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2016 in Retrospect: Bidding Final Goodbye by some Legendary Musicians who left undying Music behind

The festive mood got switched off when the news of the legendary singer-songwriter George Michael's death broke on

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Tributes are seen outside the house of singer George Michael, in Goring, southern England, Britain December 26, 2016. VOA
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Dec 31, 2016: “Britney Spears is dead by accident!” Fortunately, it was just a hoax and the “Toxic” star is still alive. But not all musicians were as “Lucky” as the star. If it was “Last Christmas” for George Michael, Prince made the rain gods pour “Purple rain” when they breathed their last this year.

It was time for merry making, believing in Santa Claus and hanging lights and gifts on Christmas trees. But the festive mood got switched off when the news of the legendary singer-songwriter George Michael’s death broke on Christmas Day. The Grammy winner was 53.

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The British pop icon, who sold tens of millions of albums as a member of the Wham! duo and on his own, was found dead at his home in Oxfordshire, England, by his boyfriend Fadi Fawaz. Police described the death as “unexplained but not suspicious”.

While the tributes are still pouring in for the “Father figure” hitmaker, the year gone by has been widely tagged as “a curse” as many musicians bid their final adieu.

2016 began with rock legend David Bowie’s death on January 10. Aged 69, Bowie, who enjoyed a string of worldwide hits from the late 1960s onwards, died peacefully surrounded by his family after an 18-month battle with cancer.

Bowie’s last released album “Blackstar” became his first record to top the charts in the US. The record was released two days before Bowie died.

A week after his death, Mott The Hoople drummer Dale Griffin died at the age of 67. He was a founding member of the group, best known for songs including “All the young dudes”, which was penned by Bowie. Griffin died peacefully in his sleep.

January 18 was another day to mourn as Glenn Frey, a founding member of the rock band the Eagles, died at 67. He succumbed to complications from rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis and pneumonia, read a post on the official website of the band, which had churned out hits like “Hotel California” and “Take it easy”.

The time of grief continued in February too. Maurice White, the Earth, Wind and Fire vocalist and co-founder, died in his sleep in Los Angeles on February 4. He was 74. The singer had reportedly been battling Parkinson’s disease since 1992.

Singer Gogi Grant, whose hit track “The wayward wind” pushed music icon Elvis Presley’s “Heartbreak hotel” off from the top spot on the Billboard charts, died on March 10. She was 91.

The same day, legendary keyboardist Keith Emerson of English progressive rock supergroup Emerson, Lake & Palmer, and The Nice band died at age 71. Emerson’s death was ruled a suicide.

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On March 16, Frank Sinatra Jr, the son of the legendary singer Frank Sinatra, passed away aged 72. He died of cardiac arrest while on tour in Daytona, Florida.

Flamboyant pop musician Prince, who became a global superstar in the 1980s, with albums like “1999” and “Purple Rain”, died at his home in Minnesota on April 21. He was 57. Based on toxicology reports, he died of an accidental overdose of Fentanyl – the same painkiller found at the Los Angeles house where King of Pop Michael Jackson died in 2009.

Congo music star Papa Wemba, 66, died on April 24 after the stage collapsed during a concert in Ivory Coast.

“Me and Mrs. Jones” hitmaker Billy Paul also breathed his last on April 24 “after a serious medical condition”. The soul singer was 81.

Nick Menza, drummer of the former heavy metal band Megadeth, passed away after he collapsed on stage during a show in California on May 21. He was 51.

Renowned Pakistani qawwali singer Amjad Sabri was shot dead in Karachi on June 22, after unknown gunmen fired at his car.

Scotty Moore, “The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll” Elvis Presley’s guitarist, died at 84 on June 28.

Legendary singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, whose “Hallelujah” was one of the most covered songs, passed away at 82. He died during his sleep following a fall in the middle of the night on November 7.

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Rock icon Leon Russell also died in his sleep on November 13. He was 74.

Noted Carnatic musician M. Balamuralikrishna, 86, passed away in Chennai on November 22. He had been ailing for some time.

Renowned Pakistani singer and preacher Junaid Jamshed died in a plane crash in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on December 7. (IANS)

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Did You Hear about the New Species of Spiders Named After Leonardo DiCaprio, Bernie Sanders and Barrack Obama?

The new species of spiders have been named in honor of leaders and artists who promoted sensible approaches for a better world

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Did you hear about the Bernie Sanders spider? (representational image) Pixabay

Vermont, September 30, 2017 : What if we tell you that a team of researchers has recognized and named 15 new species of spiders in the Caribbean after your favorite stars like Leonardo DiCaprio, Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders?

Not in Hollywood, Washington, DC or Vermont – but you might now be able to catch a glimpse of Spintharus davidattenboroughi, S. barackobamai, S, michelleobamaae, S. berniesandersi, S. davidbowiei along with S. leonardodicaprioi on the Caribbean islands and some other southern spots.

Ingi Agnarsson, expert of spiders and professor of biology at University of Vermont, who led the new study revealed the rationale behind the undergraduate study and on choosing the intriguing names. “(We) wanted to honor people who stood up for both human rights and warned about climate change—leaders and artists who promoted sensible approaches for a better world”, he said.

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The Smiley-Faced Spider

Popularly recognized as a global hotspot for biodiversity, there continues to be several species in the Caribbean that are outside the spectrum of research and study. This includes the ‘smiley faced’ spider in the genus Spintharus- named for a smiley face pattern on their abdomens.

Previously recognized as one widespread species, researchers from the UVM discovered that there exist many more endemic species within the genus, 15 of which have been recognized in the research.

These samples were collected from Florida, South Carolina, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Jamaica, Mexico, the Lesser Antilles and Columbia.

Each team member got to decide names for the new species of spiders. Alongside naming them after friends and family members, many species have been named after distinguished figures.

“We all named the Bernie Sanders spider together,” said Lily Sargeant, one of the students who worked on the project. “We all have tremendous respect for Bernie. He presents a feeling of hope.”

Some of the other names include,

Spintharus davidbowiei

Named after the great artist David Bowie, who passed away in 2016. His music will continue to inspire generations and the authors decided to honor his legacy by naming a spider in his name.

Spintharus barackobamai

Named after the widely popular, and largely loved, former President of the United States Barack Obama. The authors love him for his statesmanship and humanitarianism, and named the spider species after him, to honor their president and his devoted service.

Spintharus michelleobamaae

Named in honor of the Former First Lady of the United States for her poise, confidence and elegance, her fight for human rights and for always striving to uphold the principles of justice, fairness and equality for all.

Spintharus davidattenboroughi

The authors of the research also named a species of spiders after the naturalist and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough, to recognize and celebrate his efforts to educate people of the wonders of the natural world and sowing a seed of caring for nature in humanity.

The study has been published in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society.