From the summit of Everest, the top of the world - to the intricate workings of the human heart. From outer galaxies to the dungeons of Stalin's gulag.
Sir Edmund Hillary was the first man to stand atop the world's highest mountain. Dr. Michael DeBakey developed treatments for heart disease that prolonged the lives of millions.
Arthur C. Clarke carried readers and moviegoers light years into space and centuries into the future. Alexander Solzhenitsyn bravely revealed the horrors of the Soviet prison system.
They are some of the remarkable people who died in 2008.
Mildred Loving changed history in 1967 when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld her right, as a black woman, to marry a white man. Madelyn Payne Dunham helped raise her grandson, Barack Obama, and died just two days before he was elected president.
Charleton Heston brought a larger-than-life quality to screen roles as Ben-Hur and Michelangelo. Paul Newman combined rebellion and blue-eyed charm in films that reflected changing social attitudes.
William F. Buckley and Tim Russert informed their journalism with a love of politics and respect for the issues. Anne Armstrong opened doors for women in government service, while Jesse Helms, Howard Metzenbaum and Tom Lantos were powerful voices in Congress.
The world of science lost Dr. Judah Folkman, famed cancer researcher; Edward Lorenz, father of chaos theory; and Albert Hofmann, discoverer of LSD.
We also said goodbye to chess master Bobby Fischer, the men who coined "rhythm and blues" and "sci fi," and to entertainers named Cyd and Bo.
Here, a roll call of some of the notable people who died in 2008. (Cause of death cited for younger people if available.)
Sir Edmund Hillary, 88. Conquered Mount Everest; one of 20th century's greatest adventurers. Jan. 11.
Richard Knerr, 82. Co-founded Wham-O toy company that popularized Hula Hoop, Frisbee. Jan. 14.
Dr. Judah Folkman, 74. Researcher who worked to cut off cancer from its blood supply, giving hope for a cure. Jan. 14.
Bobby Fischer, 64. Reclusive chess genius who dethroned Soviet champion in 1972. Jan. 17.
Suzanne Pleshette, 70. Beautiful, husky-voiced actress; sardonic wife on "The Bob Newhart Show." Jan. 19.
Heath Ledger, 28. Actor nominated for Oscar for "Brokeback Mountain"; the Joker in "The Dark Knight." Jan. 22. Drug overdose.
Suharto, 86. Indonesian president, a Cold War U.S. ally whose brutal regime killed hundreds of thousands. Jan. 27.
Gordon B. Hinckley, 97. Led Mormon church during major period of expansion. Jan. 27.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, around 91. Beatles' guru; introduced transcendental meditation to West. Feb. 5.
Roy Scheider, 75. Two-time Oscar nominee ("The French Connection," "All That Jazz"); police chief in "Jaws." Feb. 10.
Rep. Tom Lantos, 80. Fourteen-term California congressman; forceful voice for human rights. Feb. 11.
William F. Buckley Jr., 82. Erudite author, editor; helped revive conservative movement. Feb. 27.
Gary Gygax, 69. Co-created Dungeons & Dragons; father of role-playing games. March 4.
Former Sen. Howard Metzenbaum, 90. Liberal Ohio Democrat who challenged big business. March 12.
Anthony Minghella, 54. Oscar-winning director, turned literary works ("The English Patient") into acclaimed movies. March 18. Hemorrhage.
Paul Scofield, 86. British actor; won Oscar for "A Man for All Seasons." March 19.
Arthur C. Clarke, 90. Visionary science fiction writer ("2001: A Space Odyssey,") March 19.
Richard Widmark, 93. Hollywood leading man; made sensational debut as a giggling killer ("Kiss of Death.") March 24.
Charlton Heston, 84. Oscar winner ("Ben-Hur"); later headed National Rifle Association. April 5.
John A. Wheeler, 96. Physicist; coined "black holes." April 13.
Edward Lorenz, 90. Father of chaos theory, "butterfly effect" concept. April 16.
Albert Hofmann, 102. Discoverer of LSD, which inspired - and arguably corrupted - millions in 1960s. April 29.
Mildred Loving, 68. Black woman whose challenge to Virginia's interracial marriage ban led to landmark ruling. May 2.
Irvine Robbins, 90. Co-founded Baskin-Robbins, brought exotic ice cream to every corner of America. May 5.
Eddy Arnold, 89. Country singer known for his mellow baritone ("Make the World Go Away.") May 8.
Robert Mondavi, 94. Vintner who helped Napa Valley become a wine-lovers' mecca. May 16.
Dick Martin, 86. Zany co-host of "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In," which took television by storm in 1960s. May 24.
Sydney Pollack, 73. Oscar-winning director, a Hollywood mainstay ("Tootsie," "Out of Africa.") May 26.
Harvey Korman, 81. Emmy winner for "The Carol Burnett Show"; conniving politician in "Blazing Saddles." May 29.
Yves Saint Laurent, 71. One of most influential fashion designers of the 20th century. June 1.
Bo Diddley, 79. Founding father of rock 'n' roll, known for "shave and a haircut, two bits" rhythm. June 2.
Jim McKay, 86. "Wide World of Sports" host; told Americans about killings at 1972 Olympics. June 7.
Tim Russert, 58. Host of "Meet the Press" whose personality and passion made him beloved in Washington. June 13.
Cyd Charisse, 86. Dancer turned actress; starred in musicals with Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly. June 17.
George Carlin, 71. The dean of counterculture comedians who taught us "Seven Words You Can Never Say On TV." June 22.
Former Sen. Jesse Helms, 86. A champion of conservatism who spent three decades in Congress. July 4.
Dr. Michael E. DeBakey, 99. Heart surgeon who pioneered now-common procedures such as bypass surgery. July 11.
Tony Snow, 53. White House press secretary who cheerfully sparred with reporters. July 12. Colon cancer.
Estelle Getty, 84. Actress; the sarcastic Sophia on "The Golden Girls." July 22.
Randy Pausch, 47. His "last lecture" about facing death became Internet sensation, best-selling book. July 25.
Anne Armstrong, 80. Advanced women's role in GOP, was ambassador to Britain. July 30.
Alexander Solzhenitsyn, 89. Nobel-winning Russian author who chronicled Stalin's slave labor camps. Aug. 3.
Bernie Mac, 50. One of "Original Kings of Comedy" who connected with audiences across a wide spectrum ("Ocean's Eleven.") Aug. 9. Pneumonia.
Isaac Hayes, 65. Soul crooner who laid groundwork for disco; won Oscar, Grammy for "Theme From Shaft." Aug. 10.
Jerry Wexler, 91. Record producer; coined "rhythm and blues," worked with Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles. Aug. 15.
Norman Whitfield, 67. Motown songwriter, producer ("I Heard It Through the Grapevine.") Sept. 16.
Paul Newman, 83. Oscar-winning actor/philanthropist who never lost the heartthrob cool of his anti-hero performances. Sept. 26.
Levi Stubbs, 72. Dynamic Four Tops frontman ("Baby I Need Your Loving.") Oct. 17.
Mr. Blackwell, 86. Designer whose worst-dressed list skewered fashion felonies. Oct. 19.
Studs Terkel, 96. Broadcaster, Pulitzer-winning author; celebrated the common people. Oct. 31.
Madelyn Payne Dunham, 86. Barack Obama's grandmother, who helped raise him. Nov. 2.
Steve Fossett, 63. Millionaire adventurer who vanished during 2007 flight. Death confirmed Nov. 3.
Michael Crichton, 66. Author whose books became blockbuster films ("Jurassic Park.") Nov. 4.
The Rev. George M. Docherty, 97. His 1954 sermon got "under God" into Pledge of Allegiance. Nov. 27.
Bettie Page, 85. Beauty who daringly bared it all in the strait-laced '50s. Dec. 11.
Van Johnson, 92. Boy-next-door Hollywood star ("30 Seconds Over Tokyo.") Dec. 12.
Eartha Kitt, 81. The award-winning singer, dancer and actress was known for her sultry voice and playing Catwoman on TV.