The 34-year-old Chicago Blackhawks assistant equipment manager died Dec. 21 in his home. Reif was in his ninth season with the Blackhawks, who honored him with a CR sticker on their helmets and an on-ice salute in the first game after Reif’s death. Other clubs, primarily in the minor-league ranks, also honored him. Reif was married with four children.
NHLI via Getty ImagesBill Smith
A collegiate star at Tennessee and six-year NBA veteran, Walther (fourth from left) died Dec. 21 in Atlanta at age 87. After leading the Volunteers to an 18-5 record in 1944-45, his first season in Knoxville, Walther left to serve in the Navy in World War II. He would return to play at Tennessee again, before playing professionally for the Minneapolis Lakers, Indianapolis Olympians, Philadelphia Warriors and Fort Wayne Pistons. He started for the West in the 1952 All-Star Game.
NBAE/Getty ImagesNBA Photos
Jeffrey ‘Gamblero’ Vanchiro
A rabid Nets fan known for his bright, neon garb while at games, Vanchiro died Dec. 14 at age 38 after falling out of a window. The former graffiti artist had only weeks earlier been carried out of Madison Square Garden during a game against the Knicks, and had reportedly struggled with paranoia and troubling thoughts and behavior in the weeks before his death. Vanchiro’s impact was so great, the Nets honored him by wearing black warm-ups with neon trim and the name ‘Gamblero’ across each player’s back in various bright neon colors.
After putting together a college career that would likely make him a millionaire in today’s world, Swink, a star running back at TCU in the 1950s, instead said no to the NFL and became a doctor, even serving as a surgeon during the Vietnam War. Swink died Dec. 3 from complications of lymphoma. He was 78. Swink, a College Football Hall of Famer, was Heisman runner-up in 1955 after running for 1,283 yards and scoring 125 points; his career highlight came that season when he ran for 235 yards on only 15 carries and scored a school-record 26 points in a 47-20 win over rival Texas in Austin.
Arguably the most beloved Canadien, Bileveau won 10 Stanley Cups as a player, worked in the front office for another seven champions, and scored 507 goals in his Hall of Fame career. The Habs’ captain for 10 years died Dec. 2 at the age of 83. Tributes poured in over social media as soon as news of his death broke, and they continued in hockey arenas throughout the NHL beginning the next day.
Denis BrodeurDenis Brodeur
Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes died in a Sydney hospital on Nov. 27, two days after being struck on the head by a cricket ball during a domestic first-class match. He was 25. Hughes played 26 test matches for Australia after making his debut at the age of 19, and played in more than 114 first-class matches in his career. The death — from a cerebral hemorrhage, or bleeding on the brain — shocked and saddened people across Australia and cricket fans all over the world.
Getty ImagesScott Barbour
An Ohio State wrestler for three years and a senior walk-on defensive tackle on the football team this season, the 22-year-old Karageorge was reported missing Nov. 26 after his roommates said he left for a walk and did not come back. His body was found four days later in a trash bin not far from campus, with police saying he died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Karageorge had reportedly suffered from concussions, and he sent a text to his mother the day he went missing that read, "I am sorry if I am an embarrassment but these concussions have my head all f----- up."
Tremblay, who played only nine seasons but won four Stanley Cups, died Nov. 26 at age 75. He played his entire career with the Montreal Canadiens, scoring 168 goals and handing out 162 assists in 509 career regular-season games. He was known for his two-way play on the ice, and for his work behind the mic off of it. After asthma forced retirement at age 31, Tremblay was an analyst for almost three decades, receiving the Hockey Hall of Fame's Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for broadcasting excellence in 2002.
Getty ImagesB Bennett
The famed Soviet / Russian coach, seen here coaching in 2004, died early Nov. 24 after a long battle with an undisclosed illness. He was 84. Tikhonov was most famous for the Soviet national team — the 'Big Red Machine,' which tore through global hockey in the late 1970s and 1980s. His most famous match, however, was the one he lost — to the United States in the 1980 Winter Olympics in the 'Miracle on Ice.'
AFP/Getty ImagesALEXANDER NEMENOV
Dorothy 'Dodo' Bundy Cheney
Cheney, who was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2004, was the first American woman to win the Australian Open women's singles title (in 1938). Cheney died at 98 in Escondido, Calif., on Nov. 23, following a brief illness. She was a three-time Grand Slam runner-up in women's doubles and a four-time Grand Slam runner-up in mixed doubles. Her mother, May Sutton Bundy, is also in the Hall of Fame and owns Grand Slam titles at Wimbledon in 1905 and '07 and the US Open in 1904. Dorothy's father, Tom Bundy, won the US Open doubles title three years in a row from 1912-'14.
The former defenseman and longtime NHL coach and executive died at 71 on Nov. 23 in Vancouver after a long illness. Quinn played parts of nine seasons in the NHL and went on to enjoy a long coaching career. He coached the Philadelphia Flyers, Los Angeles Kings, Vancouver Canucks and Toronto Maple Leafs. He also guided Canada to the gold medal at the 2002 Olympics. Quinn led the Flyers to a 35-game unbeaten streak in the 1979-80 season that almost certainly will never be broken since ties have been taken out of the game. In 15 full seasons as an NHL coach, Quinn's teams missed the playoffs only three times.
NHLI via Getty ImagesGraig Abel
He finished with a record barely over .500 and bounced around six clubs in 18 seasons, but Sadecki will forever be linked to the St. Louis Cardinals for a championship and big-name trade. Sadecki died Nov. 17 of complications from blood cancer. He was 73. Sadecki compiled a career record of 135-131 and a 3.78 ERA, but in 1964 he went 20-11 and led the Cardinals to a World Series championship over the Yankees. Two years later, he was traded to the Giants for future Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda.
Focus on Sport/Getty ImagesFocus On Sport
A World Series winning player and manager, Alvin Dark died Nov. 13 in his home at the age of 92. The 1948 Rookie of the Year and a three-time All-Star shortstop, Dark played alongside Willie Mays when the New York Giants won the 1954 title, and he guided Reggie Jackson and the Oakland Athletics to the 1974 crown. In 1951, Dark sparked perhaps the most famous rally in baseball history with a leadoff single that led to what became known as 'The Shot Heard 'Round the World,' a home run that secured the Giants' victory against the Brooklyn Dodgers in the deciding Game 3 of the NL pennant playoff. Before becoming a major leaguer, Dark was a star runner, passer and punter at LSU and served in the Marines during World War II.
Getty ImagesFocus On Sport
Thomas, seen here scoring a touchdown in a 1999 game against the Denver Broncos, played seven seasons in the NFL, all with the Minnesota Vikings. An All-Pro safety in his rookie season of 1995, Thomas played until 2001. In 2007, he revealed he was suffering from ALS, and he died of complications from it on Nov. 9. He was just 42 years old.
Getty ImagesRodolfo Gonzalez
Vandeweghe, seen here in a 1947 photo while a player at Colgate, died Nov. 9 of natural causes in Newport Beach, Calif. He was 86. Vandeweghe lived an amazing life and left an extensive legacy, as well, his name synonymous throughout the sports world. After averaging nearly 20 points over four seasons at Colgate, he played in 224 regular-season games for the New York Knicks. He also went to medical school while playing in the NBA, married the 1952 Miss America, served as a physician in the Air Force, and served on the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. He and wife Colleen had four kids, including longtime NBA player Kiki Vandeweghe. His other three children also excelled in sports, and granddaughter CoCo Vandeweghe is the 40th-ranked tennis player in the world.
Former major league pitcher Brad Halsey died in a recreational climbing accident on Oct. 31. He was 33. Halsey went 14-19 in 88 games with the New York Yankees, Arizona and Oakland from 2004-06. The left-hander most recently pitched in the minors for the Yankees in 2011.
Getty ImagesEzra Shaw
Veteran racer and family patriarch Jim Sauter died Oct. 31 following a brief illness. He was 71. Sauter, who recorded four top-10 finishes over 76 starts in what is now the Sprint Cup Series and won multiple championships as a short-track racer in the Midwest, is the father of NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Johnny Sauter.
Collins, the former Oakland Raiders offensive lineman, was working as a football coach at a high school in Charlotte when he died Oct. 26 at age 38. Collins was a first-round pick by Oakland in 1998 and went on to play in 71 games, starting 64 of them. He started at right guard in Super Bowl XXXVII, which Oakland lost to Tampa Bay, 48-21.
Getty ImagesJonathan Ferrey
Meyiwa was goalie and captain of the South African national team when he was shot to death Oct. 26 by two gunmen who broke into a house where he was staying. He was believed to be 27, though some reports claimed he was actually 30. Police said that seven people were staying at the house at the time of the attack and that Meyiwa was shot in front of his girlfriend before the two men fled. In November, police dropped charges against a man arrested in the case.
Getty ImagesGallo Images
The 22-year-old Cardinals prospect, one of the top young players in all of MLB, was killed Oct. 26 when the vehicle he was driving reportedly went off the road in Puerto Plata in his native Dominican Republic. Another passenger in the vehicle also died. The tributes were fast and wide-reaching once news spread of the death of Taveras, who hit .239 with three home runs and 22 RBI in 2014, his only major-league season. Taveras signed with St. Louis as a teen in 2008, and entered the 2014 season as the No. 3 prospect in baseball by MLB.com and Baseball America. In Game 2 of the NLCS, he became the youngest player in MLB history to hit a pinch-hit home run in the postseason.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY SportsKim Klement
South African runner Mbulaeni Mulaudzi, a former 800-meter world champion, was killed in a car crash on Oct. 24 while traveling to a track meet in Johannesburg. Mulaudzi was 34. 'The nation has lost a true hero,'South African President Jacob Zuma said.
AFP/Getty ImagesTHOMAS LOHNES
John 'Bull' Bramlett
A former football and baseball player who was nicknamed the 'Meanest Man in Football,' Bramlett died on Oct. 23 at age 73. He was a two-sport star at Memphis State, who played pro baseball in the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system for two years before changing to pro football, which he played from 1965-71 and was a two-time All-Pro LB. He was runner-up to Joe Namath for American Football League Rookie of the Year in 1965. Because of his on-field aggressiveness and antics off the field, Bramlett was given his nickname. But he changed his behavior when he retired from football, becoming a Christian evangelist.
The legendary drag racer and team owner, whose most famous escapades came behind the wheel and in the owner’s box of the ‘Blue Max’ funny cars, died Oct. 20 following a heart attack at age 70. Beadle won three straight NHRA Funny Car titles from 1979-81, took home 13 NHRA national events in all, and was owner of Rusty Wallace’s NASCAR Winston Cup-winning No. 27 team in 1989. He is enshrined in both the Motorsports and Drag Racing Halls of Fame.
The 17-year-old jockey was killed Oct. 14 after he sustained head injuries when he was thrown from his ride at a track in Indiana. Saez, born in Panama and younger brother of jockey Luis Saez, was thrown from Montezuma Express after the horse clipped heels with Paddy’s Note at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino. Saez was the leading apprentice at the track with 21 wins, and had 89 winners and more than $2 million in winnings in his brief career.
The 2006 Belmont Stakes winner was killed in an Oct. 11 paddock accident at Shadwell Farm in Lexington, Ky. He was 11. Jazil won twice in 11 starts, taking the Wood Memorial and the Belmont, before retiring to stud in 2008 and siring 11 stakes horses.
Getty ImagesTravis Lindquist
Clark (left) is credited with creating the 'Hook 'em Horns' hand gesture while serving as head cheerleader at the University of Texas in the mid-1950s, clearly a signal that lives on to this day. Clark went on to become a lawyer and state district judge. The school announced Clark died Oct. 9 at his farm outside of Austin at age 78.
The two-time Horse of the Year who tied one of the sport’s most hallowed records died Oct. 7 in Kentucky after complications from neck surgery. He was 24. Cigar won 16 races in a row from October 1994 to August 1996, tying the record set by the legendary Citation. Cigar won 19 races in 33 starts in all, earning nearly $10 million — also a record at the time of his retirement following the 1996 racing season.
APKEVIN J. LARKIN
The famed TV and radio voice of Philadelphia sports, whose career spanned more than seven decades, died Oct. 6 in New Jersey after complications from a fall. Campbell was 91. Campbell is perhaps best known for his call of the Eagles’ victory over the Green Bay Packers in the 1960 NFL Championship Game (his radio intro is still available for listening on the Eagles’ website), and being at the mic during Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game in 1962. Campbell also called games for the Phillies, the Warriors (now the Golden State Warriors) and Big Five basketball.
NBAE/Getty ImagesNBA Photos
Andrea de Cesaris
The former Formula One driver died on Oct. 5 after a motorcycle he was driving reportedly crashed into a guardrail near Rome. He was 55. De Cesaris had a lengthy career, competing on the circuit from 1980 to 1994. He never won a race, however, his 208 races started is an F1 record for most career starts without a victory.
Getty ImagesPascal Rondeau
Cutinella, an offensive lineman / linebacker at Shoreham-Wading River High School in Shoreham, N.Y., died Oct. 1, after suffering a head injury during a varsity football game. The following week, the Wildcats paid tribute to the 16-year-old in their first game after his death (pictured).
Getty ImagesAndrew Theodorakis
Goossen died Sept. 29 in Southern California after a brief battle with liver cancer. He was 64. Goossen had a lengthy career as a boxing promoter, working with the biggest names in the business, including Mike Tyson, James Toney, Bernard Hopkins, Chris Arreola, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and 1996 Olympic gold medalist David Reid. At the time of his death, Goossen was promoting undefeated super middleweight champion Andre Ward, though the two were locked in a contract dispute. Goossen also spent time campaigning for close friend Pete Rose's reinstatement to baseball.
Getty ImagesRebecca Sapp
George 'Shotgun' Shuba
Shuba played only seven years, hit just 24 home runs and hit only .259, was never an All-Star and was done playing at age 30. But on April 18, 1946, while playing for the minor-league Montreal Royals, he forever etched his name in baseball lore when he greeted a teammate at home plate after that teammate hit a three-run home run. That teammate was Jackie Robinson, and a photo of that handshake became known as ‘A Handshake for the Century.’ Shuba died Sept 29 at age 89 in his hometown of Youngstown, Ohio.
A two-time first-team All-Defensive Team selection with the 76ers, Jones suffered a massive heart attack and died Sept. 21 while on the golf course in suburban Atlanta. He was 64. Jones played for eight teams over 17 professional seasons (from 1973 to 1990), averaging nearly 20 points a game at one point in the ABA, then becoming a defensive specialist when he joined the 76ers in the NBA.
Getty ImagesMike Powell
Bironas, the former All-Pro kicker who ranks as the fourth-most accurate kicker in NFL history, died late in the evening of Sept. 20 in a one-car accident near his home in Nashville, Tenn. He was 36. Only three months earlier, Bironas married Rachel Bradshaw, the daughter of Hall of Fame QB and NFL on FOX analyst Terry Bradshaw. Among Bironas’ numerous records is the most field goals in a single game — eight vs. the Texans while a member of the Titans.
Joe MurphyJoe Murphy
Gusin, the Ukrainian midfielder who helped his country to the 2006 World Cup quarterfinals died around Sept. 17 after reportedly falling off a motorbike while riding at a race track near Kiev. He was 41. Gusin also won seven Ukrainian league titles with Dynamo Kiev between 1997 and 2004 and later played in Russia before moving into coaching.
AFP/Getty ImagesJEAN-PIERRE CLATOT
Frank Torre (right, pictured with brother Joe Torre), who played seven years in the majors and hit two homers in the 1957 World Series, died at a hospice in Palm Beach, Fla., on Sept. 13. He previously received heart and kidney transplants, and had been ill in recent years with cancer. Frank, nearly nine years older than Joe, played for the Milwaukee Braves and Philadelphia Phillies. He homered twice in 10 World Series at-bats in 1957 as the Braves beat the New York Yankees. In the deciding Game 7, he drove in a run at Yankee Stadium during a clinching 5-0 victory. Before debuting in the majors in 1956, he served two years in the military. He finished his career with a .273 batting average, 13 homers and 179 RBI in 714 games.
Bob Suter, a Madison, Wis., native who starred at the University of Wisconsin in hockey and played on the 1980 'Miracle on Ice' U.S. Olympic hockey team, died Sept. 9 at age 57. Suter, a defenseman, played two seasons at Wisconsin from 1977-79, tallying 21 goals and 48 assists. He helped the Badgers win the 1977 national championship. Suter later joined the U.S. Olympic team, which defeated the Soviet Union to win the gold medal in 1980. In 38 games, Suter had seven goals, 11 assists and 67 penalty minutes. Suter's son, Ryan Suter, is an All-Star defenseman for the Minnesota Wild.
Getty ImagesB Bennett
Barnes led Providence College to the 1973 Final Four and went on to star in the ABA after passing on the NBA despite being selected to No. 2 overall. On Sept. 8, Barnes died at age 62 at a home in Providence. While no cause of death was given, Barnes battled drug addiction for years – an addiction which played a role in Barnes’ legal troubles later in life. After his All-American collegiate career, Barnes was selected second overall by Philadelphia, one pick after Bill Walton went to Portland. Instead, Barnes played for the Spirits of St. Louis in the ABA and won Rookie of the Year.
Getty ImagesGeorge Gojkovich
Charlie Powell, the San Diego sports all-star who was one of the first black NFL players and who later became a boxer (pictured above getting up during a bout) and fought Cassius Clay, died on Sept. 1 at age 82 after being treated for dehydration following a collapse at a hotel. After graduating San Diego High in 1952 with 12 varsity letters, Charlie Powell turned down an offer to play for the Harlem Globetrotters. He briefly played pro baseball before joining the NFL when he was just 19. He played for the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders. After retiring he turned to boxing, climbing to fourth in the world with bouts against Clay and Floyd Patterson.
Former NHL defenseman Carol Vadnais, a six-time All-Star, died Aug. 31. He was 68. Vadnais made his NHL debut in 1966-67 with his hometown Montreal Canadiens and played 17 NHL seasons, winning Stanley Cups in 1968 with Montreal and 1972 with Boston. He had 169 goals and 587 points in 1,087 games. He appeared in 106 playoff games with 10 goals and 40 assists.
NHLI via Getty ImagesDenis Brodeur
Perhaps best known for driving a works Ferrari on his one-and-only GP start in Mexico in 1967, Formula 1 driver Jonathan Williams died Aug. 31 in Spain at the age of 71. He had years of experience on both the F2 and F2 circuits, winning the Monza Lottery in 1968.
The former Villanova University basketball coach (left) who guided the Wildcats to the 1971 NCAA title game and coached such players as Wali Jones, Bill Melchionni and Howard Porter, died on Aug. 28 at age 93. Kraft coached the Wildcats for a dozen seasons and finished with 238 victories and a .715 winning percentage. His teams went to the postseason in 11 of his 12 years. In 1971, a 23-6 record brought the team to the Final Four for the first time since 1939. The Wildcats lost 68-62 in the final to a UCLA team coached by John Wooden (right).
Cameroonian striker Albert Ebosse died after being hit in the head by an object thrown from the stands during an Algerian league game on Aug. 23. The 24-year-old had scored Kabylie's goal in a match that finished as a 2-1 home defeat to USM Alger. Ebosse played for Coton Sport FC, Unisport Bafang and Douala AC in his homeland before moving to Malaysian club Perak FA in 2012. He signed for JS Kabylie in July 2013.
The Kent State University center died Aug. 20 from an undetermined medical issue. Bitsko, 21, a starter for the Golden Flashes last season, had won an award in the spring 'exemplifying hard work and dedication.' Kent State coach Paul Haynes said Bitsko 'was what we try to stand for in building men.'
Hashim Khan, one of the greatest squash players of all time, died Aug. 18 at 100. Khan won seven British Open titles while living in Pakistan, then moved to the US in the 1960s and taught squash. He was still playing in his 90s.
Getty ImagesCentral Press
The renowned skateboarder died of a heart attack on Aug. 14 at age 53 in Mexico. His legend was documented in 'Lords of Dogtown,' in which he was played by Emile Hirsch. Adams was out of the country for the first time in 20 years, according to TMZ. He had been in and out of jail since the 1980s on various charges.
Kevin Ward Jr.
Ward, seen here in June 2014, was killed Aug. 9 when he was struck by a car driven by NASCAR champion Tony Stewart after a sprint-car wreck at Canandaigua Motorsports Park in Central Square, N.Y. The 20-year-old Ward left his car after it crashed into a wall, walked onto the dirt track and appeared to gesture at Stewart as he drove by. The tire of Stewart's car struck Ward, killing him. To date, Stewart faces no criminal charges, though an investigation is ongoing.
Empire Super Sprints, Inc.Empire Super Sprints, Inc.
Pete Van Wieren
Van Wieren, affectionately known as 'The Professor' after spending 33 years broadcasting Atlanta Braves baseball games, passed away on Aug. 2 after a five-year battle with cancer. He was 69. An iconic figure in franchise history and a 2004 inductee into the Braves Hall of Fame, Van Wieren, along with broadcasting partner Skip Caray, became the voice of the Braves after joining Turner Sports in 1975. In what would become the most recognizable team of the 1990s thanks to a nationwide broadcast, Van Wieren, who was an eight-time Georgia Sportscaster of the Year, called the show on a nightly basis.
Getty ImagesPouya Dianat/Atlanta Braves
Former University of Georgia track star Torrin Lawrence died in a car accident on July 28 as he headed home to Jacksonville, Fla. Lawrence competed in the 400-meter and won an NCAA indoor title for the Bulldogs in 2010.
Getty ImagesEzra Shaw
Schlueter (right), a member of the Portland Trail Blazers for their inaugural 1970-71 season, died on July 24 at his Portland home after battling cancer. He was 68. Schlueter was acquired by the Blazers in 1970 and averaged 8.2 points in the team's first season. The 6-foot-10 center had two stints in Portland, from 1970-72 and again for the 1977-78 season. A Washington native who played at Colorado State, Schlueter averaged 5.3 points and 5.2 rebounds in seven NBA seasons with San Francisco, Portland, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Buffalo and Phoenix.
Getty ImagesGeorge Gojkovich
Former Illini and current Winona State football player Shawn Afryl died July 22 during a workout on campus in Winona, Minnesota. The 22-year-old, 6-foot-3, 310-pound offensive lineman had recently enrolled at Winona State after his transfer.
Collegiate ImagesCollegiate Images
Former Dallas Cowboys running back Robert Newhouse died July 22 at the age of 64, a victim of heart disease. Newhouse is well-remembered for his powerful thighs and his halfback pass thrown for a touchdown to Golden Richards in Super Bowl XII. Newhouse suffered a stroke in 2010 and had been at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., working on recovery.
Getty ImagesFocus On Sport
Jackson, an amateur national boxing champion, was killed July 16 after she was thrown from the hood of a car into oncoming traffic in Cleveland. She was 26. Jackson was reportedly sitting in the passenger seat of a car when it was rear-ended in a gas station parking lot. Police said Jackson exited the Impala and the Grand Am which struck the vehicle she was in headed toward Jackson, who then jumped on the hood. The woman allegedly driving the Grand Am then drove into traffic, struck another car, and sent Jackson into the street, where she was run over and killed.
USA TODAY SportsAndrew Carpenean-USA TODAY Sport
Alice Coachman Davis
Davis, the first black woman to win an Olympic gold medal, died July 14 at 90 in south Georgia. Davis was a star in the high jump and took home Olympic gold at the 1948 games in London. She was the only American woman to win a gold medal at those games and was inducted into the US Olympic Hall of Fame in 2004. Davis retired at age 25 after capturing her Olympic gold.
Getty Images for USOCJeff Zelevansky
Louis 'Red' Klotz
A basketball pioneer, Klotz (right, pictured with Nancy Lieberman) died July 12 at the age of 93. Klotz was well-known for being the owner and coach of the Harlem Globetrotters' traditional opponent -- the Washington Generals -- for more than 60 years. The Generals weren't a formidable powerhouse, losing more than 14,000 games to the Globetrotters over the years. Red, as he was known, was a high school star in South Philadelphia, leading his school to two city championships in 1939 and 1940. He attended Villanova University on a scholarship and went on to play in the NBA as part of the Baltimore Bullets during the 1947-48 season, winning a championship that year.
Veryzer, who played a dozen years in the major leagues and was Detroit's shortstop before Alan Trammell took over in the late 1970s, died in early July at age 61. Veryzer played for the Tigers from 1973-77, then spent four years with Cleveland. He played one season with the New York Mets and two with the Chicago Cubs to finish his career. He played 996 games and batted .241 for his career. In his final season, he was part of the Chicago team that won the National League East in 1984.
Alfredo Di Stefano
The famed Argentinian-born Spanish forward, seen here in 1956, died in Madrid on July 7, two days after suffering a heart attack. He was 88. Born in Buenos Aires, Di Stefano became one of the greatest players of his time winning championship titles in Argentina (1947 with River Plate), Colombia (1949, 1951, 1953 with Millionarios de Bogota) and Spain (8 between 1954 and 1964 with Real Madrid). Di Stefano also won the Copa America with the Argentinian national soccer team in 1947, five European Cups with Real Madrid (1956-1960) along with one Intercontinental Cup (1960) and received the European Golden Ball award for best player of the year in 1957 and 1959. He later won three club championships as a coach, and was named honorary president of Real Madrid.
An Olympic distance runner and World War II veteran who survived 47 days on a raft in the Pacific after his bomber crashed, then endured two years in Japanese prison camps, died on July 2. Louis Zamperini was 97. Before joining the military, Zamperini was a runner at the University of Southern California. He ran in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, placing eighth in the mile.
Cashen, the man behind the famed 1986 Mets, died June 30 at age 88 after a short illness. Cashen began as a sports writer in Baltimore, then moved to the Orioles' front office before becoming their GM. He won two World Series in Baltimore, but it was in New York where he made his biggest impact, taking the lowly Mets and turning them into a powerhouse. The peak came in 1986, when his team led by Dwight Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, Keith Hernandez, Ray Knight and Gary Carter partied hard and won big, beating the Red Sox in one of the most famous World Series in recent history. Here, Cashen is pictured on the right as he introduces new Mets manager George Bamberger in October 1981. Two seasons later, Cashen hired Davey Johnson, who remains the franchise's most successful manager in terms of wins and winning percentage.
Getty ImagesB Bennett
Lutzenkirchen was not the most famous member of Auburn's 2010 national-championship team, but it would be hard to find a more popular player from that team. On the morning of June 29, Lutzenkirchen was one of two people killed in a one-car accident outside LaGrange, Ga. He was 23 years old. Lutzenkirchen's numbers are impressive: 59 receptions, 628 yards, a school-record 14 TD catches by a tight end. But he will be most remembered as the man who caught the clinching TD in the 2010 Iron Bowl, as well as one of the kindest players in Auburn history, according to fans, teammates and coaches alike. A hip injury cut his 2012 senior season short and he was cut by the Rams prior to the 2013 season. He was working as a volunteer high school football coach in Alabama at the time of his death.
Getty ImagesWesley Hitt
Jim Brosnan, a major-league pitcher whose book presaged 'Ball Four,' died June 28 at 84. Brosnan was best-known for writing 1960's 'The Long Season,' which took readers inside a major league clubhouse 10 years before the controversial 'Ball Four' did so to the nth degree. Brosnan pitched for nine years in the majors for the Reds, Cubs, Cardinals and White Sox.
Diamond Images/Getty ImagesKidwiler Collection
Castillo, a nine-year MLB veteran in the 1970s and '80s, was as well-known for what he did off the field as for what he did on it. Castillo, who died June 20 at age 59 after battling cancer, pitched for the Dodgers from 1977 to 1981 and again in 1985 (with a stop in Minnesota in between). He played for LA's 1981 World Series winner, and had a bigger hand in the win than simply getting batters out. The fan favorite affectionately called 'Babo' is credited with teaching Fernando Valenzuela his famed screwball; after learning of Castillo's death Valenzuela said through a statement: 'I'll always be grateful for his influence on my pitching.' In his major-league debut on Sept. 19, 1977, Castillo retired Hall of Famer Johnny Bench for his first MLB out.
Focus on Sport/Getty ImagesFocus On Sport
Toure (left), perhaps best known as the younger brother of Kolo and Yaya Toure, died June 19 at the age of 28. While no cause of death was given, media reports said Ibrahim had been battling cancer. Kolo and Yaya play for Ivory Coast, and both were notified of their brother's death shortly after a World Cup match vs. Colombia. Ibrahim, while not as decorated as his brothers, did play professional football as well. He is seen here in a 2012 match against Valenciennes while playing for Monaco in the French Ligue 2.
Valery Hache/AFPVALERY HACHE/AFP
A reported who covered Dallas sports for ESPN, Durrett died suddenly in his home on June 17. He was 38. Durrett and his wife Kelly were expecting their third child at the time of his death, and initial reports were that he died of a brain aneurysm, though those were not confirmed. Several tributes were paid to Durrett, including this one at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas, and funds were raised for the Durrett family in a variety of auctions and events, including a fund set up by the Rangers.
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY SportsMatthew Emmons
Arguably the greatest hitter since Ted Williams, Gwynn died June 16 of oral cancer at the age of 54. 'Mr. Padre' was also Mr. San Diego, having spent most of his life in the city — his 20-year, Hall of Famer playing career with the Padres was sandwiched between playing (basketball and baseball) and coaching careers at San Diego State. Gwynn, who played his entire career with the Padres, hit .338 for his career and finished with 3,141 base hits, 18th all time. The 15-time All-Star was as lovable as he was difficult to strike out (only 434 Ks in his career), and his death led to an outpouring of love and respect from throughout the baseball world.
Focus on Sport/Getty ImagesFocus On Sport
Fox (left, pictured with Hall of Fame driver Fireball Roberts) was one of NASCAR's top technicians, mechanics and engine builders in the 1950s and 60s. A Hall of Fame nominee himself, Fox died in Daytona Beach, Fla., on June 15. He was 98. After serving in World War II, Fox joined Roberts' team in 1955. A year later, Fox switched drivers and was subsequently named mechanic of the year after Carl Kiekhaefer drove Fox's Chryslers to 22 wins in the season's first 26 races. He won the Daytona 500 with Junior Johnson four years later and continued a career as mechanic and owner for some of the most legendary names in the sport.
ISC Archives via Getty ImagesRacingOne
Rodney Thomas, who played running back for the Houston Oilers, Tennessee Titans and Atlanta Falcons during a seven-year NFL career, died on June 14 in his hometown of Groveton, Texas. He was 41. The cause of death wasn't immediately known. Thomas, a third-round draft pick by Houston out of Texas A&M in 1995, rushed for nearly 1,000 yards as a rookie, but became a backup the next season after the Oilers drafted Eddie George.
Getty ImagesTom Pidgeon
Known as the 'Black Panther,' Grosics was the goalie for perhaps the world's most dominant soccer team of the 1950s. He died on June 13 at age 88 after battling lung problems for years. Grosics and his 'Magical Magyars' — the nickname of the Hungarian football team at the time — first rose to notoriety in 1953 when they beat England 6-3 at Wembley Stadium, the first time a team from outside the British Isles beat England on its home soil. In all, Grosics had 88 caps for Hungary and led the team during a stretch of 42 wins, seven draws and just one loss from 1950-56 (though that one loss was a stunner to West Germany in the 1954 World Cup final).
Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Im
Noll, the only man to coach four Super Bowl champions, built an NFL dynasty in Pittsburgh for a franchise that hadn't won a title before he arrived in 1969. He died of natural causes on June 13 at the age of 82. Noll left the game after the 1991 season and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame two years later.
Getty ImagesFocus On Sport
Roberts, an assistant women's basketball coach and assistant sports information director with Catholic University of America in Washington DC, was killed when she was struck by a truck in Kentucky on June 13. She was 24. Roberts was on her bike at the time of the accident, on a cross-country trek in support of cancer research. A fellow rider was injured with non-life-threatening injuries. Roberts attended St. Mary's College of Maryland, from where she graduated in 2011 after playing lacrosse, soccer and basketball at the school.
Ed Pfueller/The Catholic UniversEd Pfueller
Ferdinand 'Enzo' Pastor
The first Filipino driver in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series (and who finished sixth in the standings in 2013), Pastor (front row, second from left) was shot and killed the night of June 12, 2014, in Quezon City, Phillippines. The 32-year-old was reportedly transporting his car to the Asian V8 stock car championship at the Clark International Speedway in Pampanga when a masked man approached the truck and started shooting.
NASCAR via Getty ImagesRainier Ehrhardt
Born Wesley Christian Donlavey, 'Junie' died on June 9 in his native Richmond, Va., at age 90. Donlavey (right, pictured with Richard Petty in 1974) was a bit of a NASCAR lifer, amassing 863 starts as an owner from 1950 through 2002. His lone victory came in 1981 with Jody Ridley behind the wheel in the Mason-Dixon 500 at Dover.
ISC Archives via Getty ImagesRacingOne
Welch, who stormed on the scene with one of the most famous strikeouts in postseason history then flirted with a 30-win season 12 years later, died June 9 in Seal Beach, Calif., at the age of 57. In the 1978 World Series, Welch, then a 21-year-old rookie, struck out Reggie Jackson with two on to end Game 2 and give the Dodgers a 4-3 win (the Yankees won the series in six games). In 1990, Welch won 27 games and the AL Cy Young with the Oakland Athletics. In all, Welch finished 211-146 with a 3.47 ERA in 17 seasons and won two World Series.
Getty ImagesOtto Greule Jr
Former Brazilian striker and coach Fernando Lucio da Costa, better known as Fernandao, died in a helicopter crash on June 7. Fernandao, 36, was one of five passengers killed when the helicopter crashed in the state of Goias in Brazil, where he had a house. Fernandao was one of Internacional's most popular players. He was the team captain in 2006 when the team won the FIFA Club World Cup and the Copa Liberators. After retiring as a player, he briefly coached the team but was fired in November 2012.
LatinContent/Getty ImagesEdu Andrade/CON
John Bishop, co-founder of the International Motor Sports Association, died on June 5 at age 87. Bishop died in San Rafael, California, of complications from a recent illness. Bishop co-founded IMSA in 1969 with wife Peggy and NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. after a surprise telephone 'cold call' from France. Bishop sold IMSA in 1989, in part due to health issues, but remained a vital part of sports car racing with a lengthy tenure as commissioner of Grand-AM.
ISC Archives via Getty ImagesRacingOne
Former NASCAR owner/driver Ed Negre died June 4 in Longview, Wash., at 86. Negre is best known for providing the car that the late Dale Earnhardt drove in his first NASCAR Cup Series start at the 1975 World 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. As a driver, Negre made 338 starts in NASCAR's top circuit between 1955 and 1979. All told, Negre had four top-five and 26 top-10 finishes.
ISC Archives via Getty ImagesRacingOne
Zimmer, one of the longest-tenured and most popular figures in all of baseball, died June 4 at age 83. 'Popeye,' as he was known (among many other nicknames) was working as a senior advisor for the Tampa Bay Rays at the time of his death. Zimmer played with Jackie Robinson and on the first New York Mets, nearly managed the Red Sox to the World Series before the Curse had been broken (losing on the Bucky Dent homer), and perhaps gained his most notoriety as a bench coach for Joe Torre's Yankees, once getting thrown to the ground by Pedro Martinez during a brawl in the ALCS. In all, Zimmer spent 66 years in baseball.
A self-made billionaire who led a controversial takeover of English soccer's Manchester United and owned the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Glazer died on May 28 at age 85. The Palm Beach, Florida, businessman had been in poor health since suffering two strokes in 2006. As president and CEO of First Allied Corp., Glazer invested in a myriad of interests, building his wealth to $4.2 billion this year. He purchased the Bucs — one of pro sports' least successful franchises — for a then-NFL record $192 million in 1995, and the team went on to win the Super Bowl in 2003. In 2005, Glazer led a takeover of Man U, a move bitterly opposed by fans. The club has had success, though, winning the League Cup in 2006, 2009 and 2010, the English Premier League from 2007-09, 2011 and 2013 and European Cup and Club World Cup titles in 2008.
Houbregs, seen here wearing No. 17 and guarding the Philadelphia Warriors’ Paul Arizin while playing for the Fort Wayne Pistons during the 1956 NBA Finals, died May 28 at the age of 82. Born in Canada, Houbregs was one of the greatest players in University of Washington history, where he held the career scoring record from 1953 until the 1980s. After leading the Huskies to their only Final Four appearance, he was drafted No. 2 overall by the Milwaukee Hawks in 1953. He played five seasons in the NBA, served as GM of the Seattle SuperSonics in the franchise’s early years, and was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame in 1987.
NBAE/Getty ImagesCharles T. Higgins
Matthew Saad Muhammad
A former light heavyweight champion who was abandoned as a child and later became an advocate for the homeless, Saad Muhammad died May 25 in his hometown of Philadelphia. He was 59. Described as 'one of the most exciting boxers of all time,' Saad Muhammad in 1977 knocked out Marvin Johnson in the 12th round to win the NABF light heavyweight crown and defended the title three times. He also won the WBC light heavyweight belt in 1979, again knocking out Johnson, and defended his WBC title eight times. He retired in 1992 with a 39-16-3 record and was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1998.
Winning three Formula One championships is accomplishment enough, but for the Australian-born Brabham, that was just the beginning. Brabham, seen here in the early 1970s, died May 19 at his home in Gold Coast, Australia. He was 88. Perhaps more memorable than his three titles were something Brabham did to win the first, and what he received after the third. Brabham won his first F1 championship in 1959 after he pushed his car across the finish line in the final race to finish fourth and win the season championship. And in 1979, 13 years after his final championship, he was knighted.
Getty ImagesW. Brown
Neither a near-fatal accident nor a battle with cancer could prevent Meyer from winning more games than Bobby Knight. On May 18, the basketball-coaching legend died at the age of 69. In 2009, four months after the car accident and cancer diagnosis, Meyer surpassed Knight as the winningest coach in men’s basketball history at the time. In all, Meyers won 923 games and made 19 postseason appearances in 38 seasons, most of which he spent at Lipscomb inTennessee and Northern State in South Dakota.
'Fast Freddie' Williams, a star RB on the 1975 Arizona State team that capped an unbeaten season with a program-defining win over Nebraska in the Fiesta Bowl, died on May 14. He was believed to be 58. The cause of death was not revealed. Williams lettered in four seasons for the Sun Devils, playing for legendary coach Frank Kush from 1973-76. He was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the 8th round of the 1977 NFL Draft, but never played in the NFL. A two-time All-Western Athletic Conference selection and two-time honorable mention AP All-American, Williams finished his ASU career with 3,424 rushing yards. He was inducted into the ASU Sports Hall of Fame in 2002.
Watson was not a driver, but his impact on open-wheel racing in America is still undeniable. Watson, pictured above with 1956 Indianapolis 500 winner Pat Flaherty, was a mechanic and designer, and in the 1950s and 60s was behind numerous victories and innovations in the sport’s biggest race. Watson served as chief mechanic on four winning cars between 1955 and 1962 (three of which he built), and designing numerous other roadsters, including the one A.J. Foyt drove to his second Indy 500 win. In all, Watson built six cars which won the race. Upon learning of Watson’s death at age 90 on May 12, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president Doug Boles called Watson one of the most innovative mechanics and car builders in the track's 105-year history.
Popular caddie McGregor, seen here in sunglasses with golfer Kenneth Ferrie at the 2006 PGA Championship, died May 11 during the Madeira Islands Open. He was 52. McGregor was carrying the bag for Alastair Forsyth of Scotland when he collapsed on the ninth hole — Forsyth's final hole of the tournament. Among the tributes was a tweet by golfing legend Gary Player: 'RIP Big Mac. You will be missed.'
Stuart FranklinStuart Franklin
Ginny Doyle & Natalie Lewis
Doyle (left) and Lewis, University of Richmond women's basketball employees, were two of the three people aboard a hot air balloon that drifted into a power line, burst into flames and crashed May 9 in Virginia, killing all three people on board. Doyle, 44, served as associate head coach while Lewis, 24, was director of basketball operations. The third victim was 65-year-old pilot Daniel T. Kirk.
Few people hold the distinction of being featured on the covers of both Time and Life magazines, but Olympic sprint champion Mel Patton is one of them. A double gold medal-winning sprinter in the 1948 London Olympics, Patton died May 9 in Fallbrook, Calif. He was 89. Nicknamed 'Pell Mel,' Patton won five NCAA titles for USC from 1947-49, setting world records in the 100- and 220-yard dashes (his 220 time of 20.2 seconds in 1949 broke Jesse Owens' world mark). He was inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1985 and into the USC Athletic Hall of Fame in 1995.
Former heavyweight boxing champion Jimmy Ellis, who trained with fellow Louisville fighter Muhammad Ali and squared off against some of his era's best fighters, died on May 6. He was 74. Ellis' brother, Jerry, said the ex-champion died at a Louisville hospital Tuesday after suffering from Alzheimer's disease in recent years. Ellis defeated Jerry Quarry to win the WBA crown in 1968. Ellis defended the title by defeating Floyd Patterson, but was stopped by Joe Frazier in a fight to unify the world heavyweight championship in 1970. He was stopped by Ali in the 12th round of their bout in 1971. Ellis, the son of a preacher, retired from boxing in 1975. He spent years training fighters and later worked for the Louisville parks department.
Getty ImagesHulton Archive
Elena Baltacha, a former top-50 professional tennis player who had been fighting liver cancer, died on May 4. She was 30. The former British No. 1, who represented her country at the 2012 London Olympics, was diagnosed with the illness in January, two months after retiring from tennis and only weeks after she married her longtime coach.
Frank Budd, a former Olympic sprinter who for a time was considered the world’s fastest human after he set a record in the 100-yard dash in 1961, died on April 29. He was 74. Shown here: Budd, right, is congratulated by coach James Elliott after winning the 100-yard dash on June 24, 1961. Budd placed fifth in the 100 meters at the 1960 Olympics in Rome and also ran on the US 100-meter relay team, which won preliminary rounds but was disqualified in the final after Budd handed off the baton outside the passing zone. Had the result stood, it would have been a world-record relay time.
Servati, a member of the University of Alabama's swimming and diving team, died April 29 as a result of injuries suffered during violent storms and tornadoes that moved through the Tuscaloosa area, University of Alabama officials confirmed. A US Open qualifier, Servati, 21, set the Mississippi record in the 100 backstroke and 200 freestyle during his prep career. He swam both the backstroke and freestyle events for the Crimson Tide, and was a scorer at the SEC Championships.
If this photo appears particularly grainy, it is for good reason. Walsh was the world's oldest living Olympian when he died April 29 at the age of 106. Walsh competed in the 50-meter free pistol at the 1948 London Games, finishing 12th, and was Team USA's shooting leader at the Munich Games in 1972. But Walsh did perhaps his greatest work not in the field of play but rather the field of law enforcement. After joining the FBI fresh out of Rutgers law school in 1934, Walsh discovered the body of Baby Face Nelson after a Chicago shootout and helped take down some of the nation's most notorious gangsters.
Dr. Jack Ramsay
A Hall of Famer, Dr. Jack Ramsay led the Portland Trail Blazers to their only title in 1977, the highlight of his 21 years as a coach. He had an equally successful second career as an immensely popular broadcaster. He died April 28 at age 89 after battling multiple forms of cancer over recent years.
NBAE/Getty ImagesKen Regan
Heisley, the man who moved the Grizzlies from Vancouver to Memphis and turned them into a contender, died April 26 at age 77. Heisley had suffered a stroke more than a year earlier. The billionaire, a viable member of the Memphis philanthropic community, bought the franchise in 2000, then moved it to Memphis, hired Jerry West to run the basketball operations, got a new arena built and turned the team into a contender in the Western Conference. He sold the team to Robert Pera before the start of the 2012-13 season.
NBAE/Getty ImagesJoe Murphy
Former Miami Dolphins QB Earl Morrall died at the age of 79 on April 25. He was an integral part of the 1972 Dolphins, the only undefeated team in NFL history. Morrall started nine games that year in place of Bob Griese, who suffered a broken leg and dislocated ankle five weeks into the season. Despite his 9-0 record as starter, Morrall was replaced by Griese in the second half of the AFC title game. Griese would go on to start Super Bowl VII, but Morrall's value to the team that season was not overlooked. Morrall also earned AFC Player of the Year honors and captured the inaugural NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award, in addition to his 1969 NFL MVP award while with the Baltimore Colts.
The former Barcelona coach died of throat cancer at the age of 45 on April 25. Vilanova led the Catalan club for a season after taking over from Pep Guardiola, but was forced to resign in 2013 because of ill health. Vilanova, a former midfielder who spent his playing career largely in the Spanish second division, was Guardiola's assistant for four years at the Nou Camp, the pair having previously worked together with the B team. He was first diagnosed with parotid gland cancer in November 2011 and the disease returned in December 2012.
Bongarts/Getty ImagesAlex Grimm
Craine, the decorated University of Florida diving coach who spent 30 years in Gainesville, died April 24 in a boating accident in the Gulf of Mexico. He was 61. A 37-year veteran of the NCAA coaching circuit, Craine coached five individual national champions, including two at Florida, and was a four-time SEC Diving Coach of the Year. According to reports, it is believed the boat Craine was in turned in the same direction as another boat and they collided. None of the other boaters (there were six total including Craine) required treatment.
Conrado Marrero, the diminutive Cuban right-hander who pitched for the Washington Senators in the 1950s and in 2011 became the oldest living former Major League Baseball player, died April 23 in Havana. He was 102, just two days short of his 103rd birthday. 'Connie' Marrero, as he was known in the States, was renowned for his control and for his presence on the mound despite standing just 5-feet-5 inches tall and weighing 158 pounds.
Former boxer and justice campaigner Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter, shown here in 2001 at an event in New Zealand, died April 20 after a bout with prostate cancer. Carter was wrongly convicted in a 1966 triple murder case and spent 19 years in prison as a result. He was exonerated in 1985 and became a symbol of racial injustice.
Getty ImagesMichael Bradley
Tombides, a striker with West Ham, died at the age of 20 on April 18 after a three-year battle with testicular cancer. Seen here playing for Australia in the AFC U-22 Championship in January in Muscat, Oman, signed with West Ham at age 14 and was thought by many to be one of the best young players to come out of Australia.
Getty ImagesFrancois Nel
Fred Enke, Arizona's first major college All-American and who went on to play quarterback for seven seasons in the NFL, died April 13 at age 89. Enke lettered in three sports for the Wildcats — football, basketball and baseball. He was named a third-team All-American by the Associated Press in 1947 before moving on to a pro career with the Detroit Lions (1948-51), Philadelphia Eagles (1952) and Baltimore Colts (1953-54). He accounted for 4,169 yards passing and 640 yards rushing during his NFL career and earned All-Pro honorable mention honors as a rookie.
Beverly Hanson smiles as she holds the winner's cup after her victory in the Women's Titleholders Golf Championship in Augusta, Ga. Hanson died April 12 in Twin Falls, Idaho, from complications of Alzheimer's and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. She was 89. Louise Suggs twice finished runner-up to Hanson in major championships. She's troubled that Hanson's career has largely been overlooked, even in death.
Smith, seen here tagging out a young Henry Aaron in the late 1950s / early '60s, died April 12 in Fort Smith, Ark., at the age of 82. While he is not the biggest name in this photo, the catcher did carve out quite a name for himself, making three All-Star teams with the St. Louis Cardinals, with whom he played from 1956-61. He later played briefly for the Pirates before becoming a scout and coach. According to baseball-reference.com, Smith was a career .258 hitter, smacking 23 home runs and driving in 172 runs in 570 games played — 548 of them behind the plate.
Getty ImagesB Bennett
Lou Hudson, a smooth-shooting swingman who averaged more than 20 points during 13 NBA seasons, died April 11 at the age of 69 following complications from a stroke. Hudson, a six-time NBA all-star nicknamed 'Sweet Lou,' played 11 seasons for the Hawks in St. Louis and Atlanta and finished with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1979. He set a career high with his average of 27.1 points in the 1972-73 season and scored 57 in a 1969 contest vs. Chicago. His No. 23 was retired by the Hawks, joining Bob Pettit and Dominique Wilkins as the only other Hawks players so honored.
NBAE/Getty ImagesKent Smith
Holsworth, known by her many fans and Twitter followers as Princess Lacey, died April 8 after a battle with cancer. She was 8 years old. Holsworth became a rallying point for the Michigan State men's basketball team this season — particularly big man Adreian Payne — after the forward befriended her during a hospital visit. She was a frequent visitor at games, and even helped Payne cut down the nets after the Spartans won the Big Ten conference tournament in March.
The Ultimate Warrior (James Brian Hellwig)
The Ultimate Warrior died suddenly on April 8, just three days after he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame and one day after he made an appearance on WWE's 'Raw,' at the age of 54. James Brian Hellwig, who legally changed his name to The Ultimate Warrior, influenced an entire generation of fans because of his in-ring persona and memorable, albeit oftentimes irreverent interviews, which always contained some sort of motivational message.
@Talkbacker via Twitter
White, a USC receiver and special-teams player before spending more than two decades as a journalist in Los Angeles, died March 29 at the age of 49 after struggling with health problems in recent years. While playing at USC from 1982-86 and set a school kickoff-return yardage record that stood until 2010. From 1987 to 2008, White wrote for the Los Angeles Times, covering a range of sports. He made news in 2011 with a column in The Daily which disclosed White took $14,000 in illegal payments during his USC career, mostly by selling game tickets. 'To this day, it's something I'm ashamed about,' White wrote. 'Rent was overdue, and my household bills were delinquent. I needed the money to live. So accepting the $14,000 in different forms of 'benefits' over my college years three decades ago was an act of survival.'
University of Southern CaliforniaUniversity of Southern California
Three days after collapsing at football practice, McKamey died March 25 at the age of 19. McKamey, a freshman running back at Navy, collapsed at practice despite his family saying he did not sustain 'a bad hit or unusual or extreme contact' during the practice. He was airlifted to University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, where he was placed in a coma before he died. While the source of the injury had not been determined at the time of the Knoxville, Tenn., native's death, he did sustain a head injury as a high school senior in 2012 that caused him to be hospitalized. McKamey was an oceanography major in 3rd Company at the Naval Academy.
Lynda Petty, wife of seven-time NASCAR champion and NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty, died March 25 after a lengthy fight with cancer. The mother of four, including NASCAR on FOX analyst Kyle Petty, was 72. She was diagnosed with central nervous system lymphoma in 2010. Affectionately called 'Mrs. Lynda,' she is credited with playing an instrumental role in her husband's early racing career.
ISC Archives via Getty ImagesRacingOne
The Buffalo Bills owner -- who helped found the American Football League in 1960 and played a key role in the merger with the NFL -- died March 25. He was 95. Wilson passed away at his home in Grosse Pointe Shores, Mich., said Mary Mazur, spokeswoman for the Wayne County medical examiner's office. Wilson was the founder and sole owner of the Bills after establishing the team with the upstart AFL. He was inducted into the Football Hall of Fame in 2009. 'Ralph Wilson was a driving force in developing pro football into America's most popular sport,' NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said. 'Ralph always brought a principled and common-sense approach to issues.'
Jack Fleck, who produced one of golf's greatest upsets by beating Ben Hogan in a playoff to win the 1955 US Open, died on March 21 at age 92. He had been the oldest living US Open champion. Hogan appeared to be on his way to a record fifth US Open title in 1955, closing with a 70 to finish at 7-over 287 when Fleck, an Iowa club pro in his first year on the PGA Tour, made two birdies over the final four holes for a 67 to force a playoff. Fleck shot 69 in the playoff to beat Hogan by three shots. 'It was like someone who had never won a tour tournament beating Tiger Woods today,' Fleck said in a 2002 interview with the Associated Press. Fleck won only two other events on the PGA Tour. He also won the Senior PGA Championship in 1979.
A year after his cancer diagnosis inspired a 'Kuykenstrong' movement in US soccer and MLS, Kuykendall died March 12. He was 32. Kuykendall played for D.C. United and the New York Red Bulls before a knee injury cut his career short. He was working as a coach when he was diagnosed with thymic cancer.
A bizarre and tragic week ended on March 11 when police in Michigan found the body of the 20-year-old Trafford in an SUV in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart in Saginaw Township. The Saginaw Spirit center had disappeared eight days earlier after the Ontario Hockey League club sent him home for a violation of team rules. In the week between Trafford's discipline and the discovery of his body, reports surfaced that he 'was devastated' after he claimed he was sent home 'for partying on a road trip,' and that he had sent his girlfriend a text two days before his body was discovered saying 'his life was over and that he didn't want to do it anymore.' Police had considered Trafford a 'voluntary missing person' and did not initially provide a cause of death. Trafford had 29 goals and 49 assists in four seasons with Saginaw.
William Clay Ford Sr.
Detroit Lions owner William Clay Ford Sr., the last grandson of Ford Motor Co. founder Henry Ford, died Sunday, March 9, of pneumonia at his home. He was 88 years old.
Getty ImagesTom Pidgeon
It could certainly be argued that no person, be they player, agent, owner, GM, commissioner or any other walk of life, salvaged more careers and made MLB players more money than Jobe. Seen here in 1990, the surgeon revolutionized sports medicine when he successfully repaired a ruptured medial collateral ligament in Dodgers pitcher Tommy John's left elbow in 1974. Prior to that surgery, the injury was a career-ender. John would go on to win 164 more games and the procedure would be known as 'Tommy John surgery,' the most recognized term for the surgery to this day. Jobe died in Southern California on March 6 at age 88 after battling an undisclosed illness.
Nancy R. Schiff
Barlow was serving as director of Baltimore Orioles public relations when she died of cancer on Feb. 28. She was only 36. She spent more than a decade with the Orioles, taking over P.R. duties in 2008 and left such an impact, manager Buck Showalter led a news conference discussing Barlow’s life.
Jake Roth-USA TODAY SportsJake Roth
A striker on the Trinidad and Tobago national team, Carter (center) died of a heart attack at age 30 on Feb. 28. He had complained of chest pains following a training session with his club team before being taken to a hospital where he died. In 25 caps, Carter had four goals.
JoJo Nicolas, a Miami high school football star who went on to play four years for the Miami Hurricanes, died on Feb. 26 after a horrific crash that left his Lexus wedged under the rear end of an 18-wheeler on the MacArthur Causeway. He was just shy of his 25th birthday.
Collegiate ImagesCollegiate Images
Antonio Cermeno, a WBA super bantamweight and featherweight champion in the 1990s, was found shot to death Feb. 25 on a road in the central state of Miranda, Venezuela. Cermeno, who was 44, retired in 2006 with a 45-7 record.
Getty ImagesAl Bello
Mario Esteves Coluna
Mozambique-born soccer player Mario Esteves Coluna starred for Benfica and Portugal during a long career, winning 19 major titles with Benefica along the way and earning the nickname Monstro Sagrado (Sacred Monster). He died on Feb. 25 at the age of 78 due to a pulmonary infection.
Getty ImagesMike McLaren
Director Harold Ramis made one of the great sports movies of all-time -- 'Caddyshack.' He died on Feb. 24 at the age of 69 due to complications of an autoimmune disease he had dealt with the last few years.
Getty ImagesJonathan Daniel
Roy Simmons, who played offensive line for four seasons in the late 1970s and early 80s with the New York Giants and Washington Redskins, died Feb. 20 after a months-long bout with pneumonia. Simmons was the second former NFL player to come out as gay, making the announcement in 1992 on The Phil Donahue Show. He was 57.
Getty ImagesB Bennett
Former Arizona State football player Brandon Rodd, voted the team's outstanding offensive lineman in 2007, died on Feb. 14 in his home state of Hawaii at the age of 28. Rodd had been recently diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.
A baseball lifer who excelled on the field, in the dugout and in the front office, Fregosi died on Feb. 14 in a Miami hospital after suffering a stroke four days earlier. He was 71. Fregosi played 18 seasons with four franchises, making six All-Star Games and winning a Gold Glove with the Angels in 1967. After retiring, Fregosi stayed in the dugout, managing the Angels, White Sox, Phillies and Blue Jays. He finished with a career record of 1,028-1,094, his career reaching its peak when he took the Phillies to the World Series 1993, where they succumbed to Joe Carter’s series-winning Game 6 walk-off home run. He spent the last 13 seasons as an assistant to the GM in the Braves’ front office, effectively serving as the team’s top scout in the eyes of some.
Mitchell LaytonMitchell Layton
Richard Moller-Nielsen, who guided Denmark to a stunning European Championship over Germany in 1992, died on Feb. 13 at the age of 76. He had been in hospice since shortly before Christmas after failing to fully recover from surgery to remove a brain tumor.
Getty ImagesGraham Chadwick
The 21-year-old Cal football player died Feb. 7 while on a supervised run with teammates. The Alameda County coroner would rule Agu died of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, or a thickening of the heart muscle, and his family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the school. Team medical staff said they saw Agu struggling during the run, but added "he was talking, he was hydrating, he did not exhibit any labored breathing or other signs’ of problems while on the back of a cart." He would then collapse at the medical facility at Memorial Stadium. The former walk-on was set to be a fifth-year senior after earning a scholarship the season before.
Collegiate Images/Getty ImagesCollegiate Images
The only man in baseball history to lead the majors in home runs six consecutive seasons, Kiner died of natural causes Feb. 6 at age 91, with his family by his side. In just 10 seasons (eight with the Pirates), Kiner hit 369 home runs and drove in 1,015 runs, leading the league in homers in each of his first six seasons. Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1975 (20 years after he retired), Kiner perhaps earned even more fame after his playing days, serving as a Mets broadcaster for more than 50 years, beginning with their inaugural 1962 season.
Allen, pictured at right with Omaha Knights coach Fred Shero in 1971, was the first head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers and then became GM and built the famed ‘Broad Street Bullies’ Stanley Cup championship teams of the 1970s. Allen died Feb. 4 at the age of 90. After playing 13 years as a pro, winning a Stanley Cup with Detroit in 1954, Allen coached for four seasons in Philly and won the franchise’s first division title. But he built a Hall of Fame legacy in his 13-plus years as Flyers GM, seeing the team he built reach four Stanley Cup Finals and win the Cup in 1974 and 1975.
The famed Spanish soccer coach died on Feb. 1 in a Madrid hospital at the age of 75. Aragones played 11 caps for the Spain national team, but really carved a legacy on the sideline. His greatest accomplishments — and perhaps most scandalous moment — came toward the end of his career when, while defending his name in the face of claims of racism, Aragones led the Spain national team on a 22-game unbeaten streak, culminating with the 2008 European League championship, the nation’s first major title in 44 years.
Sergei Supinksy/AFPSergei Supinksy/AFP
The 33-year-old former LPGA Tour player died Jan. 30 due to injuries suffered in a one-car accident in Auburn, Ala. According to the Alabama Department of Public Safety, Downey passed another vehicle at a high rate of speed, lost control of her vehicle, struck a tree and was ejected as her vehicle barrel-rolled. The report also stated Downey had been drinking before the accident and that a friend even tried to take her keys because it appeared Downey had too much to drink. Downey was serving as director of golf operations at Auburn, her alma mater. She played on the LPGA tour from 2006-10.
Christopher Rivera Amaro
Rivera was 23 when he died Jan. 26 after being shot to death in the city of Santurce, Puerto Rico. To date, no arrest has been made in the shooting. While Rivera amassed just a 5-15 record in the 130-pound division, he made big headlines in death, as Marin Funeral Home in San Juan dressed him in full ring-entrance attire for his wake, acquiescing to his family’s wishes to stress his boxing. Seen in the photo here, after Rivera’s corpse was dressed, it was placed upright against a corner of a makeshift ring in the funeral home. Ricardo Arduengo
Ricardo ArduengoRicardo Arduengo
Gamble served as a Philadelphia Eagles assistant coach, general manager and later team president. After playing at Rider College in New Jersey, Gamble was head football coach at Lafayette College from 1967-70 before landing the job at Penn in 1971. He remained there until 1980 and was the NCAA District 1 Coach of the Year in 1972. He joined the Eagles in 1981 as a volunteer assistant under Dick Vermeil and was team president from 1986-94. His son, Tom, is the Eagles' vice president of player personnel. Harry Gamble died Jan. 28 at age 83.
APJohn J. Lent
Gola, seen here in 1956 while playing for the NBA's Philadelphia Warriors in 1956, died Jan. 26 at age 81, according to his wife, Caroline. Though not one of the game's most well-known names, Gola still holds the NCAA Division I record for career rebounds with 2,201 at La Salle and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1976. Gola also served in the Army from 1956-58 (putting his playing career on hold), won the 1956 NBA championship, coached his alma matter from 1968-70 (compiling a 37-13 record), and was elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 1966.
NBAE/Getty ImagesCharles T. Higgins
The 20-year-old redshirt junior defensive lineman at South Carolina State was shot to death Jan. 24. Police allege Robinson was arguing with Justin Bernard Singleton, 19, outside an on-campus housing complex when Singleton shot Robinson in the neck.
England goalkeeper Williams played for the Wolverhampton Wanderers and was nicknamed 'The Cat' for his amazing saves. But many will remember him primarily as the player who gave up the winning goal to the Americans in the 'Miracle on the Grass' at the 1950 World Cup, in one of the biggest upsets in soccer history. Williams and his squad of stars were expected to demolish a U.S. team made up of journeymen, whom The Associated Press notes arrived at the stadium smoking cigars and wearing cowboy hats. Yet the Americans won 1-0. 'There was no shaking of hands after the game, but no animosity at all. Just utter, sheer dejection,' Williams said. Williams' death was announced Jan. 19 at age 93.
Getty ImagesCentral Press
Sulaiman, the longtime head of the World Boxing Council who promoted renowned fighters and introduced rules to protect boxers, died Jan. 16 at age 82. His son Mauricio Sulaiman said his father died at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, where he had been for months battling a heart condition. The Mexico-based WBC called him the 'father of boxing.' Sulaiman was a member of boxing's Hall of Fame since 2006 and was perhaps best known for supporting Julio Cesar Chavez, Mexico's most famous boxer, and then the fighter's son, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Chavez was among the first fighters to tweet a message, sending his condolences and calling him his 'second family.'
Mike GrollMike Groll
Bray, the defensive line coach at Iowa State, died on Jan. 15 at age 43. No details of his death were immediately available. Bray made headlines as a teen, becoming the first defensive player to be honored as the Gatorade national player of the year at Gateway High (Pa.) in 1987. He went on to play linebacker at Pitt, graduating in 1992 and going into coaching. He coached at Duquesne, Western Kentucky, Villanova and his alma mater, along with Iowa State. Cyclones coach Paul Rhoads said 'Curtis Bray was a dear friend to me and to all he ever came in contact with.'
Owens, a 21-year-old junior defensive lineman at Arkansas State, was shot to death with his stepfather during a home invasion robbery Jan. 15 in Jackson, Tenn. Authorities said Owens was trying to protect his parents from the attackers; his stepfather, 36-year-old Johnny Shivers, also died, while his mother was shot but survived. At the time, no arrests were made.
Richard BishopRichard Bishop
Believed to be the only person to wrestle professionally over eight different decades, Young died at the age of 90, WWE announced on Jan. 14. While the cause of death was not reported, it was reported that Young was hospitalized Dec. 31 and then moved to hospice care. Young began wrestling in the 1940s and first found fame during World War II. Despite her age, some of Young's most memorable moments came after WWE made her a focus of comedic storylines over the final 15 years of her career.
Half of perhaps the most famous couple in MMA, Zingano died Jan. 13 at age 37. According to reports, Jefferson County Chief Deputy Coroner Dan Pruett said that Zingano was pronounced dead at his Colorado home. After a brief pro career in which he went 2-0-1, Zingano opened two gyms in Colorado under his Zingano BJJ academy and became a successful trainer. Perhaps no student has been more successful — or famous — than wife Cat Zingano (pictured with Mauricio above), who knocked out Miesha Tate in April 2013 in the TUF 17 Finale. Cat Zingano released a statement on Jan. 14, calling Mauricio, 'my husband and soul mate of seven years.'
Twitter.com / Zingano BJJ @zinganobjj
Button spent the latter part of his life watching his son Jenson become a Formula One champion (here they are pictured together celebrating Jenson’s first F1 race win at the Hungarian Grand Prix), but he also did some driving of his own. He died of a suspected heart attack at his home in the south of France on Jan. 12. He was 70. The elder Button posted career-best runner-up finishes on two rallycross circuits in 1976, and then gained fame for the paint jobs on his Volkswagen racers. But his greatest fame came in 2009, when he became a fixture on British TVs with his emphatic cheering and celebrating in Jenson’s championship season.
Getty ImagesMark Thompson
The Belgian Palante's body was found by organizers of the Dakar Rally on the morning of Jan. 10, along the route between Chilecito and San Miguel de Tucuman, Argentina. Organizers became alarmed after most drivers finished the fifth stage on Jan. 9 and went looking for the 50-year-old. According to Palante's biography for the event, he would have turned 51 on Jan. 21 and wanted to win the amateur trophy for motorbikes. Also after the fifth stage, two people following the race were killed when their vehicle overturned in rough terrain.
Eduardo Di BaiaEduardo Di Baia
A Hall of Famer writer who spent more than four decades at the Philadelphia Daily News before allegations of child sexual abuse brought his career to an end, Conlin died Jan. 9 at age 79. Conlin covered the Phillies before becoming a columnist for the Daily News, and won the J.G. Taylor Spink Award in 2011. But later that year, he resigned from the paper after allegations that he molested several children in the 1970s, including a niece. Prosecutors at the time did not press charges as the statute of limitations had run out.
A former Iowa State football player, Berryman was found shot to death in his Jefferson, Texas, home on Jan. 8. He was 28. Police did not release many details, but Jefferson Police Department chief of police Joe C. Hall said, 'It would appear that someone else caused his death.' Berryman was the Cyclones' most valuable player and the Big 12's defensive newcomer of the year as a freshman in 2003. But Berryman missed the 2004 season after a guilty plea to assault and theft charges landed him in jail. He played in 2005 and was named Houston Bowl defensive MVP, was dropped from the team in 2006 and signed a two-year contract with the NFL's Cincinnati Bengals but was waived without ever playing.
Iowa State Athletic DepartmentIowa State Athletic Department
An international star playing for his native Czechoslovakia, Gut (pictured on the right in 2004) died Jan. 6 of an unspecified illness at age 86. Gut scored 34 goals in 114 international games as a defenseman for the Czech national team, earning best defenseman honors at the 1955 World Championships. After a playing career that included three bronze medals at major tournaments, Gut coached the national team to world titles in 1976 & ’77, and a silver medal at the 1976 Winter Olympics at Innsbruck, Austria.
AFP/Getty ImagesNGUYEN PHUONG THAO
Just hours before the Florida State Seminoles won the BCS Championship Game, former Seminoles defensive tackle Williams was found dead at a Tampa Bay-area hotel on the morning of Jan. 6 He was 35. Initial reports were that police saw no evidence of foul play, and his mother said Williams had been complaining about feeling sick the previous Friday. Williams was a top recruit in Florida and redshirted as a freshman on the 1999 Florida State national championship team. He was drafted by Tennessee in the seventh round in 2003 and played seven career games with the Titans, as well as spending time with Tampa Bay and Green Bay.
Coleman was a baseball lifer, but his love for country was far greater. After a decorated career in both sport and the military, Coleman died Jan. 5 at age 89, less than two weeks after surgery for bleeding on the brain. Coleman won four World Series with the Yankees in the 1940s & 50s and was named World Series MVP in 1950. He then spent more than four decades behind the mic with the San Diego Padres, receiving the Ford C. Frick Award from the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005. During his playing career, Coleman took time out of his career to fly 120 missions in World War II and the Korean War, to this day the only major leaguer to see combat in two wars.
Diamond Images/Getty ImagesKidwiler Collection
In Brazil, there was Pele; in Portugal, there was Eusebio. Born into poverty in Africa as Eusébio da Silva Ferreira, the ‘Black Panther’ would become one of the most iconic players and figures in soccer history, leading his national team and club team Benfica to unprecedented heights. Eusebio died of heart failure at his home in Lisbon on Jan. 5. He was 71. He was awarded the Ballon d'Or in 1965 as Europe's player of the year and twice won the Golden Boot - in 1968 and 1973 - for being the top scorer in Europe. According to football's world governing body FIFA, he scored 679 goals in a total of 678 official games. He led Portugal to a third-place finish in the 1966 World Cup, the best finish in the nation’s history. In 1998, FIFA named him in its International Football Hall of Fame as one of the sport's top 10 all-time greats.
Getty ImagesKent Gavin
Garner, a football player at Troy, was found dead on a Mississippi highway on Jan. 2. He was 20. Garner had 21 tackles and three sacks in 12 games as a sophomore, earning Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 9.