Getty Images / Photo by Gene Lower

Died April 22

Pat Tillman was already a hero to football fans during his career as an All-Pro safety for the Arizona Cardinals, delighting hometown fans when he turned down an impressive contract offer from the St. Louis Rams out of loyalty to the Cardinals. His hero status increased exponentially when, eight months after the 9/11 attacks, he left his football career behind to join the U.S. Army and fight for his country. Tillman became an Army Ranger and won awards and decorations including a Purple Heart and a Silver Star. We remember Tillman's life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.

Click to discover notable people who were born this day in history including superstar Glen Campbell.

2017: Erin Moran, the actress who was beloved for her role as Joanie Cunningham on the 1970s sitcom “Happy Days,” dies at 56.

 

2013: Richie Havens, U.S. singer-songwriter and guitarist whose career took off after his legendary performance at Woodstock, dies at 72.

Richie Havens (AP Photo / Stephen Chernin)Havens, a folk singer and guitarist, was the first performer at the three-day 1969 Woodstock Festival. He returned to the site during the 40th anniversary in 2009. "Everything in my life, and so many others, is attached to that train," he said in a 2009 interview with The Associated Press. Read more

 

 

 

2012: Bill Granger, U.S. author who was known for writing political thrillers and whose books include "The November Man," dies at 70.

2008: Paul Davis, U.S. singer-songwriter who had a hit song with "I Go Crazy" in 1977, dies at 60.

2004: Pat Tillman, U.S. athlete and Army Ranger who played in the NFL and then became a Ranger, is killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan at 27.

For many young athletes who worship star athletes, making it as a professional football player is the ultimate dream. For Pat Tillman, playing in the NFL was just one facet of his life. In addition to being a starting safety for the Arizona Cardinals, Tillman was a U.S. Army Ranger who served multiple tours of combat before being killed by friendly fire 10 years ago this April. Read more

 

 

 

2003: Felice Bryant, U.S. songwriter who wrote many hit songs with her husband, Boudleaux Bryant, including "Rocky Top" and hit songs for the Everly Brothers, including "Bye Bye Love" and "Wake Up Little Susie," dies at 77.

2003: Martha Griffiths, U.S. politician who served in Congress representing Michigan from 1955 until 1974, dies at 91.

1996: Jug McSpaden, U.S. professional golfer who won 17 PGA titles, dies at 87.

1996: Erma Bombeck, U.S. humorist whose newspaper column and books about suburban life have proved extremely popular, dies at 69.

Today would have been Erma Bombeck's 88th birthday, so it's a day to celebrate her life – and her humor. Read more

 

 

 

 

 

1994: Richard Nixon, U.S. politician who was the president of the United States from 1969 until 1974 when he resigned while in office in the wake of the Watergate scandal, dies at 81.

His political career may have been rocky, but one constant in Nixon's life was his love for his wife, Pat. That love was made a little more public on the 100th anniversary of Pat's birth, when the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum prepared an exhibit to remember and celebrate the former first lady. The exhibit showcased the love between the president and first lady with a collection of never-before-seen love letters from Richard to Pat. Read more

 

 

 

1988: Irene Rich, U.S. film actress who was most popular during the silent era, dies at 96.

1984: Ansel Adams, U.S. photographer known best for his landscape portraits of the American West, dies at 82.

1983: Earl Hines, U.S. jazz pianist who was very influential and who played with Louis Armstrong and Dizzy Gillespie, dies at 79.

1980: Jane Froman, U.S. singer and actress who was popular in the 1930s and '40s and had her own television show on CBS, dies at 72.

1978: Will Geer, U.S. actor known best for playing Grandpa Walton on "The Waltons," dies at 76.

1967: Tom Conway, English actor who had a recurring role on "The Betty Hutton Show," dies at 62.

1962: Vera Reynolds, U.S. actress who was a leading lady in silent films, dies at 62.

1949: Charles Middleton, U.S. character actor who appeared in movies with Laurel and Hardy, Harold Lloyd, and The Marx Brothers, dies at 74.

1946: Harlan Stone, U.S. lawyer who was the 12th chief justice of the United States Supreme Court, dies at 73.

1946: Lionel Atwill, English actor who was most famous for his horror film roles such as Inspector Krogh in "Son of Frankenstein," dies at 61.

1616: Miguel de Cervantes, Spanish author and poet who was well-known for his classic novel "Don Quixote," dies at 68.

Click to discover notable people who were born this day in history including superstar Glen Campbell.