The U.S. Justice Department has closed a nearly two-year-long criminal probe into allegations that seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong, 40, used performance-enhancing drugs. The prosecutor did not explain the reason for this decision. Armstrong, who has always denied the claim, said in a statement, “I am gratified to learn that the U.S. Attorney’s Office is closing its investigation. It is the right decision, and I commend them for reaching it.” • Randy Travis, 52, was arrested on Feb. 6 and charged by Sanger, Texas, police with public intoxication. The country singer, who said he had been celebrating the Super Bowl, was released after being given a misdemeanor citation. Travis said in a statement, “I’m committed to being responsible and accountable and apologize for my actions.”
The Avengers star Robert Downey Jr., 46, and his wife, Susan, 38, welcomed their first child, son Exton Elias, on Feb. 7 in L.A. Exton joins big brother Indio, 18, Downey’s son from his previous marriage. “Everyone is healthy, and they couldn’t be happier,” says a friend of the couple’s.
Soul Train creator and host Don Cornelius, who helped introduce the country to the music of black America by bringing such stars as Marvin Gaye, James Brown and Smokey Robinson, 72, into homes across the nation, committed suicide on Feb. 1 at his house in Sherman Oaks, Calif. He was 75. According to L.A. County assistant chief coroner Ed Winter, Cornelius “died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.” Tributes poured in on word of his death. Aretha Franklin, 69, said it is “so sad, stunning and downright shocking,” and Patti LaBelle, 67, called Cornelius “a genius, and the contributions he made to music and our culture are second to none.” • Emmy Award-winning actor Ben Gazzara, who appeared in such films as Anatomy of a Murder and The Big Lebowski, died of pancreatic cancer in New York on Feb. 3 at age 81. Gazzara, who was nominated for three Tony Awards and starred in the original Broadway production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, also appeared in the films Bloodline and They All Laughed opposite Audrey Hepburn, with whom he was briefly involved.
HAT IN RING
Comedian Roseanne Barr, 59, is running for President. The Roseanne star registered with the Federal Election Commission and is hoping to become the Green Party’s candidate for Commander in Chief. Barr (inset) promises to “barnstorm American living rooms” in her bid for the White House.
DEVOURING A WORLD RECORD
It took only 30 minutes for Takeru Kobayashi, 33, to wolf down 337 chicken wings in Philadelphia on Feb. 3 and set a new world record and pocket the $20,000 prize. The 127-lb. competitive eater from Japan, who has won six consecutive Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contests and ate the most Twinkies in one minute-14-was unfazed about smashing the old world record of 255 wings. “If you brought me another hundred wings right now, I think I could eat them,” he said.