Tracy Lee Stark
Photographer and Multimedia Producer
2 minute read
26 Apr 2022
7:29 pm

WATCH: Today in History – Chernobyl disaster on 26 April 1986

Tracy Lee Stark

Highlights of this day in history include the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, and the deaths of Lucille Ball and John Wilkes Booth.

A picture dated 26 April 1996 for the 10th anniversary of the chernobyl disaster, showing the ghost city of Pripyat. This attractions park has been once local children's favourite place of rest. Photo: AFP/TASS

The explosion at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant on 26 April 1986 spread a radioactive cloud over large parts of the Soviet Union.

International Chernobyl Day

International Chernobyl Remembrance Day is commemorated every year on 26 April to bring awareness of the disaster in Ukraine.

This occasion was established by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly on 8 December 2016, in memory of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

The remembrance day also raises awareness about the risks of nuclear energy.

Follow our live blog for the latest Russia-Ukraine developments

Today in history, 26 April

  • John Wilkes Booth, President Lincoln’s assassin, killed;
  • Guernica bombed in the Spanish Civil War;
  • Vermont enacts same-sex civil unions;
  • TV star Lucille Ball dies on 26 April 1989.

John Wilkes Booth – born on 10 May 1838 – was an American stage actor who assassinated United States President Abraham Lincoln in 1865.

The actor and Confederate sympathiser denounced Lincoln and lamented the abolition of slavery in the United States.

Booth was shot and killed by a Sergeant Boston Corbett on 26 April 1865 at the age of 26.

 john wilkes booth chernobyl history 26 april
Photo: Library of Congress (

Lucille Ball – born on 6 August 1911 – was a multi-award winning American actor, comedian, and producer most famous for her television comedy series I Love Lucy.

The sitcom aired on the Columbia Broadcasting System from 1951 to 1957 and ran for six seasons – a total of 180 half-hour episodes.

Ball was diagnosed with a dissecting aortic aneurysm after experiencing chest pains on 18 April 1989. She underwent surgery to repair her aorta.

Ben Stiller speaks next to a statue of Lucille Ball onstage during the 71st Emmy Awards. Ball passed away on this day in history, 26 April in 1989Photo: AFP/Getty Images/Kevin Winter

Despite the seven-hour aortic valve replacement, Ball woke up in severe pain on 26 April. She lost conciousness soon after and was declared dead at 5:47 am local time.

I Love Lucy became the most-watched sitcom of Hollywood’s Golden Era and broke Nielsen rating records during its time on air. To this day, the sitcom still attracts an audience of 40 million each year.

ALSO READ: What to know about International Chernobyl Remembrance Day

Additional reporting by Cheryl Kahla.