In his fourth season, Sean Taylor was considered among the best safeties in the NFL. On Nov. 26, 2007, Taylor was shot in his upper leg during a botched robbery. Though he underwent emergency surgery, Taylor lost too much blood and died the next day.
Pat Tillman shocked fans when he gave up a promising NFL career to join the U.S. Army in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks. In 2004, he died under friendly fire in Afghanistan in an incident that has drawn several investigations.
Chris Henry died Dec. 17, 2009, a day after he fell off the pickup truck his girlfriend was driving. Known as much for his off-field troubles as his talent on the field, Henry had turned his life around in the year prior to his death. He was 26.
The Angels' prized prospect, Nick Adenhart said he finally felt like a major leaguer after throwing six shutout innings in his 2009 season debut. Hours later, a drunk driver ran a red light, smashing into the car in which Adenhart was a passenger. In December 2010, the driver responsible for killing the pitcher and two others in the car was sentenced to 51 years to life in jail.
Stringer, one of the most well-liked players in the NFL, died of a heat stroke during the Vikings' training camp in 2001. The 27-year-old lineman had just come into his own as a football player, making his first Pro Bowl the season before.
The "Minister of Defense" stirred some controversy after leaving the NFL, but Reggie White was mourned as a legend when he died on Dec. 26, 2004, of a fatal cardiac arrhythmia at the age of 43.
On June 25, 2007, Benoit, his wife Nancy and their 7-year-old son Daniel were found dead in their home. The deaths were eventually ruled murder-suicide, with the thinking that the professional wrestler killed Nancy and Daniel a day or two before taking his own life.
Corey Smith and Marquis Cooper
NFL players Corey Smith, left, and Marquis Cooper were fishing off the Gulf Coast of Florida in March 2009 when the waters turned choppy. They never returned. After a two-day search, the Coast Guard located the boat, but not Smith and Cooper.
Mark "The Bird" Fidrych, 1976 AL rookie of the year, was famous for on-the-mound antics, such as talking to the ball and smoothing out the mound. Fidrych died in April 2009 of suffocation after his clothes became entangled in a truck he was working on at his farm.
Ken Caminiti's downward spiral after his baseball career ended in 2004 when he died of an apparent heart attack brought on by a drug overdose. The 1996 MVP was also the first prominent player to admit using steroids during his playing career.
Thrashers center Dan Snyder was just 25 when he died from injuries suffered when teammate Dany Heatley's Ferrari crashed into a wall. Snyder was in a coma for six days before his death Oct. 5, 2003.
When Darryl Kile failed to show up for a pregame warmup in 2002, a St. Louis Cardinals employee checked his hotel room and found Kile dead in his bed. A 90 percent blockage in two coronary arteries was blamed.
Dele's older brother Miles Dabord was the only survivor from a 2002 South Pacific sailing excursion. Authorities believe Dabord killed his brother, Dele's girlfriend and the captain. Dabord later intentionally overdosed, slipped into a coma and died.
Former NBA player Bobby Phills spent several years in Charlotte before dying in a car crash involving his teammate David Wesley on Jan. 12, 2000. Phills' No. 13 was the first number ever retired by the Hornets franchise.
Days after the Yankees were eliminated from the 2006 playoffs, pitcher Cory Lidle and his co-pilot perished when his plane crashed into a 72nd Street Manhattan apartment. Pilot error was blamed, with a crosswind possibly affecting guidance ability.