Perhaps it was their father's habit, when in a good mood, of singing the opera Carmen that helped fuel the musical ambitions of Liam Clancy and his older brothers. The quartet that the three formed with a childhood friend, Tommy Makem, confounded the stereotype of Irish folk music as essentially depressing. They broke into the mainstream thanks to Diane Hamilton, an American folk song collector in 1955. By 1963, they were performing for President John Kennedy. Bob Dylan called Liam, the youngest of the nine Clancy children, "the best ballad singer I ever heard in my life". Despite their strict Catholic upbringing, the brothers succumbed to the perks of fame. The title of Liam's autobiography tells it all: The Mountain of Women: Memoirs of an Irish Troubador. Born on September 2, 1935; died on December 4.
Edward Umar Fatu, 36 His mother may have called him Eki, but his legions of fans knew Edward Umar Fatu, one of the younger members of the famous Anoa'i wrestling family known as the Samoan Wrecking Machine. Standing at 6ft 4in, weighing in at 158kg, with his pierced nostrils, distinctive facial tattoos and plaited hair, Umaga was a rising star of World Wrestling Entertainment's Smackdown! until his career nosedived after he violated a drug policy. Like many fellow wrestlers, Fatu lost his life to the pharmaceuticals he sought to improve his form. Born on March 28, 1973; died on December 3.
* The National