Page last updated at 00:50 GMT, Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Famous people who died in 2008

The year 2008 saw the death of dozens of famous people - actors and singers, former presidents, celebrated writers, the world's best-known mountaineer and one of the giants of chess.

Click here for obituaries of key personalities in the worlds of film, television and music. For full obituaries of those listed below, click on their names.

Edmund Hillary

The first man to step on the summit of Mount Everest, closely followed by Sherpa Tenzing, in 1953.

Died: 11 January, in New Zealand, aged 88.

Bobby Fischer

US chess genius who beat Russia's Boris Spassky in 1972, in the "chess match of the century".

Died: 18 January, in Iceland, aged 64.

George Habash

Founder of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Died: 26 January, in Jordan, aged 81.


President of Indonesia from 1967 to 1998, ousted after the Asian financial crisis triggered a wave of unrest.

Died: 27 January, in Indonesia. aged 86.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

Indian guru credited with introducing the Beatles and other stars to ancient Hindu meditation methods.

Died: 5 February, in the Netherlands, at an estimated age of 91.

Arthur C Clarke

British science fiction pioneer who foresaw the arrival of space shuttles and satellite communications networks.

Died: 19 March in Sri Lanka, aged 90.

Yves St Laurent

Designer who introduced short skirts and trouser suits in the 1960s and built a vast fashion and perfume empire.

Died: 2 June in Paris, aged 71.

Cyd Charisse

One of the most brilliant and beautiful female dancers who starred with legends Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire.

Died: 17 June in Los Angeles, aged 86.

Jesse Helms

One of the most one most vocal conservatives in the US Congress, dubbed "Senator No" by his critics.

Died: 4 July in North Carolina, aged 86.

Sir Charles Wheeler

Veteran BBC correspondent, who covered the Hungarian Uprising and the assassination of Martin Luther King.

Died: 4 July in London, aged 85

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Russian Nobel-prize-winning novelist who documented Stalin's labour camps in the Gulag Archipelago.

Died: 4 August in Moscow, aged 89.

Levy Mwanawasa

Zambian president who led African criticism of Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe.

Died: 19 August in Paris, aged 59

Joerg Haider

Austrian far-right leader whose far-right Freedom Party entered government in 2000, triggering EU sanctions.

Died: 11 October in Austria, aged 58.

Studs Terkel

Author of classic American oral history, jazz lover and host of long-running Chicago radio programme.

Died: 31 October in Chicago, aged 96.

Patriarch Alexiy II

Alexei Ridiger, a Russian Orthodox priest with links to the KGB, was elected Patriarch Alexiy II in 1990.

Died: 5 December in Moscow, aged 79.

Martha "Sunny" von Bulow

The US heiress spent almost three decades in a coma but was still at the centre of 1980s courtroom dramas.

Died: 6 December in New York, aged 76.

Mark Felt

FBI agent Mark Felt was Deep Throat, who helped the Washington Post expose the Watergate scandal.

Died: 19 December in California, aged 95.

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