Associated Press – Yevgeny Prigozhin rose from being an ex-con and hot dog vendor to winning lucrative Kremlin contracts and heading a formidable mercenary army. But it all came to a sudden end when the private plane carrying him and others mysteriously exploded over Russia.
Prigozhin’s Aug. 23 death put an exclamation point on what had already been an eventful year for the brutal mercenary leader. His Wagner Group troops brought Russia a rare victory in its grinding war in Ukraine, capturing the city of Bakhmut. But internal friction with Russian military leaders later burst into the open, with Prigozhin briefly mounting an armed rebellion — the most severe challenge yet to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s rule.
The rebellion was called off and a deal was struck in less than 24 hours. However, just two months later, Prigozhin joined the list of those who have run afoul of the Kremlin and died unexpectedly.
He was just one of a number of noteworthy people who died in 2023.
The world also said goodbye to former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who died Nov. 29. Serving under two presidents, Kissinger’s shadow loomed large in the foreign policy arena, prompting both admiration and criticism from around the globe. And he continued his involvement in global affairs even in his final months.