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Today in History: April 21, Prince dies at age 57

Prince performs during Essence Festival 2014 on July 5, 2014 in New Orleans. Associated Press File Photo

Today is Sunday, April 21, the 112th day of 2024. There are 254 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On April 21, 2016, Prince, one of the most inventive and influential musicians of modern times, was found dead at his home in suburban Minneapolis; he was 57.

On this date:

In 1649, the Maryland Toleration Act, providing for freedom of worship for all Christians, was passed by the Maryland assembly.

In 1836, an army of Texans led by Sam Houston defeated the Mexicans at San Jacinto, assuring Texas independence.

In 1910, author Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, died in Redding, Connecticut, at age 74.

In 1926, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II was born in Mayfair, London; she was the first child of The Duke and Duchess of York, who later became King George VI and the Queen Mother.

In 1930, fire broke out inside the overcrowded Ohio Penitentiary in Columbus, killing 332 inmates.

In 1975, with Communist forces closing in, South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu resigned after nearly 10 years in office and fled the country.

In 1976, clinical trials of the swine flu vaccine began in Washington, D.C.

In 1980, Rosie Ruiz was the first woman to cross the finish line at the Boston Marathon; however, she was later exposed as a fraud. (Canadian Jacqueline Gareau was named the actual winner of the women’s race.)

In 1998, astronomers announced in Washington that they had discovered possible signs of a new family of planets orbiting a star 220 light-years away, the clearest evidence to date of worlds forming beyond our solar system.

In 2012, Charles W. “Chuck” Colson described as the “evil genius” of the Nixon administration who served seven months in prison for a Watergate-related conviction, then spent the next 35 years ministering to prison inmates, died at age 80.

In 2013, Joe Scarborough, a 50-year-old self-employed electrical contractor, rolled the first 900 series in Professional Bowlers Association history — three straight perfect games.

In 2015, an Egyptian criminal court sentenced ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi to 20 years in prison over the killing of protesters in 2012. (Morsi collapsed and died during trial on espionage charges in June 2019.)

In 2018, actor Verne Troyer, best known for his role as “Mini-Me” in the “Austin Powers” movies, died at age of 49.

In 2020, researchers reported that a malaria drug that had been widely touted by President Donald Trump for treating the coronavirus showed no benefit in a large study of its use in U.S. veterans hospitals.

In 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed victory in the battle for the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, even as he ordered his troops not to take the risk of storming the giant steel plant where the last Ukrainian defenders were holed up.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor-comedian-writer Elaine May is 92. Anti-death penalty activist Sister Helen Prejean is 85. Singer-musician Iggy Pop is 77. Actor Patti LuPone is 75. Actor Tony Danza is 73. Actor James Morrison is 70. Actor Andie MacDowell is 66. Rock singer Robert Smith (The Cure) is 65. Rock musician Michael Timmins (Cowboy Junkies) is 65. Actor-director John Cameron Mitchell is 61. Rapper Michael Franti (Spearhead) is 58. Actor Leslie Silva is 56. Actor Toby Stephens is 55. Rock singer-musician Glen Hansard (The Frames) is 54. Actor Rob Riggle is 54. Comedian Nicole Sullivan is 54. Football player-turned-actor Brian White is 51. Olympic gold medal pairs figure skater Jamie Sale (sah-LAY’) is 47. Rock musician Dave Brenner (Theory of a Deadman) is 46. Actor James McAvoy is 45. Former NFL quarterback Tony Romo is 44. Actor Terrence J is 42. Actor Gugu Mbatha-Raw is 41. Actor Christoph Sanders is 36. Actor Frank Dillane is 33. Rock singer Sydney Sierota (Echosmith) is 27.

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