Rim Banna
Rim Banna

18 People We’ve Lost in 2018

Mon, Jan. 28, 2019
Rim Banna
The Palestinian singer, vocalist, composer and activist, known for her modern interpretations of traditional Palestinian songs and poetry, died on March 24 at the age of 52 following a nine-year struggle with breast cancer. Banna graduated from Moscow’s Higher Institute for Music in 1991. She released a collection of Palestinian children’s songs and in 2003 took part of the multi-artist release Lullabies from the Axis of Evil, featuring female singers from a variety of nations deemed enemies of freedom by George W. Bush, in the hopes of introducing their music and culture to the West. Banna’s Mirror of My Soul album also caught the attention of audiences around the world, becoming one of 2005’s most acclaimed Arabic crossover releases. Her album 2006 This Was Not My Story gained a spot on European charts among the year’s most popular world music releases.

Stephen Hawking
The legendary physicist, who is best known for his 1988 record-breaking bestseller A Brief History of Time, died on March 14 at the age of 76 after battling motor neuron disease, known as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Hawking was diagnosed with ALS at the age 21, and was forced to remain in a wheelchair and depend on a computerized voice system to communicate. He held 12 honorary degrees; in 1982, he received the Commander of the Order of the British Empire honor and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009. He was also named a Fellow of The Royal Society, which is comprised of “the most eminent scientists, engineers and technologists from the UK and the Commonwealth.”

Ebrahim Nafae
The Egyptian journalist and editor of the Al-Ahram newspaper from 1979 to 2005 was chair of the General Union of Arab Journalists from 1996 to 2012. He died on January 1 at the age of 84. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Ain Shams University in 1956 and began his journalism career as a reporter at Reuters. Nafae also served as the chairperson of the Arab Anti-Discrimination Organization, which is particularly focused on exposing all forms of discrimination and racism practiced by Israel.

Ahmed Khaled Tawfik
The renowned Egyptian author best known for his horror/thriller pocket series Ma Wara Al-Tabia (Metaphysics), died of a heart attack on April 2 at the age of 55. Tawfik, who practiced medicine before he turned to writing, is widely considered to be the first contemporary writer of horror, science fiction and fantasy in the Arab World, and the first writer to explore the medical thriller genre. Tawfik’s books became a hit among young people who consider him their “godfather” and identified him the protagnoist in many of his stories, Refaat Ismael, who was featured in the Metaphysics series. His 2008 novel Utopia, which highlights Egypt’s class divides, was a great hit and a continuation of the success that his Metaphysics series achieved. He is the prodige of another famous Egyptian writer, Nabil Farouk.

Henri Michel
The French football player and coach died April 24 at the age of 73. Michel played as a midfielder for the France national football team and later went on to coach and manage various clubs, like Paris Saint-Germain and Egypt’s Zamalek club as well as national teams all over the world, including Morocco for two stints, Tunisia at the 2002 Africa Cup of Nations, the Ivory Coast during the 2006 World Cup and Cameron. He coached France at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico where they reached the semi-final.

Kofi Anan
The first black African to lead the United Nations, Kofi Anan died on August 18 at the age of 80. Hailing from Ghana, Anan served as the seventh UN Secretary-General between 1997 and 2006. His efforts to secure a more peaceful world won him and the UN the Nobel Prize in 2001.

Madiha Yousri
The star from the golden age of Egyptian cinema died on May 30 at the age of 97. The actress and producer known as the “Brunette of the Nile” was chosen by Time Magazine as one of the world’s 10 most beautiful women in 1940s. Yousri, who was discovered by film director Mohammed Karim while sitting with her friends at the historic café Groppi in Downtown Cairo appeared in more than 90 films, many of which are considered classics, including Lahn el-Kholoud (Immortal Song), Ard Al-Ahlam (The Land of Dreams), Al-Khataya (The Sins) and Inni Rahela (I Shall Depart). She was cast alongside stars Emad Hamdy, Youssef Wahby and Hussein Riad in the film Hayya aw Mout (Life or Death), which was nominated for the Palme d’Or at Cannes Film Festival. Yousri was awarded Egypt’s State Medal of Creativity in 1963 by then-president Mohamed Anwar Sadat, and in 1998 she was appointed a member of the Egyptian Shura Council (Upper House) by former President Hosni Mubarak. She also received an honorary doctorate from the Egyptian Arts Academy on November 26, 2017 for her artistic career.

Khaled Mohieddin
The last member of the Free Officers Movement and the Revolutionary Command Council that overthrew King Farouk in 1952 died on May 6 at the age of 95. He graduated from the Egyptian Military Academy in 1940, where he served as an officer. In 1977, Mohieddin set up the National Progressive Unionist Party as a leftist opposition group, winning several seats in parliament under former President Hosni Mubarak. Interim President Adly Mansour awarded him Egypt’s highest honor, the Nile medal, in 2013 for his valuable contribution to political history since 1952. In 1970, Mohieddin was awarded the International Lenin Peace Prize.

Galal Amin
Acclaimed economist Galal Amin passed on September 15 at the age of 83. The intellectual and writer published eight books, his most famous being Whatever Happened to the Egyptians? released in 2000. Born in 1935 to Egyptian academic and jurist Ahmed Amin, the younger Amin graduated with a degree in law before continuing his studies at the London School of Economics. In 2015, the beloved AUC professor received the Sultan Qaboos Award for Culture, Arts and Literature, which recognized his significant intellectual accomplishments.

George H. W. Bush
The 41st president of USA and the patriarch of one of America’s dominant political dynasties, George Herbert Walker Bush, who served from 1989 to 1993, died on November 30 at the age of 94. Bush was a member of the Republican Party and had previously been a congressman, ambassador, and director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Bush was the first incumbent vice president to be elected president of the US. Foreign policy drove Bush’s presidency; the invasion of Panama (1989-1990), the second gulf war (1990-1991), the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 all took place during his tenure. He lost the presidential election for a potential second term to Democrat Bill Clinton following an economic recession and decreased importance of foreign policy in a post Cold War political climate.

Hasan Kami
Egyptian actor and opera singer Hasan Kami died on December 14 at age 82. He studied at the Jesuit school then earned a Bachelors of Law from Cairo University, and later studied at the Theatre Conservatory. Kami began his career at the Cairo Opera House in 1963 and starred in more than 270 operas, including Opera Aida. He won the third global award in operatic singing from Italy in 1969, the fourth global award 1973 and the sixth award from Japan in 1976. Kami also served as manager of the Cairo Opera House for several years and participated in many TV series including Ana w enta w Baba fel Meshmesh and El-Banat (The Girls).

Gamil Rateb
Beloved Egyptian actor Gamil Rateb died September 19 at the age of 92. Rateb starred in many films, including La Azzaa Lel Sayedat (No Consolation for Women), Hob Fel Zenzana (Love in the Prison), El Bedaya (The Beginning) and Toyoor el-Zalam (The Birds of the Dark). Rateb also played unforgettable roles in a number of TV series such as Yawmiat Wanees (Days of Wanis), El-Raya al-Bayda (White Flag), Al-Asdekaa (The Friends) and Wajh el-Qamar (Face of the Moon). The iconic actor has appeared in French, Italian and Tunisian movies as well as distinguished international movies such as Lawrence of Arabia, Trapeze, To Commit a Murder, among others. He was honored in March 2018 in the seventh edition of the Luxor African Film Festival as well as the 29th edition of the Cairo International Film Festival.

Ebrahim Al-Shqankiri
Egypt lost director Ebrahim Al-Shqankiri on February 8; he was 82. Al-Shqankiri received his bachelor’s degree in cinema from the University of California, USA in 1960 and directed many films and TV series, most notably the social drama Saken Osady (Living Across from Me). He achieved national and international acclaim, winning the Alexandria International Film Festival Award for 1964 documentary film Al-Lahza Al-Khaleda (The Immortal Moment), several awards at the Cairo International Film Festival for his film Ana la Akzeb Walakeny Atagamal (I Am Not Lying But I Am Beautifying) and the award for Best Director for the film Estekalet Alemet Tharra (The Resignation of a Female Atom Scientist) and the 1992 documentary films’ award from the Leningrad festival.

Mohamed Metwally
At 73 years old, the Egyptian actor who played several unforgettable roles in acclaimed movies like Hassan and Murkos and TV series including all parts of the famous soap Layaly El-Helmya (Hemya Nights), died on February 17. Metwally, who graduated from the Higher Institute of Dramatic Arts, also participated in the American adventure film Sphinx.

Samir Zaher
The former Egyptian Football Association (EFA) President and former national team player died March 13 at the age of 74. Zaher’s time as the president of EFA was the most successful period in Egyptian football history; the national team won the African Cup of Nations four times in 1998, 2006, 2008 and 2010, and participated in the 2009 FIFA Confederation Cup in South Africa.

Baki Zaki Youssef
Egyptian military engineer and hero behind the plan which saw Egyptian soldiers break through the Bar Lev Line in October 1973 died on June 23 at the age of 87. Youssef, who had helped build the High Dam in Aswan, learned a tactic from his engineering days on the Nile and used high-pressure water cannon to rupture and breach the Bar Lev Line built by Israel along the entire east bank of the Suez Canal after seizing the Sinai Peninsula in 1967. In 1973, Youssef was awarded the first rank Military Medal of the Republic for his contribution to the 1973 victory. In 1984, upon his retirement from the army, he was awarded the Republic Collar of Distinction.

Ebrahim Saadah
Egyptian journalist and chairperson of Dar Akhbar el-Yom foundation died on December 12 at age 81. Saadah studied political economy in Switzerland, where he began to work as a news correspondent for Akhbar el-Yom from Geneva. Later, he became the head of the external investigations department at the newspaper, then deputy editor in chief and editor in chief of Akhbar el-Yom where he was famous for his column “The Last Column.” Saadah was also the editor in chief of Mayo newspaper (newspaper of the Egyptian National Party), becoming the first journalist to co-chair the editorial of a national newspaper and a party’s newspaper.

Hamdi Qandil
Veteran Egyptian journalist, news anchor and talk show host Hamdi Qandil died at age 82 on October 31. Qandil, who started his journalism career in the 1950s when he wrote for the Akher Sa’a (The Last Hour) magazine at the invitation of legendary journalist Mustafa Amin, presented a number of famous TV programs such as Aqwal al-Suhuf (In the Press), Ra’is el-Tahrir (Editor in Chief) and Qalam Rosas (Pencil). During the course of his career, Qandil was appointed director of the Arab Broadcasting Studios Union and worked with UNESCO from 1974 to 1986, specializing in national media. In 1987, he co-founded a satellite broadcasting company that later became known as MBC. His columns have appeared in Al-Masry Al-Youm and Al-Shorouk.

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