Nodar Kumaritashvili, a 21-year-old Georgian luger competing at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, died Feb. 12 when he lost control of his sled during a training run on the opening day of the games. He is the sixth athlete to die at the Olympic Games.
Cleveland Indians' Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller passed away on Dec. 15 at the age of 92. Brought into the majors at 17 years old, Feller soon earned the nickname "Rapid Robert" because of his remarkable pitching abilities. The eight-time All-Star briefly left baseball to serve in the U.S. Navy after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Check out more of the best of 2010.
Don Meredith, former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and "Monday Night Football" commentator, passed away on Dec. 5 at the age of 72 from a brain hemorrhage. He was a three-time Pro Bowl selection.
Three-time Jack Adams Award-winning NHL coach Pat Burns passed away on Nov. 19 after a long battle with cancer. He had a career record of 501-353-151-14 over 1,019 games.
Former manager Sparky Anderson died on Nov. 4 at the age of 76. The first manager to win a World Series in both leagues — with the Cincinnati Reds in 1975 and 1976, and with the Detroit Tigers in 1984 — Anderson was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000.
Professional surfer Andy Irons was found dead in his Texas hotel room Nov. 2 at the age of 32. The three-time world champion was reportedly battling dengue fever, a rare viral infection, at the time of his passing; however, no official cause of death has been determined.
NASCAR vice president of communications Jim Hunter passed away on Oct. 29 at the age of 71 after battling cancer. Hunter spent nearly 40 years with NASCAR, beginning his career as a newspaper reporter. He was an integral force in shaping NASCAR's public image during the mid-2000s.
Former quarterback and place-kicker George Blanda died after a short illness on Sept. 27 at the age of 83. He played 26 seasons of pro football, the most in the sport's history.
Kenny McKinley, wide receiver for the Denver Broncos, died Sept. 20 at the age of 23 in an apparent suicide. After a successful college career at South Carolina and a promising start to his NFL career in Denver, McKinley suffered a knee injury in 2009, putting him on the injured reserve list, allegedly contributing to his struggles with depression.
Bobby Thomson, who hit perhaps the most famous home run in history, died Aug. 16 at age 86. His three-run home run known as "The Shot Heard 'Round the World" secured the 1951 National League pennant for the New York Giants and is now considered one of the most famous moments in MLB history.
Former Olympic sprinter Antonio Pettigrew was found dead of an apaprent suicide on Aug. 10 at the age of 42. In 2008, Pettigrew admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs and was stripped of his gold medals from the 1999 World Championships and the 2000 Sydney Olympics relays.
Lorenzen Wright, whose 13-season NBA career included stints with the Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies, was found dead July 28 after an exhaustive 10-day search in Tennessee. In addition to his basketball career, Wright was also active in charitable services, such as the Sierra Simone Wright Scholarship Fund, which he founded after the passing of his infant daughter in 2003. Wright's cause of death is still under investigation.
Former NFL safety Jack Tatum died on July 27 at the age of 61. Known throughout his career as "The Assassin," Tatum had a vicious style that made him one of the most feared tacklers in professional football.
George Steinbrenner, the longest-serving principal owner of the New York Yankees, died after suffering a heart attack on July 13; he was 80 years old. Known for his controversial business tactics and hands-on managerial approach, Steinbrenner became one of the most celebrated — and most criticized — figures in Yankees history.
Bob Sheppard, longtime public address announcer for the New York Yankees and New York Giants, died on July 11 at the age of 99. Over the course of his 56-year career with the Yankees, Sheppard announced more than 4,500 games, including 13 World Series championships.
Manute Bol, activist and former NBA center, died on June 19 at the age of 47. Standing at 7 feet, 7 inches, the Sudan-born Bol was the second-tallest player in NBA history and remains the only player to total more blocks than points for his career.
Legendary UCLA men's basketball coach John Wooden passed away on June 4 at the age of 99. Wooden led the Bruins to a record 10 NCAA championships during his 27 years as head coach. He is the only person to be named to the Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player and as a coach.
LPGA golfer Erica Blasberg was found dead of an apparent suicide in her home on May 9 at the age of 25. While a freshman at the University of Arizona, Blasberg was ranked the No. 1 female college golfer before leaving school to join the professional circuit.
Former pitcher Robin Roberts, most famous for his career with the Philadelphia Phillies, passed away May 6 at the age of 83. Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1976, Roberts boasted a career total of 2,357 strikeouts and a 3.41 ERA.
MLB sportscaster Ernie Harwell passed away on May 4 at the age of 92 after a brief battle with cancer. Best known for delivering play-by-play of Detroit Tigers games for 42 years, Harwell was ranked the 16th-best sportscaster of all time by the American Sportscasters Association.
Juan Antonio Samaranch
Juan Antonio Samaranch, former president of the International Olympic Committee, passed away April 21 at age 89. Samaranch served as head of the IOC from 1980 to 2001 — the second-longest term ever —and was credited with making the Games financially healthy through television deals and sponsorships.