Earlier today, music legend Etta James died after a long struggle with terminal cancer. Just a day earlier, freestyle skier Sarah Burke died after suffering horrific injuries during a training accident last week.

We've lost some of music, politics and sports' brightest and best in just the first weeks of 2012. But take a moment to relive their inspirational lives: those of Etta James, Sarah Burke, Johnny Otis, Tony Blankley, Bob Weston and Bob Anderson.

Etta James was the Matriarch of R&B, Johnny Otis the Godfather of Rhythm of Blues.

Political analyst and pundit Tony Blankley was known as the Speaker's Speaker, while Bob Weston is recognized as an integral player in the formation of Fleetwood Mac.

And Bob Anderson, master fencer and Hollywood choreographer, is known to Star Wars fans everywhere as the man actually battling Luke Skywalker as Darth Vader in the original trilogy.

Click through our slideshow and remember these iconic figures' lives. From the woman who brought us At Last to the man who helped Newt Gingrich and Ronald Reagan rise on Capital Hill, here are six men and women we've lost so far in 2012.