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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, July 13, 2019

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H. Ross Perot, Texas billionaire who ran for US presidentJim Bouton, NY Yankees pitcher who wrote tell-all bookArtur Brauner, Holocaust survivor who became German film producerSteve Cannon, artist and writerFernando Corbató, early computer scientistValentina Cortese, Italian film actressWilliam Dannemeyer, former Orange County congressmanFernando de la Rúa, former Argemtine presidentNeil Estern, toy designer turned sculptorRuss Ewing, Chicago TV reporterMaty Ezraty, yoga instructorHector Figueroa, union presidentPhilip Freelon, architect of museumsRose Greene, LGBTQ advocateJohnny Kitagawa, producer of boy bandsLucette Lagnado, journalist and authorVincent Lambert, French vegetative patientHarlan Lane, psychologist who championed culture of deaf peopleJerry Lawson, lead singer of PersuasionsCharles Levin, TV and film actorPaul Markham, Kennedy confidante after 1969 Chappaquiddick crashWalt Michaels, football player and coachAlex Navab, Wall Street financierSutopo Purwo Nugroho, Indonesia's disaster agency spokesmanVivian Perlis, musicologist who founded Yale's musical archiveAaron Rosand, classical violinistRosie Ruiz, Boston Marathon cheaterArthur Ryan, Irish founder of Primark fashion chainMichael Seidenberg, NYC booksellerRussell Smith, country-rock singer, songwriter, and guitaristRip Torn, movie and TV actorDorothy Toy, half of Toy & Wing, WWII dance teamIda Wyman, magazine photographer

Art and Literature

Steve Cannon (84) writer, visual artist, gallery owner, and patron of multiculturalism. A native of New Orleans, Cannon moved to New York in the early ‘60s and was eventually dubbed “the emperor of the Lower East Side” by his friend and sometime collaborator, Ishmael Reed. Cannon and Reed helped to found a multicultural publishing house, and Reed was among those involved with Cannon’s “A Gathering of Tribes,” a literary publication, art gallery, and arts organization. Cannon’s books included Groove, Bang & Jive Around, a 1969 publication that Reed called a “pre-rap novel.” He also mentored younger writers, among them Man Booker Prize winner Paul Beatty. Cannon died of apparent septic shock in New York City on July 7, 2019.

Neil Estern (93) in the late ‘50s, just as the doll Barbie was making her debut as a teenager with unrealistic physical dimensions, Estern invented Patti Playpal. Where Barbie stood less than a foot tall, Patti, measuring 36 inches head to toe, was life-size, as far as a 3-year-old was concerned. And unlike Barbie, Patti looked like most any toddler girl—an all-vinyl companion who could share real clothing and imaginary adventures with a human playmate. The Playpal line proved enormously popular; today collectors buy them for hundreds of dollars and even more. Within a few years Estern had turned from toymaker to full-time professional sculptor of monumental works. Whether depicting a charismatic Frankin Delano Roosevelt or an effervescent Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia of New York, he created sculptures of some of the nation’s leading public figures, works that can be seen today in major cities. He died of renal failure in Sharon, Connecticut on July 11, 2019.

Philip Freelon (66) architect whose long list of credits includes museums and other cultural institutions devoted to the black experience, among them the National Museum of African-American History & Culture on the Mall in Washington. Besides the Washington museum and other notable buildings, Freelon designed or helped to design the National Center for Civil & Human Rights in Atlanta, the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco, and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in Jackson. He died in Durham, North Carolina of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, on July 9, 2019.

Lucette Lagnado (62) journalist and author whose memoirs chronicled her Jewish family’s longing for an exodus-in-reverse after an agonizing departure from Egypt to America in the early ‘60s. Lagnado was a senior special writer for the Wall Street Journal, where her accounts of shortcomings in the American health care system had been inspired by her family’s medical challenges. An author of three nonfiction books, she won the $100,000 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature in 2008 for her evocative memoir The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit. That book was, in effect, a biography of her father, Leon Lagnado, a pious Jew by day and playboy by night. Lucette Lagnado died in New York City from complications of treatments for childhood cancer, on July 10, 2019.

Ida Wyman (93) photographer who in the ‘40s and ’50s roamed New York and other cities to capture images of everyday people working, playing, idling, dancing, or selling newspapers. Wyman—whose work for Life, Look, and other magazines went largely unheralded for decades—discovered what she called a “special kind of happiness” in photographing subjects like a little girl wearing curlers, a peddler hauling a block of ice from a horse-drawn cart, and four boys holding dolls, pretending to be the plastic girls’ fathers. She died in Fitchburg, Wisconsin on July 13, 2019.

Business and Science

Fernando Corbató (93) whose work on computer time-sharing in the ‘60s helped to pave the way for the personal computer and the computer password. Corbató, who spent his entire career at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, oversaw a project in the early ‘60s called the Compatible Time-Sharing System, or CTSS, which allowed multiple users in different locations to access a single computer simultaneously through telephone lines. At the time, computing was done in large batches, and users typically had to wait until the next day to get the results of a computation. In a 1963 public TV interview, Corbató described batch processing as “infuriating” for its inefficiency. But the advent of time-sharing reinforced the notion, still in its infancy, that computers could be used interactively. It was an idea that animated the computing field for decades. Corbató died of diabetes in Newburyport, Massachusetts on July 12, 2019.

Maty Ezraty (55) helped to popularize the ancient practice of yoga in the US and created a rigorous teaching program that trained tens of thousands of yoga instructors around the world. Ezraty cofounded YogaWorks in 1987 in a studio in Santa Monica, California and developed it with Chuck Miller, her partner in life and in business. They helped to move yoga into the mainstream, offering more than 120 classes per week to more than 700 students per day. An estimated 55 million Americans are now yoga practitioners, up from 18 million in 2008. Revenue from the American yoga industry is projected to reach more than $11 billion in 2020. Ezraty and Miller sold YogaWorks in 2004 and moved to Hawaii, but Ezraty continued to teach and run workshops around the world. YogaWorks has continued to expand and today has more than 60 locations across the country, including 17 in Los Angeles. Ezraty died unexpectedly while teaching in Tokyo, Japan on July 9, 2019.

Harlan Lane (82) psychologist whose immersion in the world of deaf people led him to become a leading champion of the position that people born unable to hear are not disabled but are part of a distinct ethnic group with their own culture. Lane was a hearing person whose work in psychology and linguistics was transformed in the early ‘70s when he was introduced to deaf students communicating in American Sign Language (ASL) at UC San Diego, where he was a visiting professor. Watching the students communicate led him to explore what he called “Deaf World,” in books, journal articles, and research, largely at Northeastern University in Boston, where he was instrumental in starting an ASL program. He eventually learned to sign. Lane died of Parkinson’s disease in Roquefort-les-Pins, France, near Nice, on July 13, 2019.

Alex Navab (53) financier once considered a potential successor to Wall Street titans Henry R. Kravis and George R. Roberts. Over 24 years Navab became a top executive in the private equity industry, where investment firms buy businesses with the aim of cutting costs or growing sales, then reselling them for profit. Worldwide, the industry now oversees some $2 trillion in capital. Navab died unexpectedly while vacationing with his family in Greece, on July 7, 2019.

H. Ross Perot (89) self-made Texas billionaire who rose from a childhood of Depression-era poverty and twice mounted outsider campaigns for president. Perot’s 19 per cent of the vote in 1992 stands among the best showings by an independent candidate in the 20th century. As a boy in Texarkana, Texas, he delivered newspapers from the back of a pony but earned his billions in a more modern fashion. After attending the US Naval Academy and becoming a salesman for International Business Machines, he went his own way—creating and building Electronic Data Systems Corp., which helped other companies to manage their computer networks. But the most famous event in his business career didn’t involve sales and earnings. In 1979 he financed a private commando raid to free two EDS employees who were being held in a prison in Iran. The tale was turned into a book and a movie, On Wings of Eagles. Perot died of leukemia in Dallas, Texas on July 9, 2019.

Arthur Ryan (83) chairman and founder of Primark, the low-cost fashion chain that began as a single store in Dublin, Ireland and grew into an international retailing giant. Ryan was working as a buyer for Dunnes Stores, an Irish retail chain, when he was recruited in 1969 to establish Penneys, a clothing store in Dublin. By keeping overhead costs low and prices affordable, Penneys expanded to Derby, England in 1973. The name was changed to Primark because J. C. Penney owned the copyright to the name outside Ireland. Primark stores in Ireland are still known as Penneys. Primark now employs more than 75,000 people at 372 stores across 11 countries, including Spain, Italy, and the US. It does not have an online store, but its profits have grown even as rival stores have struggled. Ryan died in Ballsbridge, Ireland on July 8, 2019.

Michael Seidenberg (64) whose bookshop and literary salon on the Upper East Side was much loved by bibliophiles, literati, and browsers. Seidenberg ran Brazenhead Books, a storefront establishment when he started it in the late ‘70s on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. It remained so when he moved it to East 84th Street around 1980. When he lost his lease seven years later, he moved his vast inventory of used books, some of them first editions, autographed, or otherwise noteworthy, to his rent-controlled apartment on the same block. Around 2008 he turned the book-stuffed apartment into a secret bookstore, open at select times or by appointment to friends and admirers. Sometimes a visitor might actually buy a book, but the place was more like a salon, with literary figures and book lovers mingling and sharing a drink at a bar stocked mostly with liquor contributed by patrons. Seidenberg died of heart failure in Danbury, Connecticut on July 8, 2019.


Vivian Perlis (91) musicologist who founded Yale University's Oral History of American Music, an invaluable archive of audio and video interviews that she directed for more than 40 years. The oral history project includes some 3,000 recordings of interviews with composers and other major musical figures, from Aaron Copland to Elliott Carter, from Duke Ellington to John Adams. Perlis came to run the project accidentally, after taking a job as a research librarian at the Yale School of Music in 1967. She died in Weston, Connecticut on July 11, 2019.


Paul Markham (89) former federal prosecutor who was on Chappaquiddick Island the night of US Sen. Ted Kennedy’s fateful car crash. Markham was one of two people Kennedy confided in after driving his Oldsmobile sedan off a narrow bridge on the tiny island, located off the famous resort island of Martha’s Vineyard. Kennedy’s passenger, 28-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne, drowned in the crash because Kennedy was unable to pull her out of the car. A graduate of Boston University School of Law, Markham was appointed a federal prosecutor in 1964 by Robert F. Kennedy, who was US attorney general at the time. He became US Attorney for Massachusetts in 1966 at age 36 after his predecessor, W. Arthur Garrity Jr., was tapped to become a federal judge. He resigned in 1969 after Republican President Richard Nixon took office. Markham worked as a lawyer in private practice until retiring in 2004. He died on July 13, 2019 in Peabody, Massachusetts. His funeral was held on July 18, the 50th anniversary of the 1969 crash.

News and Entertainment

Artur Brauner (100) Polish-born Holocaust survivor who became one of post-World War II Germany’s most prominent film producers. The hundreds of films that Brauner produced included several with a Holocaust theme, among them Agnieszka Holland’s Europa Europa (1990), about a boy in Nazi Germany who joins the Hitler Youth to try to conceal the fact that he is Jewish. It won a Golden Globe. Babi Yar (2003), produced by Brauner and directed by Jeff Kanew, centered on the 1941 Nazi massacre of Jews in Ukraine, in which several of Brauner’s relatives were killed. It was not a box-office success in Germany. Brauner was also a producer of Vittorio De Sica’s The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, set in Mussolini’s Italy, which won the Oscar for best foreign-language movie in 1972. He died in Berlin, Germany on July 7, 2019.

Valentina Cortese (96) Italian postwar screen diva who was nominated for a best-supporting actress Oscar but lost out to Ingrid Bergman. Cortese was a popular muse for leading Italian directors including Michelangelo Antonioni and Franco Zeffirelli. She got an Oscar nomination in 1975 playing a fading diva in François Truffaut’s Day for Night, a movie about making movies. While Cortese didn’t win that Oscar, she was showered with praise by the actress who did clinch it that year: Ingrid Bergman for her performance in Murder on the Orient Express. In an elegant acceptance speech devoted to Cortese, Bergman said the Italian actress had given “the most beautiful performance” in Day for Night by playing an aging actress who forgets her lines like “all we actresses” do sooner or later. Once married to US actor Richard Basehart (died 1984), Cortese died in Milan, Italy on July 10, 2019.

Russ Ewing (95) Chicago TV reporter whom homicide suspects trusted enough to accompany them when they surrendered to authorities. Ewing was the buffer between homicide suspects and police. More than 100 suspects contacted him during his nearly 30-year career in Chicago TV. In 1992 he told the Associated Press he also received calls from other suspects but that time forced him to limit himself to those accused in killings. He died of bladder cancer in Paw Paw, Michigan on July 9, 2019.

Johnny Kitagawa (87) kingpin of Japan’s entertainment industry for more than 50 years who produced famous boy bands including Arashi, Tokio, and SMAP. Born in Los Angeles in 1931, Kitagawa spent his early childhood in Japan before and during World War II. He later grew up in the US before returning to Japan after the Korean War. He established his office in 1962, producing a four-man group called the Johnny’s and spearheading Japan’s entertainment scene. He brought many artists to fame, not only in Japan but in recent years across Asia. Creating boy bands was a challenge to cultural norms in Japan back then, but Kitagawa's talent agency grew to dominate the country’s entertainment market. The artists he produced set the standards for Japanese male idols, and “Johnny’s” became a word for attractive men. Kitagawa died from a subarachnoid hemorrhage at a Tokyo, Japan hospital, where he had been treated after falling unconscious on June 18, on July 9, 2019.

Jerry Lawson (75) for 40 years lead singer of the eclectic cult-favorite a cappella group the Persuasions. Lawson’s smooth baritone led the group of five and later six singers, who were revered as the “Kings of a Cappella” by their small but devoted fan base. Through 25 albums the Persuasions recorded rock, blues, gospel, and pop songs, all with no sound other than their own voices, long after the doo-wop era and long before the Pitch Perfect movies, when a cappella was rare. Lawson died at a Phoenix, Arizona hospice after Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare neurological disorder, had compromised his immune system, on July 10, 2019.

Charles Levin (70) actor whose TV credits include Alice, Hill Street Blues, Doogie Howser, M. D., Night Court, and Seinfeld. Levin also had roles in movies, including The Golden Child, Annie Hall, and This is Spinal Tap. His body was found several hundred feet from his car, which contained the remains of his pug dog, Boo Bear, in an “incredibly remote” area near Grants Pass in southwestern Oregon, on July 13, 2019.

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (49) Indonesia’s disaster agency spokesman, respected for informing the public accurately and quickly about the country’s frequent natural calamities. Sutopo revealed in early 2018 that he had been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer and was told he might not survive more than a year. As his personal tragedy unfolded, the year became one of the worst in recent memory for natural disasters in Indonesia. Thousands died in a series of earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, and landslides. Sutopo continued to work while enduring intense pain, typing news releases from his hospital bed after undergoing chemotherapy, updating social media, holding press conferences, and fielding calls from reporters at any hour. He died in Guangzhou, China, where he had been undergoing cancer treatment since June, on July 7, 2019.

Aaron Rosand (92) leading violinist who closed out a long career with a dramatic, emotion-filled gesture, selling his beloved rare violin for some $10 million and donating $1.5 million of that to his alma mater and former employer, the Curtis Music Institute in Philadelphia. Rosand made his orchestral debut with the Chicago Symphony when he was 10 and was still performing until just a few years ago. He performed with major orchestras all over the world, for much of his career playing an instrument made in 1741 and known as the ex-Kochanski Guarneri del Gesù. He acquired the violin in 1957 for about $50,000, financed with a loan that he said took him about 10 years to pay off. That was the instrument he sold to a well-heeled Russian in 2009 for $10.1 million, thought to be a record for a violin at the time. Rosand died of pneumonia in White Plains, New York on July 9, 2019.

Russell Smith (70) lead singer, songwriter, and rhythm guitarist for the country-rock band the Amazing Rhythm Aces. Smith’s baritone was heard on the Amazing Rhythm Aces’ biggest hits, including gospel-themed “Amazing Grace (Used to Be Her Favorite Song),” (1975), the group’s sole Top 10 country hit. “The End Is Not in Sight (The Cowboy Tune),” written by Smith, earned the band a Grammy Award for Best Country Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group in 1976. His most enduring original was “Third Rate Romance,” a song about a one-night stand that has been recorded by artists ranging from Elvis Costello and Rosanne Cash to the proto-new wave band, the Fabulous Poodles. Smith died of cancer in Franklin, Tennessee on July 12, 2019.

Rip Torn (88) free-spirited Texan who overcame his quirky name to become a distinguished actor in TV, theater, and movies, such as Men in Black, and win an Emmy in his 60s for The Larry Sanders Show. Torn’s work on stage and screen spanned 70 years, ranging from an early career of dark, threatening roles to iconic comedic performances later in life. After acclaimed performances in Cross Creek, Sweet Bird of Youth, and other dramas, he turned to comedy to capture his Emmy as the bombastic, ethically challenged TV producer on The Larry Sanders Show. Created by and starring Garry Shandling (died in 2016), HBO’s spoof of TV talk shows aired from 1992–98 and is widely credited with inspiring such satirical programs as 30 Rock and Curb Your Enthusiasm. Torn played Agent Zed in the first two Men in Black movies, which starred Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith. Torn died in Lakeville, Connecticut on July 9, 2019.

Dorothy Toy (102) beginning in the ‘30s, Toy danced her way across stages and the occasional film set, weathering the hostility toward Japanese-Americans during World War II even as her parents were sent to an internment camp. Toy worked for much of her career with Paul Wing (died 1997). They billed themselves as Toy & Wing and played prominent houses in the US and abroad. According to Dancing Through Life: The Dorothy Toy Story, a 2017 documentary by Rick Quan, in 1939 they became the first Asian-Americans to play the London Palladium. They were in England when World War II broke out in Europe. For that engagement and others, they billed themselves as “Chinese dance stylists” or a “Chinese-American dance team” or even “the Chinese Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers,” but only Wing was Chinese. Toy, born Shigeko Takahashi in the US, was of Japanese heritage. She died in Oakland, California on July 10, 2019.

Politics and Military

William Dannemeyer (89) former Orange County, California congressman who spent much of his career fighting gay rights and helped to cement Orange County’s reputation as a bastion of right-wing conservatism. Once called the “Don Quixote of the Right,” Dannemeyer was a steadfast supporter of the religious right in conservative politics. Along with figures such as “B-1 Bob” Dornan, John Schmitz, and, most recent to exit, Dana Rohrabacher, Dannemeyer was part of a corps of congressmen who rose with Orange County’s conservative movement and helped the region to earn its famous moniker as “America’s nut country.” He died of age-related illness in Thousand Palms, California on July 9, 2019.

Fernando de la Rúa (81) former Argentine president who attracted voters with his image as an honest statesman but later left as the country plunged into its worst economic crisis. De la Rúa served from 1999 to December 2001, when he infamously escaped by helicopter from the rooftop of the pink presidential palace. It came after days of violent protests against his handling of the crisis amid rioting that caused dozens of deaths across Argentina. De la Rúa took office in December 1999 with a popularity rating above 70 per cent, a no-nonsense image, and a pledge to end the flamboyance of the preceding president, Carlos Menem, and improve the economy. But he was forced to order tax hikes, salary cuts for public workers, and other unpopular measures, and he left office with ratings in the single digits. The crisis in 2001–02 was devastating. One of every five Argentines was jobless, and some reported going hungry. At least 27 people died in protests and looting that swept Argentina in December 2001 as its economy unraveled and the country eventually defaulted on a record debt of more than $100 billion. De la Rúa died of cardiac and other complications in Belén de Escobar, Buenos Aires Province, Argentina on July 9, 2019.

Hector Figueroa (57) president of a union representing 175,000 property service workers. Figueroa was president of Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union. He was known for his leadership in fighting for causes including Puerto Rican hurricane relief and raising New York's minimum wage. The union represents airport workers, window cleaners, superintendents, doormen, maintenance workers, cleaners, porters, and security officers in Washington, DC and 11 states including New York. Figueroa died of a heart attack in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York on July 11, 2019.

Society and Religion

Rose Greene (72) LGBTQ advocate who oversaw the creation and launch of one of the country’s largest HIV/AIDS fund-raising events—a 545-mile bike ride along the coast of California that became a national model and a symbol of unity. Greene helped to develop the inaugural California AIDS Ride in 1994—a multiday bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles to raise funds for HIV and AIDS services. Since its launch, the fund-raiser, now called the AIDS/LifeCycle, has raised more than $280 million to provide free HIV/AIDS medical care; testing and prevention services to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community; and awareness of the disease. Greene died of bone cancer in Duarte, California on July 11, 2019.

Vincent Lambert (42) Frenchman who was in a vegetative state for 11 years while his wife and parents disagreed over his continued medical care. A 2008 car crash left Lambert in a vegetative state, and he needed to receive nutrition by artificial means to sustain him. His parents, Pierre and Viviene, fought relentlessly to keep their son alive. The traditionalist Catholic couple filed a legal complaint for attempted murder on July 4 to prevent actions that would lead to his death. Their lawyers had said a homicide complaint would be filed when he died. Lambert’s treatment was suspended after France’s highest court overturned a Paris court’s decision to resume the artificial feeding so a United Nations committee on the rights of people with disabilities could examine the case. Lambert’s wife, Rachel, had argued he should be allowed to die and supported withholding artificial nutrition. Lambert died nine days after doctors stopped providing artificial feeding and hydration and after years of contrary court rulings over whether medical interventions should prolong his life, in Reims, France on July 11, 2019.


Jim Bouton (80) former New York Yankees pitcher who shocked and angered the conservative baseball world with the tell-all book Ball Four (1970), which detailed Yankees great Mickey Mantle’s carousing and the use of stimulants in the major leagues. Bouton’s revealing look at baseball off the field made for eye-opening and entertaining reading, but he paid a big price for the best-seller when former teammates, players, and executives across baseball ostracized him for exposing their secrets. He wasn’t invited to the Yankees’ Old-Timers’ Day until 1998. Throwing so hard that his cap often flew off his head, Bouton was 21-8 with six shutouts in 1963—his second season in the majors and his only year as an All-Star—and went 18-13 with four more shutouts in ’64. The Yankees lost the World Series both years, with Bouton losing his lone start in 1963 in New York’s loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers and winning twice in ‘64 in the Yankees’ loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. He died of a brain disease related to dementia in Great Barrington, Massachusetts on July 10, 2019.

Walt Michaels (89) former New YorkJets coach who retired following the 1982 season after leading the team to the AFC title game. The former Cleveland Browns linebacker was defensive coordinator of the Jets’ Super Bowl-winning team in the 1968 season. He was head coach from 1977–82, going 39-47-1 and making the playoffs in the ‘81–82 season. The Jets reached the AFC title game after the 1982 season before losing to the Miami Dolphins in a rain-soaked Orange Bowl. Michaels later coached the New Jersey Generals of the USFL for two years in 1984–85. He starred as a fullback and linebacker at Washington & Lee University and was a seventh-round draft pick of the Browns in 1951. He was a five-time Pro Bowl player and helped the Browns to reach five NFL title games, winning championships in 1954–55. Michaels died in Plains, Pennsylvania on July 10, 2019.

Rosie Ruiz (66) Boston Marathon course-cutter who was stripped of her victory in the 1980 race and later became an enduring symbol of cheating in sports. An unknown who didn’t look or act as if she had just run 26.2 miles, Ruiz finished first in the women’s division in Boston in 1980 in a then-record time of 2 hours, 31 minutes, 56 seconds. Even as she was awarded her medal and the traditional olive wreath, her competitors wondered how a woman they had never heard of—or seen on the course—could have won. Ruiz always maintained that she won the race fairly and never returned the medal. The marathon shortcuts were not her only—or most serious—transgressions: In 1982 she was arrested in New York on charges of stealing $60,000 in cash and checks from her employer. In 1983 she was sentenced to three years of probation for cocaine trafficking. Ruiz died of cancer in Lakeworth, Florida on July 8, 2019.

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