The maverick (former) American chess genius Bobby Fischer died today. Despite being a chess player - hardly the greatest spectator sport - Bobby Fischer became part of popular culture, even appearing in pop song lyrics.
I guess this was partly because of his timing. He beat a Russian and became Chess Champion at a time when the Cold War was the be all and end all of politics. So to have an American break the stranglehold of the Russians over this title. But he was also controversial - breaking a US embargo on Yugoslavia in the 90s and subsequently renouncing his American citizenship.
He was a character though and, unlike many of the "celebrities" sectors of the media seem obsessed by, he had a talent underlying his fame. The world needs stand-out characters, and I feel we lose something everytime one of these larger-than-life characters dies. Freddie Mercury left a void - as did Keith Moon, Jimi Hendrix, Luciano Pavarotti, Evel Knievel etc etc...
We don't always like them, but we have to admit they make the world a little more interesting.