The Best of 2008: Counting Down ABC News' Most Popular Stories

Responding to media reports first publicized on "The Drudge Report" claiming there was turmoil at Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Studios about whether to book Palin on the popular talk show, Winfrey's representatives said that while she had nothing against Palin, the veep hopeful wouldn't appear on the show during the campaign.

"At the beginning of the presidential campaign, when I decided that I was going to take my first public stance in support of a candidate, I made the decision not to use my show as a platform for any of the candidates," Winfrey wrote in a statement provided to ABCNews.com. "I agree that Sarah Palin would be a fantastic interview, and I would love to have her on after the campaign is over."

Read the story: Is Oprah Biased? Host Won't Interview Palin.

And after the election was over, longtime Palin staffer Meg Stapleton lashed back at anonymous critics within the McCain-Palin presidential campaign, telling ABC News they were attacking the former vice presidential candidate with distortions and blaming her for the Republican National Committee's own missteps.

Read the story: Palin Aide Fires Back at Reported McCain Camp Slams.

Randy Pausch, 'Last Lecture' Professor Dies

Randy Pausch, the charismatic college professor who chronicled his battle with pancreatic cancer in a remarkable speech widely known as the "Last Lecture," died at the age of 47. Pausch's lecture and subsequent interview was one of the most powerful accounts of hope, grace and optimism ABC News has ever featured, and it drew a worldwide response.

If you had only six months to live, what would you do? How would you live your life? And how can all of us take heart from Pausch's inspiring message to live each day to its fullest?

Pausch's answers to these questions, both in the lecture and in three separate interviews over a series of months with Diane Sawyer, are moving, funny, thought-provoking and extraordinary.

Last spring, Sawyer asked Pausch what was the best thing that had happened to him that day. He replied, "Well, first off, I'd say the day's not over yet. So there's always a chance that there will be a new best."

The family requests that donations in Randy's behalf be directed to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, 2141 Rosecrans Ave., Suite 7000, El Segundo, Calif. 90245, or to Carnegie Mellon's Randy Pausch Memorial Fund.

Read the story: Randy Pausch, 'Last Lecture' Professor Dies .

Watch the full interview: VIDEO: The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch.

Get the full coverage of The Last Lecture.

Stars Who Died Young

It's as common in Hollywood as the rags-to-riches tale: stories of stars who died young.

Actor Heath Ledger, who died Jan. 22 in New York, and Brad Renfro, who died one week earlier, joined the ranks of artists, actors and musicians who died before their 30th birthdays, often during the prime of their careers.

Ledger was found dead in his Manhattan apartment. The actor, who had recently separated from actress Michelle Williams, his former fiancee and mother of his 2-year-old daughter, is expected to be remembered as one of the best of his generation. He got an Oscar nomination for playing a gay cowboy in "Brokeback Mountain" and is generating Oscar buzz again for his role as Joker in the Batman movie, "The Dark Knight."

Other stars who died young include singer Aaliyah, rap star Tupac Shakur and actors James Dean and River Phoenix.

Read the story Gone Before 30: Stars Who Died Young.

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