Those who have seen the movie 'Furious 7' since its recent release can't help but be saddened over the death of the film's star Paul Walker, who perished in a car accident in 2013. Like the entertainment world, the sports world is also filled with talented people who were taken from us before their time. Let's take a look back and pay respect to those we lost.
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Who could forget his high-energy celebrations and those colorful outfits? Stewart won three majors during his career and was just months removed from his second US Open victory when he died in a plane accident in 1999 at the age of 42.
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Clemente is unlike many athletes on this list in that he had already put in 18 seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates. The man with the rocket arm was a 12-time All-Star, a 12-time Gold Glove winner and a four-time batting champion. He even reached 3,000 career hits on the last regular-season at-bat of his career. Tragically, the man who loved doing charity work was struck down doing just that. Clemente died on New Year's Eve in 1972 at the age of 38 in an aviation accident while delivering relief supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.
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Arguably the biggest star in NASCAR history, Earnhardt won seven Winston Cup championships and 76 races over the course of his career after he debuted in 1975. It's unknown how much longer he would have raced, but he would have undoubtedly served as an ambassador for the sport for many years to come had he not died in a wreck in the last lap of the 2001 Daytona 500 at age 49.
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What could have been. Gathers was already a star at Loyola Marymount as he became the just the second player in NCAA history to lead the nation in scoring and rebounding in the same season. He seemed destined for the NBA lottery when tragedy struck during a game in his senior season. Gathers suffered from a heart condition that caused him to collapse on the court during a game in 1990. He was rushed to a local hospital, but was pronounced dead. He was just 23 years old.
Getty ImagesStephen Dunn
The hard-hitting safety was a unanimous All-American at the University of Miami and was selected with the No. 5 overall pick by the Washington Redskins in 2004. Over the next few years, Taylor racked up two Pro Bowl selections and one first-team All-Pro nod. Unfortunately, the latter honor was awarded posthumously as he was murdered in his Miami home during an attempted robbery in 2007. He was 24 years old.
Getty ImagesJoe Robbins
The quintissential American hero. Tillman starred as a linebacker at Arizona State and was a late-round pick of the Arizona Cardinals in 1998. He switched to safety in the pros and played three years before he and his brother decided to enlist in the Army following the September 11 attacks. Tillman became an Army Ranger and was deployed to Afghanistan. On April 22, 2004, at the age of 27, Tillman was shot and killed as a result of friendly fire.
Getty ImagesJoe Robbins
An NBA All-Star in 1992, Lewis averaged 17.8 points over his six seasons in the league and was elected the Celtics' team captain. Despite his young age, Lewis suffered from a structural heart defect (that caused him to collapse on the court during a playoff game) that cut his life short. While going through an offseason workout at Brandeis University in July of 1993, Lewis suddenly collapsed and died on the court. He was just 27.
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Bias is another who was taken before we got a chance to experience his greatness. The dynamic small forward was a star at the University of Maryland and was all set to help continue the Boston Celtics' legacy when the team made him the No. 2 overall pick of the 1986 NBA Draft. However, the excitement didn't last as the 22-year-old Bias died of a drug overdose just two days later.
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Thomas set an NFL record with seven sacks in a single game in 1990 and basically took the league by storm after arriving in Kansas City as the fourth pick of the 1989 draft. Thomas spent his 11-year career with the Chiefs, earning nine Pro Bowl nods, three first-team All-Pro selections and 126.5 career sacks. Thomas was critically injured in a car accident in January 2000 that left him paralyzed from the chest down. He died weeks later of a pulmonary embolism at the age of 33.
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The Brazilian driver won three Formula One world championships during his career and won the famed Monaco Grand Prix a record six times. Considered one of the most famous drivers in the world, his career was cut short at the age of 34 as he was killed when he hit a retaining wall while in the lead of the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.
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A highly regarded Colombian soccer player, Escobar starred for the club team Atletico Nacional and was part of the Colombian national team that made a magical run to the 1994 World Cup. However, the team fell apart and Escobar's own goal against the United States helped eliminate the team from the tournament. Escobar returned to Colombia and days later, was fatally shot outside a Medellin nightclub.
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A two-time Formula One World Champion, Clark was considered by some to be the finest F1 driver in history. He raced all over the world -- even taking part in the Indianapolis 500 -- but his life came to a tragic end in 1968 when he was killed in a wreck while driving in a Formula Two race in Germany.
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Before the NBA became the multi-national melange it is today, Petrovic broke into the league in 1989 and started turning heads and making pro scouts aware of the depth of foreign talent. The Croatian-born Petrovic averaged almost 16 points per game over his six-year NBA career and was an excellent shooter. He was killed in a car accident in 1993 at the age of 28.
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The sky was the limit for the young Adenhart. The 22-year-old pitcher had just made his first start for the then Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on April 9, 2009. He tossed six shutout innings and struck out five on that day. However, later that night, Adenhart and three friends were driving when they were struck by a drunk driver in the city of Orange. Adenhart died at a nearby hospital as the result of his injuries.
Getty ImagesJeff Gross
You know how jogging is a popular activity in the USA? Prefontaine helped make that possible as he once held seven different national records in track and field. The distance runner was known for his unique mustache and long hair and for his aggressiveness on the track. Unfortunately, his life was cut short at the age of 24 when he was killed in a car accident.
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One of the men responsible for getting NASCAR off the ground in its early days, Roberts was a popular driver who scored 33 wins and took the checkered flag at the 1962 Daytona 500. He took part in 206 races over his 15-year career and would have undoubtedly continued for years. However, at the World 600 in Charlotte in 1964, Roberts' car caught fire after a collision on the seventh lap. He suffered severe burns over 80 percent of his body and although he held on for more than two months in a hospital, he eventually died of complications from his injuries at the age of 35.
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Stokes (center) was named the NBA Rookie of the Year in 1956 after averaging 16 rebounds per game. He spent his three-year career with the Rochester/Cincinnati Royals and once turned heads with four consecutive triple-doubles. He career was struck short when he fell and struck his head on the court during a regular-season game in 1958. He recovered briefly, but just days later he suffered a seizure on a flight back to Cincinnati and was left paralyzed. He was diagnosed with post-traumatic encephalopathy and never played again. He died 12 years later of a heart attack at the age of 36.
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Delaney broke into the NFL as a running back for the Kansas City Chiefs in 1981. The second-round pick hit the ground running as he was named the AFC Rookie of the Year by the UPI and then snagged a Pro Bowl selection after rushing for 1,121 yards in 1982. Delaney's career ended there, but his legacy will endure forever as he died while trying to prevent three children from drowning in a lake in Louisiana in 1983. Delaney was honored throughout the country and was even honored posthumously with the President's Citizen Medal by Ronald Reagan.
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The supremely talented British IndyCar driver was a fixture in the series over his nine-year career. He won the Indy 500 in 2005 and 2011 along with a series championship in 2005. On Oct. 16, 2011, Wheldon was involved in a massive wreck during an IndyCar race at Las Vegas Speedway and his car went airborne, smashing into a catchfence. He was airlifted to a local hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival. He was just 33 years old.
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The first Yankees player to be named team captain since the legendary Lou Gehrig, Munson led New York to back-to-back World Series championships in the late 1970s. A seven-time All Star and a three-time Gold Glove winner, the catcher also carried a .292 career batting average. Munson died in 1979 when he crashed while flying his plane in Ohio. He was just 32.
Kile racked up three All-Star nods and threw a no-hitter in 1993. The dependable righty played for three different teams during his 11 seasons in the bigs and made his last career start in 2002 with the St. Louis Cardinals -- he picked up the win. Four days later, Kile was absent during team warmups in Chicago and when hotel staff entered his room, they found him dead of a heart attack at age 33.
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The 22-year-old outfielder was considered a top prospect and was all set to become a regular for the St. Louis Cardinals. He even contributed during the team's 2014 postseason, hitting a game-tying homer in Game 2 of the NLCS. However, Taveras would never realize his potential as he was killed in a car accident in the Domincan Republic on Oct. 26, 2014.
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Briere played just one NHL season, but his potential was never in doubt. He finished third on the team in scoring during the 1969-70 season with 44 points. Many thought the 20-year-old speedster had the ability to become one of top players in the league, but it wasn't to be. Briere was critically injured in a car accident in May of 1970 and after spending 11 months in a coma, he died in 1971 at the age of 21.
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A first-round pick of the New York Rangers in 2007, the baby-faced Cherepanov never played a game in the NHL. He was playing in a KHL game in Russia in 2008 when he suddenly collapsed on the team bench. He was rushed to a hospital but died later that night. The 19-year-old's death was attributed to heart failure, although there are conflicting reports regarding this.
Getty ImagesGregory Shamus
The talented outfielder was one of the better hitters in the American League during his three-year career. His average of .311 speaks for itself. He signed a free-agent deal with the California Angels and played for them in 1978. With a week left in the regular season, Bostock was shot and killed in Indiana several hours after playing an afternoon game in Chicago. He was just 27 years old.