When I was first reading about Anthropology as a budding Archaeologist, Claude Levi Strauss was old. When I went to graduate school, I was shocked to see Claude Levi Strauss walking around at conferences, being old and revered. Every decade or so since then Claude Levi Strauss would show up in one place or another. And now, at the age of 100, he has died.
If you want to read one of the finest books ever written from the perspective of socio-cultural anthropology try Tristes Tropiques. It will blow you away.
There is a very good obit here at the NYT.
This is truly the end of an era, even if it is a golden era that ended decades ago.