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Tuesday, January 6, 1998 Published at 14:02 GMT


Cher flies to US after ex-husband's death
image: [ Sonny Bono, Congressman and former pop star, who has died aged 62. ]
Sonny Bono, Congressman and former pop star, who has died aged 62.

The singer Cher is flying from Britain to Los Angeles after hearing that her ex-husband and pop partner Sonny Bono had been killed in a mystery skiing accident.

She pulled out the opening of the Harrods January sale, where she was to have been the star celebrity at the Knightsbridge store on Wednesday.

Instead she was catching the first available flight to California to be with the couple's daughter Chastity, 29.

Sonny Bono, the congressman and half of the 1960s pop duo, died in an accident while skiiing alone near Lake Tahoe in Nevada.

Bono, an avid skier, was reported missing by his wife about two hours before his body was found.

His spokesman, Frank Cullen J, said that a ski patrol had searched the Nevada side of the mountain near the Heavenly Ski Resort in California where the Congressman was staying.

He was on holiday with his wife, Mary Whitaker, and their two children, six-year-old Chianna and nine-year-old Chesare, when the accident happened.

"They were enjoying a family vacation," said Frank Cullen Jr.

"He was a very proficient skier. He skied frequently with his family and, yes, he was an athletic guy - he skied and played tennis."

This is the second high-profile skiing death in less than a week.

On New Year's Eve, Michael Kennedy, the 39-year-old son of the late Robert F. Kennedy, died in a skiing accident in Aspen, Colorado, while playing football on skis.

The sheriff of Douglas County, Nevada, Ross Chichester, said that pending an autopsy, the cause of Sonny Bono's death remains undetermined, but preliminary investigations indicated accidental death.

Bono worked as a singer, songwriter and television performer from 1957 to 1982.

He shot to fame with his partner Cher when they recorded 'I Got You Babe' in 1965, and later starred with her on 'The Sonny and Cher Show' on television. They were symbols of the Swinging sixties and the Flower-Power generation.

As their popularity as a duo waned, Sonny drifted into politics, and became Mayor of Palm Springs, California,

He was first elected to Congress in 1994, and represented California's 44th Congressional District. He was 62.

Cher was due to have officially opened the famous Harrods January sale in London on Wednesday, but left Britain, where she now has a home, on Tuesday morning at the news of Sonny's death.

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  Relevant Stories

06 Jan 98 | World
Sonny Bono - a life in the limelight

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Congressman Bono's home page

History of The Sonny and Cher Show

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