Both were mold-breaking former heads of state who reshaped their own countries and the world. Nelson Mandela, revered for his efforts to end apartheid in South Africa, and Margaret Thatcher, the "Iron Lady" who imposed her will on Britain's politics and economy, were among notables who died in 2013.
Mandela, who died Dec. 5 at age 95, was considered a master of forgiveness. He became South Africa's first black president after spending 27 years in prison for championing equality against the white-minority government, and he inspired the world by seeking a relatively peaceful transition of power.
As Britain's only female prime minister, Thatcher ruled for 11 years and showed an unshakable faith in the free market, leaving behind a leaner government and more prosperous nation. While she had fierce critics, praise for her leadership came in from around the world when she died in April at 87.
Other political figures who died this year included Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, former Italian premier Giulio Andreotti, Poland's ex-prime minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki, France's Pierre Mauroy, and Hungary's Gyula Horn, prominent mayors of New York and Beijing, Ed Koch and Chen Xitong, and former U.S. Senators Frank Lautenberg and Harry F. Byrd.
Also dying in 2013 was a man whose invention you may hold as you read this. Doug Engelbart, who died in July, invented the computer mouse and developed other technology that changed the way people work, play and communicate. Others from the world of science and technology who died this year included the Manhattan Project's Donald F. Hornig, Nobel Prize winners Frederick Sanger, Robert Edwards and Kenneth Wilson, and audio pioneers Ray Dolby and Amar Bose and astronauts C. Gordon Fullerton and Scott Carpenter.
In arts and entertainment, this year saw the death of one who was hugely influential though not technically an entertainer at all. Roger Ebert, who died in April, was America's most popular film critic, telling audiences which movies to see or avoid with his famous thumbs-up or thumbs-down reviews.
Others from the entertainment world who died this year included actors James Gandolfini, Jane Kean, Annette Funicello, Jean Stapleton, Bonnie Franklin, Cory Monteith, Frank Thornton and Conrad Bain, as well as the swimming star Esther Williams and the Bollywood villain Pran. Musicians included George Jones, Van Cliburn, Lou Reed, Donald Byrd, Ray Manzarek, Bebo Valdes, Mindy McCready, Chrissy Amphle and Chris Kelly. Among others: writer Tom Clancy, director Nagisa Oshima and ballerina Maria Tallchief.
Here is a roll call of some who died in 2013. (Cause of death cited for younger people if available.)
Patti Page, 85. Singer who stumbled across "Tennessee Waltz" and made it one of the best-selling recordings ever. Jan. 1.
Conrad Bain, 89. Veteran stage and film actor who became a star in middle age as the kindly white adoptive father of two young African-American brothers in the TV sitcom "Diff'rent Strokes." Jan. 14.
Nagisa Oshima, 80. Japanese film director acclaimed for "Empire of Passion" and "In the Realm of the Senses." Jan. 15.
Pauline Friedman Phillips, 94. Under the name of Abigail Van Buren, she wrote the long-running "Dear Abby" newspaper advice column read by millions. Jan. 16.
Donald F. Hornig, 92. Scientist who served as a key figure on the Manhattan Project, an adviser to three U.S. presidents and president of Brown University. Jan. 21.
Ed Koch, 88. Former New York mayor and combative politician who rescued the city from near-financial ruin during three City Hall terms. Feb. 1.
Donald Byrd, 80. Hard-bop trumpeter of the 1950s who collaborated on dozens of albums with top artists of his time and later enjoyed commercial success with hit jazz-funk fusion records such as "Black Byrd." Feb. 4.
Mindy McCready, 37. She hit the top of the country music charts before personal problems sidetracked her career. Feb. 17. Apparent suicide.
C. Everett Koop, 96. He raised the profile of the surgeon general by riveting America's attention on the then-emerging disease known as AIDS and by railing against smoking. Feb. 25.
Van Cliburn, 78. Pianist whose triumph at a 1958 Moscow competition helped thaw the Cold War and launched a spectacular career that made him the rare classical musician to enjoy rock-star status. Feb. 27.
Hugo Chavez, 58. Fiery populist president of Venezuela who declared a socialist revolution, crusaded against U.S. influence and championed a leftist revival across Latin America. March 5. Cancer.
Stompin' Tom Connors, 77. Country-folk singer whose toe-tapping musical spirit and fierce patriotism established him as one of Canada's biggest cultural icons. March 6.
Bebo Valdes, 94. Renowned pianist, composer and bandleader who recorded with Nat "King" Cole and was a key participant in the golden age of Cuban music. March 22.
Roger Ebert, 70. First journalist to win a Pulitzer Prize for movie criticism, who, on his long-running TV review program, wielded the nation's most influential thumb. April 4.
Margaret Thatcher, 87. Conservative British prime minister who infuriated European allies, found a fellow believer in Ronald Reagan and transformed her country by a ruthless dedication to free markets. April 8. Stroke.
Annette Funicello, 70. Child star on "The Mickey Mouse Club" in the 1950s who then teamed with Frankie Avalon on '60s fun-in-the-sun movies with names like "Beach Party Bingo." April 8. Complications from multiple sclerosis.
Robert Edwards, 87. Nobel prizewinner from Britain whose pioneering in vitro fertilization research led to the first test tube baby. April 10.
Maria Tallchief, 88. One of America's first great prima ballerinas who gave life to "The Nutcracker," ''Firebird," and other masterpieces from choreographer George Balanchine. April 11.
Al Neuharth, 89. Founder of USA Today, the nation's most widely read newspaper. April 19.
George Jones, 81. Hard-living country singer who recorded hits about good times and regrets and peaked with the heartbreaker "He Stopped Loving Her Today." April 26.
Giulio Andreotti, 94. Seven-time premier and a symbol of postwar Italy. May 6.
Valtr Komarek, 82. Left-wing Czech politician who helped overthrow the country's communist regime and was one of the most visible faces of the so-called "Velvet Revolution." May 16.
Ray Manzarek, 74. Founding member of the 1960s rock group The Doors whose versatile and often haunting keyboards complemented Jim Morrison's gloomy baritone. May 20. Cancer.
Jean Stapleton, 90. Stage-trained character actress who played Archie Bunker's far better half, the sweetly naive Edith, in TV's groundbreaking 1970s comedy "All in the Family." May 31.
Chen Xitong, 82. As Beijing's mayor, he backed the military crackdown on the Tiananmen Square democratic movement but later expressed regret for the loss of life. June 2.
Frank Lautenberg, 89. Multimillionaire New Jersey businessman and the last World War II veteran remaining in the U.S. Senate. June 3.
Esther Williams, 91. Swimming champion-turned-actress who starred in glittering, aquatic Technicolor musicals of the 1940s and 1950s. June 6.
Pierre Mauroy, 84. As France's prime minister in the early 1980s, he implemented radical social reforms that made life easier for French workers. June 7.
Kenneth Wilson, 77. He earned a Nobel prize for pioneering work that changed the way physicists think about phase transitions. June 15. Complications of lymphoma.
James Gandolfini, 51. Actor whose portrayal of a brutal but emotionally delicate crime boss in HBO's "The Sopranos" turned the mobster stereotype on its head. June 19. Heart attack.
Gyula Horn, 80. Former Hungarian prime minister who played a key role in opening the Iron Curtain. June 19.
Doug Engelbart, 88. Visionary who invented the computer mouse and developed other technology that has transformed the way people work, play and communicate. July 2.
Pran, 93. India's legendary actor who played some of Bollywood's most memorable villains in a career that spanned six decades. July 12. Pneumonia.
Amar Bose, 83. Acoustic pioneer and founder and chairman of an audio technology company known for the rich sound of its tabletop radios and its noise-canceling headphones. July 12.
Cory Monteith, 31. Actor on the television show "Glee" who had struggled for years with substance abuse. July 13. Overdose of heroin and alcohol.
Harry F. Byrd, 98. Champion of racial segregation and fiscal restraint who followed his father into the U.S. Senate. July 30.
Marich Man Singh Shrestha, 71. Last Nepalese prime minister to serve before protests ushered in the country's first democratic elections in the early 1990s. Aug. 15. Lung cancer.
Florin Cioaba, 58. King of the Gypsies, he was a member of the family that has led Romania's embattled Roma minority since the 19th century. Aug. 18. Heart attack.
Elmore Leonard, 87. Acclaimed crime novelist whose best-sellers and the movies made from them chronicled the violent deaths of many a thug. Aug. 20. Complications from a stroke.
C. Gordon Fullerton, 76. Former astronaut who flew on two space shuttle missions and had an extensive career as a research and test pilot for NASA and the Air Force. Aug. 21.
Seamus Heaney, 74. Ireland's foremost poet who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995. Aug. 30.
David Frost, 74. Veteran broadcaster who won fame around the world for his interview with former President Richard Nixon. Aug. 31.
Ray Dolby, 80. American inventor and audio pioneer who founded Dolby Laboratories. Sept. 12.
Eiji Toyoda, 100. Member of Toyota's founding family who helped create the super-efficient "Toyota Way" production method. Sept. 17.
Hiroshi Yamauchi, 85. He ran Nintendo for more than 50 years and led its transition from playing-card maker to video game giant. Sept. 19. Pneumonia.
Harold Agnew, 92. Former Los Alamos National Laboratory director who led the effort to train the first group of international atomic inspectors. Sept. 29.
Tom Clancy, 66. His high-tech, Cold War thrillers such as "The Hunt for Red October" and "Patriot Games" made him the most widely read military novelist of his time. Oct. 1.
Scott Carpenter, 88. Second American to orbit the Earth and first person to explore both the heights of space and depths of the ocean. Oct. 10. Complications from a stroke.
Bum Phillips, 90. He coached the NFL's Houston Oilers during their Luv Ya Blue heyday and later led the New Orleans Saints. Oct. 18.
Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara, 100. Thailand's Supreme Patriarch, who headed the country's order of Buddhist monks for more than two decades. Oct. 24.
Lou Reed, 71. Punk poet of rock 'n' roll who profoundly influenced generations of musicians as leader of the Velvet Underground and remained a vital solo performer for decades after. Oct. 27.
Tadeusz Mazowiecki, 86. Eastern Europe's first democratic prime minister after communism, key adviser to Poland's Solidarity movement and U.N. human rights envoy to Bosnia. Oct. 28.
Glafcos Clerides, 94. Former president who guided Cyprus into the European Union and dedicated most of his 50 years in politics to trying to reunify the ethnically split island. Nov. 15.
Frederick Sanger, 95. British biochemist who twice won the Nobel Prize in chemistry and has been called the father of the genomic era. Nov. 19.
Jane Kean, 90. Performer who got her start in musical theater but was best known as Trixie alongside Jackie Gleason on a TV revival of "The Honeymooners." Nov. 26.
Paul Walker, 40. Star of the "Fast & Furious" movie series. Nov. 30. Car crash.
Edward J. "Babe" Heffron, 90. His World War II army service was recounted in the book and TV miniseries "Band of Brothers." Dec. 1.
Nelson Mandela, 95. Colossus of the 20th century who emerged from 27 years in prison to negotiate an end to white minority rule in South Africa and became the country's first black president. Dec. 5.
Peter O'Toole, 81. Charismatic actor who achieved instant stardom in "Lawrence of Arabia" and was nominated eight times for an Academy Award. Dec. 14.
Joan Fontaine, 96. Academy Award-winning actress who found stardom playing naive wives in Alfred Hitchcock's "Suspicion" and "Rebecca." Dec. 15.
Ray Price, 87. One of country music's most popular and influential singers and bandleaders. Dec. 16.
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