In Memoriam: Honoring Those We Lost in 2012

The lives and legacies of notables who passed away in 2012.

Paying Tribute - BET.com looks back at the lives and legacies of notable individuals who passed away in 2012. ? Britt Middleton

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Paying Tribute - BET.com looks back at the lives and legacies of notable individuals who passed away in 2012. – Britt Middleton

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Etta James  - Blues songstress Etta James, known for her smoky vocals on hits including "At Last," lost her fight with leukemia on Jan. 20. She was 73. (Photo: REUTERS/Fred Prouser/FSP/DL)

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Don Cornelius - Don Cornelius, the creator of Soul Train, the show that helped usher African-American artists into the mainstream, was found dead at his Los Angeles home on Feb. 1. The 75-year-old suffered from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. (Photo: AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

Patricia Stephens Due - Patricia Stephens Due, who staged many sit-ins and protests for civil rights in Florida in the 1960s, passed away from thyroid cancer on Feb. 7 at the age of 72. (Photo: CNN)

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Patricia Stephens Due - Patricia Stephens Due, who staged many sit-ins and protests for civil rights in Florida in the 1960s, passed away from thyroid cancer on Feb. 7 at the age of 72. (Photo: CNN)

Whitney Houston - Pop legend Whitney Houston passed away in her Beverly Hills hotel room on Feb. 11. A coroner's report revealed the 48-year-old died from a combination of drowning, heart disease and cocaine use. (Photo: Sony Music)

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Whitney Houston - Pop legend Whitney Houston passed away in her Beverly Hills hotel room on Feb. 11. A coroner's report revealed the 48-year-old died from a combination of drowning, heart disease and cocaine use. (Photo: Sony Music)

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Trayvon Martin - Trayvon Martin, 17, was fatally shot by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman as Martin walked home through a gated community in Sanford, Florida, on Feb. 26. Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder and claims he shot the teen in self-defense. (Photo: UPI/Newscom)

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Trayvon Martin - Trayvon Martin, 17, was fatally shot by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman as Martin walked home through a gated community in Sanford, Florida, on Feb. 26. Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder and claims he shot the teen in self-defense. (Photo: UPI/Newscom)

Rep. Donald Payne Loses Battle With Colon Cancer - Rep. Donald Payne, New Jersey's first African-American congressman, died at age 77 in March, less than a month after disclosing that he'd been diagnosed with colon cancer. The former Congressional Black Caucus chairman was the CBC's go-to man on any issue related to Africa.  (Photo: Courtesy of The US House of Representatives)

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Rep. Donald Payne - Rep. Donald Payne, New Jersey’s first African-American congressman and a former Congressional Black Caucus chairman, died from colon cancer on March 6.  He was 77. (Photo: Courtesy of The US House of Representatives)

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Dick Clark - American Bandstand creator and TV host Dick Clark died from a heart attack on April 18 at age 82. (Photo: AP Photo/ABC, Donna Svennevik, File)

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LeRoy Walker - LeRoy Walker, the former head of the U.S. Olympic committee and the first African-American to coach an Olympic team, died on April 24 at age was 93. No cause of death was given. (Photo: CHARLOTTE OBSERVER FILE PHOTO)

Chuck Brown - Chuck Brown, affectionately dubbed the "Godfather of Go-Go" music, died from undisclosed causes on May 16. He was 75. (Photo: Al Pereira/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

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Chuck Brown - Chuck Brown, affectionately dubbed the "Godfather of Go-Go" music, died from undisclosed causes on May 16. He was 75. (Photo: Al Pereira/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

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Donna Summer - Chart-topping disco singer Donna Summer lost her battle with lung cancer on May 17. She was 63. (Photo: Rob Verhorst/Redferns)

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Erica Kennedy - Erica Kennedy, music writer and author of the novels Bling and Feminista, was found dead at her Miami Beach home on June 13. A cause of death for the 42-year-old was not disclosed, but Kennedy had suffered from depression, according to reports. (Photo: Huffington Post)

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Yvette Wilson - Best known for her role as Andell Wilkerson on Moesha and The Parkers, actress Yvette Wilson passed away from cervical cancer on June 14. She was 48. (Photo: Global Grind)

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Rodney King  - Rodney King, whose 1991 beating by white Los Angeles police officers spurred riots in the city, was found dead in an apparent drowning accident at his home on Jun. 17. He was 47. (Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

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Sylvia Woods - Sylvia Woods, owner of the iconic soul food restaurant Sylvia's in Harlem passed away from Alzheimer's disease on July 19. She was 86. (Photo: STUART RAMSON/AP)

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Al Freeman Jr. - Civil rights activist, educator and actor Al Freeman Jr. , who memorably portrayed Elijah Muhammad in the movie Malcolm X and was the first African-American to win a daytime Emmy award, passed away from an undisclosed illness on Aug. 9. He was 78. (Photo: Courtesy of Howard University)

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Al Freeman Jr. - Civil rights activist, educator and actor Al Freeman Jr. , who memorably portrayed Elijah Muhammad in the movie Malcolm X and was the first African-American to win a daytime Emmy award, passed away from an undisclosed illness on Aug. 9. He was 78. (Photo: Courtesy of Howard University)

Helen Gurley Brown - Helen Gurley Brown, celebrated author and former editor of Cosmopolitan magazine, passed away at age 90 on Aug. 13. Her cause of death was not disclosed. (Photo: AP Photo/Marty Lederhandler, File)

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Helen Gurley Brown - Helen Gurley Brown, celebrated author and former editor of Cosmopolitan magazine, passed away at age 90 on Aug. 13. Her cause of death was not disclosed. (Photo: AP Photo/Marty Lederhandler, File)

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George Hickman - George Hickman, one of the original members of the Tuskegee Airmen, died at the age of 88 in Seattle on Aug. 20. (Photo: AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, file)

Chris Lighty  - Chris Lighty, the music executive who helmed the careers of A Tribe Called Quest, Mariah Carey and 50 Cent, among others, was found dead in his New York City apartment from an alleged self-inflected gunshot wound on Aug. 30. He was 44. (Photo: AP Photo/Jim Cooper, file)

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Chris Lighty  - Chris Lighty, the music executive who helmed the careers of A Tribe Called Quest, Mariah Carey and 50 Cent, among others, was found dead in his New York City apartment from an alleged self-inflected gunshot wound on Aug. 30. He was 44. (Photo: AP Photo/Jim Cooper, file)

Michael Clarke Duncan: December 10 - The statuesque actor celebrates his 54th birthday.(Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

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Michael Clarke Duncan  - Actor Michael Clarke Duncan, who was nominated for an Oscar for his performance in The Green Mile, died from complications stemming from a heart attack on Sept.  3. He was 54. (Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

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Mervyn M. Dymally - In 1974, Mervyn M. Dymally was elected lieutenant governor of California, the first Black person to hold statewide office there. Dymally went on to serve 12 years as a Congressman representing California's 31st district, where he was an advocate for international human rights and economic development in Africa and the Caribbean. (Photo: Wikicommons)

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Mervyn M. Dymally - Mervyn M. Dymally, a former California congressman and the state's only Black lieutenant governor, passed away at age 86 on Oct. 7, his family confirmed. His cause of death was not announced. (Photo: Wikicommons)

Charles V. Bush - Charles V. Bush, the first African-American to graduate from the U.S. Air Force Academy, succumbed to colon cancer on Nov. 5. He was 72. (Photo: Washington Post)

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Charles V. Bush - Charles V. Bush, the first African-American to graduate from the U.S. Air Force Academy, succumbed to colon cancer on Nov. 5. He was 72. (Photo: Washington Post)

Herbert Carter  - Tuskegee Airman pilot Herbert Carter died Nov. 8 in Opelika, Alabama. He was 95. (Photo: DAVID BUNDY/AP)

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Herbert Carter  - Tuskegee Airman pilot Herbert Carter died Nov. 8 in Opelika, Alabama. He was 95. (Photo: DAVID BUNDY/AP)