death

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As heroin and opiate addictions continue to spread among middle class communities, families who never thought they’d face this problem are finding out one simple truth: treating someone for an addiction can be really, really costly. 

Heather Brandon illustration / WNPR

When it comes to understanding heroin and opioid deaths, data matters. But across the country, medical examiners and coroners vary widely in just how much information they provide on death certificates.

The musician Prince had an appointment to meet with an addiction doctor the day after he died, a lawyer for that doctor said during a news conference this afternoon.

Minnesota Public Radio reports:

A study by researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine says medical errors should rank as the third leading cause of death in the United States — and highlights how shortcomings in tracking vital statistics may hinder research and keep the problem out of the public eye.

Since the news of Prince's death broke on Thursday, fans have been flocking to the late artist's Paisley Park estate in Minnesota to celebrate his life.

Hundreds of fans, many of whom wore purple, showered the security fence surrounding the property with cards, flowers, stuffed animals and purple balloons, over the weekend to pay tribute to The Purple One.

When Owen Husney first met Prince Rogers Nelson, the musician was barely old enough to vote — and still going by his government name. "When you meet someone before they became the unapproachable icon, you tend to have a different relationship with them," he says.

Prince — the Purple One, who reeled off pop hits in five different decades — has died at age 57. The shocking news was confirmed by Prince's publicist after reports that police were investigating a death at his Paisley Park compound outside Minneapolis.

"It is with profound sadness that I am confirming that the legendary, iconic performer Prince Rogers Nelson has died at his Paisley Park residence this morning at the age of 57," publicist Yvette Noel-Schure said. "There are no further details as to the cause of death at this time."

A magnitude 7.8 earthquake in Ecuador on Saturday has left more than 400 people dead and many more injured.

Thousands are homeless, The Associated Press reports, and highways, air traffic control towers and buildings along the coast have collapsed.

Rescue workers were working to find and aid survivors, while officials warned the general public of the perils of digging through the rubble.

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A new report that identifies the most distinctive cause of injury death for each state, compared to national rates, has some findings that might be expected:

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Two more fatal overdoses in southeastern Connecticut have once again highlighted the struggle that police and emergency services face in combating the heroin epidemic.

An deadly earthquake struck southern Japan on Thursday.

At least nine people were killed and more than 700 were injured, The Associated Press reports, citing the government's chief spokesman.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, a 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck near the city of Kumamoto at 9:26 p.m. local time. The organization evaluated the earthquake's damage as level red, meaning "extensive damage is probable and the disaster is likely widespread," the website said.

A German train dispatcher was playing a game on his cellphone shortly before he misdirected two trains, causing a head-on collision that killed 11 people, according to prosecutors.

The dispatcher may face charges of negligent homicide, according to Reuters and The Associated Press — though he insists he was not distracted by the game.

The death toll has risen to at least 24 in Thursday's collapse of an overpass in a busy intersection in Kolkata, India. Now comes word that police have detained at least five officials from the company that's been building the structure, as forensics teams try to figure out what happened.

Citing local police, The Associated Press reports, "The officials from the IVRCL Infrastructure Co. are being questioned for possible culpable homicide, punishable with life imprisonment, and criminal breach of trust, which carries a prison sentence of up to seven years."

Zaha Hadid, the Pritzker-winning architect whose designs — both realized and unrealized — profoundly influenced the world of architecture, has died in Miami after contracting bronchitis and experiencing a sudden heart attack, according to her architecture firm.

She was 65.

Malik I. Taylor, the rapper known as Phife Dawg who was a founding member of the seminal group A Tribe Called Quest, died Tuesday at the age of 45.

His family said in a statement that Phife died as a result of complications from diabetes.

Rob Ford, the former Toronto mayor whose drug-addled fall from grace made international news, has died.

Ford had been fighting cancer since 2014. In a statement, his family said he died earlier today at age 46.

"A dedicated man of the people, Councillor Ford spent his life serving the citizens of Toronto," the family said in a statement.

University of Salford / Creative Commons

The great Sir Peter Maxwell Davies – composer, champion of simple living, all-purpose contrarian – left us a few days ago.

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A 13-year-old girl who became the face of the movement in Connecticut to provide medical marijuana to sick children died suddenly on Sunday. 

Sir George Martin, the music producer who signed the Beatles to a recording contract in 1962 and was their intimate collaborator as they together transformed popular music, died Tuesday at the age of 90.

Martin's death was confirmed by Adam Sharp, his manager in the U.K. In a statement, Sharp said:

Sir George Martin passed away peacefully at home yesterday evening, Tuesday March 8th. The family would like to thank everyone for their thoughts, prayers and messages of support.

Nearly three years after she survived a serious injury in the Boston Marathon bombing, college student Victoria McGrath has died in Dubai, the victim of a car crash that also killed three others — including a classmate of McGrath's from Northeastern University.

Both McGrath, 23, and her classmate Priscilla Perez Torres, 23, were set to graduate this spring. The close friends had been traveling together in Dubai.

Announcing a "tragedy in our community," Northeastern University President Joseph Aoun released a statement about the pair's deaths:

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In surgery, when something goes wrong, minutes become hours.

Craig Windham, a voice familiar to many NPR listeners, died unexpectedly last night of a pulmonary embolism. He was 66.

Windham was an award-winning journalist who covered presidential campaigns, hurricanes, earthquakes and the first Persian Gulf War. More recently, he focused on anchoring and reporting for NPR's Newscasts. In less than 40 seconds, Windham could explain the intricacies of a complicated bill or capture the glory of a space shuttle flying over the nation's capital.

Bad weather is seen as a possible cause for the crash of a small passenger plane in Nepal that was navigating between mountains in an area that's popular for treks and sightseeing. The plane, with a crew of three and 20 passengers, reportedly flew into the side of a mountain.

Mourners gathered Saturday to pay their respects to deceased Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia at a funeral mass in Washington D.C.

The towering conservative jurist will be buried in a private ceremony following the service at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, NPR's Nina Totenberg reports to our Newscast unit.

"The shrine, a colorful and large church, is not far from where the justice served for some 30 years," Nina says.

Harper Lee, the author of the classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird, has died in her hometown of Monroeville, Ala. The Pulitzer Prize-winning writer was 89.

Monroeville city officials confirmed reports of Lee's death to Alabama Public Radio. Her publisher, HarperCollins, also confirmed the news to NPR.

Her famous novel about a young girl's experience of racial tensions in a small Southern town has sold tens of millions of copies and been translated into dozens of languages.

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will pay their respects to the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who will lie in repose at the Supreme Court on Friday.

The first family will not attend a brief private ceremony at the court in the morning. According to the White House schedule released Thursday evening, the Obamas will arrive in the afternoon, after general visiting has begun.

Despite gains in car safety, 2015 saw the largest percentage rise in motor vehicle deaths in the past 50 years, according to the National Safety Council. Cheaper gas and a stronger economy were likely key factors in the rise, the nonprofit group says.

His career ranged from teaching law in Egypt to attending the historic Camp David summit of 1978 and then to leading the world's pre-eminent international organization. Former U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali has died at age 93.

The diplomat's death comes days after news emerged that he had been admitted to a hospital in Cairo — an event that prompted Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi to call Boutros-Ghali to check on his health.

The late Justice Antonin Scalia will lie in repose at the Supreme Court on Friday. The funeral will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., according to sources close to the Scalia family.

In a tradition that dates back to 1873, Scalia's Supreme Court chair and bench were draped with black wool crepe today. The court has also placed a black drapery over the courtroom doors.

The last high court justice to lie in repose at the Supreme Court was Chief Justice William Rehnquist in 2005.

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