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Ellis Marsalis, jazz pianist, teacher and patriarch of a New Orleans musical clan that includes famed performer sons Wynton and Branford, has died after battling pneumonia brought on by the new coronavirus, one of his sons said late Wednesday. He was 85. Ellis Marsalis III confirmed that his father’s death was sparked by the virus that is causing the global pandemic. "Pneumonia was the actual thing that caused his demise. But it was pneumonia brought on by COVID-19," he said.
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Adam Schlesinger: Emmy and Grammy-winning musician and songwriter Adam Schlesinger, known for his work with his band Fountains of Wayne and on the TV show ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’, died on Wednesday, April 1st after contracting the coronavirus. Schlesinger died at a hospital in upstate New York, his longtime lawyer Josh Grier said. It is not clear where or how Schelsinger, a 51-year-old father of two, contracted the virus. He had been sedated and on a ventilator for several days.
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Joe Diffie: Grammy award-winning country music singer Joe Diffie died from complications arising from coronavirus. His death came just two days after he had announced on March 27 that he had tested positive for the virus and was receiving medical care. He was 61 at the time. Diffie’s death was announced on his Facebook page. The singer had a string of hits in the 90s, including ‘Pickup Man’, ‘John Deere Green’ and ‘Honky Tonk Attitude’.
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Alan Merrill: On the same day as news of Diffe’s death broke, fans also learned that musician Alan Merrill, the co-writer and singer of the original version of ‘I Love Rock 'n' Roll’, also died of complications from coronavirus, at the age of 69. The news was shared by his daughter, Laura Merrill, on her Facebook page. “I was given 2 minutes to say my goodbyes before I was rushed out. He seemed peaceful and as I left there was still a glimmer of hope that he wouldn't be a ticker on the right-hand side of the CNN/Fox news screen,” said Laura in her Facebook post. Singer Joan Jett also paid tribute on Instagram, writing: “I’ve just learned of the awful news that Alan Merrill has passed. My thoughts and love go to his family, friends and music community as a whole. I can still remember watching the Arrows on TV in London and being blown away by the song that screamed hit to me.”
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Terrence McNally: Four-time Tony Award-winning playwright Terrence McNally died on March 24 after being diagnosed with COVID-19. He was 81 years old. The writer was best known for the plays, ‘Lips Together, Teeth Apart’, ‘Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune’ and more. “Heartbroken over the loss of Terrence McNally, a giant in our world, who straddled plays and musicals deftly,” Lin-Manuel Miranda upon tweeted upon learning of the news.
Image Credit: The Washington Post
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Manu Dibango: The veteran Afro jazz star died on March 24 after contracting COVID-19, passing away at a hospital in France, according to his Facebook page. He was 86. Originally from Cameroon, the musician shot to fame after moving to Paris in the 70s with the song, ‘Soul Makossa’. His music infused African rhythms, while presenting a global sound that appealed to the masses.
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Mark Blum: The Off Broadway star, who was also known for his film roles, including ‘Desperately Seeking Susan’, died on March 25 in New York, aged 69. The actor passed away due to complications related to COVID-19 after being diagnosed with the disease, his wife Janet Zarish told the Los Angeles Times. Singer Madonna paid tribute to her former co-star, posting an emotional message on Instagram. “I Want to Acknowledge the Passing of a remarkable Human, fellow actor and friend Mark Blum, who succumbed to Coronavirus. This is really tragic and my heart goes out to him, his family and his loved ones. I remember him as funny warm, loving .and professional when we made Desperately Seeking Susan in 1985!”
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Floyd Cardoz: Popular Indian chef, author and TV host Floyd Cardoz died from complications arisen from the coronavirus last week. The co-owner of Mumbai restaurants Bombay Canteen, O Pedro and the Bombay Sweet Shop was 59. Cardoz died shortly after testing positive for COVID-19, while in New York. A week prior to his death, the award-winning chef, took to Instagram to complain of his ill health. “Sincere apologies everyone. I am sorry for causing undue panic around my earlier post. I was feeling feverish and hence as a precautionary measure, admitted myself into hospital in New York. I was hugely anxious about my state of health and my post was highly irresponsible causing panic in several quarters. I returned to New York on March 8th via Frankfurt,” he posted.
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Andrew Jack: The ‘Star Wars’ actor is the latest celebrity who died as a result of the coronavirus. He was 76. Jack appeared in ‘Star Wars: Episode VIII — The Last Jedi’ as General Ematt, as well as ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ and ‘Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens’. He was also dialect coach to Chris Hemsworth and Robert Downey Jr. His wife, Gabrielle Rogers, who is quarantined in Australia, posted on social media: “Andrew Jack was diagnosed with coronavirus 2 days ago. He was in no pain, and he slipped away peacefully knowing that his family were all ‘with’ him.”
Image Credit: Star Wars
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Ken Shimura: The veteran Japanese comedian who was known for being inspired by the Jerry Lewis style of comedy died earlier this week, days after being hospitalised for coronavirus. According to Japan Times, Shimura died on March 29. The 70-year-old comic was admitted to the hospital on March 20 for symptoms of fever and severe pneumonia and was declared coronavirus positive on March 23.
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