This week: a giant of American football, a scientist who helped create the internet and a Grammy winner who collaborated with Adele

THE former US ambassador to Ireland Dan Rooney, who has died aged 84, was also known as a powerful figure in American football who took action to appoint and promote more people from ethnic minorities in the game.

Born on July 20 1932 in Pittsburgh, Rooney was a high school quarterback, who took a degree in accounting before enjoying a run of success as chairman of the Pittsburgh Steelers, which was founded by his father.

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As chairman, he developed the Rooney Rule under which NFL (National Football League) teams are required to interview minority candidates for coaching and front-office positions.

It came about when officials and league lawyers recognised the need for a hiring policy that was fair and transparent, and the NFL had many critics over the lack of minorities in high-profile jobs, particularly as head coaches.

Rooney brought new employment requirements to his fellow owners and got the measure passed.

Several years later, Rooney served as the US ambassador to Ireland from 2009-2012, becoming the first ambassador from the US to visit each of Ireland's 32 counties.

Speaking about Roony, former president Barack Obama said: "Dan Rooney was a great friend of mine, but more importantly, he was a great friend to the people of Pittsburgh, a model citizen, and someone who represented the United States with dignity and grace on the world stage.

"I knew he'd do a wonderful job when I named him as our United States ambassador to Ireland, but naturally, he surpassed my high expectations, and I know the people of Ireland think fondly of him today."

Rooney returned to the United States in 2012 and went back to work for the Steelers, becoming a fixture at the team's headquarters well into his 80s.

He regularly walked to home games in the Steel City. He mingled with fans, much as his father did before him, and made his players feel comfortable in his presence.

He would frequently have lunch with members of the staff, players and the media, stopping to say hello to everyone he came across.

THE scientist Robert W Taylor, who has died aged 85, was a leading figure in NASA who was instrumental in creating the internet and the modern personal computer.

Taylor was a project manager for NASA when he worked with the scientists who were responsible for some of the most important technologies of the modern world, including the computer mouse and computers that use graphics such as icons and windows - the kind of command system that is universal on modern devices.

In 1966, when Taylor worked for the Pentagon, he also oversaw the creation of a single computer communications network to link researchers around the country. It was called Arpanet and evolved into the internet.

A few years later, Taylor went on to work at the Xerox Corp's famous Palo Alto Research Centre, or PARC, where he was oversaw a team that helped create the Alto, a pioneering personal computer.

GRAMMY Award-winner Tom Coyne, who has died aged 62, was a mastering engineer who worked on numerous hit recordings by Adele, Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Metallica and many others.

He began his career in the 1970s and scored his first hit with Kool And The Gang.

He then worked at the Hit Factory for five years before moving to Sterling Sound, where he remained for the rest of his career and eventually became a managing partner.

Coyne won six Grammys and a Latin Grammy during his career, earning a combined 37 nominations overall.

He won a Grammy earlier this year for Adele's Record of the Year, Hello.