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In Memoriam 2022: The stars and icons who left us this year

A look back at the most iconic and memorable stars who passed this year
A look back at the most iconic and memorable stars who passed this year Copyright AP Photo
Copyright AP Photo
By Euronews
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In Memoriam 2022: The stars and icons who passed away this year


Here are some of the names in culture, entertainment and the arts that we've lost this year and who will be missed.

Sidney Poitier (1927 - 2022)

J. Scott Applewhite/AP
President Barack Obama, right, presents the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom to Sidney PoitierJ. Scott Applewhite/AP

Sidney Poitier, the groundbreaking actor and enduring inspiration who transformed how Black people were portrayed on screen, became the first Black actor to win an Academy Award for best lead performance and the first to be a top box-office draw died at the start of this year, aged 94.

Few movie stars, Black or white, had such an influence both on and off the screen. 

The acting legend is best known for starring in the 1967 romantic comedy Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and for his perming in Lilies of the Field, which earned him his legendary Oscar. 

Michael Lang (1944 - 2022)

Evan Agostini/AP Photo
Woodstock co-producer and co-founder, Michael Lang, participates in the Woodstock 50 lineup announcementEvan Agostini/AP Photo

Michael Lang, the co-creator of the Woodstock festival, which drew more than 400,000 people to an upstate New York farm in 1969 for a weekend of “peace and music” - died in early January. 

He later became a producer of records, working with the likes of Outkast, Prince, Missy Elliot, Madonna and Bruce Springsteen, as well as a several films, including Wes Anderson's 1996 film Bottle Rocket

Gaspard Ulliel (1984 - 2022)

Mosa'ab Elshamy/AP
Gaspard Ulliel attends the final day of the 17th Marrakech International Film Festival, in Marrakech, Morocco, 2018.Mosa'ab Elshamy/AP

Award-winning actor Gaspard Ulliel, known for his portrayal of Yves Saint Laurent, died in a skiing accident at the beginning of the year, aged 37.

Ulliel was best known for films such as A Long Engagement Sunday by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Saint Laurent by Bertrand Bonello and Juste la fin du monde by Xavier Dolan, which won him the César award for best actor in 2017. 

During an eclectic career, he had toured alongside the giants of French cinema, such as Isabelle Huppert and Gérard Depardieu.

Meat Loaf (1947 - 2022)

Kai-uwe Knoth/AP
Meat Loaf appears on stage during the first concert of his tour through Germany in Hamburg in 2007Kai-uwe Knoth/AP

Michael Lee Aday, known professionally as Meat Loaf, best known for his maelstrom of sound and spectacular live show, died this year aged 74. 

His Bat Out of Hell album sold millions and the singer went on to enchant generations with the long-play anthems Paradise by the Dashboard Light, Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad, and I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That).

He also appeared in over 50 films and TV shows, sometimes as himself or as characters resembling his stage persona, including The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Fight Club

Monica Vitti (1931 - 2022)

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Monica Vitti poses for a portrait at the Venice Film Festival, where she is seen in 1964Monica Vitti/AP

Italian actress Monica Vitti – dubbed the queen of Italian cinema – died in February earlier this year, aged 90. 

Vitti soared to stardom as an Italian film icon in the 1960s with an unforgettable string of performances in films directed by Michelangelo Antonioni, including La Notte and L'Eclisse.

The actress won numerous awards throughout her career, including five David di Donatello (Italian Caesars), a Golden Lion in Venice for Lifetime Achievement and a Silver Bear in Berlin.

Betty Davis (1944 - 2022)

Anthony Barboza/Getty Images
Portrait of American Funk, Soul, and R&B singer singer Betty Davis (nee Mabry), New York, New York, 1969.Anthony Barboza/Getty Images

Betty Davis, the cult funk singer and ex-wife of jazz legend Miles Davis died in February this year at the age of 77.

She is best known for her controversial sexually-oriented lyrics and performance style, and has been described as combining "the gritty emotional realism of Tina Turner, the futurist fashion sense of David Bowie, and the trendsetting flair of Miles Davis".

Jamal Edwards (1990 - 2022)

AP Photo
Jamal Edwards holds his Member of the British Empire (MBE) after it was awarded to him by the Prince of WalesAP Photo

YouTube star and music platform entrepreneur Jamal Edwards died at the age of 31 in February. 


He was awarded an MBE in the 2015 New Year's Honours List for his services to music, particularly his platform SBTV, which helped launch the careers of a number of successful artists, notably Ed Sheeran.

A special tribute was recently made to Edwards in Stormzy's 'Mel Made Me Do It' music video. 

Taylor Hawkins (1972 - 2022)

Amy Harris/AP Photo
Taylor Hawkins appears at One Love Malibu in Calabasas, 2018Amy Harris/AP Photo

The ferocious drummer for Foo Fighters, with whom he recorded eight studio albums between 1999 and 2021, died earlier this year aged 50. 

Hawkins will be remembered for combing immense showmanship and humour with supreme technical skill as a drum and also a vocalist. 

With the Foo Fighters, Hawkins won 12 Grammys, and their consistently successful albums topped the US album chart twice and the UK chart five times.


Taylor's son Shane Hawkins joined Foo Fighters for a special tribute of My Hero at the tribute concert for the late drummer, in an incredibly emotional performance which has picked up nearly 16 million views on YouTube. 

June Brown (1927 - 2022)

Pic: Nils Jorgensen/Shutterstock
June Brown as Dot Cotton in 1997Pic: Nils Jorgensen/Shutterstock

Actress June Brown, who played the greatly-loved chain smoking character Dot Cotton on the British soap opera EastEnders died at the age of 95. 

Brown who first appeared in the series in 1985, became a favourite with the viewers and was one of the soap's longest running character. 

Following the news of Brown's passing, a lot of her fans started sharing their favourite TV moment of her, when the actress met Lady Gaga on the Graham Norton programme.

Andy Fletcher (1961 - 2022)

Owen Sweeney/AP
Andy Fletcher of the band Depeche Mode performs in concert during their "Global Spirit Tour"Owen Sweeney/AP

Andrew Fletcher, the keyboard player and founder member of British electronic pioneers Depeche Mode died earlier this year aged 60. 


For fans, Fletcher was a big part of what made Depeche Mode such a success. Born in 1961 in Nottingham, UK, he was one of the founding members of the now legendary band, creating it in the 70s with Dave Gahan and Martin Gore.

Music was not Fletcher's only love. He also owned a restaurant in London, the Gascogne, which opened in the 90s.

Ray Liotta (1954 - 2022)

Liz Hafalia/San Francisco Chronicle
Ray LiottaLiz Hafalia/San Francisco Chronicle

Actor Ray Liotta, a legend for many due to his role as Henry Mill in Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas, died this year aged 67, while shooting his latest project in the the Dominican Republican. 

The news left millions of fans heartbroken, with the film industry losing one of the greatest “tough guys” and gangsters on the big screen. But though Liotta could play a great mobster, his talent went so far beyond that.

The 1990s also saw him star in the psychological thriller Unlawful Entry alongside Kurt Russell, Cop Land with Robert De Niro and family drama Corrina, Corrina with Whoopi Goldberg. 


James Caan (1940 - 2022)

Richard Shotwell/2017 Invision
James Caan attends To the Rescue! Los Angeles Humane Society Benefit at Paramount Pictures Studios in 2017Richard Shotwell/2017 Invision

Ray Liotta wasn't the only iconic on-screen gangster to pass this year. 

American actor James Caan, who starred as gangster Sonny Corleone in epic mafia film The Godfather, also died this year, aged 82. 

Caan was nominated for an Academy Award for best supporting actor for his portrayal of the hot-tempered Corleone in 1972, who he reprised in flashback scenes in The Godfather: Part II in 1974. 

His career spanned six decades and included a broad range of other roles in movies from psychological thriller Misery to comedy Elf

Paul Sorvino (1939 - 2022)

AP Photo
Actor Paul Sorvino poses at the Bijou Theater where he is directing "Wheelbarrow Closers" in New York, 1976AP Photo

Paul Sorvino, who acted alongside both James Caan and Ray Liotta, best known for playing tough guy Paulie Cicero (Big Pauly) in Goodfellas and New York police sergeant Phil Cerreta in Law & Order, died earlier this year, aged 83.


He also played a number of father figures, including Juliet's father in Baz Luhrmann's 1996 film Romeo + Juliet, as well as guest appearances as the father of Bruce Willis' character on the TV series Moonlighting and the father of Jeff Garlin's character on The Goldbergs

Sorvino had three children from his first marriage, including Academy Award-winning actor Mira Sorvino.

Bernard Cribbins (1928 - 2022)

Grant Pollard/Invision
Actor Bernard Cribbins OBE poses for photographers as he arrives for the British Academy Children's Awards in London, 2014Grant Pollard/Invision

Beloved British actor Bernard Cribbins died at the age of 93 this year. 

The veteran entertainer was best known for his iconic role as the station porter Albert Perks in the 1970 film The Railway Children, as well as the Carry On films and a notorious guest spot on Fawlty Towers.

In a career spanning seven decades, in 2007, he was introduced to a whole new generation of fans on the rebooted BBC series Doctor Who, playing Wilfred Mott, the grandfather of Catherine Tate’s companion Donna. Cribbins would go on to play the role until 2010.


He was already known to Doctor Who fans for playing the Doctor’s companion Tom Campbell in the 1966 film Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 A.D.

Nichelle Nichols (1932 -2022)

AP Photo
Nichelle Nichols poses at the premiere of the new television series "Star Trek: Discovery"AP Photo

Nichelle Nichols, the trailblazing actress and singer best known as the USS Enterprise’s communications officer Lieutenant Uhura in the original TV show Star Trek, died at the age of 89 this year. 

Nichols is remembered for breaking stereotypes and barriers for Black women in Hollywood.

In 1968, Nichols made headlines when her character shared a kiss with Captain Kirk (played by William Shatner) in the Star Trek episode Plato’s Stepchildren, which aired on November 22 that year. It is often referred to as the first interracial kiss on US television.

Beyond the interracial kiss and back on Earth, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) employed Nichols in 1977 as an ambassador and recruiter, helping to bring minorities and women into the astronaut corps.


Issey Miyake (1938 - 2022)

Michel Euler/AP
apanese fashion designer Issey Miyake smiles while inaugurating the exhibition "Making Things", 1998Michel Euler/AP

Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake, known for his boldly sculpted pleated pieces, as well as former Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ black turtlenecks, died this year aged 84. 

The innovator defined an era in Japan’s modern history, reaching stardom in the 1970s among a generation of designers and artists who reached global fame by defining a Japanese vision that was unique from the West.

Miyake’s origami-like pleats transformed usually crass polyester into chic. He also used computer technology in weaving to create apparel. His down-to-earth clothing was meant to celebrate the human body regardless of race, build, size or age.

Olivia Newton-John (1948 - 2022)

AP Photo
Olivia Newton-John, pictured in London in 1978, during a news conference for GreaseAP Photo

Olivia Newton-John, the Grammy-winning superstar who reigned on pop, country, adult contemporary and dance charts with a string of hits, and won countless hearts as everyone’s favourite Sandy in the blockbuster film version of Grease, died from cancer aged 73. 

For a decade from 1973 to 1983, Newton-John was among the world’s most popular entertainers. 


She had 14 top 10 singles just in the US alone, won four Grammys, starred with John Travolta in Grease and with Gene Kelly in Xanadu. The fast-stepping Travolta-Newton-John duet, You’re the One That I Want, was one of the era’s biggest songs and has sold more than 15 million copies.

Before her role in Grease she was already a popular singer, thanks to a string of country, pop and soft-rock hits, including her R-rated 1981 smash hit, Physical, which was number one in the charts for for 10 weeks and named Billboard's Song of the Year. 

She was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992 and went on to become a leading advocate for cancer research initiatives. 

Raymond Briggs (1934 - 2022)

Shaun Curry/AFP
British author Raymond Briggs (R) and a snowman sit in a deckchair that Raymond designed based on his childrens story "The Snowman", 2008Shaun Curry/AFP

Author and illustrator Raymond Briggs, best known for the 1978 children’s picture book The Snowman, died earlier this year at the age of 88.

The Snowman, which was adapted into an animated version for Channel 4 in 1982, has sold more than 5.5 million copies around the world.


Brigg's other works include beloved children’s books Father Christmas, When The Wind Blows and Fungus The Bogeyman.

Jean-Luc Godard (1930 - 2022)

Jean-Jacques Levy/AP1982
Jean-Luc Godard smokes at Cannes festival, France on May 25, 1982Jean-Jacques Levy/AP1982

Jean-Luc Godard, the French-Swiss film director who pioneered the French New Wave era of cinema in the 60s died this year aged 91.

From his debut film Breathless in 1960 through to his final film, 2018’s The Image Book, Godard remained at the cutting edge of the language of cinema, courting praise and controversy across his career.

Instrumental in the French New Wave or ‘Nouvelle Vague’ era of cinema, Godard’s career is defined by experimentation with filming techniques and a blend of politics and philosophical themes in his work.

Queen Elizabeth II (1926 - 2022)

Queen Elizabeth II passes in front of British veterans during a ceremony in Arromanches, France, June 7, 1984Duclos/AP

On Thursday 8 September 2022, the Royal Family announced that Queen Elizabeth II died peacefully at Balmoral Castle, aged 96.


Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor, who came to the throne in 1952, became the UK's longest-serving monarch, after reigning for 70 years.

But she will not only be remembered in the history books, but also for the impact she had in mainstream media as a pop culture icon.

From being immortalised by some of the world's most famous artists, including Andy Warhol and Banksy, to featuring along side Paddington Bear in a sketch for her Platinum Jubilee concert, the Queen's image will be remembered for ever. 

Hilary Mantel (1952 - 2022)

Alastair Grant/AP
Hilary Mantel with their book ' Wolf Hall ' poses for photographers following the announcement in central London, 2009Alastair Grant/AP

Dame Hilary Mantel, Booker Prize-winning author of the acclaimed 'Wolf Hall' saga, died aged 70 earlier this year. 

Mantel won the coveted Booker Prize, an annual prize for the best novel written in the UK, twice. 


The first was in 2009 for 'Wolf Hall', her fictional account of the rise of Thomas Cromwell in the court of King Henry VIII, which has sold more than five million copies and been translated into 41 languages. 

Her trilogy was also successfully adapted into a theatre play by the Royal Shakespeare company and played in the West End and Broadway, as well as a BBC series featuring Mark Rylance as Cromwell.

Louise Fletcher (1934 - 2022)

AP Photo
Louise Fletcher uses sign language on stage as she thanked her parents for their help in winning the Academy Award Oscar, 1976AP Photo

Louise Fletcher, a late-blooming star whose riveting performance as the cruel and calculating Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest set a new standard for screen villains and won her an Academy Award, died aged 88.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest went on to become the first film since 1934′s It Happened One Night to win best picture, best director, best actor, best actress and best screenplay.

Her post-Cuckoo’s Nest films included Mama Dracula, Dead Kids and The Boy Who Could Fly.


She was nominated for Emmys for her guest roles on the TV series Joan of Arcadia and Picket Fences, and had a recurring role as Bajoran religious leader Kai Winn Adami in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

Pharaoh Sanders (1940 - 2022)

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Sanders performing at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in New OrleansAP Photo

Legendary jazz saxophonist Pharoah Sanders, who pushed the boundaries of his instrument and used music as a method of spiritualism, died aged 81 earlier this year. 

In 1965, his music career took off when his playing caught the ear of the great John Coltrane, who invited Sanders to play in his band.

He played on more than a dozen of Coltrane's albums, including Ascension and Meditations, and frequently performed live with him at shows.

Sanders went on to have prolific career, releasing more than 30 albums, including Thembi, _Elevation_and the renowned Karma, which came out in 1969 under Impulse! Records.


Coolio (1963 - 2022)

AP Photo
Coolio gives an interview in his hotel in Sindelfingen near Stuttgart, Germany, in 1998AP Photo

Coolio, the rapper who was among hip-hop's biggest names of the 1990s with hits including Gangsta's Paradise and Fantastic Voyage, died earlier this year aged 59.

The rapper won a Grammy for best solo rap performance for Gangsta's Paradise, the 1995 hit from the soundtrack of the Michelle Pfeiffer film Dangerous Minds that sampled Stevie Wonder's 1976 song Pastime Paradise and was played constantly on MTV.

Coolio also had a successful career as an actor, appearing in dozens of films and popular television shows (often playing himself), including Batman & Robin, Get Over It, Daredevil and Futurama.

Dame Angela Lansbury (1925 - 2022)

AP Photo
Angela Lansbury, speaks on stage at the 57th annual Academy Awards after accepting an Oscar on behalf of Dame Peggy Ashcroft for Best Supporting ActressAP Photo

Angela Lansbury, the scene-stealing British actor who kicked up her heels in the Broadway musicals Mame and Gypsy, shone in children's classics Bedknobs and Broomsticks and Beauty and the Beast, and solved endless murders as crime novelist Jessica Fletcher in the long-running TV series Murder, She Wrote, died this year aged 96. 

Lansbury won five Tony Awards for her Broadway performances and a lifetime achievement award. 


She earned Academy Award nominations as supporting actress for two of her first three films, Gaslight (1945) and The Picture of Dorian Gray (1946), and was nominated again in 1962 for The Manchurian Candidate for her deadly portrayal of a Communist agent and the title character’s mother.

Robbie Coltrane (1950 - 2022)

Chris Clarke/AP
Robbie Coltrane arrives in Trafalgar Square, in central London, for the World Premiere of Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part 2Chris Clarke/AP

"Big man of the British screen" Robbie Coltrane, the Scottish actor who memorably played the gentle half-giant Rubeus Hagrid in all eight Harry Potter films between 2001 and 2011, died aged 72 this year. 

Coltrane's reputation on the big-screen had already been sealed before his time at Hogwarts, notably as the chain-smoking criminal psychologist Fitz in Cracker, as well as appearing as Valentin Dmitrovich Zukovsky, the Russian Mafia boss in two James Bond films, GoldenEye and The World Is Not Enough.

He was appointed an OBE in the 2006 New Year Honours by Queen Elizabeth II for his services to drama.

Leslie Jordan (1955 - 2022)

Evan Agostini/AP
Leslie Jordan appears on FOX News Channel's late-night talk show "Gutfeld!" at the FOX News studios on July 28, 2022Evan Agostini/AP

Leslie Jordan, the Emmy-winning actor, writer, singer and LGBT icon, best known for his roles in Will & Grace, American Horror Story and Hearts Afire, died earlier this year aged 67. 


The veteran actor’s film and TV credits included Ally McBeal, Star Trek: Voyager, The Cool Kids, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, The Help, The United States vs. Billie Holiday, and Call Me Kat, which is currently airing its third season on Fox.

Jordan also became an unlikely Instagram icon in early 2020, after posting funny and lighthearted videos to the social media platform while stuck at home during the pandemic. 

By the time of his death, he amassed 5.8 million followers on Instagram and another 2.3 million on TikTok.

Jerry Lee Lewis (1935 - 2022)

Rene Perez/1975 AP
Jerry Lee Lewis photographed on stage during the fifth annual Rock 'n' Roll Revival at New York's Madison Square Gardens in 1975Rene Perez/1975 AP

The legendary American performer Jerry Lee Lewis died this year aged 87. 

The last survivor of a generation of groundbreaking performers that included Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry and Little Richard, he is perhaps most widely known for this foot-stomping piano-led anthems Great Balls of Fire and Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin On.


Of all the rock rebels to emerge at the time, few captured the new genre's attraction and danger as unforgettably as the Louisiana-born piano player who called himself The Killer.

His early performances were loud, disturbing and chaotic but he was also known as much for scandal and controversy in his private life having married a teenage girl in the 1950s. 

Takeoff (1994 - 2022)

Richard Shotwell/AP
Takeoff of the group Migos performs during the 2019 BET Experience in Los Angeles in 2019Richard Shotwell/AP

Takeoff, one of the members of the hugely popular hip-hop group Migos, was shot dead in Houston last month, aged 28. 

The rapper was reportedly shot at 810 Billiards & Bowling, a bowling alley in Houston, Texas. 

Takeoff was the youngest member of the Migos trio, considered as one of the most influential rap groups in the trap genre, bringing the Atlanta-style to the mainstream.


The group who formed in 2008 released their fourth album Culture III last year, the final instalment of their Culture trilogy. 

Irene Cara (1959 - 2022)

AP Photo
Irene Cara is shown performing at the American Music Awards in Los Angeles, 1984AP Photo

Oscar, Golden Globe and two-time Grammy winning singer-actress Irene Cara, who starred in and sang the title cut from the 1980 hit movie Fame and then belted out the era-defining hit Flashdance ... What a Feeling from 1983's Flashdance, died last month aged 63. 

During her career, she was behind some of the most joyful, high-energy pop anthems of the early ’80s and considered by many to be an icon of her generation.

Cara had three Top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, including Breakdance, Out Here On My Own, Fame and Flashdance ... What A Feeling, which spent six weeks at No. 1. 

Christine McVie (1943 - 2022)

Charles Sykes/AP
Christine McVie from the band Fleetwood Mac performs at Madison Square Garden in New York, 2014Charles Sykes/AP

This month, singer-songwriter Christine McVie from the band Fleetwood Mac, who sold tens of millions of records during its peak commercial years from 1975 to 1980, died 79. 


The British-born vocalist helped define such classics as You Make Loving Fun, Don't Stop and Everywhere. Other big hit singles included Dreams, Go Your Own Way and Little Lies.

McVie was a steady presence and personality in a band known for its frequent lineup changes and volatile personalities, notably fellow singer-songwriters Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham.

But her breakup with her husband and bassist of the band, John McVie, along with the split of Nicks and Buckingham, was famously documented on the 1977 release Rumours - among the bestselling albums of all time.

Terry Hall (1959 – 2022)

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Terry Hall, leader of The SpecialsGetty Images

Terry Hall, the lead singer of The Specials, died this month at the age of 63 from pancreatic cancer.

The singer-songwriter had a difficult childhood and rose to fame as part of the band, who were pioneers of the ska scene and outspokenly political pop in the UK. The multi-racial group provided a musical backdrop to the turbulent Thatcher years, economic recession, urban decay and societal fracture in the early 1980s.


During their time together, The Specials produced a string of hit records including A Message To You, Rudy, Too Much Too Young and Ghost Town.

Maxi Jazz (1957 – 2022)

AP Photo
Faithless singer Maxi Jazz at music festival in Hungary, 2010AP Photo

Maxi Jazz, the lead vocalist of British electronic music band Faithless and known as the voice in trance hits such as God Is a DJ and Insomnia, died aged 65 this month.

"He was a man who changed our lives in so many ways. He gave proper meaning and message to our music," said the other two core members of Faithless, Rollo and Sister Bliss. 

"He was also a lovely human being with time for everyone and a wisdom that was both profound and accessible."

Vivienne Westwood (1941 - 2022)

Jo Metson Scott Contour by Getty Images
Vivienne WestwoodJo Metson Scott Contour by Getty Images

Pioneering fashion designer Dame Vivienne Westwood left us this month, and the world of fashion and culture is an emptier place for it.


The former primary school teacher was one of the most brilliant fashion designers of all time, a rebel with a flare of the theatrical, who injected her love for anarchy, fun, sex and the avant-garde into her iconoclastic designs. She pushed the boundaries when it came to colour and print, and shaped the UK punk movement and street style in the 70s, earning her the title 'The Queen of Punk'.

Her long career was highlighted by a string of triumphant runway shows in London, Paris, Milan and New York, and the name Westwood became synonymous with style and attitude even as she shifted focus from year to year. Her range was vast and her work was never predictable.

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