1998 – Rep. Sonny Bono (R-Calif.), the one-time singer/songwriter who gained fame as half of vocal duo Sonny and Cher, dies from head injuries after hitting a tree while skiing. He is 62.
On January 5, 1998, Bono died of injuries after striking a tree while skiing on the Nevada side of the Heavenly Ski Resort near South Lake Tahoe, California.
Bono’s death came just days after Michael Kennedy, a son of Robert F. Kennedy, died in a similar skiing accident in Aspen, Colorado. Bono’s widow, Mary, was elected to fill the remainder of the Congressional term. Over 10 years after his death, she continues to champion many of Sonny’s causes, including the ongoing fight to save the Salton Sea.
After Sonny’s death, Mary told an interviewer from TV Guide that Sonny was addicted to and seriously abusing prescription drugs, mainly Vicodin and Valium. Even though Mary claimed that Sonny’s drug use caused the accident, the autopsy showed no narcotics and only a very small amount of Valium, not enough to cause impairment according to the Washoe County Coroner’s report.
After being asked by Mary Bono, Sonny’s ex-wife, Cher, gave a eulogy at Bono’s funeral. His final resting place is Desert Memorial Park in Cathedral City, California. The epitaph on Bono’s headstone reads: “And The Beat Goes On.”
Breaking news in April 2008:
Sonny Bono was clubbed to death by hired hitmen, according to a stunning new tabloid expose. An investigator who has been researching Bono’s 1998 fatal skiing accident for the past decade claims top officials linked to an international drug and weapons ring feared the singer-turned-politician was about to expose their criminal acts – and so they had him killed on the slopes.
Cher’s ex-husband Bono’s death was listed as a “skiing accident” with family and friends satisfied he died after colliding with a tree on the piste in Nevada in January 1998.
But former FBI agent Ted Gunderson tells America’s Globe that there’s more to the tragedy than meets the eye, after studying the autopsy reports and other evidence.
He says, “It’s nonsense for anyone to now try to suggest that Bono died after crashing into a tree. There’s zero evidence in this autopsy report… to show such an accident happened. Instead, there’s powerful proof he (Bono) was assassinated. This was an evil plot that was carried out to almost perfection by ruthless assassins.”
Gunderson tells the Globe that Bono, an experienced skiier, was ambushed on the slopes by hired hitmen, who beat him to death and then staged a tree collision.
The retired FBI agent is now calling for the authorities to exhume Bono’s remains and open a homicide investigation.
Gunderson’s efforts have been backed by top forensics experts, who fear Nevada authorities were too quick to mark the tragedy as a skiing accident, and investigator Bob Fletcher, who has confessed he sent evidence of a 10-year study that linked top U.S. government officials to arms and weapons dealers to Bono less than a month before his death.
Fletcher says, “He was going to make it his number one priority… There’s no doubt in my mind Sonny was murdered by someone who needed him silenced.”