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Famous People Who Died in 2006

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For one reason or another, we as human beings seem to be fascinated by celebrity deaths. Every year we mourn the loss of famous people who pass away, and 2006 was no exception. The world watched as Saddam Hussein died, which certainly wasn't a tragedy by any stretch. Animal lovers were saddded as well, when iconic TV host Steve Irwin was killed by a stingray. Here's our list of the most notable people to die in 2006, ordered by how well-known they were.

All walks of famous people are on this list, including actors, athletes, musicians, politicians and more.Although the rich and famous are just like the rest of us, it's alarming how many of them have their lives cut short because of drug overdoses or other accidents. Still others live out many long years only to succumb to diseases like cancer late in life.

Which celebrities died in 2006? Scroll down and see for yourself.
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  • Capital punishment, Hanging
    Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti (; Arabic: صدام حسين عبد المجيد التكريتي Ṣaddām Ḥusayn ʿAbd al-Maǧīd al-Tikrītī; 28 April 1937 – 30 December 2006) was President of Iraq from 16 July 1979 until  ...more
  • Cardiovascular disease, Pneumonia
    James Joseph Brown (May 3, 1933 – December 25, 2006) was an American singer, songwriter, dancer, musician, record producer and bandleader. A progenitor of funk music and a major figure of  ...more
  • Cardiovascular disease
    Gerald Rudolph Ford Jr. (born Leslie Lynch King Jr.; July 14, 1913 – December 26, 2006) was an American politician who served as the 38th president of the United States from August 1974 to January  ...more
  • Myocardial infarction
    Shelley Winters (born Shirley Schrift; August 18, 1920 – January 14, 2006) was an American actress whose career spanned almost six decades. She appeared in numerous films, and won Academy Awards for  ...more
  • Stingray injury
    Stephen Robert Irwin (22 February 1962 – 4 September 2006), nicknamed "The Crocodile Hunter", was an Australian zookeeper, conservationist and television personality. Irwin achieved worldwide fame  ...more
  • Robert Bernard Altman (; February 20, 1925 – November 20, 2006) was an American film director, screenwriter, and producer. A five-time nominee of the Academy Award for Best Director and an enduring  ...more
  • Cardiovascular disease
    Red Buttons (born Aaron Chwatt; February 5, 1919 – July 13, 2006) was an American actor and comedian. He won an Oscar and a Golden Globe for his supporting role in the 1957 film Sayonara.  ...more
  • Gwyllyn Samuel Newton "Glenn" Ford (May 1, 1916 – August 30, 2006) was a Canadian-American actor whose career lasted more than 50 years. Although he played many different types of roles in many  ...more
  • Lung cancer
    Jesse Donald Knotts (July 21, 1924 – February 24, 2006) was an American actor and comedian, best known for his role as Deputy Sheriff Barney Fife on The Andy Griffith Show, a 1960s sitcom for which  ...more
  • Cardiovascular disease, Myocardial infarction
    Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte (UK: , US: , Spanish: [auˈɣusto pinoˈ(t)ʃe(t)]; 25 November 1915 – 10 December 2006) was a Chilean general, politician and dictator of Chile between 1973 and 1990  ...more
  • Bronchitis, Respiratory failure
    June Allyson (born Eleanor Geisman; October 7, 1917 – July 8, 2006) was an American stage, film, and television actress, dancer, and singer. Allyson began her career in 1937 as a dancer in short  ...more
  • Cardiovascular disease
    Dorothea Towles Church (July 26, 1922 – July 7, 2006) was the first successful black fashion model in Paris.  ...more
  • Natural causes
    Jack Palance ( PAL-əns; born Volodymyr Palahniuk (Ukrainian: Володимир Палагню́к); February 18, 1919 – November 10, 2006) was an American actor of Ukrainian descent. He was nominated for three  ...more
  • John Kenneth Galbraith (October 15, 1908 – April 29, 2006), also known as Ken Galbraith, was a Canadian-born economist, public official, and diplomat, and a leading proponent of 20th-century  ...more
  • Respiratory failure
    Coretta Scott King (née Scott; April 27, 1927 – January 30, 2006) was an American author, activist, civil rights leader, and the wife of Martin Luther King Jr. An active advocate for African-American  ...more
  • Aaron Spelling (April 22, 1923 – June 23, 2006) was an American film and television producer. Some of his works include the TV programs Charlie's Angels (1976–81), The Love Boat (1977–86), Hart to  ...more
  • James Bradford Brown is an American film director, primarily known for his work in documentary film. He has won four Emmys, most recently for Pete Seeger: The Power of Song. He has directed and  ...more
  • Natural causes
    William Lyle Richardson (May 7, 1922 – February 25, 2006), known professionally as Darren McGavin, was an American actor. He was known for his portrayals of worldly, often somewhat gruff characters.  ...more
  • Multiple sclerosis, Pneumonia
    Tamara Janice Dobson (May 14, 1947 – October 2, 2006) was an American actress and fashion model. Beginning her career in modeling during the late 1960s, Dobson became best known for her title role as  ...more
  • Cancer, Pancreatic cancer
    Roger Keith "Syd" Barrett (6 January 1946 – 7 July 2006) was an English singer, songwriter, and musician who co-founded the rock band Pink Floyd in 1965. Characterised for his English-accented  ...more
  • Assassination
    Anna Stepanovna Politkovskaya (Russian: А́нна Степа́новна Политко́вская, IPA: [ˈanːə sʲtʲɪˈpanəvnə pəlʲɪtˈkofskəjə]; Ukrainian: Га́нна Степа́нівна Політко́вська [ˈɦɑnːɐ steˈpɑnʲiu̯nɐ  ...more
  • Assassination, Murder
    Alexander Valterovich Litvinenko (Russian: Алекса́ндр Ва́льтерович Литвине́нко, IPA: [ɐlʲɪˈksandr ˈvaltɨrəvʲɪtɕ lʲɪtvʲɪˈnʲɛnkə]; 30 August 1962 or 4 December 1962 by father's account – 23 November  ...more
  • Lung cancer
    Zola Levitt was a Jewish convert to evangelical Christianity who founded a church, Zola Levitt Ministries, in Dallas, Texas.  ...more
  • Cardiovascular disease
    Milton Friedman (; July 31, 1912 – November 16, 2006) was an American economist who received the 1976 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his research on consumption analysis, monetary  ...more
  • Heart failure, Cardiovascular disease
    Betty Friedan ( February 4, 1921 – February 4, 2006) was an American feminist writer and activist. A leading figure in the women's movement in the United States, her 1963 book The Feminine Mystique  ...more