Some famous people died in 2020, and in the last month of 2020, many more have died. Listed below four recent death in December.
Jon Huber, the wrestler, dies at 41 from ‘non-Covid related lung issue,’ his wife says
Huber wrestled for WWE and, more recently, for All-Elite Wrestling (AEW). His wife, Amanda Huber, said on Instagram that her husband “passed surrounded by love ones after a hard-fought battle with a non-Covid related lung issue.” According to Huber’s wife, he was being treated by physicians at the Mayo Clinic.
“In an industry filled with good people, Jon Huber was exceptionally respected and beloved in every way – a fierce and captivating talent, a thoughtful mentor and simply a very kind soul that starkly contradicted his persona as Mr. Brodie Lee,” AEW wrote in a tribute to Huber.
WWE said Huber “found success in every stop of his sports-entertainment career, as his soft-spoken yet imposing presence helped him create countless awe-inspiring moments in the ring.”
Tony Rice Dies; Influential Flatpicking Bluegrass Giant Was 69
Tony Rice, a Flatpicking guitarist considered one of the giants of bluegrass, has died at 69 on December 25, according to a Facebook post by his former label, Rounder Records.“We were all deeply saddened by the news of Tony Rice’s sudden passing on Christmas Day, and we offer our deepest condolences to his loved ones and his many fans.
May he Rest In Peace,” said the Rounder note. Rice was known for his skill as a flatpicker, an intricate, fast-paced, melodic guitar playing style. His work influenced his genre and extended to the likes of Jason Isbell and Steve Martin. Born in California in1951, he relocated to Kentucky as an adult. He became immersed in bluegrass, playing five nights a week with J.D. Crowe and the New South. His first album came in 1973, titled Guitar. There followed 1978’s Acoustics and 1980.’
Civil rights supporter Jean Graetz dies at 90
Jean Graetz, a white supporter of the civil rights movement in Montgomery, Alabama, died of lung cancer earlier this month at age 90. Her husband, minister Robert Graetz, died three months prior.
Jeannie and Bob Graetz are together again. Jean Graetz, an early supporter of the Civil Rights Movement in Montgomery, passed away Wednesday from lung cancer, just three months after the passing of her husband, Rev. Robert Graetz. Jeannie was 90 years old. She and Bob were married for more than 70 years.
Inseparable for most of their lives, the couple arrived in Montgomery in 1955, the same year the Bus Boycott began, for Bob’s first assignment out of seminary school. That assignment was Trinity Lutheran Church, a predominantly Black church in Montgomery, where the NAACP Youth Director was a charming lady named Rosa Parks.
The Graetzes didn’t duck the controversy or shy away from it. Instead, the white couple joined in the boycott, helping to shuttle Black workers to and from their jobs every day and sustain one of the most effective protests in American history.
“Doing what’s right isn’t always the easiest path,” Jeannie said during a 2015 interview with the Montgomery Advertiser.
Guitarist Tony Rice Dead at 69
Bluegrass guitarist Tony Rice, who was recognized as one of the genre’s all-time greats, has died. He was 69 and passed suddenly on December 25, his former label Rounder Records noted.
As a solo performer, collaborator, and leader of the Tony Rice Unit, Rice was known for his inimitable skill as a flatpicker, an intricate, fast-paced, melodic guitar playing style. Rice’s distinctive style, heavily influenced by jazz, influenced scores of artists in the bluegrass world and beyond, including the likes of Jason Isbell and Steve Martin. His signature guitar, a Martin D-28, had belonged to the Byrds’ Clarence White.
After growing up in California with a father who played guitar, Rice relocated to Kentucky as an adult, where he got his break playing five nights a week with J.D. Crowe and the New South. Rice issued his first album under his own name, Guitar, in 1973, and later released albums like 1978’s Acoustics and 1980’s Mar West with the Tony Rice Unit. Rice cofounded and released several records with the Bluegrass Album Band and regularly performing with guitarist Norman Blake and mandolin player David Grisman. In 1993, he worked with Grisman and Jerry Garcia on The Pizza Tapes, a loose collection of folk songs released in 2000.
Rice maintained a flourishing career in the 1970s and ’80s, with albums like 1979’s Manzanita and 1983’s Church Street Blues enduring as landmark works in bluegrass. In 1994, Rice began suffering from dysphonia, which prevented him from singing for most of his life. In 2013, Rice was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Hall of Fame, an appearance that included his final public guitar performance. His last album was 2011’s Hartford Rice and Clements with banjo player John Hartford and fiddler Vassar Clements, a project recorded in 1988.
Star Utah running back Ty Jordan dies after a standout freshman season
Utah running back Ty Jordan, the Pac-12’s Freshman Offensive Player of the Year in 2020, died early Saturday morning, according to the university’s athletic departmen
“Words cannot express the devastation and heartache that our team is feeling right now upon learning of the tragic death of our teammate and brother, Ty Jordan,” Utes coach Kyle Whittingham said in a statement. “Ty’s personality and smile were infectious, and he made a huge impact on our program in the short time he was with us.
“He leaves an indelible mark on each of us, and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. From the bottom of our hearts, all of us in the Utah Football Family want to say we love you, Ty, and may you rest in peace.”
Jordan, who grew up in the Dallas area, was named the Pac-12’s Offensive Freshman of the Year and made its all-conference second team. In a shortened season due to the coronavirus pandemic, Jordan led the team in carries (83), rushing yards (597), rushing touchdowns (6), and all-purpose yards (723) with 11 receptions for 126 yards.
“We are deeply saddened and shocked to learn of Ty Jordan’s passing early this morning, and our thoughts and prayers are with those who loved him dearly, including the young men in our football program,” said Mark Harlan, Utah director of athletics.
“Our priority is on supporting his family and the student-athletes, coaches, and staff in our football program who are so deeply hurting right now. Coach Whittingham and I are working closely to provide support and resources for our Utah Football family in this challenging time.”