World

Obituaries 2010: Key international figures remembered

The BBC News website remembers some of the men and women of note - figures in politics, business and public life - who died over the past 12 months.

Elizabeth Edwards, wife of former US presidential candidate

After a six-year struggle with breast cancer, health care advocate Elizabeth Edwards died on 7 December, at the age of 61.

During her husband John Edwards' presidential bid, Ms Edwards was considered a close advisor. She would later testify to Congress in favour of health care reform.

Ms Edwards was a lawyer who also wrote two best-selling memoirs, one describing the death of her 16-year-old son in a 1996 car accident and the other reflecting on her discovery of her husband's affair during his 2006 campaign trial.

She left Mr Edwards after it became public that he had fathered a child during the affair.

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Nestor Kirchner, former Argentine President

Nester Kirchner, a former Argentine president, died on 27 October at the age of 60.

He was president from 2003 to 2007, when his wife, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, took over his position.

The two, both members of the Justicialist Party, were seen as a powerful political duo and played influential advisory roles in each others' presidencies.

Among other things, Mr Kirchner was known for paying off a $9.8bn (£6.2bn) debt to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and for repealing amnesty laws that protected military officers accused of torturing people during Argentina's "dirty war".

After his death, his wife declared three days of national mourning.

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Ted Stevens, Alaskan statesman

Ted Stevens, the longest-serving Republican in the US Senate, died on 9 August, at the age of 86, in a plane crash in Alaska.

Mr Stevens first won his seat in 1968 and stepped down in January 2009.

He was central to the social and economic development of Alaska, which only became a state in 1959.

The six-term Alaska senator was known for his ability to channel millions of dollars in federal aid to his state.

His final and seventh bid for the Senate, in 2008, was tarnished when he was found guilty of lying about gifts he had received from an oil company.

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Grand Ayatollah Fadlallah, Shia cleric

Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, Lebanon's leading Shia cleric and co-founder of the Dawa party - which is in the governing coalition in Iraq - died aged 74 on 4 July.

The controversial cleric advocated suicide attacks against Israeli troops in south Lebanon, and is believed to have played a part in the 1983 suicide bombing that killed 241 US servicemen in Beirut.

Fadlallah survived several assassination attempts, including one bombing apparently aimed at him in Beirut in 1985 in which some 80 people were killed.

Beyond his strong views against the US and Israel, the cleric was also known for his activism.

He established religious schools and foundations, clinics and libraries. The cleric was also considered by some to have relatively liberal views on women.

Fadlallah issued a fatwa, or religious order, forbidding female circumcision and opposed so-called honour killings of women by their families.

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Mohammed Oudeh, mastermind of Munich Games attack

The Palestinian mastermind of the attack on Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics died of kidney failure on 3 July, at the age of 73.

During the Munich Games, Oudeh's Black September group infiltrated Israeli accommodation and killed two athletes. Nine other athletes who had been taken hostage died in a failed rescue attempt by German police. Five attackers and one German policemen were also killed.

Oudeh remained unrepentant about the attacks.

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Algirdas Brazauskas, former Lithuanian President

The former president and prime minister of Lithuania, who died aged 77 on 26 June, played a central role in the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

As general-secretary of the Lithuanian Communist Party, Mr Brazauskas broke from Moscow - a move that helped the Baltic country achieve independence in 1990, making it the first Soviet republic to declare independence.

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Thailand's 'Commander Red'

The renegade Thai General Khattiya Sawasdipol, also known as Commander Red, died from complications after a gunshot wound to the head in central Bangkok amid protests between the Thai government and the red-shirt protesters. He died on 17 May.

A loyal supporter of exiled former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, he was allied to the more radical wing of the broad protest movement and was suspended from the military for his involvement with the red-shirts. He was considered by some to be their military leader.

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Lena Horne, singer and civil rights activist

The American singer and civil rights activist Lena Horne died in New York in May at the age of 92. She rose majestically to fame in the 1940s by becoming one of the first black singers to perform at the famous Copacabana nightclub.

She was also active in the civil rights movement, and in 1963 marched on Washington DC along with 250,000 other people to hear Martin Luther King deliver his "I have a dream" speech.

Her success was always marked by pride that she had broken through so many racial barriers, but tinged with regret that she could not destroy them all.

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Click here for an audio slideshow of other figures from the world of art and entertainment, as well as politics, who died in 2010

Nigeria's President Yar'Adua

Nigeria's first university-educated leader died from a chronic kidney condition at the age of 58.

Umaru Yar'Adua's election in 2007 marked the first transfer of power from one civilian president to another since Nigeria's independence in 1960.

He came to power promising many reforms, including tackling corruption and improving the electoral system. His critics say he did not achieve his promises but analysts note that President Yar'Adua did take steps to ease unrest in the oil-rich Niger Delta, by offering amnesty to rebels.

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Juan Antonio Samaranch, former IOC head

The former president of the International Olympic Committee, Juan Antonio Samaranch, died at the age of 89.

The Spaniard was credited with re-popularising the games after the largely unsuccessful 1980 Moscow Games.

In his two decades as the head of the IOC he opened up the Olympics to professional athletes and helped pull the organisation out of financial trouble.

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Lech Kaczynski, Polish President

Polish President Lech Kaczynski died in a plane crash in April, at the age of 60.

Mr Kaczynski was president from 2005 until his death. He died en route to a memorial service for the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre, in which thousands of Poles were killed by Soviet forces in World War II.

The right-wing leader banned gay parades and spoke of reintroducing the death penalty during his tenure as mayor of Warsaw.

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Eugene Terreblanche, South African white supremacist

The white supremacist leader of South Africa's Afrikaner Resistance Movement was hacked to death with a panga - or a broad blade - on his farm at the age of 69. He was killed by two farm workers after a dispute over unpaid wages, according to officials.

Eugene Terreblanche founded the white supremacist AWB in 1973 to oppose what he regarded as the liberal policies of the then South African leader, John Vorster.

Claiming on occasion to be a cultural organisation - albeit one with side arms and paramilitary uniforms - Terreblanche and his men promised to fight for the survival of the white tribe of Africa.

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Jyoti Basu, father of Indian Communism

Jyoti Basu, the man who almost became India's first Communist prime minister, died at the age of 95.

British-educated Basu was the longest-serving chief minister for any Indian state, presiding over West Bengal for more than 23 years.

Often described as a Fabian Socialist rather than an orthodox Communist, Jyoti Basu worked by consensus, successfully managing coalitions, while showing a healthy respect for the viewpoints of others.

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