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Actor Justin Mentell, perhaps best known for his starring role on Boston Legal, died in a car accident in rural Waukegan, Illinois yesterday morning.

He was just 27 years old.

Mentell passed away when his Jeep swerved off a steep embankment and hit two trees at about 8:30 a.m. The actor was not wearing a seatbelt.

Justin Mentell portrayed lawyer Garrett Wells on Boston Legal from 2005-2006; more recently, he appeared as Terrell in the 2009 film G-Force.

R.I.P. Justin Mentell (1982-2010).

Born in Austin, Tex., Mentell was also an accomplished athlete who was a former member of the U.S. Junior National Speedskating team.

Our condolences go out to his loved ones.

Sad news like this tends to happen in bunches. Mentell's death follows the passing of former NFL star Jay Novacek's wife LeAnne and news of Phil Harris of Deadliest Catch falling into a coma after a stroke. We'll be hoping for Phil's recovery.

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LeAnne Novacek, wife of former Dallas Cowboys tight end Jay Novacek, has died, a spokesperson with the Tarrant County medical examiner's office said.

Dallas-Fort Worth's' WFAA cites a self-inflicted gunshot as the cause of death. The 45-year-old LeAnne was discovered dead at 9:05 a.m. this morning.

At 8:37 a.m., Burleson police and fire departments responded to "a report of a medical emergency, possible suicide" at a residence in Burleson, Texas.

Police on the scene called the Tarrant County coroner's office and detectives. The police investigation is ongoing, with an autopsy scheduled for Tuesday.

R.I.P. Jay Novacek's wife LeAnne was found dead earlier today.

Officials say that Jay Novacek was not at the residence when police arrived. No suicide note was found, but more information may be revealed shortly.

Jay Novacek played six seasons for the Cowboys from 1990-1996 and was a major contributor to teams that won three Super Bowls over four seasons.

He retired in 1997. He and LeAnne Novacek continued to live in the area after his retirement, and Jay remained closely involved with his former team.

Our thoughts are with LeAnne's and Jay's families after this tragedy.

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Jasmina Anema, who captured the hearts of President Obama, Rihanna and thousands of ordinary Americans, lost her courageous fight against leukemia today.

The little girl was just six years old.

"Today, January 27, at 10:55 p.m., Jasmina lost her fight against leukemia," her grief-stricken mother wrote to a sad group of supporters who that rallied around Jasmine's worldwide, public campaign to find bone-marrow donors.

President Barack Obama himself commented on the sand news, releasing a statement:

Rihanna and Jasmina

Jasmina Anema was not lacking for celebrity support.

"It is with great sadness that Michelle and I extend our condolences on the passing of Jasmina Anema ... she showed tremendous bravery, and her ability to remain positive was an inspiration to me and to all those she touched."

Jasmina Anema's story gained publicity last year when Rihanna made a public plea for bone-marrow donors to come forward. As a result, Destiny's Child singer Michelle Williams, NBA star Paul Pierce and others joined the cause.

Jasmina received her transplant last year when a near-perfect match was found. But in September, her leukemia returned, though she always remained positive.

Rest in peace, Jasmina, and may your inspiring story give hope to others out there waging similar struggles, and to those who lend a hand to others in need.

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Author J.D. Salinger, whose novel Catcher in the Rye has long been among the most popular and treasured titles in contemporary American literature, died Wednesday.

He was 91.

The author died of natural causes at his home in Cornish, N.H., his son said this morning in a statement released by Salinger's literary representative.

Notoriously private despite his fame, Salinger's last published work came in 1965, and he lived for the past several decades in self-imposed isolation.

Salinger earned his place in literary and pop culture history more than a half-century ago with his 1951 novel about rebellious teenager Holden Caulfield.

R.I.P. J.D. Salinger (1919-2010).

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Jennifer Lyon has died at age 37. She starred on Survivor in 2005, the same year she was diagnosed with breast cancer, against which she fought a long battle.

"I was completely shocked and overwhelmed," Lyon said of her initial diagnosis of the disease. "I felt fine that day; in fact, I've been healthy my entire life."

Austin Carty, an alum of Survivor: Panama, dated Lyon, who starred on Survivor: Palau, in 2006. "Jen was a genuinely selfless, sweet-natured person," he said.

"She always had a smile. She cared about every person.”

R.I.P. Jennifer Lyon (1973-2010).

Carty last saw his friend at a breast cancer charity event in New York during summer 2009, where she received a standing ovation after giving a speech.

"She was engaged in the fight of her life, but she had every intention to fight,” Carty said. "This has really rocked the Survivor community. It's just so sad."

Our deepest condolences to Lyon's family and friends.

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On professional football's most exciting weekend, sad news out of the NFL today:

Chicago Bears defensive end Gaines Adams died this morning. The 26-year old was taken to a Greenwood, South Carolina emergency room and pronounced dead at 9 a.m EST, according to the county coroner.

Preliminary autopsy results indicate that Adams died of cardiac arrest caused by an enlarged heart.

The 6-foot-5, 256-pound lineman played in college at Clemson and was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first round of the 2007 NFL draft. He was traded to the Bears in October.

In 47 career games, Adams had 67 tackles and 13.5 sacks. Our thoughts are with his friends and family.

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Teddy Pendergrass, a singer admired for his bravery in the face of paralysis, has passed away from colon cancer complications. He was 59.

A R&B singer, Pendergrass was paralyzed in a 1982 car accident. He initially rose to fame in the 1970s when he became lead singer of Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, a group that put out such singles as "If You Don't Know Me by Now" and "I Miss You."

The crooner crashed his Rolls-Royce in Philadelphia, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. He resumed his recording career the next year with the album "Love Language" and returned to the stage, performing from a wheelchair, at the Live Aid concert in 1985.

He started the Teddy Pendergrass Alliance in 1998. It benefits victims of spinal cord injuries.

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Renowned punk rocker Jay Reatard, real name Jimmie Lee Lindsey, was found dead in his Memphis home early yesterday, according to friends. He was 29.

He died in his sleep, according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

Goner Records, which has released a number of Jay's singles and EPs, posted the following statement to its official site on Wednesday afternoon:

"It is with great sadness that we report the passing of our good friend Jay Reatard. Jay was as full of life as anyone we have ever met, and he was responsible for so many memorable moments as a person and artist."

"We’re honored to have known him, and we will miss him terribly."

R.I.P. Jay Reatard (1980-2010).

Known for his energy, prolific output and outlandish stage behavior, Jay Reatard recently released his newest album, Watch Me Fall, to critical acclaim in August.

He will be missed!

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Paula Sladewski has been found gruesomely murdered.

The 26-year old, a former Playboy model, has been identified by Miami authorities as the individual "burned beyond recognition" in a trash bin on Sunday.

Labeling the murderer a "monster," police are asking the public for any help they can provide on tracking down the culprit.

"It's so horrific. It's a dastardly act," North Miami police spokesman Lt. Neal Cuevas told CNN. "It's the most heinous thing that a person can do to another person."

Sladewski hails from Michigan. Her boyfriend, who has not been named, is considered a person of interest because he was vacationing with her in Florida.

The couple arrived in Miami on Thursday to celebrate New Year's Eve with a Lady Gaga concert. Cuevas said Sladewski's boyfriend confirmed they went to Club Space on Saturday and remained until early Sunday morning, at which point an argument ensued.

He was thrown out of the club, Sladewski stayed, and that was the last time her boyfriend saw her alive.

Said Sladewski's sister:

"She loved life, she was full of life. She went on a lot of vacations. She was a great person. I couldn't imagine anything like this happening. We can't even give her an open casket. We can't even see her again. She did not deserve to die in this way."

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Erik Gates, who made numerous appearances on the show Mythbusters, died recently after a freak accident in which he fell 30 feet from a building to his death.

Mythbusters is a Discovery Channel favorite and Erik Gates made regular visits to the show, where he also founded a website dedicated to his rocketry work.

Not many details are available at this time, but it is believed that Gates was walking across the roof of a building which he and a colleague were working on.

Reports are suggesting that Erik Gates fell through a skylight and suffered blunt force injuries, which he was then taken to hospital and later passed away.

This tragic loss of life is just the latest in a long string of sad celebrity deaths of 2009. We wish Erik's family and friends the best as they cope with his loss.

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