11:54 AM EDT 12/10/2013
Originally posted 12/10/2013 06:00AM
The world's political, religious and human rights leaders have converged on Johannesburg, South Africa, to pay tribute to Nelson Mandela, who died last Thursday at 95.
Calling Mandela "a giant of history," President Obama spoke about the life and legacy of the late leader, and thanked the people of South Africa "for sharing him with us."
"He gave hope to the oppressed," said Obama, who likened Mandela to Abraham Lincoln for keeping his country together at a time it threatened to break apart.
Also due to speak were South Africa's president, Jacob Zuma, and the presidents of Brazil, India and Cuba – as well as Bono and Oprah Winfrey.
Originally posted 12/09/2013 07:00PM
Eleanor Parker, who was nominated for Academy Awards three times for her portrayals of strong-willed women and memorably played a scheming baroness in The Sound of Music, has died at 91.
Family friend Richard Gale said Parker died Monday morning due to complications from pneumonia. "She passed away peacefully, surrounded by her children at a medical facility near her home in Palm Springs," Gale added.
Parker was nominated for Oscars in 1950, 1951 and 1955, but then saw her career begin to wane in the early 1960s. Her last memorable role came in 1965's The Sound of Music, in which her character loses Christopher Plummer to Julie Andrews.
"Eleanor Parker was and is one of the most beautiful ladies I have ever known," said Plummer in a statement. "Both as a person and as a beauty. I hardly believe the sad news for I was sure she was enchanted and would live forever."
Originally posted 12/09/2013 11:00AM
Monday marks exactly one year since singer Jenni Rivera was tragically killed in a plane crash in Mexico.
She may be gone, but those who knew her best (and loved her dearly) are making sure "La Diva de la Banda" is not forgotten. A new Jenni Rivera album was released Dec. 3, featuring songs from her last concert in Monterrey, Mexico, and her eldest daughter, Janney "Chiquis" Rivera, will play Jenni in a new movie being made about the singer.
On the anniversary of her death, Jenni's celeb friends, co-stars and producers are also sharing their favorite memories of Jenni exclusively with PEOPLE.
Originally posted 12/08/2013 06:30PM
A chorus of whirring engines paid tribute to the late Paul Walker Sunday as thousands gathered at the Santa Clarita, Calif., crash site where the actor died last Saturday.
Many mourners arrived in high-performance vehicles, a nod to Walker's star turn in The Fast and the Furious franchise, as well as his personal love of cars. Several vehicles Walker drove in the movies were on display in a church parking lot near the crash site, reports the Los Angeles Times.
Walker died alongside friend Roger Rodas after the Porsche Carrera GT Rodas was driving careened into a light pole and tree, then burst into flames. An autopsy confirmed Walker, 40, died of "traumatic and thermal injuries." Authorities say speed played a role in the crash.
Originally posted 12/08/2013 11:45AM
South Africans of all races flocked to houses of worship Sunday for a national day of prayer and reflection to honor Nelson Mandela, unified in their love for a historic figure whose funeral is expected to be one of the biggest in modern times.
At the Regina Mundi Church that was at the epicenter of the Soweto township uprising in 1976 against white rule, Father Sebastian J. Rossouw described Mandela as "moonlight," saying he offered a guiding light for South Africa. Hundreds of people attended the Mass.
"Madiba did not doubt the light," Rossouw said, referring to Mandela by his clan name. "He paved the way for a better future, but he cannot do it alone."
Originally posted 12/07/2013 03:25PM
Of all the many tributes to Paul Walker over the past week, the one from his Fast & Furious crewmates resonated most with readers.
And of all the glad tidings of the season, the Grinch-iest seemed reserved for a certain reality-show family.
Here are the five stories that sparked the strongest reactions from PEOPLE.com readers this week, from happy, sad, laugh out loud, and angry – to wow.
To tell us what you think of what's going on in the news, click on the appropriate icon appearing at the bottom of every story.
Originally posted 12/07/2013 10:50AM
Vin Diesel cemented his devotion to his brother on Friday in a heartbreaking Facebook post honoring his close friend and Fast & Furious costar, who died in a fiery car crash last Saturday.
Diesel explained that he jumped on a plane and made a beeline to Walker's mother's house directly after hearing the news of his death. His reaction after they embraced in grief appears to have simultaneously surprised, touched and shattered the action star.
"His mother hugged me and said, 'I am so sorry,' " he wrote in a post that has already garnered more than five million likes. "I said, 'Sorry? You're the mother who lost a son' ... She said 'Yes, but you lost your other half.' "
Originally posted 12/06/2013 03:10PM
Heartfelt and passionate tributes continued to flow in from around the world following the death of South African president and global human-rights icon Nelson Mandela.
"One of the great honors of my life was to be invited to Nelson Mandela's home, spend private time and get to know him," Oprah Winfrey Tweeted, posting a photo on Instagram of their time together.
"He was everything you've ever heard and more – humble and unscathed by bitterness. And he always loved to tell a good joke," Oprah said. "Being in his presence was like sitting with grace and majesty at the same time. He will always be my hero. His life was a gift to us all."
Originally posted 12/06/2013 02:20PM
Like so many others who knew Paul Walker personally, Gerard Butler is mourning the untimely loss of the actor.
Originally posted 12/05/2013 05:55PM
A great leader has died – and within minutes, people who knew Nelson Mandela and many others, who only knew of his fight for freedom in South Africa and for people around the world, lit up social media sites like Twitter and Instagram to express their condolences and pay their respects.
Madela passed away Thursday at the age of 95.
"The founding President of our democratic nation has departed," the current President of South Africa Jacob Zuma, using Mandela's tribal name, said in an address to the nation. "He passed on peacefully in the company of his family ... on the 5th of December 2013. He is now resting. He is now at peace. Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father."
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