Conservative U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died unexpectedly at the age of 79 in February. Appointed to the top U.S. court in 1986 by President Ronald Reagan, Scalia was known for his strident conservative views and theatrical flair in the courtroom.
Though his death wasn’t an election story, the sudden court vacancy left open questions that affected the race for president. Obama, with more than 10 months to appoint a replacement, will apparently never get a chance to push his nominee through, leaving the next president, Donald Trump, to pick a justice that could begin a push for a more conservative court.
2016 seemed to be full of celebrity deaths from rocker David Bowie and former first lady Nancy Reagan to comedian Garry Shandling and beloved TV dad Alan Thicke, but the most shocking was arguably Prince. The iconic singer was found unconscious inside his Minnesota estate Paisley Park on April 22. More shocking news came when it was discovered that Prince died from an accidental painkiller overdose.
A gunman armed with an assault rifle killed 50 people at a packed gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida on June 12 in the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. Police killed the shooter at the Pulse nightclub, who was identified as Omar S. Mateen, a 29-year-old Florida resident and U.S. citizen. In 911 calls made during the shooting, Matteen said he was an Islamic soldier, and that he was was motivated by the airstrikes in Syria and Iraq that were killing innocent women and children. He also called Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev his “homeboy,” adding “now it’s my turn.”
On June 23, Britons voted to leave the 28-nation EU, forcing the resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron and dealing the biggest blow to the European project of greater unity since World War II. The movement fired up populist eurosceptic parties across the continent and even talk of Texit among Texas nationalists in the U.S.
Pokemon Go was the obsession you couldn’t escape this year, whether you wanted to “catch-em all” or not. But the viral app took a twisted turn when it was discovered PokeStops were popping up at inappropriate places, including the 9/11 Memorial and Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.
Video of a small boy, bloodied and covered in dust, who was rescued after an apparent air strike in the Syrian city of Aleppo, sparked outrage and concern on social media in August.
Sitting alone in an ambulance, the boy — identified by doctors as 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh —looked dazed and shocked, staring silently as he tried to wipe the blood off his head, seemingly unaware of his injuries.
The hashtag #Syrianboy was one of the top trending topics in the United States and Britain. More than 10 tweets posted every minute on Twitter with the hashtag, according to social media analytics company Zoomph. The video of Omran and other children being pulled from the rubble caused widespread upset and condemnation over the harrowing reality of Syria’s five-year-old civil war.
A photo showing a young boy in the backseat of a car with a couple who appeared to be passed out from drugs in the front went viral after it was posted on Facebook by an Ohio police department.
The woman, identified as the 4-year-old boy’s grandmother, was reportedly slumped over in the front with a friend. The images were posted on the Facebook page of the East Liverpool Police Department, along with a report of the incident so the “non drug using public sees what we are now dealing with on a daily basis.” The boy was reportedly taken into the custody of county child protection services agents, and the two adults were arrested on child endangerment charges.
Along with celebrity deaths, 2016 was full of celebrity break-ups, but the most surprising (or heartbreaking for some), was when Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. Not only was the break-up of the 12-year relationship was surprising, but so was the nasty aftermath that has included affair rumors, a custody battle and abuse allegations.
Hot yoga founder Bikram Choudhury took part in a shocking interview on the October edition of HBO’s “Real Sports” where he was questioned by journalist Andrea Kremer about the sexual assault allegations against him as well as the alleged health benefits of his Bikram yoga practice.
When responding to the allegations, Choudhury called the women accusing him of rape “trash” and asserted that a “drop of his sperm is worth a million dollars.”
“Back to the Future: Part II,” may have been one year off, but the Cubs eventually did win the world series, breaking the “Curse of the Billy Goat” and ending a 108-year wait. The game, where the Cubs were tied 3-3 with the Cleveland Indians going in, went into an extra inning, with Chicago winning 8-7.
“This is one of the best games anybody will ever see,” said Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, who fielded Michael Martinez’s grounder and fired it to first for the final out. “This trumps everything. I’m out here crying. I can’t really put into words what this means.”
-Reuters contributed to this story