American basketball player Kobe Bryant—who was considered one of the sport’s greatest players, winning five NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers—died in a helicopter crash at the age of 41.
A massive earthquake struck near Bhuj, Gujarat, India, killing more than 20,000 people and causing extensive damage.
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera, a musical version of Gaston Leroux’s melodramatic novel, opened in New York City and went on to become the longest-running show in Broadway history.
Lucky Luciano, who was the most powerful chief of American organized crime in the early 1930s and was deported to his native Italy in 1946, died at the age of 65.
American comedian and television host Ellen DeGeneres, who was known for her quirky observational humour, was born.
India became a republic, achieving full independence from Great Britain.
The first U.S. expeditionary force to land in Europe during World War II reached Ireland.
American actor Paul Newman, whose good looks and charisma helped make him an enduring screen presence in the second half of the 20th century, was born.
British General Charles George Gordon and other defenders of Khartoum were killed by Mahdists.
Douglas MacArthur, the U.S. general who commanded the Southwest Pacific Theatre in World War II, administered postwar Japan during the Allied occupation that followed, and led United Nations forces during the first nine months of the Korean War, was born.
Michigan became the 26th U.S. state admitted to the union.