BUZZMAKERS: Mandela Dies, Paul Walker Autopsy

by 6:00 AM PST, December 07, 2013
Photo: Getty Images

What had ETonline readers buzzing this week?

1. Nelson Mandela Dies

Nelson Mandela -- the long-jailed activist whose famous struggle to replace South Africa's racial segregation system of apartheid eventually led him to become the country's first black president -- has died at the age of 95, South African President Jacob Zuma announced Thursday.

Mandela -- who was born July 18, 1918 in the South African village of Mvezo -- had been hospitalized in recent months after being treated since early June for a recurring lung infection. A message posted to Mandela's official Twitter page on Thursday read: "Death is something inevitable. When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people & his country, he can rest in peace."

Mandela became actively involved in the anti-apartheid movement in his 20s. He joined the African National Congress (ANC) in 1942 and for the next 20 years, directed a campaign of peaceful, non-violent defiance against his country's racist policies.

When the ANC was outlawed in 1960, Mandela was forced to go underground. He was eventually arrested and charged with sabotage and attempting to violently overthrow the government and in 1964 was sentenced to life in prison, where he spent 27 years.

In December 1993, Mandela and former South African President Frederik Willem de Klerk were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and five months later, after an all-race democratic election, Mandela was overwhelmingly elected president.

After stepping down as president in 1999, Mandela continued to work as South Africa's highest-profile ambassador, campaigning extensively against the spread of HIV/AIDS and helping to secure his country's bid to host the 2010 World Cup competition.

Mandela -- who had a total of six children -- married his first wife, Evelyn Mase, in 1944 and they were divorced in 1958. He then married Winnie Madikizela, who became very active in campaigning for his release from prison. Mandela separated from Winnie in 1992 on grounds that she committed adultery. Winnie had also been convicted on charges of kidnapping and accessory to assault.

2. Paul Walker Official Cause of Death Revealed

The Los Angeles coroner's office released the results of the autopsies conducted for Paul Walker and Roger Rodas Wednesday, finding that Walker died from the "combined effects of traumatic and thermal injuries," while Rodas dies of multiple traumatic injuries.

Both deaths have been ruled an accident, while a toxicology report is still pending on both cases and is expected to be completed in six to eight weeks.

This is also the first time both Walker and Rodas have been formally identified as the two fatalities from the Santa Clarita accident Saturday. Walker and Rodas were both killed when the Porsche Carerra GT they were driving crashed into a pole.

According to the police report, the Porsche Carrera was already in flames when authorities arrived to the scene Saturday, and the victims were pronounced dead at the scene.

The cause of the accident is still under investigation.

On Monday night, Fast and Furious star Vin Diesel visited the site of his co-star and close friend's fatal car accident, and also showed his appreciation for fans who have been showing up to mourn the 40-year-old star's tragic death.

"I just wanted to say to all of you, if my brother was here right now and he saw all the love that you are bringing here, if he could see for himself that all of you have showed up to show my brother love, at this hard time ... and the family gets to see all of you show the love that you've shown Paul, it's going to stay with me forever," he said. "I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you for coming down here, and showing that angel up in heaven how much you appreciated him."

3. 'Little Couple' Star Reveals She Has Cancer

Jen Arnold, the star of TLC's reality series The Little Couple, has revealed that she's currently battling a rare form of cancer.

"I have recently been diagnosed with a rare type of cancer and am currently undergoing treatment, including surgery and chemotherapy," the 39-year-old physician from Houston, TX revealed to People magazine.

Arnold and her husband Bill Klein -- both of whom suffer from dwarfism -- have two adopted children, 3-year-old son Will and 2-year-old daughter Zoey.

"I am very fortunate as the prognosis is good," Arnold told the magazine. "While there is never a good time to get news like this, getting it just as we are building our new family is tough in many ways ... But being surrounded by the love of my husband and our two beautiful children is actually in many ways giving me the strength to fight it even stronger."

Arnold did not elaborate further on the type of cancer she's fighting or what treatment methods she's receiving.

4. Joe Jonas: Demi & Miley Introduced Me to Weed

Joe Jonas gave his most revealing interview yet in a recent sit-down with Vulture, in which the 24-year-old Disney star opens up about his formerly squeaky-clean image, those infamous purity rings he and his brothers wore, and claims that it was his ex-girlfriend Demi Lovato and Miley Cyrus who peer pressured him into trying marijuana for the first time.

"The first time I smoked weed was with Demi and Miley. I must have been 17 or 18," he admitted. "They kept saying, 'Try it! Try it!' So I gave it a shot, and it was all right. I don't even smoke weed that often anymore." He also surprising revealed that he felt trapped into staying in a relationship with Demi at the time because of her well-publicized mental health/drug issues.

" ... We eventually dated for a month," Jonas says about his relationship with the X-Factor judge. "I really got to know her and got to see the ins and outs of what she was struggling with, like drug abuse. I felt like I needed to take care of her, but at the same time I was living a lie, because I wasn't happy but felt like I had to stay in it for her, because she needed help. I couldn't express any of that, of course, because I had a brand to protect."

Part of that brand was of course the Jonas brothers' purity rings, though Joe admitted that he didn't wait for marriage to have sex -- he lost his virginity at age 20.

"It started when I was really young -- I must have been 10 or 11. There's a program people do in some churches called True Love Waits, where you wait for marriage to have sex," he explained about the origin of the purity rings. "We decided to take the rings off a few years ago. I lost my virginity when I was 20. I did other stuff before then, but I was sexually active at 20."

Besides also surprisingly admitting to hooking up with fans ("There were times when I definitely took advantage of the opportunities I had"), Jonas also takes a not so subtle a dig at his ex Taylor Swift.

"I genuinely don't have any resentment against any of my exes. So I'm not going to disparage anyone I was in a relationship with -- only I might put it in my music a little bit, and hint at it, and tease it here and there, just enough for the fans and the people who really know the story," he said. "But I'm not going to openly say, 'Yeah, actually, this person is a b****, and she did this to me.' I don't feel the need to do that to sell records."

5. Carrie's 'Sound Of Music' Performances

The reviews are in for Carrie Underwood's performance in Sound Of Music Live on Thursday night, and for the most part, they're pretty positive.

TODAY's Hoda Kotb tweeted: "Can I just say that @carrieunderwood can saaannnggggg!!! Nice!!!Live!!"

Meanwhile, Underwood's fellow country crooners also had her back. Miranda Lambert tweeted: "Wow! The Sound Of Music Live was awesome. @carrieunderwood unbelievable! I can't imagine the work that went into that. Such a talented cast!"

Kelly Clarkson agreed, posting: "@carrieunderwood Y'all did great! Brandon & I just finished watching & what an intense 3hrs that must have been 4 all of y'all! #singinglive."