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Guests pay respects to the late Rep. Elijah Cummings as his remains lie in state outside the House Chamber of the U.S. Capitol Oct. 24. Photo: Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images

From literary giants like Nobel laureate Toni Morrison to longtime civil servants and rights advocates like Rep. Elijah Cummings, many influential figures and pioneers left us in 2019.

Go deeper: Here are the some of the most notable from AP's "final goodbye" tribute to the leading luminaries we lost in 2019.

Frank Robinson: The first African American manager in Major League Baseball and the only player to be named MVP in the National League and the American League.

Frank Robinson's statue in Cleveland, Ohio before the 2019 MLB All-Star Game. Photo: Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

Valery Bykovsky: The pioneering Soviet-era cosmonaut flew to space three times. His first launch was in 1963.

Valery Bykovsky aboard the Salyut 6 space station during the 1978 Soyuz 31 mission. Photo: Sovfoto/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Peter Mayhew: He graced "Star Wars" fans as tall, furry, and lovable Chewbacca from "A New Hope" to 2015's "The Force Awakens."

Peter Mayhew at the world premiere of "Solo: A Star Wars Story" in May 2018. Photo: Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Disney

I.M. Pei: The architect who adorned the Louvre with its iconic giant glass pyramid and designed the bold, geometric Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

I.M. Pei at the 2016 Asia Game Changers, at the United Nations New York Headquarters. Photo: Mark J Sullivan/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

Murray Gell-Mann: The Nobel Prize-winning physicist helped discover subatomic particles and developed the strangeness theory and eightfold way theory.

Murray Gell-Mann during a lecture in Huazhong Normal University in 2010 in Wuhan, China. Photo: Visual China Group via Getty Images

Patricia Bath: A pioneering inventor and ophthalmologist. She was the first African American female doctor to receive a medical patent and the first African American to finish an ophthalmology residency.

"Sexism, racism, and relative poverty were the obstacles which I faced as a young girl growing up in Harlem. There were no women physicians I knew of and surgery was a male-dominated profession..."
— Bath, in a Q&A session with the National Institutes of Health

Lee Iacocca: The auto executive behind Ford's Mustang the only executive in modern times to run two of the Big Three automakers..

Lee Iacocca with the Mercedes-Benz Maybach 57 S in Beverly Hills, California. Photo: Mathew Imaging/FilmMagic

Pernell Whitaker: A four-division boxing champion and Olympic gold medalist regarded as "one of the greatest defensive fighters ever," per AP.

Pernell Whitaker at a Los Angeles press conference in 2011. Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

John Paul Stevens: Former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court "who unexpectedly emerged as the Supreme Court’s leading liberal" after being nominated as a Republican, per AP.

John Paul Stevens sits for a portrait in May 2019 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Photo: Scott McIntyre/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

Edith Irby Jones: A physician, the first woman president of the National Medical Association, and the first African American student to enroll at an all-white medical school in the South, per AP.

"But I was gonna be a different kind of doctor. I was gonna be a doctor in which money wasn’t gonna to make any difference with me — that I was gonna particular see that those who did not have money — those who were less fortunate —would get the kind of care that they needed ..."
— Jones in a 2006 interview at the University of Arkansas.

Chris Kraft: Founder of NASA’s mission control and American aerospace engineer.

President Ronald Reagan briefed by Christopher Kraft at the Johnson Space Center's Mission Control Center in 1981. Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Harold Prince: A Broadway director and producer who changed 20th century theater with "The Phantom of the Opera," "Cabaret," "Company" and "Sweeney Todd." He who won 21 Tony Awards.

Hal Prince at the Manhattan Theatre Club's Broadway Premiere of 'Prince of Broadway' in 2017. Photo: Walter McBride/Getty Images

Toni Morrison: A legendary American author who unblinkingly examined and exhumed America's relationship with race.

Toni Morrison at New York City's Ambassador Theatre in 2015. Photo: Kris Connor/Getty Images

Phyllis Newman: The first woman to host “The Tonight Show” and a Tony Award-winning Broadway veteran, who won the 1962 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical.

Phyllis Newman in 2015 in New York City. Photo: Monica Schipper/FilmMagic

Alexei Leonov: The Soviet cosmonaut who became the first person to perform a spacewalk.

Alexei Leonov at a 2017 news conference. Photo: Andrei Makhonin\TASS via Getty Images

Elijah E. Cummings: A sharecropper's son and civil rights champion, Cummings served in Congress for 23 years. He was head of the House Judiciary Committee and one of President Trump's strongest critics.

Cummings at the National Press Club in D.C. in August 2019. Photo: Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Sadako Ogata: Former United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and former President of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and one of the first Japanese to hold a top job at an international organization, per AP.

Sadako Ogata receives receives the Atlantic Council's 2012 Global Citizen Award in New York. Photo: Stan Honda/AFP/GettyImages

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Updated 6 hours ago - Technology

A dark view of the future of autonomous weapons

A still from the video "If Human: Kill ( )." Image: Future of Life Institute

A new short film warns of the coming risks posed by the development and proliferation of lethal autonomous weapons.

Why it matters: Drones with the ability to autonomously target and kill without the assistance of a human operator are reportedly already being used on battlefields, and time is running out to craft a global ban of what could be a destabilizing and terrifying new class of weapon.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus variant surveillance varies widely by state — Omicron cases confirmed in 5 U.S. states America probably won't lead the effort to understand Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Moderna loses patent battles tied to COVID vaccine — Pfizer could have vaccine data for children under five by end of 2021, CEO says.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate — Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come.
  4. World: WHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming — Germany approves new restrictions for unvaccinated people.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Updated 12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Prosecutors charge parents of Michigan school shooting suspect

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The parents of a 15-year-old accused of killing four students and wounding seven other people at a Michigan high school have been charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter, according to court documents.

The latest: Lawyers for James and Jennifer Crumbley told the Detroit News they are "returning to the area to be arraigned," after law enforcement officials announced a search for the Crumbleys had been initiated.

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