World

90 moments from the '90s

By Drew Kann, Bernadette Tuazon, Lyric Lewin, and Shana Darnell, CNN

Updated 4:15 PM ET, Fri July 21, 2017
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The saga of then-President Bill Clinton's affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky grabbed the public's attention in the late '90s, eventually leading to the second impeachment of a US president in American history. CNN explores this fascinating decade in the new TV series "The Nineties" airing Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT starting July 9. Click through the gallery to explore some of the decade's most iconic moments. Dirck Halstead/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
After surrendering to US forces, who famously blared heavy metal music for days outside his Panama City hideout, Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega was flown to Miami on January 4, 1990, to face federal drug trafficking and money laundering charges. After serving time in US, French and Panamanian prisons, Noriega died in 2017 at age 83 after complications from brain surgery.
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In this frame from a January 18, 1990, FBI surveillance tape, Washington Mayor Marion Barry is shown allegedly lighting a crack pipe in a hotel room. Barry was convicted of possession and served six months in prison, but revived his political career to reclaim the mayor's office in 1995. He died in 2014 at age 78. Barry Thumma/AP
Dubbed the "Teflon Don" for his ability to evade prosecution, John Gotti led the Gambino crime family for years after ordering the killing of his predecessor, Paul Castellano. The authorities finally caught up to Gotti, shown in 1990. He was later sent to prison for life after being convicted of murder, racketeering and other crimes. Keith Meyers/Archive Photos/Getty Images
After spending 27 years in prison, Nelson Mandela and his then-wife, Winnie, raise their fists in celebration of Mandela's release from custody on February 11, 1990. Mandela became President of South Africa after his release and played a pivotal role in leading his country out of apartheid's decades of racial segregation. He died at age 95 on December 5, 2013. ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/Getty Images
During clashes between rival political parties -- the African National Congress and the Inkatha Freedom Party -- a young man clubs the burning body of Lindsaye Tshabalala in Soweto, South Africa, on September 15, 1990. Violence in the early '90s between the two groups left thousands dead. GREG MARINOVICH/AP
Known for his distinctive growl, the Nirvana front man wrote some of the '90s' most memorable songs and propelled "grunge" to become the dominant musical genre of the decade. But for all his talent, Cobain's personal demons were too much to overcome. The singer battled depression and heroin addiction for years before his suicide on April 5, 1994. He was 27. Martyn Goodacre/Premium Archive/Getty Images
After decades of division after World War II, a treaty that brought together the German Democratic Republic and the Federal Republic to form a unified Germany was ratified on October 3, 1990. Here, Germans celebrate the news in front of Berlin's iconic Brandenburg Gate. Thomas Hoepker/Magnum Photos
One by one, Eastern European countries cut their ties with Moscow in the early 1990s, leading to the fall of communism and the dissolution of the Soviet Union. In this 1990 photo from Hungary, a dismantled statue of Joseph Stalin is dragged through the streets of Budapest. Ferdinando Scianna/Magnum Photos
Saddam Hussein's decision to invade neighboring Kuwait led the United States and its allies to intervene. Here, US troops fan out across the Saudi desert on November 4, 1990. The Gulf War lasted 42 days. Coalition attacks ended on February 28, 1991, after President George H.W. Bush declared a ceasefire.
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Iraqi anti-aircraft fire lights up the sky over Baghdad on January 18, 1991, as US and allied forces launch aerial attacks on the city. The Gulf War was a pivotal event for the Middle East, and also for an upstart news network called CNN, which brought live 24-hour coverage from the front lines of the conflict to American audiences. Dominique Mollard/AP
Dr. Jack Kevorkian, the assisted suicide advocate who was charged with murder numerous times in the '90s after helping terminally ill patients end their lives, is shown with his suicide machine. In 1999, Kevorkian was convicted of murder for his role in the death of a patient who suffered from Lou Gehrig's disease. Kevorkian was later paroled and he died in 2011 at age 83. AP
This 1991 image from video showing Los Angeles police beating a black man named Rodney King brought simmering racial tensions in the city to a boil. The footage showed LAPD officers striking King more than 50 times with their batons. Four officers were charged in the beating, and when they were acquitted, the verdict sparked riots throughout Los Angeles.
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An estimated 500,000 protesters descended on Moscow's Manezh Square on March 19, 1991, to demand that Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and his Communist government relinquish power. By the end of the year, their demonstrations succeeded: The Soviet Union officially dissolved in December 1991. Dominique Mollard/AP
The legendary sitcom that brought us the "Soup Nazi," "Hello ... Newman" and other unforgettable characters and catchphrases got off to a humble start in 1989. But "Seinfeld" went on to become the undisputed king of '90s television. An estimated 76 million US viewers tuned in to watch Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer one last time in the show's finale on May 14, 1998. NBC/Getty Images
Starring Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis, Ridley Scott's 1991 film about two friends' road trip gone terribly awry is considered a classic for its groundbreaking depiction of feminist themes. The movie was also adored by audiences and critics, raking in over $45 million at the box office, six Academy Award nominations and winning an Oscar for best original screenplay. Fotos International/Moviepix/Getty Images
After sitting dormant for over six centuries, the Philippines' Mount Pinatubo rumbled back to life with devastating consequences on June 15, 1991. The eruption blasted hot ash 28 miles into the air and led to the deaths of 847 people, making it the most destructive eruption in the last 100 years, according to the US Geological Survey. Alberto Garcia/Redux
After one of his would-be victims escaped from his home, serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer was arrested in July 1991 and later confessed to killing 17 men and boys. Dahmer was sentenced to 15 consecutive life sentences, but died in 1994 after a fellow prisoner beat him. Alan Y. Scott/Milwaukee Journal/Pool/AP
During a 1991 portrait session, a barefoot Steve Jobs sits opposite his more businesslike Microsoft counterpart, Bill Gates. The '90s were a pivotal time for Jobs, in particular. After leaving the company he founded in the mid-'80s, he returned to his post as Apple CEO in 1997 and reinvigorated the company with the release of innovative new products. G Lange Photo/Contour by Getty Images
Once the world's largest police and spy agency, the KGB met its end in 1991 after an unsuccessful coup attempt by its chief officer, Vladimir Kryuchkov. Taken days after the failed coup, this August 23, 1991, photo shows Muscovites stepping on the head of a toppled statue of KGB founder Felix Dzerzhinsky. ALEXANDER ZEMLIANICHENKO/AP
For his refusal to pay protection money demanded by the Mafia, Italian businessman Libero Grassi was gunned down near his home on August 29, 1991. Mondadori Portfolio/Getty Images
Still in the prime of his playing career, three-time NBA MVP Earvin "Magic" Johnson stunned the sports world on November 7, 1991, when he announced his retirement from basketball after testing positive for HIV. After his diagnosis, Johnson played in the 1992 Olympic Games and made a brief NBA comeback in 1995.
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On October 12, 1991, law professor Anita Hill testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee that then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas had sexually harassed her when she worked for Thomas at two federal agencies. Millions of Americans tuned in to watch the hearings, which saw Thomas confirmed by a 52-48 vote. JENNIFER K. LAW/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
After spending nearly seven years held by Hezbollah militants in Lebanon, journalist Terry Anderson was released on December 4, 1991. Anderson, shown leaving the US ambassador's residence in Damascus, has written books, taught journalism and started charities and businesses in the years since. Santiago Lyon/AP
Though the Gulf War came to an end in 1991, internal conflict continued to roil Iraq in the years after and for much of the 25-plus years since. In this April 5, 1992 photo, frantic Kurdish refugees, forced to flee Saddam Hussein's regime, jostle for a loaf of bread during an aid distribution near the Iraqi-Turkish border. Yannis Behrakis/X00025/Reuters
In front of former Democratic US Rep. Joseph Kennedy and a very '90s American flag, then-Democratic presidential hopeful Bill Clinton speaks at a campaign event on April 28, 1992. After surviving a competitive Democratic primary, Clinton defeated incumbent President George H.W. Bush in the 1992 election to become the 42nd president of the United States. STEPHAN SAVOIA/AP
After nearly three decades of entertaining, Johnny Carson signed off as the host of "The Tonight Show," with the final episode airing on May 22, 1992. The finale concluded with Carson bidding fans a "very heartfelt good night," as he choked back tears. NBC/Getty Images
Will we ever see a team so stacked with star power again? Considered by many the greatest sports team ever assembled, the 1992 US men's basketball team featured all-time greats Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Charles Barkley, among other Hall of Famers. Here, the "Dream Team" members receive their gold medals after defeating Croatia 117-85 at the 1992 Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain. Mike Powell/Getty Images
The Super Nintendo Entertainment System, or SNES, was released to US consumers in 1991, and became the best-selling gaming console of its generation. With its advanced graphics and classic games like "Donkey Kong Country," "Super Mario World" and "The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past," Nintendo sold more than 49 million of the systems worldwide. B Christopher/Alamy Stock Photo
During a trip to South Korea in November 1992, Prince Charles and Princess Diana look in opposite directions, perhaps indicative of the state of their embattled relationship. Shortly after, on December 9, 1992, then-UK Prime Minister John Major announced the couple had formally separated, but their divorce wasn't finalized until 1996. PA/AP
Just after noon on February 26, 1993, a massive bomb packed inside a Ryder truck exploded in a parking deck below the World Trade Center, killing six people and injuring more than 1,000. Here, New York police officers lead a victim away from the scene. Joe Tabacca/AP
After 11 seasons and 270 episodes, the final episode of "Cheers," titled "One for the Road," aired on May 20, 1993. The farewell for the beloved sitcom was watched by 84 million viewers, making it the second most-watched TV finale of all-time. Paul Drinkwater/NBCUniversal/Getty Images
After a 51-day standoff between federal agents and members of the Branch Davidian religious group, federal authorities raided the Waco, Texas, compound where authorities said the group's leader, David Koresh, and his followers were stockpiling weapons. This April 19, 1993, photo shows the massive fire that resulted from the siege, which killed dozens of Branch Davidians and led to criticism of the government's handling of the situation. RON HEFLIN/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Then the world's top-ranked tennis player, Monica Seles was taking a water break during a match on April 30, 1993, in Hamburg, Germany, when a spectator leaned from the stands and plunged a knife into her back. Seles, shown shortly after the stabbing, was taken to a hospital and eventually made a full recovery, but the incident caused her to step away from tennis for more than two years. AP
The body of a dead US soldier is dragged through the streets of Mogadishu, Somalia, on October 4, 1993. He was one of 18 Americans killed in a failed raid in the city. The assault was aimed at capturing a notorious Somali warlord, but US forces were met with heavily armed resistance. Two US Black Hawk helicopters were downed in the operation, which also killed hundreds of Somalis. PAUL WATSON/CP, TRSTR/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Shown here in 1993, rapper and actor Tupac Shakur was shot dead on September 13, 1996, on the streets of Las Vegas after attending a Mike Tyson fight at the MGM Grand. Shakur's killing remains unsolved, but many attribute his death to the decade's heated East Coast vs. West Coast rap war, which pitted Shakur against his New York rival, Christopher Wallace, aka The Notorious B.I.G.
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It's an image you cannot unsee. This photo of a vulture stalking a starving child in 1993 brought the realities of the famine sweeping across Sudan to global audiences in devastating fashion. The photographer, Kevin Carter, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for feature photography for capturing the image, but Carter killed himself months after receiving the award. Kevin Carter/Sygma Premium/Getty Images
Astronaut F. Story Musgrave is hoisted to the top of the Hubble Space Telescope to install protective covers, wrapping up five days of spacewalks to repair and service the telescope in December 1993. Musgrave's handiwork has paid off for humankind; during more than a quarter-century in operation, the Hubble has beamed more than 1 million observations of our universe back to Earth. NASA NASA/Science Source/Getty Images/Science Source
Lorena Bobbitt, shown during her trial, was accused of cutting off her husband's penis while he slept, then driving off with the appendage and tossing it in a field. In January 1994, she was found not guilty by reason of temporary insanity. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the couple's divorce was finalized the next year. Globe Photos/ZUMAPRESS
In the early morning hours of January 17, 1994, the 6.7 magnitude Northridge earthquake rattled the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, smashing buildings, toppling interstate highways and leading to at least 57 deaths. In this photo, Ray Hudson mourns the loss of a friend's home, shown engulfed in flames sparked by the earthquake. The quake was the costliest in US history, with damages topping $20 billion. DOUGLAS C PIZAC/AP
Michael Jordan's October 1993 retirement from the NBA stunned the sports world, but Jordan made an even more shocking move months later, when he signed a minor league baseball contract with the Chicago White Sox. Here, Jordan drops a fly ball during a White Sox spring training game in 1994, one of many errors he committed in his brief baseball career. Jordan resumed his NBA career the next year and led the Chicago Bulls to three more NBA championships. George Wilhelm/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images
For their roles in negotiating and signing the Oslo Accords, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, left, Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, center and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin received the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize. But the peace outlined in the accords didn't last. In 2000, riots and suicide attacks brought an end to the negotiations. History Archive/REX/Shutterstock/AP
Before the 1994 Lillehammer Winter Olympics, figure skater Nancy Kerrigan, right, was injured by a man connected to her rival, fellow US figure skater Tonya Harding, left, sparking one of the biggest scandals in sports history. This made for some awkward practice sessions at the Olympics, like the one shown here in Lillehammer on February 17, 1994. Kerrigan won a silver medal at the Olympics, while Harding placed eighth and was later banned for life from the sport. dpa picture alliance/Alamy
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis is seen on April 4, 1994, in New York's Central Park with her companion, Maurice Tempelsman. The former first lady was known for her style, her love of the arts, and the low profile she kept in the wake of the assassination of her first husband, President John F. Kennedy. Just over a month after this photo was taken, the beloved former first lady died of cancer at age 64.
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On May 10, 1994, New Yorkers and Lady Liberty were treated to an annular solar eclipse, where the moon appears to block out the sun, apart from a "ring of fire" around the edges of the moon. To get this shot, the photographer held a welder's glass over the lens to protect against the intense light of the sun. MARK LENNIHAN/AP
As the first non-Italian pope in 455 years, Pope John Paul II's tenure spanned three decades -- much of it on the road, making him the most-traveled pope in the Catholic Church's history. Here, the pontiff greets parishioners in 1995 during Mass in his native Poland. Franco Origlia/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Tom Hanks' 1994 portrayal of the slow-yet-lovable Forrest Gump, who finds himself involved in a number of history's defining events, earned Hanks an Academy Award for best actor, and the film took best picture honors. Though it got off to a sluggish start at the box office, "Forrest Gump" ran all the way to become the fifth highest-grossing movie of the '90s. And that's all I have to say about that.
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United Nations firefighters at the scene where Nermin Divovic, 7, was shot and killed by a sniper in Sarajevo's infamous "Sniper Alley" on November 18, 1994. Sarajevo endured years of fighting during the Bosnian conflict, which left more than 11,000 people dead in Sarajevo and an estimated 100,000 to 150,000 dead across the country. Enric Marti/AP
In one of the most memorable moments of a blockbuster murder trial, on June 15, 1995, O.J. Simpson struggled to fit his hand into a glove prosecutors claimed he wore the night his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman were killed. The prosecution's request to have Simpson try the gloves on in court was a pivotal moment in the trial, which ended with the former NFL star's acquittal. Want more? Listen to "The Trial of a Century" on CNN's "The Rewind: 90s Edition" podcast.
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Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Chandler, Ross and Joey were the best of friends on and off the set, a formula that led "Friends" to become one of the most successful TV shows of all time. The show premiered in September 1994 and nearly 10 years later, 52.5 million viewers tuned in to the show's 2004 series finale.
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With hits like "Big Poppa" and "One More Chance," Christopher Wallace (aka The Notorious B.I.G.) rose to hip hop superstardom in the mid-'90s. Shown here performing on June 29, 1995, Wallace was signed to Sean "Diddy" Combs' record label, Bad Boy Records, and was a central figure in the decade's tense East Coast-West Coast hip hop war. Just six months after Tupac Shakur was shot and killed in Las Vegas, Wallace was gunned down in Los Angeles in 1997. And like Shakur's death, Wallace's killing remains unsolved.
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Going to the mall between Thanksgiving and Christmas is always dangerous, but never more so than during the 1996 holiday season, when a wiggling, chuckling, red doll triggered never-before-seen delirium. Tickle Me Elmo retailed for around $30, but the fuzzy toys sold for thousands on the secondary market. Stampeding shoppers even injured a few store employees trying to get their hands on one.
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A US soldier stands in the midst of a chaotic situation in Haiti in 1994. US troops were deployed to Haiti that year to maintain order that had steadily deteriorated since a 1991 military coup that ousted the country's first democratically elected president, Jean Bertrand Aristide. He was restored to power in October 1994. Carol Guzy/The Washington Post/Getty Images
Over four days in Augusta, Georgia, in April 1997, golf's next great champion announced his arrival in record-breaking fashion. At age 21 and 3 months, Tiger Woods became the youngest player to win the Masters, after posting a record-low score of 18-under par. Here, 1996 Masters champion Nick Faldo helps Woods into his new green jacket. Stephen Munday/Allsport/Getty Images
Just after 9 a.m. on April 19, 1995, a massive fertilizer bomb packed into a rental truck exploded outside Oklahoma City's Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, killing 168 people and injuring more than 500. This photo captured firefighter Chris Fields holding 1-year-old Angel Baylee Almon, who was thrown from the building by the blast. Almon celebrated her 1st birthday the day before the bombing, but later died from her injuries. Charles Porter IV/ZUMA Press
Shown on April 4, 1996, the day after his arrest, the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski, is led by FBI agents out of a Montana federal courthouse. Starting in 1978, Kaczynski had carried out a series of deadly bombings that killed three people and injured 24, while he managed to elude authorities. After The New York Times and The Washington Post published the Unabomber's 35,000 word manifesto, a tip from Kaczynski's brother led investigators to his remote Montana hideout. JOHN YOUNGBEAR/ASSOCIATED PRESS
At a rock concert, Russian President Boris Yeltsin, who became the country's first popularly elected leader in 1991, boogies with band members during his campaign for re-election on June 10, 1996. Despite suffering multiple heart attacks in the lead-up to the '96 election, Yeltsin won. He resigned three years later, paving the way for Vladimir Putin's rise to power. ALEXANDER ZEMLIANICHENKO/AP
For those who remember the 1996 Olympic Games, Kerri Strug's name will forever be synonymous with one word: courage. After injuring her ankle on her first attempt, Kerri Strug needed to stick one final vault to clinch the US' first team gymnastics gold. And she did just that, landing on one foot, before being carried to receive her gold medal by her coach, Bela Karolyi. JOHN GAPS III/AP
In a small ceremony on Georgia's secluded Cumberland Island, John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette exchanged vows to become husband and wife on September 21, 1996. Shown leaving the chapel where they were wed, their marriage was the culmination of a courtship that fascinated the press and American public for years. Copyright 1996 Denis Reggie
In 1994, violence erupted in Rwanda in horrifying fashion, as Hutu extremists slaughtered an estimated 800,000 people in just 100 days. The impacts of the genocide rippled across the country for years. This Pulitzer Prize-winning photo taken by photographer Martha Rial in December 1996 captured hundreds of Rwandan Hutu refugees migrating with as much as they could carry after they were turned back by Tanzanian soldiers. Martha Rial/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Hockey fans have some strange traditions (See: throwing octopi on the ice), but during the Florida Panthers' 1996 run to the Stanley Cup finals, a new one was born. After the Panthers' Scott Mellanby allegedly killed a rat with his stick and then scored twice with the same stick, Panthers fans began celebrating goals by hurling hundreds of plastic rats onto the ice. John Biever/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images
After decades under a Communist regime, Albania pivoted toward democracy under then-President Ramiz Alia. But the transition did not go smoothly, and Alia's government made a swift descent toward anarchy in 1991. Here, thousands of desperate Albanian refugees are shown packed into the harbor of Brindisi in southern Italy, fleeing the chaos at home. Associated Press
Mary Kay Letourneau was a married, 34-year-old mother of four when she began an affair with her student -- then-13-year-old Vili Fualaau. Shown together in 1996, Letourneau later gave birth to her teenage lover's child, before serving seven years on charges stemming from their relationship. When Letourneau was released in 2005, the two married, but Fualaau filed for a separation earlier this year. Mark Greenberg/Bauergriffin.com
In the '90s, there was little talk of Brexit or the rise of nationalism, only unity in Europe. In 1993, the Maastricht Treaty went into effect, creating the European Union and granting all citizens of the union's member states EU citizenship. Here, in 1996, a group of European conservatives meet to discuss the Maastricht Treaty and creation of a unified army. MICHEL LIPCHITZ/ASSOCIATED PRESS
How was a 6-year-old beauty pageant princess slain in her own home in Boulder, Colorado? More than two decades since she died on Christmas Day 1996, the case of JonBenét Ramsey remains unsolved. In the early days of the investigation, suspicion was cast on Ramsey's parents, but they were later exonerated by DNA evidence. RP Studio/ZUMA Wire
Madeleine Albright -- shown testifying on Capitol Hill on January 8, 1997, at a Senate hearing -- served as the US ambassador to the United Nations, before she was unanimously confirmed as the country's first female secretary of state. JOE MARQUETTE/AP
Known as the "saint of the gutters" for dedicating her life to helping the poor, Mother Teresa, right, is shown blessing her successor, Sister Nirmala. Mother Teresa was awarded the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize and was declared a saint by Pope Francis in 2016. Just months after this photo was taken, Mother Teresa died on September 5, 1997. SAURABH DAS/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Though considered by many to be the greatest human chess player of all-time, Garry Kasparov found he was no match for his machine rival: IBM's Deep Blue supercomputer. As fans looked on, Kasparov holds his head in his hands at the start of his final match on May 11, 1997, which he lost in 19 moves to give Deep Blue victory in the six-match series. STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images
It was not as celebrated as Neil Armstrong's "giant leap for mankind," but NASA's Pathfinder mission was an equally historic scientific feat. On July 4, 1997, the Pathfinder spacecraft delivered a lander and a robotic rover to the Martian surface for the first time, providing scientists on Earth with a trove of information on Mars' atmosphere, rocks and soil. And while it didn't discover life, Pathfinder gave us the best evidence yet that the planet was once warm and wet. NASA/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
After Evander Holyfield stunned Mike Tyson with an 11th-round TKO in their first matchup, boxing fans were anticipating another fight for the ages in their June 28, 1997, rematch. But the fight took a bizarre and gruesome turn in the third round. After a Holyfield headbutt that gashed Tyson's head, Tyson lost his temper in the third round and bit Holyfield on the ear, tearing off a chunk of the cartilage, leaving the wound shown here. Tyson was disqualified from the fight and later lost his boxing license because of the bite.
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In the early morning hours of August 31, 1997, tragic news shocked the world: Princess Diana had been killed in a car crash in Paris, along with her boyfriend Dodi Fayed and their driver, Henri Paul. Here, Prince Charles, Prince Harry, Earl Charles Spencer (Diana's brother), Prince William and Prince Philip stand as Diana's coffin is taken into Westminster Abbey on September 6, 1997. Diana was beloved around the globe for her charity work, and an estimated 2.5 billion people watched the funeral. JOHN GAPS III/AP
At London's St. Paul's Cathedral, the Rev. Katherine Young is shown in 1997 after becoming the first woman to be ordained a priest by the Anglican Church. A. Abbas/Magnum Photos
Science fiction became reality in December 1997, when scientists at Scotland's Roslin Institute introduced the world to Dolly, the world's first cloned sheep produced from an adult cell. Dolly proved that it was possible to create an exact genetic copy of an animal from one of their specialized cells -- in this case, a mammary gland cell. JOHN CHADWICK/ASSOCIATED PRESS
As far as blockbusters go, few have matched the success of 1997's "Titanic." The fictionalized love affair that unfolded between Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet aboard the doomed ship was a hit with audiences around the globe, and catapulted DiCaprio to superstardom. It also shattered box office records -- despite its hefty $200 million budget, "Titanic" became the first film to push past the $1 billion mark in gross revenue, and it remains among the highest-grossing movies of all time. 20th Century Fox Film Corp/Courtesy Everett Collection
Hugo Chavez is shown speaking to crowds gathered in Caracas, Venezuela, on February 4, 1998, during an anniversary celebration of his attempted 1992 coup. Though his first attempt to assume the presidency was unsuccessful, Chavez became president in 1999, and shortly after revamped the constitution to claim even more power. JORGE SANTO/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Within minutes of each other, bombs exploded outside the US embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on August 7, 1998. In this photo of the aftermath of the Nairobi attack, rescue workers lift Susan Francisca Murianki, a US embassy worker, over the rubble of a collapsed building. The terror group al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the bombings, which left 224 dead and more than 5,000 wounded. KHALIL SENOSI/AP
In 1998, baseball fans were treated to a home run race unlike anything the sport had seen, with St. Louis Cardinals slugger Mark McGwire and Chicago Cubs star Sammy Sosa trading long balls all season as they chased Roger Maris' single-season record of 61 home runs. McGwire is shown after belting his 70th and final home run of the 1998 campaign. But his record was broken three seasons later by Barry Bonds, and like many others who played in the so-called "steroid era," McGwire later admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs during the 1998 season. AMY SANCETTA/AP
Revered as baseball's "Iron Man," Cal Ripken Jr. tips his hat to the fans at Baltimore's Camden Yards after sitting out the Orioles game on September 20, 1998. Ripken's decision not to play brought an end to his streak of 2,632 consecutive games played. The record was previously held by Lou Gehrig, who Ripken surpassed by 501 games. HEATHER HALL/AFP/Getty Images
More than 36 years after becoming the first American to orbit the Earth, in 1998 John Glenn made his historic return to outer space as a crew member on the space shuttle Discovery. When Discovery launched on October 29, 1998, Glenn was 77 years old and still a sitting US senator, making him the oldest human to travel into space. Glenn, who died in 2016, is shown with his wife and other members of the crew during a ticker-tape parade in their honor on November 16, 1998, in New York. TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images
Piloted by Switzerland's Bertrand Piccard and his English co-pilot, Brian Jones, the Breitling Orbiter 3 balloon is shown sailing over the Swiss Alps on March 1, 1999. Just 20 days later, Piccard and Jones achieved the first nonstop balloon trip around the world when they landed safely in North Africa. After landing, Jones was asked how he'd celebrate his achievement and told The New York Times, "The first thing I'll do is phone my wife, and then, like the good Englishman I am, I'll have a cup of tea.'' FABRICE COFFRINI/KEYSTONE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
On June 26, 1997, audiences got their first glimpse inside the world of young wizard Harry Potter when J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" was released in the United Kingdom. (The book was titled "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" in the United States.) Rowling famously wrote the book in coffee shops while living on public assistance, and was turned down by multiple publishers. In the 20 years since, the Harry Potter books have become some of the best-selling novels in history and spawned a multibillion-dollar movie franchise. Urbano Delvalle/The LIFE Images Collection/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty
Before Kevin Federline and the shaved head era, Mississippi-born Britney Spears was a talented 17-year-old when she burst on the scene in 1999 with her hit single and album, "Baby One More Time." The album climbed to the top of the US Billboard 200 and made the teenage Spears -- shown during a 1998 photo shoot -- an international superstar. L. Busacca/WireImage/Getty Images
'Sex and the City' - The first episode of HBO's "Sex and the City" premiered on June 6, 1998. The romantic comedy series showcased single women and their relationships in a way new to television. Sarah Jessica Parker -- first from the left -- starred as the quintessential New York City single girl, Carrie Bradshaw. Craig Blankenhorn/HBO
After 20 years in the National Hockey League, Wayne Gretzky laced up his skates for the last time on April 18, 1999, in a game that his Rangers lost 2-1 in overtime to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Gretzky stepped away as the league's all-time leader in points with 2,857, and his number 99 jersey is the only number that has been retired league-wide by the NHL. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Surveillance tape from Columbine High School on April 20, 1999, shows Eric Harris, left, and Dylan Klebold carrying guns through the school's cafeteria. The two students carried out one of the deadliest school shootings in US history, killing 12 students and one teacher, before turning the guns on themselves in the school's library. Kevin Moloney/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Agim Shala, a 2-year-old Kosovar refugee, is passed through a barbed-wire fence and reunited with his grandparents in a refugee camp in Kukes, Albania, on May 3, 1999. Shala's family was one of thousands driven from their homes in Kosovo by the deadly fighting in the Balkans. Carol Guzy/The Washington Post/Getty Images
On May 3, 1999, 74 tornadoes touched down across Kansas and Oklahoma, killing 46 people and causing almost $1.5 billion in damage. The strongest tornado to form was an F-5 that ripped through Oklahoma City and its suburbs for nearly an hour and a half. Here, Tammy Holmgren and her daughters seek shelter beneath a roadway as a tornado approaches in the distance. Holmgren and her family were unharmed. J. PAT CARTER/ASSOCIATED PRESS
The 1999 US Women's National Team -- the 99ers, as they were called -- played in front of sold out stadiums during their quest for glory at the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup. It culminated with Brandi Chastain's penalty kick that clinched the Americans' victory in the World Cup final on July 10, 1999. The ensuing celebration, shown, is among the most famous in sports history. HECTOR MATA/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
While flying from New Jersey to attend a family wedding in July 1999, a plane piloted by John F. Kennedy Jr. crashed several miles off the coast of Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. Three days later, Kennedy's body and that of his wife, Carolyn Bessette, and her sister, Lauren Bessette, were found in in the Atlantic Ocean miles offshore. On July 22, 1999, the ashes of all three were scattered at sea during the ceremony shown. STEPHAN SAVOIA/ASSOCIATED PRESS
In 1999, Lance Armstrong was the toast of the sports world. Just two and a half years after beating cancer, Armstrong is shown raising a cup of champagne as he celebrates the first of his seven consecutive Tour de France victories. But in a sport that has been marred by doping scandal after doping scandal, his greatness was too good to true. After doping allegations had swirled around him for years, Armstrong admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs during his cycling career in a 2013 interview with Oprah Winfrey. JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images