damien Darnell Nash (April 14, 1982 – Feb. 24, 2007) played running back for the NFL's Denver Broncos. He died of a heart–related ailment after collapsing during a charity event.


  • Ernest "Ernie" Ladd (Nov. 28, 1938 – March 10, 2007), nicknamed "The Big Cat," was a college and professional football player and a professional wrestler.
  • Luther Ingram (Nov. 30, 1937 – March 19, 2007) was best known for his R&B hit “(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don't Want to Be Right.” The singer and songwriter also co–wrote the Staples Singers 1970s hit, “Respect Yourself.”
  • Ernest Henry “Ernie” Wright (Nov. 6, 1939 – March 20, 2007) was a pro athlete who played 13 seasons in the American Football League and the National Football League.
  • Walter Turnbull (July 19, 1944 – March 23, 2007) founded the Boys Choir of Harlem. He had previously performed as a tenor with the New York Philharmonic.
  • Calvin Lockhart (Oct. 18, 1934 – March 29, 2007) was an actor, who appeared in 1970s films, including Let’s Do It Again, where he played the character whose nickname rapper Notorious B.I.G.often borrowed, “Biggie Smalls.”  Lockhart also appeared on “Good Times” and later in Coming To America.


  • Darryl Floyd Stingley (Sept. 18, 1951 – April 5, 2007) was an NFL player for the New England Patriots. He served on the team from 1973 to 1977.
  • Dakota Staton (June 3, 1930 – April 10, 2007), also once known as Aliyah Rabia, was a jazz vocalist who found international acclaim with the 1957 hit, "The Late, Late Show."
  • Roscoe Lee Browne (May 2, 1925 – April 11, 2007) was an Emmy Award–winning actor and director, known for his rich voice and dignified bearing. He made numerous appearances in such sitcoms as “Good Times,” “Sanford and Son” and “The Cosby Show.”
  • Herman Riley (Aug. 31, 1933 – April 14, 2007) was a jazz saxophonist who played with, Count Basie, Etta James and other music greats.
  • Andrew Hill (June 30, 1931 – April 20, 2007) was a jazz pianist and composer who performed with jazz legends Charlie Parker and Miles Davis.
  • James B. Davis (June 6, 1916 – April 17, 2007) was an American gospel music singer and a founder of The Dixie Hummingbirds, one of the longest–lasting and most influential groups in gospel music.
  • Juanita Millender–McDonald (Sept. 7, 1938 – April 22, 2007) served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1996 until her death, representing California’s 37th congressional district. She was the first Black woman to chair the House Committee on House Administration and was once considered a front–runner for the job of Secretary of Transportation.
  • Edward F. Boyd (June 27, 1914 – April 30, 2007) was a visionary sales and advertising executive for the Pepsi soda corporation. He worked in marketing at a time when few Blacks served in managerial positions at American companies. Boyd was the subject of Wall Street Journal editor Stephanie Capparell’s book Pepsi Challenge: The Inspirational Story of Breaking the Color Barrier in American Business. He died of complications from a stroke.
  • Kevin Danyelle Mitchell (Jan. 1, 1971 – April 30, 2007) was an NFL player for the San Francisco 49ers, New Orleans Saints, and Washington Redskins. He was most valuable player of the 1993 Fiesta Bowl, while a college player.
  • Zola Taylor (March 17, 1938 – April 30, 2007) was a singer and the only female member of The Platters, when the group produced most of its popular singles during the 1950s and 1960s. She was the second wife of singer Frankie Lymon, and was portrayed by actress Halle Berry in the film Why Do Fools Fall in Love. 


  • J. Robert Bradley (Oct. 5, 1919 – May 3, 2007) was a gospel singer favored by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He was knighted in Liberia in 1975.
  • Alvin Batiste (Nov. 7, 1932 – May 6, 2007) was an avant garde jazz clarinetist. He also taught at his own jazz institute at Southern University.
  • Carey Bell (Nov. 14, 1936 – May 6, 2007) was a musician who played the harmonica in the musical style of Chicago blues. He died of heart failure.
  • Yolanda Denise King (Nov. 17, 1955 – May 15, 2007) was an actress and civil rights activist. She  was the eldest child of Dr. Martin Luther King and Coretta Scott King. 
  • Carl Wright (1931 – May 19, 2007) was an actor and comedian, whose film credits included Barbershop. He was also an accomplished tap dancer.
  • Fannie Lee Chaney (circa 1922 – May 22, 2007) was a civil rights activist and the mother of James Chaney, one of three civil rights activists who were abducted and murdered in the 1960s. Chaney fought for equality in the wake of her son's murder.
  • Howard Porter (Aug. 31, 1948 – May 27, 2007) was a former NBA player with the Chicago Bulls, Detroit Pistons, New Jersey Nets and New York Knicks. He died of murder while working as a probation officer.
  • Marquise Hill (Aug. 7, 1982 – May 28, 2007) played defensive end for the New England Patriots. He died of an apparent drowning, after helping to save the life of a friend.


  • Tony Thompson (Sept. 2, 1975 – June 1, 2007) was an R&B singer who was lead vocalist of the group Hi–Five.


  • James "Jimmy" Walker (April 8, 1944 – July 2, 2007) was an NBA player with the Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets and former Kansas City Kings. He was the father of NBA player Jalen Rose. 
  • Bill Pinkney (Aug. 15, 1925 – July 4, 2007) was known for his melifluous bass vocals while performing as a singer with The Drifters. The South Carolina native was chiefly responsible for the group’s sound throughout the decades, though he was not an original member, despite many citations to the contrary. It was Pinkney’s voice that McCauley Culkin famously lip–synched in a scene from the movie Home Alone.
  • Sekou Sundiata (Aug. 22, 1948 – July 18, 2007) was a Grammy Award–nominated poet and college instructor. He died of heart failure after surviving several life–threatening conditions over many years.
  • Oliver Morgan (May 6, 1933 – July 31, 2007) was a rhythm and blues singer. He performed and recorded in his native New Orleans until he and his wife evacuated the city in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.


  • Chauncey Wendell Bailey Jr. (Oct. 20, 1949 – Aug. 2, 2007) was editor in chief of the five San Francisco Bay Area Post newspapers. He was known for his work as a reporter and advocate of the Black community, serving on the staffs of both the Detroit News and Oakland Tribune. Bailey’s 37–year career in journalism came to an abrupt end when he was shot to death, in connection with his investigation of the Your Muslim Bakery in Oakland, Calif.
  • Oliver White Hill, Sr. (May 1, 1907 – Aug. 5, 2007) was a civil rights attorney who led the landmark Brown vs. Board of Education desegregation case.  Hill received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1999.
  • Clarence "Tex" Walker (Jan. 24, 1946 – Aug. 8, 2007) was a prominent rhythm and blues musician who was lead singer of Bill Pinkney's Original Drifters and, also, of The Coasters.
  • Asa G. Hilliard III (Aug. 22, 1933 – Aug. 13, 2007) was a professor of educational psychology who worked on indigenous ancient African history. He was the Fuller E. Callaway Professor of Urban Education at Georgia State University, with joint appointments in the Department of Educational Policy Studies and the Department of Educational Psychology and Special Education. Hilliard was one of the world’s most renowned Black scholars, having also taught in the Denver Public Schools and the University of Denver’s College of Education and in the philosophy colloquium of the Centennial Scholars Honors Program.
  • Eddie Jamaal Griffin (May 30, 1982 – Aug. 17, 2007) was an NBA player with the Houston Rockets and Minnesota Timberwolves. He was killed in a train-automobile accident.
  • Maxwell Lemuel "Max" Roach (Jan. 10, 1924 – Aug. 16, 2007), a jazz drummer and prolific composer, he was one of the most influential drummers in modern jazz. He worked alongside many of the greatest jazz musicians, including Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker and Miles Davis.
  • Jon Lucien (Jan. 8, 1942 – Aug. 18, 2007) was a Grammy–nominated jazz singer, whose voice was often compared with those of Nat King Cole and Lou Rawls. Lucien was best known for his 1973 song "Rashida."


  • Russell Ellington (1938 – Sept. 1, 2007) coached the Harlem Globetrotters for nine years and accumulated almost 900 wins as a college basketball coach. He is an inductee of the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.
  • Willie Tee (Feb. 6, 1944 – Sept. 11, 2007) was a keyboardist, songwriter, singer, producer and notable early architect of New Orleans funk and soul.
  • Percy Rodrigues (June 13, 1918 – Sept. 6, 2007) was a character actor, whose film and television appearances included Shaft, "Sanford and Son," "Good Times" and "Star Trek." He died of kidney failure.
  • Bobby Byrd (Aug. 15, 1934 – Sept. 12, 2007) was a musician and songwriter, best known as singer James Brown's longtime sideman and occasional co–vocalist.


  • Kenneth “Big Moe” Moore (June 27, 1974 – Oct. 14, 2007) was a Houston rapper. He began his career on mix tapes and was later signed to Wreckshop Records.
  • Lucky Philip Dube (Aug. 3, 1964 – Oct. 18, 2007) was a South African reggae musician. He recorded 22 albums in Zulu, English and Afrikaans in a 25-year period, during which he was South Africa's biggest–selling reggae artist. Dube was murdered in the Johannesburg suburb of Rosettenville in a carjacking.
  • Yolanda "LaLa" Brown (May 20, 1986 – Oct. 19, 2007) was an R&B singer and protégé of Lyfe Jennings. She was best known for being featured on his single S.E.X.
  • Jim Mitchell (Oct. 19, 1947 – Oct. 20, 2007) played tight end for the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons and later coached football for Morehouse and Morris Brown, both historically Black colleges.
  • John Youie Woodruff (July 5, 1915 – Oct. 30, 2007) was the first Black athlete to win a gold medal at the 1936 Olympics. Woodruff finished first in the 800–meter run, and was a teammate of Jesse Owens.


  • Donda West (July 12, 1949 – Nov. 10, 2007) was the mother of rap superstar Kanye West and former chairwoman of the English Department at Chicago State University. She helped manage her son’s entertainment career and authored a book about her experience raising the talented producer and hitmaker. Donda West died of complications from cosmetic surgery.
  • Robert Taylor (Sept. 14, 1948 – Nov. 13, 2007) was a former U.S. Olympian and gold medal winner in the 1972 men’s 4x100 relay. He is the father of NFL player Bobby Taylor.
  • Cecil Payne (Dec. 14, 1922 – Nov. 27, 2007) was one of the first baritone saxophonists to master the intricacies of bebop and who for more than a half-century was a leading exponent of his instrument. He spent most of his professional life under the radar, overshadowed by such contemporaries as Gerry Mulligan, Pepper Adams and Harry Carney. Among Payne’s copious list of bandmates were such luminaries as Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie and Randy Weston.
  • Sean Michael Maurice Taylor (April 1, 1983 – Nov. 27, 2007) played safety for the Washington Redskins. Known for his hard–hitting defensive plays, Taylor was nicknamed “Meast” by teammates – a reference to his aggressive play being that of half man, half beast. He died as a result of a shooting during a burglary at his Miami home, and was posthumously named to the squad of the 2007 Pro Bowl.


  • Ted Corbitt (Jan. 31, 1919 – Dec. 12, 2007) was a key figure in the history of marathon running. Born on the same date as baseball pioneer Jackie Robinson, Corbitt was a 1952 Olympic competitor. He was an ultramarathon pioneer, helping to revive interest in the sport in the United States in the 1960s and 70s. New York Times columnist Robert Lipsyte called Corbitt “the last surviving spiritual elder of the modern running clan.” Corbitt died of respiratory failure.
  • Ike Wister Turner (Nov. 5, 1931 – Dec. 12, 2007) was a musician and record producer who enjoyed his greatest success as half of the duo Ike & Tina Turner. He is credited by many with recording the first rock–and–roll song “Rocket 88,” but his musical legacy is often overshadowed by his widely publicized domestic violence toward Tina Turner. The couple later divorced. Ike Turner continued producing, composing and performing music until the time of his death.
  • St. Claire Cecil Bourne (Feb. 16, 1943 – Dec. 15, 2007) was known for his documentary filmmaking. Among his credits in various capacities of filmmaking is his participation in the acclaimed Muhammad Ali film “When We Were Kings.” Bourne died of complications from surgery.
  • Julia May Carson (July 8, 1938 – Dec. 15, 2007) was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for Indiana's 7th Congressional District. She was a member of the House from 1997 until her death, the first woman and first Black person to represent the 7th District. She was the second Black woman elected to Congress from Indiana.
  • Frank Morgan (Dec. 23, 1933 – Dec. 19, 2007) was an alto saxophonist widely regarded as a successor to jazz legend Charlie “Bird” Parker. Morgan died of colon cancer.
  • Oscar Peterson (Aug. 15, 1925 – Dec. 23, 2007), who recorded with such jazz notables as Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong and Count Basie during his 60-year career, is regarded as one of the greatest pianists of all time. Few pianists would match his speed and virtuosity on the keyboards.
  • Thomas Morgan III (1956 – Dec. 24, 2007) was a respected reporter and editor lauded for his bold guidance of the National Association of Black Journalists as well as his “kind and sympathetic and thoughtful” leadership in the newsroom. A former reporter for The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Miami Herald, he was the first openly gay president of the association.
  • Chad “Pimp C” Butler (Dec. 29, 1973 – Dec. 4, 2007) was a rapper who formed one–half of group UGK.

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Written by BET-Staff


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