25 Athletes Who Died Before Their Career Was Over

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Athletes Who Died Way Too Soon

Nick Adenhart
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Every year there is at least one sport that faces the death of an athlete. I’m not referring to those that have retired and grown old, rather players that are still in the leauges when they suddenly pass away. Sometimes they commit suicide, overdose or make the stupid mistake to drink and drive. Then there are the athletes that die literally out-of-nowhere.

I’m talking about the completely unexpected, unintended types of death. Some of them die from natural causes; others die from some insane or unanticipated event. It is very rare that an athlete dies while they are in the middle of the game, but even that has happened before.

It kind of makes you wonder what will happen next. Who will be the next athlete to die unexpectedly? It’s not something that you want to think about but you know it will happen in the future. You never know who will be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

On this list I have included athletes who could have became stars if their careers wouldn’t have ended with death. Some of them were on the rise right before they passed away. It’s hard to tell what achievements and records they could have broken if they were still alive today.

I tried to include athletes from multiple eras, that way everyone should know at least a few names on the list. Either way, these athletes passed away too soon in life. Some names will be familiar, others you may want to research more to see what their potential really was.

I’m not going to include those that made stupid decisions that led to their death; that was their own personal choice. They could have easily prevented their deaths.

I know I couldn’t include every single athlete that has passed away but I did my best to give the 20 spots to the men and women that deserve the most recognition. Enjoy!

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Sean Taylor

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Twitter
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Sean Taylor

Sean Taylor
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Thurman Munson

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Twitter
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Thurman Munson

Thurman Munson
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Ben Wilson

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Ben Wilson

Ben Wilson
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Chris Street

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Twitter
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Chris Street

Chris Street
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Dale Earnhardt

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Wikimedia Commons
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Dale Earnhardt

Dale Earnhardt
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Brian Piccolo

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Facebook
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Brian Piccolo

Brian Piccolo
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Lou Gehrig

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Twitter
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Lou Gehrig

Lou Gehrig
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Drazen Petrovic

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Source: Twitter
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Drazen Petrovic

Drazen Petrovic
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Darryl Kile

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Twitter
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Darryl Kile

Darryl Kile
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Hank Gathers

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Hank Gathers

Hank Gathers
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Chuck Hughes

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BlogSpot
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Chuck Hughes

Chuck Hughes
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Caleb Moore

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Source: Facebook
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Caleb Moore

Caleb Moore
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Bill Masterton

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Facebook
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Bill Masterton

Bill Masterton
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Ed Sanders

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Wikimedia Commons
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Ed Sanders

Ed Sanders
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Reggie Lewis

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Facebook
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Reggie Lewis

Reggie Lewis
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Sarah Burke

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Facebook
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Sarah Burke

Sarah Burke
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Payne Stewart

Payne Stewart
Facebook
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Payne Stewart

Payne Stewart
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Ray Chapman

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Twitter
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Ray Chapman

Ray Chapman
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Roberto Clemente

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Twitter
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Roberto Clemente

Roberto Clemente
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Joe Roth

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Joe Roth

Joe Roth
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Steve Prefontaine

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Steve Prefontaine

Steve Prefontaine
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Jasper Howard

Jasper Howard uconn death
Getty Images
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Jasper Howard

Jasper Howard
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Len Bias

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Twitter
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Len Bias

Len Bias
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Derrick Thomas

thomas
Twitter
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Derrick Thomas

Derrick Thomas
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Pat Tillman

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Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
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Pat Tillman

Pat Tillman

Around the Web

  • Bob61

    Len Bias?

    • tailhook

      Suicides don’t count for this list. These are people whose lives were cut short not of their own accord.

      • ChrisV2028

        Who committed suicide? Len Bias died of a cocaine overdose. Duh.

        • tailhook

          Point proven. You don’t get remembered for jumping off bridges, blowing your brains out, or killing yourself with drugs.

          • Broc Page

            there is still a difference between OD and suicide, besides this list is an opinion list, quit FORCING your opinion

          • tailhook

            No, there really isn’t.

          • http://spoutingpoetry.com Folkwolf101

            Then, what do we say about the athletes who were big partiers and almost died of recreational drug use, such as Terrell Owens and Dejon Sanders?

          • Statalyzer

            Well since they DIDN’T DIE they clearly don’t qualify. If they had died, from drugs, they still wouldn’t qualify.

          • Don Schuster

            Hmm. Rather sympathetic to a colored drug addict aren’t we? Next you’re goin’ say dear lil Trayvon was a victim…

          • Chitown Ace

            Had George who is no angel either not killed Trayvon then we’d be reading on some obsecure site how either he died of a drug overdose or killed some white crackers in a robbery gone bad.

          • JimB

            As reported at the time, it was Len’s first try with the drug. It was also reported that his was not the first case of a person dying at the first use of cocaine.

          • Enrigue Ruiz

            How can anyone prove it was his first time?

          • Fuck iWin

            I’ll leave my opinion about Trayvon out of this, but I will say with 100% certainty that Don Schuster is a worthless piece of trash who should shoot himself in the face.

          • Deborah Moore

            Trauvpm Martin was murdered by racist, bitgot George Zimmerman who lied about the entire encounter. Apparently, you have not read the Discovery evidence which was downloaded on line for two years, but the truth means nothing to racists like yourself who feel it is perfectly fine to murder black people with impunity. To refer to an African American as “colored” is someone who still resides in the racist Jim Crow, apartheid era but of couse that is where you and people of your ilk feel most comfortable. I find it interesting that you do not refer to any whites who have died of drug overdoses, but in the world of Don Schuster, whites don’t commit crimes or use drugs.

          • Delondi Ngoma Kintaudi

            How about killing yourself with bad choices? Such as not going out there and playing with a heart condition? How cruel can you get?

        • Broc Page

          len bias’ family has a sad sad tale to sing…… such a shame

        • Javier E. Soler

          It says on the article: “I’m not going to include those that made stupid decisions that led to their death; that was their own personal choice”

          I’m pretty sure cocaine binges fall under “stupid decisions”.

      • antonius

        So tailhook, you work for this site and know what the requirements are for making the list? Then, could you please explain the inclusion of Jasper Howard on this list? No disrespect to the Howard family, but the kid wasn’t even a pro prospect as far as I know.

      • Delondi Ngoma Kintaudi

        If you’re ruling an overdose as suicide, and dying on one’s own accord, your going to eliminate half of the people on the list. Who told Ben Wilson to confront the other kid? Is that a suicide?

        • Fuck iWin

          It’s called human nature. Fight or flight response…a stud athlete’s natural response would be to fight, while a gutless pansy such as yourself would run away so you can use poor grammar and ask ridiculously stupid questions on the internet.

    • David Solomon

      He was the first name i thought of when i read the headlines. Seeing some of the people profiled, I can’t fathom why he is not on the list.

    • Guest

      Whose that? Kidding…..No Salvador Sanchez either. The kid was undefeated and one of the best boxers of all time before his unfortunate car accident.

    • Phil_the_Pirate

      “I’m not going to include those that made stupid decisions that led to their death; that was their own personal choice. They could have easily prevented their deaths.”

  • Jeff

    No Roberto Clemente?????

    • John Beam

      Clemente had played a rather long period of time prior to his untimely death, but in the same respect, so did Lou Gehrig. So, if you’re going to put Gehrig on the list, you ought to include RC.

    • JimB

      Look again…see #20.

    • John Smith

      He was there…. you have to watch the whole thing.

  • moneydonnelly

    Bobby Phils, Derrick Thomas, Du Ku Kim, Corey Lidle, Korey Stringer, Len Bias, Roberto Clemente, Evan Tanner to name a few.

  • Don L

    How could you leave Ernie Davis (Syracuse, Cleveland Browns) off this list? You must not be old enough to remember him. He died of leukemia one year after graduating from Syracuse. Could have been one of the greatest running backs ever.

  • Andrew R. Gonzalez

    Ni tienes Roberto Clemente?

  • Mike

    Roberto Clemente. I thought for sure he’d be #1, or maybe right after Gherig and Piccolo. Clemente was not only a great athlete, but also a great human being.

    • Broc Page

      there’s still a great statue of him at the pittsburgh pnc park… he was a legend that’s for sure. although the list is compiled based on opinion, i agree that clemente deserved a spot… although he was 18 years or so into his major league career so maybe that was a factor, since it wasn’t cut “short enough”

  • David

    Joe Delaney… Delaney was named Rookie of the Year in the AFC in 1981 and set four
    franchise records that stood for over twenty years. He was also selected to the Pro Bowl in his rookie year after leading the Chiefs to their first winning season in eight years.

    On June 29, 1983 Joe Delaney risked his life in attempt to save three children from drowning in a lake in Monroe in northeastern Louisiana. He went with friends to an
    amusement center until he heard children screaming for help in a 20-foot deep water hole. Delaney, who did not know how to swim, jumped in to try to rescue them and drowned. One child was able to get out of the water but the others, including Delaney, were not as fortunate. He was honored with his unselfish act and to this day has been labeled a hero.

    • Chris Whalen

      Joe Delaney is a MAJOR oversight on this list. I actually received his autograph when I was 10 years old growing up in KC.

  • Tom O’Connor

    You forgot about soccer player, Mark Vivien-Foe, who collapsed during a game and died later.

  • Brandon Henderson

    What possesses people to make these lists? They are always so arbitrary and poorly written and researched. Moreover, they completely fail to provide any new or even interesting information to the poor reader who got sucked into another damn top ten article. Lastly: A high school basketball kid nobody has ever heard of makes this list but Len Bias does not? That seems right.

    • Jim Booli

      They are kind of ingenious ways of generating clicks and ad revenue! They get people to come and click through all the names, and then click some more to make comments about why their favorite person is missing from the list, and then click some more when they get tangled up in endless, silly wars with other people commenting.

    • antonius

      The lists on this site are incredibly poorly researched. I doubt if it is any more than some college kid sitting down at a keyboard for half an hour to think of a few names off the top of his head.

  • Chris Mitchell

    roberto clemente??? come on bros

  • BroncoFan

    Darrent Williams

  • reggie1001

    Lorenzen Wright was murdered. He played for the Clippers,Grizzlies, Hawks, Kings, Cavs. Eddie Griffin died in a car crash. He played for the T-Wolves and was only 25.

    • antonius

      Jerome Brown

  • Jayson Saba

    Ayrton Senna???

    • gradyphilpott

      Ayrton who? Just kidding. Senna definitely deserves mention, but I get the idea that the author doesn’t know much about the motor sports.

  • RTJ

    Spc. Pat Tillman?

    • FrankTalk

      Tillman changed careers, quitting football to go into military service

    • palerider

      CPL. Pat Tillman.

  • Philip R. Frey

    I get why Clemente isn’t included. The article specifically wants to speak of athletes who *could* have achieved greatness but passed away too soon. Though Clemente passed away too soon, he *had* achieved greatness,

    My problem with the article is that when you are writing about the untimely passing of people, perhaps “Enjoy!” isn’t the best sign-off.

    • John Beam

      Then why did they include Lou Gehrig? He had already played many a season, and built is hall-of-fame resume. It seems like an oversight to me…

  • stageacter

    On this list I have included athletes who could have became stars if their careers wouldn’t have ended with death.

    “Hadn’t”, not “wouldn’t have”. If their careers HADN’T ended with death. Gad, doesn’t grammar get taught anymore? Think “If I HAD known you were coming, I WOULD HAVE baked a cake”.

    • Laura

      THANK YOU.

      Also, I’m puzzling about athletes dying before their careers are over. Their careers continue after their deaths?

      • stageacter

        Good point!

      • antonius

        Well, you shouldn’t be “puzzling” about it. In most cases, at the time their lives ended they were still actively participating in their particular sport. I suppose that it would be technically more accurate to exclude those with prolonged illnesses that did caused them to end their careers before they passed.

        • Laura

          When they died, though, their careers ended at that point. Your career can end before you die. It can end when you die. It can’t very well end after you die unless you are still participating in athletics from the grave. “Eyes the shady night has shut will not see the record cut, and silence sounds no worse than cheers after earth has stopped the ears. Now you will not swell the rout of lads that wore their honors out, runners whom renown outran, and the name died before the man.” and so forth, but still when he died his racing days were over.

          • antonius

            As the self appointed language policewoman of the internet, do you care to suggest how the headline should have been written? Please enlighten us with your wisdom?

          • Laura

            20 athletes who died too young?

            20 athletes whose careers ended with their deaths?

            20 athletes who never retired?

          • antonius

            I like the first one. The other two, not so much.

          • Laura

            20 athletes who would still be playing, had they not died?

            20 athletes whose garlands will never wither? (still on To an Athlete Dying Young).

            Only death could stop these 20 athletes?

            They Died at the Peak of their Game?

  • Todd Larson

    My condolences to the families of all the athletes who died in the midst of doing what they loved. One could mention Boston Red Sox baseball player Tony Conigliaro, who died in 1990 at 45 of complications from a heart attack and stroke, as a consequence of the eye injury he suffered when hit with Jack Hamilton’s pitch on August 18, 1967 (the Red Sox’ “Impossible Dream” year when they fell just short of winning the World Series), during a game at Fenway Park against the California Angels. Though Conigliaro did make comebacks in 1970-71 (with the Angels) and 1975 (with the Sox), his career was essentially cut short by the injury that led to his death. Since then the Sox have given the Tony Conigliaro Award to the MLB player who best overcomes obstacles and adversities through spirit, determination and courage.

  • Tony

    No Steve Prefontaine??

    • FrankTalk

      Exactly my thoughts

    • Delondi Ngoma Kintaudi

      Prefontaine falls into the Salvador Sanchez category. Nobody told either one of those hall of famers to drink, hence…bad decisions ended their lives.

      • Fuck iWin

        So I guess it wouldn’t have been their fault if someone HAD told them to drink? That’s really sound logic there, moron. Let’s test it: Go drink an entire case by yourself and then take a drive on the freeway.

    • Steven Magedoff

      Prefontaine is there.. look again

  • Hammerclaw Kellan

    Steve Prefontaine?

    • rentslave

      Without him,it’s quite possible there would be no Nike today.

      In a strange parallel to another iconoclast,James Dean,Steve died on the 30 th day of the month in a sports car,at age 24.All of which also applied to Dean.

  • Chris Lusk

    Its Ken Schrader morons…

  • Chris Lusk

    How about the entire Marshall Football team?

    • http://spoutingpoetry.com Folkwolf101

      Yeah, and what about that US Olympic boxing team that died in a plane crash?

      • roger1968

        Or those three football players that drowned out at sea four years ago?

      • Chitown Ace

        You would also have to include the 1977-1978 Evansville Basketball Team(the only surviving player who missed the trip died in a car crash weeks later now that is scary) as well as the 1970 Wichita State Football Team.All from plane crashes

  • Jim Wetherell

    Roberto Clemente? Hall of Famer not included? Pat Tillman?

    • FrankTalk

      RC for sure. Tillman quit football to enter military service

  • Rich

    Lyman Bostock?

  • TeaPartyTerrorists

    Everyone alive at the time remembers Len Bias. Why isn’t he on this list?

  • milton thomas

    Kevin Garnett won’t like the fact that you left Malik Sealy off this list!

  • Kirsten Berger

    Don’t forget Fran Crippen, a champion open water swimmer who died of overheating in a 10 km swimming race in water that was much too warm. He was only 26. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fran_Crippen

  • Stentor7

    As an alumnus of the University of California at Berkeley, I have to point out that it has 3 e’s not, 2, & it’s never called UCal, just Cal. I’ve seen Mike Roth’s retired jersey, it’s in a case with the trophies, & every year there’s a remembrance for him at the start of the football season. Go Bears!

  • noBS

    What about Benny “Kid” Paret (and possibly several other boxers who died from injuries in the ring)? Although Paret did win the welterweight title – twice – he was only 25 when he was killed in a title fight in 1962.

    • Kenneth Edward Polley

      But he was killed by a homosexual and liberals own the media, including this, and they don’t want to put homosexuals in any bad light!

  • Gary Warren

    No Ernie Davis? My heavens? He might have been better than the best fullback to ever play the game, Jimmy Brown, and he isn’t here? Absurd. Ridiculous. Insulting. Reflects very badly on the intelligence of the author of this piece.

  • Michael Keller

    Addie Joss, a Hall of Fame pitcher who died at 31 with the second-lowest ERA in baseball history.

  • tontis

    I grew up in the Bay Area and I remember the night Roth died. The local news anchor comes on after the Grammies, in which Stevie Wonder won all kinds of awards for his ‘Songs in the Key of Life’ album and said, “After all those songs in the key of life, it’s sad to report the death of Cal quarterback Joe Roth.

  • tontis

    Jus before I started following baseball in the early 60′s, there was a Cubs 2nd Baseman, Ken Hubbs who died in a car accident on the way to Spring Training the next year. I have his one and only card. His name comes up on broadcasts quite frequently.

    • Chris

      It was a plane crash. He was the pilot. Also, there was a second memorial card.

      • Chris

        And, he was an outstanding fielder and hit 280.

  • http://www.bible-knowledge.com/ Chris

    :Len Bias was left off this list.

  • Ray

    what about Harry Agganis of the Boston Red Sox

  • Goalie1954

    Pelle Lindbergh

  • Stuart H

    What about Len Bias? He was the ACC Player of the Year and actually got the better of Michael Jordan when Maryland won the ACC Tourney. First round draft pick of the Celtics. A bigger, stronger version of Michael Jordan. He died of cocaine intoxication. The guy who sold it to him was convicted of manslaughter. This guy was going to be an all time great. He is still on Jay Bilas’s All Time ACC starting 5 team. The Celtics could have won several more championships with this guy with Bird and company and his 47 inch vertical jump and great jump shot.

    • h20andoil

      Same thought. How could this list not include Len Bias!

      • T CP

        ‘cuz he was a drug addled loser?

        • http://www.facebook.com/rhowell331 Robert Donald Howell

          If I remember correctly, it may have been his first time using cocaine. There were no other drugs in his system at the time of his death. He was by most accounts a great kid.

        • Who Cares

          Drugs not Hugs!

  • Lee Roggenburg

    One glaring omission from this list is Flo Hyman – one of the world’s greatest female volleyball players who died of a heart attack while playing a professional game in Japan. http://articles.latimes.com/1986-01-25/sports/sp-32697_1_flo-hyman

    • heavencent

      Flo-Jo,the great track star,who had an Asthma attack and suffocated in her sleep,and Flo Hyman, who probably had heart damage from undiagnosed Marfans disease.

  • Jim Swearingen

    What about the Israli Olympic members murdered at the Munich Olympics?

  • Walter Lawrence

    No Len Bias ?

  • John Herling

    There was also Ed Delahanty, a baseball player who died on July 2, 1903, at age 35. Delahanty was a star who had a lifetime BA of .346. At the time of his death, he was batting .333 with 21 RBI in 42 games.

  • Jer

    Hello? Roberto Clemente? Len Bias? If this article weren’t limited to American sports it would have to include one of the most dramatic deaths in all of sports history, when British cyclist Tom Simpson collapsed and died on the hot, difficult Mont Ventoux climb in the 1967
    Tour de France, and amphetamines were found in his blood. Drug use in cycling was widespread and somewhat accepted within the cycling community and enforcement was only halfhearted, and that was the first wake-up call. Another would be when enormously popular Formula 1 driver Jim Clark died in an F2 race in 1968 in Hockenheim, Germany, though at that time, F1 was very dangerous and driver deaths were a regular occurrence.

  • Chris

    Ken Hubbs of the Chicago Cubs. Rookie of the year in 1962. He died in a private plane crash.

  • Jason Allen

    No Derrick Thomas? He should have been top 5 or 10 for sure.

  • Kenneth Edward Polley

    Lou Gehrig dying of a disease that had the same name as him, is about the most ironic and creepy thing I have ever heard of!

    • Chris Poulin

      It didn’t have the same name as him. It was nicknamed Lou Gehrig disease after his death to bring more awareness to it.

    • Popeye Americannews

      It has been researched that Lou did not die of ALS also, but rather as a relult of his concussions…

  • Chris Poulin

    Reggie Lewis did NOT have a history of cocaine use. His family does, however, have a history of heart problems, and his son Reggie Jr. has the same condition that he had. Some doctors said that scarring on his heart was consistent with cocaine use, but it was never established as the cause or a cause. He may have tried cocaine, but it would be hard to hide a cocaine addiction from everyone close to him.

  • Russell lancaster

    len bias?

  • Don Schuster

    Seems most of the “boys” on this list died of acute “stupid” like Trayvon

  • De_Roy

    I’ll never forget how I found out that Joe Roth had died. I was a 7 year old sports fan who always loved reading the LA Times sports section until I saw this headline (I could be paraphrasing, but it was basically this offensive), “Roth Sacked by Cancer.” Even as a little boy I knew that was a distasteful way to headline such a tragic story.

  • Ron Burgundy

    No Len Bias?

  • Dexter Hexter

    How about Roberts Clemente?

  • Robin D

    You forgot Ryan Shea, Olympic Runner.

  • Jim Booli

    Folks, quit complaining about why there are names missing from the list. It is NOT an exhaustive list. They have taken a broad brush across different sports and picked some names. It’s a list of 20 names only, so many names couldn’t be included. Make up your own list if you are so upset.

  • HappyVanCamper

    Sad stories, but well done.
    Roberto Clemente would have been nice to remember as well as Dan Wheldon & Len Bias. It’s a sad topic so it is what it is.

  • jojopuppyfish

    FYI Brian Piccolo’s disease now has a cure

  • skydivepaul

    Gaines Adams?

  • Curt Leake

    Andy Hugg was a sad story. Look him up on YouTube.

  • lynncanal

    Dale Earnhardt? – come on. He died an old fart. He had his day. And his claim to full fame. Not the same as the others. Who didn’t have a chance to realize their potential.

  • Leonard Johnson

    Malik Sealy

  • jmach11

    Why isn’t Len Bias on this list?

  • http://spoutingpoetry.com Folkwolf101

    This list is a piece of crap. Where is Steve Prefontaine, the most inspirational US track athlete of all time, if not the greatest? As others have pointed out, no such list should exclude Clemente and Tillman.

  • Heisenberg

    So. I guess we wont put Derrick Thomas on the list.

  • Brian Rhoda

    Were these articles written by a 5th grade student? The grammar is pretty wretched in most of them.

  • Brian Rhoda

    And leaving Roberto Clemente off this list is a crime.

  • ShunkW

    Deuk-Koo Kim ?

  • USUAggies
  • CC

    How is it possible to die BEFORE your career is over? What journalism school drop-out wrote this title?

  • FrankTalk

    The intro picture is of Nick Adenhart’s memorial on the Angels’ outfield wall, yet he doesn’t make the list????

  • Wes

    Jerome Brown,,as well Clemente,and of course Len Bias

  • Nicole

    No Pat Tillman?

  • Mr. Jon

    Prefontaine? Marciano? Ernie Davis?

  • marcus4dyce

    This list is okay but how could you leave out great athletes like Derrick Thomas or Len Bias?

  • Pearl Nathanson

    Ricky Bell?

  • ettacat

    Loved Reggie Lewis. He was such a joy to watch play for the Celtics. What a loss to the sport of basketball.

  • Marlon Brim

    How could you forget about Len Bias? Who ever is tailhook you have know clue what you are talking about. You and Renea Juska are crazy not to have him on the list. It doesn’t matter how he died, he still died before his time!!!!

  • MetamorphosisCatalyst

    You could fill five of these lists with motorsport drivers alone.

  • Terracot

    Harry Agganis the Golden Greek

  • M_N

    No Len Bias, no Davey Allison, no Adam Petty? Several of these guys (Earnhardt) had far far fewer years ahead of them then they had behind them.

  • Jay Wells

    What about Lyman Bostock? He was a great player http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lyman_Bostock

  • Dennis

    No Steve Prefontaine ? Think about it!!!

  • Delondi Ngoma Kintaudi

    No Salvador Sanchez? What the Heck? Oh he’s not including people who made stupid decisions or died from an overdose…I guess that rules out Salvador and Len Bias. However, Salvador was undefeated and one of the best boxers of all time before his unfortunate car accident. Don’t speed kids.

  • Delondi Ngoma Kintaudi

    No Maurice Stokes, Earnie Davis, Marshall football team, 76 Olympic boxing team (especially Lemuel Steepels), etc….In fact this article misses so many boxers I was surprised when they named one.

  • chevydog

    All sorts of people missed,including Roberto Clemente and Ernie Davis (Syracuse football). Payne Stewart in golf and not Tony Lema? I also remember Bob Gashoff (defenseman, St. Louis Blues) in a motorcycle accident. And J.V. Cain, a standout tight end of the St. Louis (now Arizona) Cardinals, from an unknown heart defect. No disrespect meant to anyone on this list; but it’s a pretty poor one.

  • Conundrum

    Jasper Howard was a star in the making. What a tragedy. His motto was “Play every play like it’s the last play you’ll ever play.” How ironic that he’s the one who experienced it literally. That motto is now engraved at UConn’s stadium.

  • Don Schuster

    Very poor headline: Obviously, their careers WERE over. They were DEAD!!!

  • Chitown Ace

    What about the great baseball player Lyman Bostock??? Killed in Gary Indiana trying to save a woman.He was mistaken for the criminal.He was only 28 years of age.In 4 short years of baseball he hit only 23 Home Runs.14 in 77 Power Hitter that Year.However he was a great glove man and his batting average was awesome!! .282, .323, .336 and .296 for .311 career. He sadly was always just short of making the All Star game.When he got a Free Agent bonus for signing with the Angels from the Twins he donated it all to his Birmingham Alabama Church to rebuild it’s dilapidated Sunday School.After he had a horrible April in which he eventually finished the year just short of .300 he tried to give back the money of his April salary.When it was refused he donated it to various good charities

  • Chitown Ace

    David Overstreet.Former CFL and Dolphins Star.Was rising.

  • Chitown Ace

    Pelle Lindbergh star of the Flyers.Led in 1986 NHL All Star game in votes despite his death.Sure he died while driving drunk but he was a Star none the less

  • Wine Dude

    Where was Steve Prefontaine?

  • Steve

    Did a teenager write these? He began puking?

  • Pinkie

    I was expecting to see Roberto Clemente as well. There was also the Marshall College football team and the US figure skaters in the 60′s, both due to plane crashes. I live about 60 miles from the University of Iowa. The whole state was devastated by the loss of Chis Streets.

  • Lou Bator

    Len Bias?

  • Cindi Hornaday

    its ken schrader not kevin

  • whitehead

    ANTWON WHITEHEAD, google him. Also extremely smart 15 yr old who passed away in his school gym Sept. 7, 2013. Antwon was recognized by Obama for his academics and was named an National High School Scholar. We was and always will be proud him. Love Always.

  • Charles Wynne

    When you die, your career is over! Guaranteed.

    • Michael Renn

      Unless You are a drug addicted musician.

  • Guest

    Len Bias wasn’t on the list?

  • Zatoichi808

    Why didn’t Ben Wilson’s family sue the neegro that shot him?

  • Norm Castor

    You forgot Pelle Lindbergh. Coming off a Vezina trophy winning season as the NHL’s best goaltender he was killed in a car accident when he crashed his Porshe after a game.

  • Donald Schuster

    Disagree with premise of this article. Their careers were definitely completed when they died!!

  • Cheryl Ehredt Conley

    I thought you were only going to post athletes that died of natural causes. You posted Len Bias who died from a cocaine overdose.

  • Dennis Lundberg

    Missed Wayne Estes!

  • gradyphilpott

    NASCAR may not be the most popular sport, but when it comes to motor sports in the US, I don’t think any series comes close. NASCAR is huge.

  • Steve Palmer

    NO JOE DELANEY???? Especially considering how he died!

  • Karen

    Ok, color me confused. I see all these comments with ‘no Len Bias’ or ‘no Roberto Clemente’ yet when I read the article they were listed. I would like to know who was bumped to add them. And you left out two of the biggest tragedies ever–the 1961 crash that killed the entire US figure skating team, and the 1995 death of 2 time Olympic gold medalist Sergei Grinkov, who collapsed at a practice for the ice show Stars on Ice and died at the hospital due to a heart defect that had not been detected yet.

    As to the title of the article, you people have problems with semantics. The meaning is that these people died while still playing their sport, so their careers were cut short. Iam pretty sure none of them intended to end their careers the day they died, or in the manner of their death.

    • ethanspapa

      The Marshall university Football team

  • ben

    Darrent Williams

  • Scott Piner

    Another young punk ass wanabe ruins it for a promising talented individual! So tough you are because you can pull the trigger? Whats Sad is that it’s a growing trend!

  • Jonnie

    WALTER PAYTON!! SWEETNESS!!

  • John McNay

    The failure to include Wayne Estes is a major mistake: http://www.usustatesman.com/2.5355/forty-years-later-wayne-estes-remembered-1.565340

  • Prefabfan

    PIstol pete?

  • Dermot Collins

    Howie Morenz (Montreal Canadiens) died as the result of an injury during a hockey game..

  • anthonyvop

    An old Dale Earnhardt but no Aryton Senna? Gilles Villeneuve? Ronnie Peterson?

  • Butch

    Ever hear of Wayne Estes, All American BB player from either Utah or Utah Sate. He was electrocuted while trying to aid victims of an auto accident. His head(6’6″) brushed against a downed electrical wire.

  • http://www.rbksoutionsllc.com Ben Kendall

    “Pistol” Pete Maravich was a shocker to me. And I am surprised he is not on the list. Here is some Old School http://youtu.be/8Y5KAaercTI

  • bruce clark

    What about Geedus McHenry? He was only 22 when he died, and was the rookie of the year!

  • wiggumc1

    So, where is Pete Maravich in all this?

    • Daffy2009

      He already retired prior to his death. He did not die while still an active player

  • Allen Karmelin

    What about “Pistol Pete”. Imagine what basketball would have been if he had been able to play a full career

    • robotnik

      Pistol died after his career was over. At age 40, he died of a heart attack after having played a pick-up game with friends. The same thing happened to Dennis Johnson at age 50.

  • Jerry Smith

    Nick Vanos, Malik Sealy, Steve Olin, Tim Crews.

  • frank pratico

    Pelle Lindbergh

  • KenBurch

    The headline is confusing. It implies that their athletic careers went on AFTER their deaths. As far as I know, there haven’t been any zombies in professional sports

  • John Smith

    What about Mike Darr, Marquis Cooper, Corey Smith….and several others.

  • Steven Magedoff

    What about Benny “the Kid” Paret? He died defending his world welterweight title against Emile Griffith at Madison Square Garden in 1962. I watched that fight on TV with my father.

  • Steven Magedoff

    Cleveland Indian pitchers Tim Crews and Steve Olin were killed in a boating accident in Florida during spring training in 1993.

  • KevinR

    Any form of auto racing is not a sport, and to refer to race car drivers athletes is downright moronic, not to mention an insult to real athletes. All it takes is the physical ability to get in a car seat and have the agility to turn a steering wheel a few inches to the left or right. Like I’m sure you have to be up for hundreds of hours before or after school or work training physically in a gym or ball field or running track or on an ice rink or the side of a mountain for a period of years (for upwards of a decade) to even think about contending for anything. What a joke.

  • robotnik

    Duk Koo Kim was killed in the ring in a championship fight at age 23. Four months later, his mother committed suicide. Later, the referee of the fight, Richard Green, also committed suicide. Kim’s opponent, Ray Mancini, was in depression for many months after the bout.

  • Russell Poggensee

    what about Jim Fixx? If anyone is responsible for the jogging craze in the US it was him. Unfortunately, he did at the age of 51. You guessed it, he was jogging.

  • Fuck iWin

    This author is an idiot. First of all he desperately needs an editor, and second of all, after saying in the intro that he wasn’t going to include people who made stupid decisions that caused their death, he includes Len Bias.

    • Daffy2009

      Very true! Not to mention the fact that Bias actually died before his career STARTED.

  • Statalyzer

    Drazen Petrovic sticking around longer in the NBA could have been awesome. In the Olympics he basically played Jordan to a draw (granted Jordan had tons of guys to share the scoring load with, but still).

  • AJZ916

    The best for last! Tillman was a great American.

  • Michael Renn

    You have Dale Earnhardt but not Dan Wheldon?

  • Allston

    Reggie Lewis brought his own death onto himself. I was an employee of the Brigham and Women’s hospital at that time, knew all of the players in that sad scenario. And let me tell you, there is an entire (unknown to most) backstory as to how those people did him an ultimate disservice that led to his death.

  • Dwight Fisher

    Your headline is ridiculous. Once they died their career was over. No one played a game post-mortem.

  • Popeye Americannews

    Korey Stringer, Malik Sealy ,and Lyman Bostock were three more Minnesota pro athletes I followed who died during their professional careers.

  • Daffy2009

    Joe Delaney, former RB of KC Chiefs, died at the age of 24 in June of 1983. He drowned while trying to save someone. He died a hero. He tried to save three kids who were drowning, even though he himself couldn’t swim. Only one of the kids survived, I believe.

  • Daffy2009

    I remember hearing about Payne Stewart’s death…that was kind of creepy.

  • Ammy Pearson

    Friendly fire my arss! He was murdered for asking too many questions.

  • Narniaman

    Wayne Estes. . . . Utah State All-American basketball player; electrocuted, 1965, by a low hanging power line.