DIED The man many republicans blame most for George H.W. Bush's reneging on his "Read my lips: no new taxes" pledge was Bush budget chief Richard Darman. As a top aide to Ronald Reagan, he was both an intellectual and a savvy technocrat. Yet the economist could be stubborn. After persuading Bush to reverse himself to reduce the deficit—a move that deeply damaged voters' trust and one that Bush called his biggest mistake—Darman maintained the error was tactical; the plan had just been badly presented. "I'm a long-term idealist and short-term realist," he said. Darman was 64 and had leukemia.
He was the rock star of priests. Greek Orthodox leader Archbishop Christodoulos surfed the Web, cracked jokes and made a point of welcoming people who had AIDS. He mended an age-old rift with the Vatican by receiving Pope John Paul II in 2001—the first visit to Greece by a Pope in 1,300 years. He urged young people to come "as you are, earrings and all," and dramatically upped church attendance. Despite criticism for his sometimes shrill nationalism and willingness to meddle in politics—as when he called the Turks "Eastern barbarians" or attacked NATO's bombers of Serbia as "pawns of Satan"—he remained one of his nation's most popular figures. He was 69 and had cancer.
"At least the world is talking about us now," said George Habash, a pediatrician who in 1967 rejected Yasser Arafat's PLO to found the Marxist group Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Habash pioneered modern terrorist tactics in the war on Israel. During the '60s and '70s, his group orchestrated such high-profile attacks as the hijacking of an El Al plane in 1968, the bombing of a Jerusalem supermarket in 1969 and the gunning down of 27 people at Israel's Lod Airport in 1972. He was 82.
Life in the glare of White House cameras was no fun for Margaret Truman, the only child of Harry Truman, and her early attempt at a singing career was not much easier. (When a critic panned her "flat" voice, the President warned that if they met, the critic would need a "new nose.") Still, the witty, levelheaded Margaret found her calling in 1980 when she published the best-selling Murder in the White House, the first of a series of mysteries set in the FBI, Supreme Court and other political hot spots. She was 83.
He had an eerily practiced, beatific smile, a secular philosophy that tamped down religious extremism, and an anticommunist bent that made him a key cold war ally for the U.S. Yet army general Suharto was also a brutal dictator who purged hundreds of thousands of critics as Indonesia's ruler from 1967 to 1998. He was forced to step down in the wake of the Asian financial crisis, but the controversy over his reign continued. Indonesia's new government launched inquiries into the corruption. Suharto sued TIME after it published its own 1999 investigation into his ill-gotten gains. He won his lawsuit on appeal; TIME is challenging the decision. Suharto spent his postrule years living comfortably—and avoiding trial for his abuses—in central Jakarta. He was 86.
It is a testament to the sense of mission of Gordon Hinckley, his easygoing nature and his will to win broader understanding for his religion that the Mormon Church president agreed to speak to Mike Wallace in 1996. He told the tough 60 Minutes reporter, "We are not a weird people." After taking over in 1995, Hinckley traveled around the world, held telegenic celebratory events and oversaw a global expansion, during which believers outside the U.S. surpassed American Mormons for the first time, temples jumped from 49 to 120 worldwide and membership grew from 9 million to 13 million. Hinckley was 97.