Though feisty and outspoken in person, Dr. Kübler-Ross wrote with a voice that was both soothing and gently authoritative. Few books have had as profound an effect on public dialogue as did her 1969 blockbuster, On Death and Dying, written at a time when the topic was rarely discussed in public and studiously avoided at the bedside. Fear not, she reassured the tens of millions who would read and then quote her teachings: the human mind has the wondrous capacity to prepare itself for dying, by a progressive series of five steps—denial, anger, bargaining, depression and, finally, acceptance—that ultimately lead to a peaceful resolution.
To debate the details or the validity of Kübler-Ross’s thesis—or to disparage her later flirtation with spiritualistic thinking—is to miss the point of her life’s work. With a single book and a vigorous campaign of proselytizing, this remarkable woman gave permission to an entire generation and its successors to speak openly about our greatest fear.
—Dr. Sherwin Nuland, clinical professor of surgery at Yale University and author of How We Die
EXECUTED. ENZO BALDONI, 56, Italian freelance journalist; after being kidnapped Aug. 19 on the road between Baghdad and Najaf; in Iraq. The al-Jazeera network said last Thursday that it had received a picture of Baldoni's body from a group calling itself the Islamic Army; the group claimed the killing was in response to Italy's refusal to withdraw troops from Iraq. A father of two who ran a successful Milan advertising agency, Baldoni turned to journalism in 1996 and was working in Iraq for the Milan weekly Diario. He is the second Italian hostage killed in Iraq since April.
STRIPPED. AUGUSTO PINOCHET, 88, Chilean President from 1973 to 1990; of immunity from prosecution in a 9-8 vote by the nation's Supreme Court; in Santiago. The decision paves the way for a possible indictment on charges of human-rights abuses for a crackdown on dissidents in the 1970s and '80s in which at least 19 Chileans are believed to have died. The general's lawyers have argued that he is physically and mentally unfit to stand trial.
CHARGED. MARK THATCHER, 51, the son of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, with helping to finance an alleged coup attempt in oil-rich Equatorial Guinea; in Cape Town, South Africa. Authorities say Thatcher allegedly bankrolled the purchase of a helicopter in a plot to overthrow President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, for which 14 suspected mercenaries are currently standing trial in the Equatorial Guinean capital, Malabo. Thatcher, under house arrest in Cape Town, has denied the allegations.
ARRESTED. GILBERTO HIGUERA "EL GILILLO" GUERRERO, 34, alleged narcotics capo said to be responsible for up to half of the illegal drugs smuggled into the U.S.; in Mexicali, Mexico. One of Mexico's most wanted men, authorities say Guerrero is the principal operative of a drug cartel allegedly run by kingpin Ismael Zambada. "This man's fame is practically one of the legends of drug trafficking," said Mexican Attorney General Rafael Macedo de la Concha following the arrest.
DIED. ELENI IOANNOU, 20, three-time Greek judo champion; of an apparent suicide attempt on August 7; in Athens, Greece. The first-time Olympian jumped off a third-floor balcony after quarreling with her boyfriend, kickboxer Yiorgos Chrysostomidis, just hours before she was to enter the athletes' Village. Chrysostomidis later jumped from the same balcony but survived. Ioannou took up judo only about four years ago but won bronze at the Balkan Games in 2003. She will be buried in the outfit she would have worn to the Olympic opening ceremonies.
DIED. PEI PEI, 33, the oldest giant panda in captivity; of organ failure; in Hangzhou, China. Pei Pei more than doubled her species' expected life span of about 15 years. Her death highlights the breeding difficulties of the endangered animals and comes on the heels of China's decision to create a $21.8 million panda-protection zone in the south-western region, where it hopes to stabilize the population.
DIED. DANIEL PETRIE, 83, prolific television director who also made such memorable motion pictures as A Raisin in the Sun (1961), starring Sidney Poitier, and Resurrection (1980), with Ellen Burstyn; in Los Angeles. The Canadian native and former Broadway actor made his mark in the 1960s directing such gritty TV series as The Defenders and East Side/West Side and then began making TV films, including Sybil, starring Sally Field. He won a 1976 Emmy for Eleanor and Franklin, a TV mini-series about the Roosevelts, and another the following year for Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years.