Manuel Noriega was a former Panamanian dictator and onetime U.S. ally whose ties to drug trafficking led to his ouster by an American invasion in 1989. He died May 29 at a hospital in Panama City. No official cause of death was given, but he had been in intensive care since March 7 after complications developed from surgery to remove what his lawyer described as a benign brain tumor. He was 83. Noriega became the head of the armed forces and Panama’s de facto ruler in 1983. Federal grand juries in Miami and Tampa, Fla., indicted him in 1988 on drug-trafficking charges. President George H.W. Bush ordered an invasion in December 1989, and Noriega was captured and taken to Miami. He served a 17-year drug sentence in the United States, then was sent to face charges in France. He spent all but the last few months of his final years in a Panamanian prison for murder of political opponents during his regime.
Frank Deford was an award-winning sportswriter and commentator whose reporting was a staple for years at Sports Illustrated and National Public Radio. He died May 28 in Key West, Fla., according to his family. He was 78. Deford was a six-time Sportswriter of the Year and a member of the National Association of Sportscasters and Sportswriters Hall of Fame. He retired in May from NPR’s “Morning Edition” after 37 years as a contributor. He was a prolific book author and contributed commentaries to HBO’s “Real Sports” program and was host to documentaries on the cable network. He was the editor-in-chief of The National, the nation’s first sports daily, which was founded in 1990 and folded the following year. In 2012, President Barack Obama presented Deford with the National Humanities Medal for transforming how we think about sports.
Elena Verdugo was an actress who received two Emmy nominations for the “Marcus Welby, M.D.” TV series. She died May 30 in Los Angeles. She was 92. Verdugo began her career in Hollywood in the 1940s, appearing in several Universal horror films, including “House of Frankenstein” with Lon Chaney Jr. and Boris Karloff in 1944. Her role of nurse Consuelo Lopez on “Marcus Welby, M.D.” (1969-76) was one of the first portrayals of a professional Latina in a prime-time television series.
Roberto De Vicenzo was the first golfer from Argentina to win a major championship, but he was known as much for a scorecard error at the Masters. He died June 1 at his home in Buenos Aires. The Argentina Golf Association said he broke his hip last month in an accident at home and his health had been deteriorating since then. He was 94. De Vicenzo, who amassed 230 titles worldwide, won his only major at the 1967 British Open. In the 1968 Masters, he made a birdie 3 on No. 17 and shot a 65 to share the lead with Bob Goalby and presumably face a playoff the next day. But De Vicenzo signed a scorecard that gave him a 4 on that hole, and the 65 became a 66 and he finished as runner-up instead of going to a playoff.
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Reinhold Hanning was a former SS sergeant whose conviction last year on 170,000 counts of accessory to murder for serving as an Auschwitz guard was hailed as a long-overdue victory for Holocaust victims. He died May 30, his lawyer confirmed, but no other details were provided. He was 95. Hanning was convicted last June in Detmold state court in northwestern Germany and sentenced to five years in prison, though he never served time behind bars as his case was still being appealed. Unlike most other death camp guards who have been brought to trial, Hanning apologized for his wartime service in Auschwitz from January 1942 to June 1944.
Jack McCloskey was the general manager who built the Detroit Pistons’ “Bad Boys” championship teams. He died June 1 in Savannah, Ga., the Pistons said. He had been battling Alzheimer’s disease. He was 91. McCloskey helped guide Detroit to nine straight playoff appearances, five consecutive Eastern Conference Finals and three NBA Finals, winning championships in 1989 and 1990. He played one game in the NBA for the Philadelphia Warriors in the 1952-53 season. McCloskey was Penn’s head coach during 1956-66, coached Wake Forest during 1966-72, and was the Portland Trail Blazers’ coach during 1972-74, going 48-116.
Constantine Mitsotakis was a former conservative prime minister of Greece during a 60-year political career. He died May 29, his family announced, but no other details were provided. He was 98. Mitsotakis served as prime minister between 1990 and 1993, a brief spell during two decades dominated by his Socialist rivals. Mitsotakis narrowly won election in 1990 after the Socialists became entangled in a financial scandal. His administration was marked by a dispute with neighboring Macedonia over that newly independent country’s name, and by large union and student protests against his free-market and education policies.
Jiri Belohlavek was chief conductor and music director of the Czech Philharmonic orchestra. He died May 31 in Prague. He had suffered an unspecified serious long-term illness. He was 71. Belohlavek was chief conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra during 2006-12. He was the first conductor not from an English-speaking country to conduct the popular final concert of the BBC Proms festival.
Compiled from news service reports by Chris Carter, firstname.lastname@example.org