Gone too soon: Tragic sports deaths

A look back at athletes who were taken from us far too soon.

Roy Halladay | 1977-2017 | MLB

Cause of death: Halladay died after his plane crashed Tuesday afternoon into the Gulf of Mexico. He was 40 years old.

Oscar Taveras | 1992-2014 | MLB

Cause of death: The St. Louis Cardinals hoped slugger Oscar Taveras would become a star in Major League Baseball. Instead, at age 22, his light went out forever. Taveras died after a car wreck in his native Dominican Republic.

Steve McNair | 1973-2009 | NFL

Cause of death: McNair was shot in Nashville by a woman with whom he was having an affair. She then turned the gun on herself. Police ruled it a murder-suicide.

Chris Henry | 1983-2009 | NFL

Cause of death: Henry died after falling out of the back of a moving pickup truck during a dispute with his fiancee.

Jim Valvano | 1946-1993 | NCAA Basketball

Cause of death: Valvano died following a nearly year-long battle with metastatic cancer.

Darrent Williams | 1982-2007 | NFL

Cause of death: Williams was shot and killed following a confrontation between Broncos players and gang members at a nightclub.

Dan Wheldon | 1978-2011 | IndyCar

Cause of death: Wheldon was killed in a 15-car pileup during an IndyCar race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Florence Griffith-Joyner | 1959-1998 | Olympian

Cause of death: FloJo’s life came to a premature end when she died suddenly after suffering a deadly epileptic seizure.

Reggie Lewis | 1965-1993 | NBA

Cause of death: In July of 1993, as the young star was quickly becoming the face of the Celtics franchise, he collapsed and died of heart failure while practicing at Brandeis University.

Dave Duerson | 1960-2011 | NFL

Cause of death: Duerson died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest.

Payne Stewart | 1957-1999 | Golf

Cause of death: Stewart died in a LearJet plane accident, when the cabin lost pressure and everyone on board died of hypoxia.

Patrick Dennehy | 1982-2003 | NCAA basketball

Cause of death: Dennehy was murdered by a teammate.

Jerome Brown | 1965-1992 | NFL

Cause of death: Brown was driving at high speeds when he lost control of his vehicle. Both he and his 12-year-old nephew were killed when Brown crashed into a utility pole.

Bobby Phills | 1969-2000 | NBA

Cause of death: Phills was killed in a three-car accident after losing control of his vehicle and crashing into oncoming traffic.

Yordano Ventura | 1991-2017 | MLB

Cause of death: The Royals pitcher died in a car crash in the Dominican Republic.

Jose Fernandez | 1992-2016 | MLB

Cause of death: Miami Marlins star pitcher Jose Fernandez was one of three people who died in a boating accident at Miami Beach.

Sam Foltz | 1994-2016 | NCAAF

Cause of death: Foltz was killed in a car crash on his way home from an offseason kicking camp in Wisconsin. Former Michigan State punter Mike Sadler also was killed and LSU kicker Colby Delahoussaye was injured in the accident.

Tray Walker | 1992-2016 | NFL

Cause of death: Baltimore Ravens cornerback Tray Walker died after suffering critical injuries following a motorcycle crash.

Tommy Hanson | 1986-2015 | MLB

Cause of death: Former Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tommy Hanson died due to a cocaine overdose.

Darryl Kile | 1992-2014 | MLB

Cause of death: Kile had 90 percent blockage in two coronary arteries near his heart. At age 33, and seemingly in the prime of both his life and his career, he died in his sleep from a heart attack.

Rob Bironas | 1978-2014 | NFL

Cause of death: Former Tennessee Titans place kicker Rob Bironas’ blood-alcohol level was nearly triple the legal limit on the night he died in a single-car crash near his Nashville home.

Junior Seau | 1969-2012 | NFL

Cause of death: Seau was found dead at his Southern California home. The ex-linebacker’s girlfriend found the NFL legend with a fatal gunshot wound to the chest.

Jerry Brown | 1987-2012 | NFL

Cause of death: Cowboys defensive lineman Josh Brent was convicted of intoxication manslaughter stemming from the Dec. 8, 2012 car accident that killed his teammate and friend Jerry Brown. Brown was a linebacker for the Cowboys. Brent’s blood-alcohol level was found to be twice the legal limit under Texas laws. He was sentenced to six months in jail.

Derek Boogaard | 1982-2011 | NHL

Cause of death: Boogaard died of a drug overdose in May of 2011. In 2013 his family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the NHL, saying the league was responsible for head trauma Boogaard sustained during his career, as well as his addiction to prescription painkillers. It was found that Boogaard suffered from the degenerative brain disease CTE at the time of his death at the age of 28.

Jose Lima | 1972-2010 | MLB

Cause of death: Lima died from a massive heart attack.

Gaines Adams | 1987-2010 | NFL

Cause of death: Chicago Bears defensive end Gaines Adams died of cardiac arrest. The autopsy showed that Adams had an enlarged heart, a condition that often causes heart attacks.

Marquis Cooper | 1982-2009 | NFL

Cause of death: Cooper and Smith were among four men reported missing after they embarked on a fishing trip off Florida’s Gulf Coast in early March. On March 2, Nick Schuyler was rescued after being found clinging to an overturned boat. The Coast Guard suspended its search the following day. The bodies of Cooper, Smith and William Bleakley were never discovered and they are presumed dead.

Nick Adenhart | 1986-2009 | MLB

Cause of death: Adenhart was 22 years old when he died seven years ago. He, along with two friends, was killed by a drunk driver hours after throwing six shutout innings against the Oakland A’s.

Darrent Williams | 1982-2007 | NFL

Cause of death: Williams was killed while with fellow Broncos when his limo was sprayed by bullets after a nightclub dispute following a New Year’s Eve party.

Sean Taylor | 1983-2007 | NFL

Cause of death: Taylor died after being shot in the leg by an intruder in his home in South Florida the day before. On Nov. 30, 2007, four people were detained in connection with Taylor’s death and eventually arrested.

Marquis Hill | 1982-2007 | NFL

Cause of death: Hill (91) died while jet-skiing with a friend on Louisiana’s Lake Pontchartrain. Rough waters knocked the pair off their jet ski. Hill helped his friend, Ashley Blazio, stay afloat – and alive – by giving her survival instructions until he was pulled under by the currents.

Eddie Griffin | 1982-2007 | NBA

Cause of death: Griffin was killed in a car accident a few months after he was dropped by the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Cory Lidle | 1972-2006 | MLB

Cause of death: Lidle died in an airplane accident in New York City on Wednesday afternoon when a plane he was piloting crashed into a 50-story building on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

Bryan Pata | 1984-2006 | NCAAF

Cause of death: Pata was shot and killed outside of his apartment. It was ruled a homicide but the case remains unsolved.

Pat Tillman | 1976-2004| NFL

Cause of death: Tillman was a safety for the Arizona Cardinals when he quit playing football to enlist in the military. He was killed in a friendly fire incident in Afghanistan in 2004.

Hank Gathers | 1976-1990 | NCAAB

Cause of death: On March 4, 1990, Hank Gathers slammed home a long lob pass during a game against Portland, then stumbled, collapsed and tragically never got up.

Dan Snyder | 1978-2003 | NHL

Cause of death: Snyder was critically injured when a car driven by then-teammate Dany Heatley went out of control and crashed. Snyder died six days later due to septic shock. Heatley eventually pled guilty to second-degree vehicular homicide and other speeding-related chargers, getting three months probation and fines after Snyder’s family asked that he not go to prison.

Dale Earnhardt Sr. | 1951-2001 | NASCAR

Cause of death: Earnhardt (L) was killed instantly in a crash during the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway.

Jerome Brown | 1951-2001 | NFL

Cause of death: The Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle and his 12-year-old nephew were killed when Brown lost control of his car on wet pavement and overturned.

Korey Stringer | 1974-2001 | NFL

Cause of death: He suffered from heat stroke during the Vikings 2001 preseason training camp, and died as a result of complications.

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