Of prostate cancer before he could become the first to drive 500 mph in a wheel-driven car, Don Vesco, 63. Vesco (above) and his brother and chief mechanic, Rick, 56, were hoping to break that barrier and eclipse the record Don set in 2001 when he drove his jet-powered Turbinator 458 mph across the Bonneville Salt Flats of Utah. He also holds 18 motorcycle and five other automotive land-speed records. "Not much slowed him up," said Rick.
?From complications of pancreatic cancer, former SI writer Robert F. Jones, 68. Known for his far-ranging knowledge and voracious enthusiasm for books and the outdoors (his friend writer Geoff Norman eulogized him as "a sweet man, in the surest, most Shakespearean sense of the word"), Jones was on SI's staff from 1968 to '80, covering the NFL and motor sports as well as Africa. He rose to prominence next to writers such as Roy Blount Jr., Frank Deford and Dan Jenkins and distinguished himself with a spare style. As a special contributor in '90 Jones wrote a long, moving piece on his retrievers, Luke and Jake, that won the Winchester Good News on Hunting Award. Before SI, Jones covered an array of subjects for Time, writing 22 cover stories on topics such as the Vietnam war and the rise of hippie culture. In '79 Jones and his wife, Louise Tyor, moved to Vermont. He wrote 14 books, including Blood Sport, a novel about a father, a son and a mythical river.
?After a long illness, Hank Luisetti, 86, who revolutionized basketball by introducing the one-handed shot. In the 1930s Luisetti, a 6'3", three-time All-America forward at Stanford, debuted the running one-hander, which evloved into the jump shot. He was the first college player to score 50 points in a game (on Jan. 1, 1938, against Duquesne); in 1950 Luisetti (left) was voted the second-best player of the mid-century (behind George Mikan) in an AP poll of writers and broadcasters. Said Hall of Fame college coach Pete Newell, "He was closer to dominating the game than anyone other than Michael Jordan."
?Of bone cancer, Edmonton Oilers and World Hockey Association co-founder, Bill Hunter, 82. Wild Bill, as he was known since an argument with a ref while coaching a game in 1949, made Bobby Hull hockey's first $1 million player by luring Hull from the Black Hawks to the WHA's Winnipeg Jets in 72, seven years before the WHA and the NHL merged.
?Of cancer, error-prone slugger Dick Stuart, 70. The first baseman got named Dr. Strange-glove after making 29 errors for the 1963 Red Sox while leading the AL with 118 RBIs. "I'm the world's worst fielder," said Stuart, who hit 228 homers in a 10-year career. "But who gets paid for fielding?" In '56, while playing in Class A, Stuart hit 66 home runs; from then on he wrote that number whenever signing an autograph.
Who's winning the battle, Hootie Johnson or Martha Burk? SI's Hootometer tells all. Burk's National Council of Women's Organizations launches website chastising companies whose executives are Augusta members. Advantage: Burk. Website started by an Augusta supporter in Florida gives links to sites protesting Burk and offers THE BURK STOPS HERE! T-shirts. Advantage: Hootie. In Real Sports segment Bryant Gumbel fails to disclose he belongs to an all-male golf club. Advantage: Hootie. Gumbel's widely criticized. Advantage: Burk.