List of sportspeople who died during their careers

List of sportspeople who died during their careers

This is a list of sports people who have died either during their respective careers or due to career-ending injury or disease at an age when they could still have been active. It includes both on-duty and off-duty deaths, although there are separate lists for the former in sports which have an especially high number. People who had announced their retirement from sport despite still being at an age when they could still have been active are not listed.


Air sport

Does not include those who died in aircraft sport crashes such as aerobatics and air racing. Those names go in a separate article.

American football

Pro Football

Arena Football League

National Football League

This table includes players who left the NFL for active military service. Each player is listed with his last team, even if it is not the team with which he is typically associated.

Player Age Position Team Cause of death Year
Gaines Adams 26 DE Chicago Bears cardiac arrest 2010
Jeff Alm 25 DT Houston Oilers suicide 1993
Ralph Anderson 24 WR Los Angeles Chargers (AFL) diabetic reaction 1960
Eric Andolsek 25 OG Detroit Lions car accident 1992
Troy Archer 24 DE New York Giants car accident 1979
Brad Beckman 24 TE Atlanta Falcons car accident 1989
Ricky Bell 29 RB San Diego Chargers complications of dermatomyositis 1984
Leon Bender 22 DT Oakland Raiders seizure 1998
Al Blozis 26 OT New York Giants died in World War II 1945
Jerome Brown 27 DT Philadelphia Eagles car accident 1992
Frank Buncom 29 LB Cincinnati Bengals blood clot 1969
Brandon Burlsworth 22 OL Indianapolis Colts car accident 1999
J.V. Cain 28 TE St. Louis Cardinals heart attack 1979
Marcus Cassel 23 DB Carolina Panthers car accident 2006
Rusty Chambers 22 LB Miami Dolphins car accident 1981
Marquis Cooper 26 LB Oakland Raiders lost at sea 2009
David Croudip 30 DB Atlanta Falcons drug overdose 1988
Rodney Culver 26 RB San Diego Chargers plane crash 1996
Shane Curry 24 DL Indianapolis Colts homicide 1992
Ernie Davis 23 RB Cleveland Browns leukemia 1963†
Joe Delaney 24 RB Kansas City Chiefs drowned 1983
Bo Farrington 28 TE Chicago Bears car accident 1964
Don Fleming 25 DB Cleveland Browns accidental electrocution 1963
Willie Galimore 29 RB Chicago Bears car accident 1964
Blenda Gay 26 DE Philadelphia Eagles homicide 1976
Howard Glenn 26 OG New York Titans (AFL) neck injury (in-game) 1960
Larry Gordon 28 LB Miami Dolphins heart attack 1983
David Griggs 28 LB San Diego Chargers car accident 1995
Roger Hagberg 31 TE Oakland Raiders car accident 1970
Chris Henry 26 WR Cincinnati Bengals road accident 2009
Thomas Herrion 23 G San Francisco 49ers Ischaemic heart disease 2005
Mack Lee Hill 25 FB Kansas City Chiefs (AFL) pulmonary embolism 1965
Marquise Hill 24 DE New England Patriots drowned 2007
Chuck Hughes 28 WR Detroit Lions cardiac arrest (in-game) 1971
Stone Johnson 23 RB Kansas City Chiefs (AFL) neck injury (in-game) 1963††
Bob Kalsu 25 OL Buffalo Bills (AFL) killed in Vietnam War 1970
Fred Lane 24 RB Carolina Panthers homicide 2000
Bob Laraba 28 LB San Diego Chargers car accident 1962
Eugene "Big Daddy" Lipscomb 31 DT Pittsburgh Steelers drug overdose 1963
Jack Lummus 29 end New York Giants killed in World War II, Received Medal of Honor 1945
Stan Mauldin 27 T Chicago Cardinals heart attack 1948
Kenny McKinley 23 WR Denver Broncos suicide 2010
Damien Nash 24 RB Denver Broncos cardiac failure 2007
Ralph Norwood 23 OT Atlanta Falcons car accident 1989
David Overstreet 25 RB Miami Dolphins car accident 1984
Brian Piccolo 26 FB Chicago Bears cancer 1970
Ron Rector 24 RB Atlanta Falcons motorcycle accident 1968
Lucien Reeberg 21 OT Detroit Lions heart attack 1964
Don Rogers 23 FS Cleveland Browns drug overdose 1986
Corey Smith 29 DE Detroit Lions lost at sea 2009
Dave Sparks 26 DT Washington Redskins heart attack 1954
Andy Spiva 24 LB Atlanta Falcons car accident 1979
Korey Stringer 27 OT Minnesota Vikings heat stroke during practice 2001
Sean Taylor 24 FS Washington Redskins homicide 2007
Derrick Thomas 33 LB Kansas City Chiefs complications from a spinal cord injury suffered in a car accident 2000
Pat Tillman 27 LB Arizona Cardinals killed in duty in Afganistan 2004
Stacey Toran 27 DB Los Angeles Raiders car accident 1989
Eric Turner 31 DB Oakland Raiders stomach cancer 2000
Fred Washington 23 DT Chicago Bears car accident 1990
Dave Waymer 34 DB Los Angeles Raiders heart attack 1993
Darrent Williams 24 CB Denver Broncos homicide 2007

† Davis was under contract when he died though did not play in a game due to his illness.
†† Johnson was injured in a pre-season game and did not play in a regular season game.

NFL Europe


College football

NCAA football

Player Age University Position Cause of death Year
Sal Aunese 21 University of Colorado quarterback stomach cancer 1989
Avery Atkins 20 University of Florida Cornerback MDMA overdose 2007
Eraste Autin 18 University of Florida fullback heat stroke 2001
Marlin Barnes 22 University of Miami homicide 1996
Nick Bell 20 Mississippi State University defensive end brain cancer 2010
Heath Benedict 24 Newberry College offensive tackle enlarged heart 2008
Brook Berringer 22 University of Nebraska quarterback plane crash 1996
Kendall Berry 22 Florida International University homicide (stabbed) 2010
Austin Box[1] 22 University of Oklahoma linebacker drug overdose 2011[2]
Thomas E. Bloom 21 Purdue University fullback car accident 1963
Taylor Bradford 21 University of Memphis defensive tackle homicide 2007
Teddy Craft 22 Georgia Southern University wide receiver motorcycle accident 2009
Mario Danelo 21 USC kicker fell off a cliff 2007
Devaughn Darling 19 Florida State University linebacker cardiac arrhythmia, possible sickle cell complications 2001
Berndt Diettrich Simon Fraser University drowned as a result of heart failure
Keeley Dorsey 19 University of South Florida long QT syndrome 2007
Kwane Doster 21 Vanderbilt University running back homicide 2004
Aaron Douglas[3] 21 University of Alabama offensive tackle found dead in a house in Fernandina Beach, Florida 2011[4]
Todd Doxey 19 University of Oregon defensive back drowned 2008
Trent DiGiuro 20 University of Kentucky homicide 1994
Butch Duhe 21 Louisiana State University brain hemorrhage 1970
Brandon Fails 18 Texas A&M blood clot in leg 2002
George Gipp 25 Notre Dame strep throat infection and pneumonia 1920
Vernon Grant 22 Oklahoma State University car crash 2005
Michael Guliford 19 University of Florida motorcycle accident 2007
Brandon Hall 19 University of Minnesota homicide (shooting) 2002
Danroy “DJ’’ Henry Jr. 20 Pace University wide receiver and defensive back killed in police shooting 2010[5]
Brian Hiemer 21 University of Nebraska suicide 1985
Jasper Howard 20 University of Connecticut homicide (stabbed) 2009
Jawan Jackson 19 Northern Illinois University died during conditioning drills 2002
Sean Matti 22 Purdue University Running Back drowned in lake 2011
Chucky Mullins 21 University of Mississippi complications from a spinal cord injury suffered in an on-field collision in 1989 1991
Naeshall D. Menard 20 Louisiana State University Center suicide 1998
Aaron O'Neil 19 University of Missouri defensive back heat stroke 2005
Greg Page 19 University of Kentucky defensive end neck injury sustained in practice 1967[6][7]
Bryan Pata 22 University of Miami homicide 2006
Cole Pittman 21 University of Texas defensive tackle car crash 2001
Ereck Plancher 19 University of Central Florida athlete heat stroke 2008
Greg Pratt 20 Auburn University fullback collapsed on practice field 1983
Mike Reily 21 Williams College center and middle linebacker Hodgkin's disease 1964[8]
Joe Roth 21 University of California Berkeley melanoma 1977
John "Button" Salmon 22 University of Arizona quarterback car crash 1926[9]
Daniel Schatz 19 University of Missouri quarterback car accident 2010
Derek Sheely 22 Frostburg State University fullback brain injury from a helmet-to-helmet hit in practice[10] 2011
Shannon Smith 20 University of Hawaii kicker drowned 1997
Freddie Steinmark 22 University of Texas defensive back osteosarcoma 1971
Artie Steinmetz 19 University of Kentucky defensive tackle vehicular homicide 1998[11]
Rodney Stowers 20 Mississippi State University nose guard pulmonary hemorrhage after suffering a broken leg in a game 1991[12]
Owen Thomas 21 University of Pennsylvania defensive end suicide 2010[13]
Jack Trice 21 Iowa State University lung hemorrhage and internal bleeding due to injuries sustained in game against the University of Minnesota 1923
McCollins Umeh 18 University of Arizona enlarged heart 2004
Rashidi Wheeler 22 Northwestern University defensive back heat stroke 2001
Curtis Williams 24 University of Washington complications from a spinal cord injury suffered in an on-field collision in 2000 2001
Earl Wilson 24 US Naval Academy quarterback neck injury sustained in a game against Villanova University in 1909 1910
Marcellis Williamson 22 Ohio University defensive lineman heart attack 2011

Association football (soccer)

Does not include footballers who died on the pitch during a game or training, or because of injuries or other health issues suffered on the pitch. Those names go in a separate article. Please refer to the article List of footballers who died while playing.

Player Age Nationality Position Cause of death Year
Nikolai Abramov 27 Russian defender heart failure 2011
Martin Aldridge 25 English forward car accident 2000
Alemão 23 Brazilian striker car accident 2007
George Allan 24 Scottish forward tuberculosis 1899
John Allan Scottish Battle of Arras 1917
Shalva Apkhazava 23 Georgian striker heart attack 2004
Georgi Asparuhov 28 Bulgarian striker car accident 1971
Valerio Bacigalupo 25 Italian goalkeeper Superga air disaster 1949
Aldo Ballarin 27 Italian defender Superga air disaster 1949
Dino Ballarin 23 Italian goalkeeper Superga air disaster 1949
Harry Bamford 38 English defender motorcycle accident 1958
Maurice Banach 24 German striker car accident 1991
Patrick Banda 22 Zambian striker Gabon air disaster 1993
Mike Barrett 24 English winger cancer 1984
Elson Becerra 27 Colombian striker homicide 2006
Mario Beltrán 23 Colombian midfielder car accident 2009
Julio César Benítez 27 Uruguayan defender food poisoning 1968
Geoff Bent 25 English defender Munich air disaster 1958
Filippo Biondi 20 Italian defender car accident 1996
Einar Örn Birgisson 27 Icelandic midfielder homicide 2000
Milo Bongiorni 28 French midfielder Superga air disaster 1949
Luc Borrelli 33 French goalkeeper car accident 1999
Othman Boughanmi Tunisian defender heart defect
Gary Bownes 26 Northern Irish striker suicide 2005
James Boyd Scottish Battle of the Somme 1916
Robert Bradley English defender died during his sleep 1934
Thomas Bradshaw 26 English winger consumption 1899
Shane Brennan 23 Irish winger collapsing roof accident 2005
Shamil Burziyev 25 Russian midfielder car accident 2010
Richard Butcher 29 English midfielder cardiac arrhythmia 2011
Barry Butler 31 English defender car accident 1966
Roger Byrne 28 English defender Munich air disaster 1958
Eusebio Castigliano 28 Italian midfielder Superga air disaster 1949
Ramiro Castillo 31 Bolivian midfielder suicide 1997
Luciano Re Cecconi 28 Italian midfielder shot during practical joke 1977
David Efford Chabala 33 Zambian goalkeeper Gabon air disaster 1993
Whiteson Changwe 23 Zambian defender Gabon air disaster 1993
Wisdom Mumba Chansa 29 Zambian midfielder Gabon air disaster 1993
Moses Chikwalakwala 19 Zambian midfielder Gabon air disaster 1993
Samuel Chomba 29 Zambian defender Gabon air disaster 1993
Andriy Chopenko 26 Ukrainian midfielder car accident 2003
Dave Clement 34 English defender suicide 1982
Ludo Coeck 30 Belgian midfielder car accident 1985
Eddie Colman 21 English midfielder Munich air disaster 1958
Ernie Cooksey 28 English midfielder skin cancer 2008
Davie Cooper 39 Scottish winger brain haemorrhage 1995
Hernan Córdoba 19 Colombian striker car accident 2009
Federico Crescentini 24 San Marinese defender drowned 2006
Enrico Cucchi 30 Italian midfielder cancer 1996
Laurie Cunningham 33 English striker car accident 1989
Duncan Currie Scottish Battle of the Somme 1916
Mattia Dal Bello 20 Italian midfielder car accident 2004
Vitaly Daraselia 25 Soviet striker car accident 1982
Alan Davies 30 Welsh winger suicide 1992
Jimmy Davis 21 English winger car accident 2003
Ruud Degenaar 25 Dutch-Suriname defender Surinam air disaster 1989
Sébastien Demeersman 37 Belgian winger suicide 2008
Dener 23 Brazilian striker car accident 1994
Kazimierz Deyna 41 Polish midfielder car accident 1989
Vladimir Dimitrijević 20 Serbian defender heart attack 2001
Danilo di Vincenzo 28 Italian striker car accident 1996
Stan Docking English midfielder heart attack
Lloyd Doesburg 29 Dutch-Suriname goalkeeper Surinam air disaster 1989
Hussein Dokmak 25 Lebanese defender car bomb 2007
Steve van Dorpel 23 Dutch-Suriname striker Surinam air disaster 1989
Marcio Dos Santos 28 Peruvian striker heart attack 2002
Ibrahim Dossey 36 Ghanaian goalkeeper car accident 2008
Angus Douglas 29 Scottish winger Spanish flu 1918
Johnny Doyle 30 Scottish midfielder electrocuted 1981
Peter Dubovský 28 Slovakian striker diving accident 2000
Gustavo Eberto 24 Argentine goalkeeper testicular cancer 2007
Edivaldo 30 Brazilian striker car accident 1993
Duncan Edwards 21 English midfielder Munich air disaster 1958
Lutz Eigendorf 26 German midfielder car accident 1983
Youssef Elbai 30 French defender accident 2009
Ernest Ellis English Battle of the Somme 1916
Robert Enke 32 German goalkeeper suicide 2009
Andrés Escobar 27 Colombian defender homicide 1994
Roy Evans 25 Welsh defender car accident 1969
Rubens Fadini 21 Italian midfielder Superga air disaster 1949
Rommel Fernandez 27 Panamanian striker car accident 1993
Aaron Flahavan 25 English goalkeeper car accident 2001
Milton Flores 28 Honduran goalkeeper homicide 2003
Andrea Fortunato 23 Italian defender leukemia 1995
Wendel Fräser 22 Dutch-Suriname forward Surinam air disaster 1989
Francisco Frione 22 Uruguayan-Italian midfielder pneumonia 1935
Guglielmo Gabetto 33 Italian striker Superga air disaster 1949
Hubert Gad 24 Polish forward swimming accident 1939
Niccolò Galli 17 Italian defender motorbike accident 2001
Ibragim Gasanbekov 29 Azerbaijani-Russian striker car accident 1999
Sirous Ghayeghran 35 Iranian midfielder car accident 1998
Lenar Gilmullin 22 Russian defender motorcycle accident 2007
Frits Goodings 25 Dutch-Suriname Surinam air disaster 1989
Tommy Goodwill 22 English midfielder victim of World War I 1916
Harry Goslin 34 English defender killed in World War II 1943
Jefferson Gottardi 27 Bolivian striker Lou Gehrig's disease 2003
Craig Gowans 17 Scottish training ground accident 2005
Tom Gracie 26 Scottish leukemia 1915
Ruggero Grava 27 French striker Superga air disaster 1949
Giuseppe Grezar 30 Italian midfielder Superga air disaster 1949
Alan Groves 29 English winger heart attack 1978
Jerry Haatrecht 28 Dutch-Suriname Surinam air disaster 1989
Jeff Hall 29 English full-back polio 1959
Jimmy Hampson 31 English striker boating accident 1938
Austin Hayes 28 English winger lung cancer 1986
Conrad Hendricks 26 South African goalkeeper car accident 2006
Dean Horrix 28 English striker car accident 1990
Peter Houseman 31 English midfielder car accident 1977
Ralph Hunt 31 English striker car accident 1964
Besian Idrizaj 22 Austrian striker heart attack 2010
Zdeněk Jánoš 32 Czech goalkeeper car accident 1999
Daniel Jarque 26 Spanish defender heart attack 2009
Virgall Joemankhan 20 Dutch-Suriname Surinam air disaster 1989
Jack Jones 29 English forward Typhoid fever 1904
Mark Jones 24 English defender Munich air disaster 1958
Ray Jones 18 English striker car accident 2007
Rolston Jones Trinidad and Tobagan shot dead
Godfrey Kangwa 29 Zambian midfielder Gabon air disaster 1993
Ihab Kareem 26 Iraqi midfielder injuries from bombing 2007
Dick Keith 33 Northern Irish defender accident dismantling a garage door 1967
Oliver King-Onzila 19 English midfielder stab wounds 2008
Alexei Klimenko Soviet execution by German soldiers during World War II (see The Death Match) 1943
Andro Knel 21 Dutch-Suriname midfielder Surinam air disaster 1989
Ruben Kogeldans 22 Dutch-Suriname defender Surinam air disaster 1989
Nikolai Korotkykh Soviet execution by German soldiers during World War II (see The Death Match) 1941
Yiannis Koskiniatis 25 Greek midfielder suicide 2008
Nikola Kotkov 32 Bulgarian striker car accident 1971
Marek Krejčí 26 Slovak striker car accident 2007
Mykola Kudrytsky 31 Ukrainian midfielder car accident 1994
Ernst Künz 32 Austrian defender military action during World War II 1944
Ivan Kuzmenko Soviet execution by German soldiers during World War II (see The Death Match) 1943
Pedro Lavoura 26 Venezuelan striker car accident 2000
Adam Ledwoń 34 Polish midfielder suicide 2008
Gift Leremi 22 South Africa midfielder car accident 2007
Mahicon Librelato 21 Brazilian striker car accident 2002
Ortwin Linger 21 Dutch-Suriname defender Surinam air disaster 1989
Ezio Loik 30 Itlaian midfielder Superga air disaster 1949
David Longhurst 25 English striker cardiac arrest 1990
John Lyons 26 English striker suicide 1982
Michael Maidens 20 English midfielder car accident 2007
Derby Makinka 26 Zambian midfielder Gabon air disaster 1993
Stephen Malcolm 30 Jamaican midfielder car accident 2001
Dragan Mance 22 Serbian striker car accident 1985
Lesley Manyathela 21 South Africa striker car accident 2003
Virgilio Maroso 23 Italian midfielder Superga air disaster 1949
Dennis Marshall 26 Costa Rican defender car accident 2011
Danilo Martelli 25 Italian midfielder Superga air disaster 1949
Moses Masuwa 22 Zambian striker Gabon air disaster 1993
Jason Mayélé 26 Congolese striker car accident 2002
Valentino Mazzola 30 Italian striker Superga air disaster 1949
Norrie McCathie 34 Scottish defender accidental carbon monoxide poisoning 1996
Bobby McKean 25 Scottish midfielder accidental carbon monoxide poisoning 1978
Tommy McLaren 29 Scottish midfielder suicide 1978
Tommy Meehan 28 English half-back encephalitis lethargica 1924
Romeo Menti 29 Italian striker Superga air disaster 1949
Vittorio Mero 27 Italian defender car accident 2002
Gigi Meroni 27 Italian winger car accident 1967
Claudio Milar 34 Uruguayan striker bus crash 2009
Michael Millett 17 English defender car accident 1995
Gionata Mingozzi 23 Italian midfielder car accident 2008
Damián Lucas Molina 20 Argentine goalkeeper respiratory problems caused by heart defect 2004
Emiliano Molina 17 Argentine goalkeeper car accident 2005
Lester Morgan 26 Costa Rican goalkeeper suicide 2002
Eddie Moussa 26 Swedish-Lebanese striker homicide 2010
Eston Mulenga 26 Zambian midfielder Gabon air disaster 1993
Winter Mumba 23 Zambian defender Gabon air disaster 1993
Kelvin Mutale 24 Zambian striker Gabon air disaster 1993
Richard Mwanza 33 Zambian goalkeeper Gabon air disaster 1993
Numba Mwila 21 Zambian midfielder Gabon air disaster 1993
Timothy Mwitwa 25 Zambian striker Gabon air disaster 1993
Hussein Naeem 20 Lebanese striker car bomb 2007
Alan Nicholls 22 English goalkeeper motorcycle accident 1995
John Nicholson 30 English defender car crash 1966
Antonio de Nigris 31 Mexican striker heart attack 2009
Rogério Oliveira 30 Brazilian striker heart attack 2006
Piero Operto 22 Italian defender Superga air disaster 1949
Franco Ossola 27 Italian striker Superga air disaster 1949
Josheph Ouhm 32 Cameroonese striker pulmonary edema 2009
Maksym Pashayev 20 Ukrainian defender car accident 2008
Fred Patrick 23 Dutch-Suriname midfielder Surinam air disaster 1989
Simon Patterson 24 English striker car accident 2006
Serhiy Perkhun 23 Ukrainian goalkeeper brain hemorrhage as a result of head injury 2001
David Pegg 22 English winger Munich air disaster 1958
Mark Philo 21 English midfielder car accident 2006
Clément Pinault 23 French defender heart attack 2009
Federico Pisani 22 Italian striker car accident 1997
Danijel Popović 20 Croatian midfielder car accident 2002
Abdón Porte 37 Uruguayan defender suicide 1918
Kiyan Prince 15 English midfielder (youth team) homicide 2006
Brian Purcell 30 Welsh defender car accident 1969
Antonio Puerta 22 Spanish midfielder heart attack during La Liga match 2007
Avi Ran 23 Israeli goalkeeper hit by speed boat 1987
Mel Rees 26 Welsh goalkeeper cancer 1993
Régis Brazilian defender bus crash
Renato 28 Brazilian midfielder homicide during robbery 2004
Claudinei Resende 26 Brazilian midfielder homicide 2004
Mario Rigamonti 26 Italian midfielder Superga air disaster 1949
Dale Roberts 24 English goalkeeper suicide 2010
David Rocastle 33 English midfielder lymphoma 2001
Nick Ross 31 Scottish defender consumption/tuberculosis 1894
Miro Rys 20 Czech-American forward car accident 1977
Silvester Sabolčki 23 Croatian defender car accident 2003
Diego Santa Cruz 22 Parguayan striker car accident 2005
Mirko Saric 21 Argentine midfielder suicide 2000
Andy Scharmin 21 Dutch-Suriname defender Surinam air disaster 1989
Julius Schubert 26 Hungarian striker Superga air disaster 1949
Sergio Schulmeister 25 Argentine goalkeeper suicide 2003
Kenan Simambe 19 Zambian defender Gabon air disaster 1993
Matthias Sindelar 35 Austrian striker officially carbon monoxide poisoning (see Matthias Sindelar#Death and myth) 1939
George Smith 28 English defender/striker heart attack 1908
Nicol Smith 32 Scottish defender enteric fever 1905
John Soko 23 Zambian defender Gabon air disaster 1993
James Speedie Scottish died in action, World War I 1915
Adam Stansfield 31 English striker bowel cancer 2010
François Sterchele 26 Belgian striker car accident 2008
Nick Stienstra 33 Dutch-Suriname Surinam air disaster 1989
Anatoli Sylka 30 Russian defender heart attack 2009
Sándor Szűcs 30 Hungarian defender execution by the communist regime for defection attempt 1951
Giuliano Taccola 24 Italian striker heart attack 1969
Tommy Taylor 26 English striker Munich air disaster 1958
Otilino Tenorio 25 Ecuadorian striker car accident 2005
Donald Thobega 29 Botswanan midfielder car accident 2009
Alfredo Tomassini 23 Peruvian midfielder drowned 1987
David Di Tommaso 26 French midfielder heart attack 2005
Mickey Trotman 26 Trinidad and Tobagan midfielder car accident 2001
Nikolai Trusevich Soviet goalkeeper execution by German soldiers during World War II (see The Death Match) 1943
Raimundo Tupper 26 Chilean defender suicide 1995
Petea Vâlcov 32 Romanian striker killed on the Eastern Front 1943
Ferry van Vliet 20 Dutch midfielder car accident 2001
Edy Vasquez 23 Honduran midfielder car accident 2007
Elfried Veldman 23 Dutch-Suriname midfielder Surinam air disaster 1989
Florian Vijent 27 Dutch-Suriname goalkeeper Surinam air disaster 1989
Karl Wallmüller 30 Austrian midfielder military action during World War II 1944
Wang Donglei 23 Chinese midfielder car accident 2008
Robert Watiyakeni 24 Zambian defender Gabon air disaster 1993
Harry Wattie Scottish Battle of the Somme 1916
Walter Werginz 31 Austrian forward military action during World War II 1944
Liam Whelan 22 Irish striker Munich air disaster 1958
John White 27 Scottish midfielder hit by lightning 1964
Dave Wiggett 20 English defender car accident 1978
Frank Wilson 22 English centre forward "maniacal exhaustion caused by football and excitement"[14]
Whayne Wilson 29 Costa Rican striker car accident 2005
Zhang Yalin 28 Chinese midfielder lymphoma 2010
Mikhail Yeremin 23 Soviet goalkeeper car accident 1991
Gábor Zavadszky 31 Hungarian midfielder embolism 2006
Hicham Zerouali 27 Moroccan striker car accident 2004


Athlete Age Nationality Cause of death Year
Abebe Bikila 41 Ethiopian long distance runner and two-time Olympic gold medalist complications from spinal cord injury suffered in a car accident 1973
Lillian Board 22 British 400m sprinter, middle distance runner and Olympic silver medallist cancer 1970
Richard Chelimo 29 Kenyan long distance runner and Olympic silver medalist brain tumour 2001
Maria Cioncan 29 Romanian middle distance runner car accident 2007
Ivo Van Damme 22 Belgian middle distance runner and two-time Olympic silver medalist car accident 1976
Foy Draper 31 American sprinter military actions during World War II (Battle of Kasserine Pass) 1943
James Duffy 24 Irish marathon runner KIA during Second Battle of Ypres 1915
Pål Arne Fagernes 29 Norwegian javelin thrower car accident 2003
Piotr Gładki 33 Polish long distance runner car accident 2005
Nils Uhlin Hansen 25 Norwegian long jumper killed as a resistance fighter during World War II 1945
Rudolf Harbig 30 German middle distance runner military actions during World War II 1944
René Herms 26 German middle distance runner myocarditis caused by a viral infection 2009
Kinue Hitomi 24 Japanese sprinter and jumper and Olympic silver medallist tuberculosis 1931
Owe Jonsson 21 Swedish sprinter and European gold medalist car accident 1962
Yutaka Kanai 30 Japanese long distance runner car accident 1990
Władysław Komar 58 Polish shot putter car accident 1998
Janusz Kusociński 33 Polish long distance runner and Olympic gold medalist executed by the Gestapo in 1940 during Nazi Germany's occupation of Poland. 1940
Francisco Lázaro 21 Portuguese marathon runner dehydration due to high temperature 1912
Wilhelm Leichum 30 German jumper and sprinter military actions during World War II 1941
Luz Long 30 German jumper and Olympic silver medalist who is most famous for befriending Jesse Owens during the 1936 Summer Olympic Games in Berlin military actions during World War II 1943
Bronisław Malinowski 30 Olympic champion 3000m steeplechaser car accident 1981
Sally Meyerhoff[15] 27 American long distance runner bicycle accident 2011[16]
Wesly Ngetich 30 Kenyan long distance runner murdered in the Kenyan political crisis' riots 2008
Sueo Ōe 27 Japanese pole vaulter military actions during World War II[17] 1941
Steve Prefontaine 24 American long distance runner car accident 1975
Bob Roggy 30 American javelin thrower car accident 1986
Ryan Shay 28 American long distance runner collapsed during the 2007 US Olympic Marathon Trials 2007
Kamila Skolimowska 26 Polish hammer thrower pulmonary embolism 2009
Tadeusz Ślusarski 48 Polish pole vaulter car accident 1998
Ian Syster 28 African long distance runner drowned in car accident, died a few months after the 2004 Olympics[18] 2004
Tomoyuki Taniguchi 29 Japanese long distance runner car accident 1990
Kokichi Tsuburaya 27 Japanese long distance runner suicide 1968
Samuel Wanjiru 24 Kenyan long distance runner accident, possible suicide 2011
Geoff Watt Australian long distance runner. First to run up and down Mount Kilimanjaro. Died of exposure in snow. 1969
Hans Woellke 32 German shot putter military actions during World War II.[19] 1943

Australian rules football

Player Age Team Position Cause of death Year
Dave Barry 24 North Fremantle half-forward run over by a train 1913
Troy Broadbridge 24 Melbourne defender drowned in the 2004 Asian Tsunami 2004
Norm Collins 29 Hawthorn utility found hanged in his garage 1933
Peter Crimmins 28 Hawthorn rover testicular cancer 1976
Ron Doig 23 South Fremantle captain-coach on-field injury 1932
Lyle Downs 24 Carlton rover heart attack 1921
Eddie Ford 28 Richmond on-field collision 1946
Arthur Fox 29 South Melbourne wingman motorcycle accident 1953
Ray Gibb 24 Richmond utility motorcycle accident 1953
Brian Gilmore 25–26 Footscray follower car accident 1959
Wayne Gordon 28–29 Melbourne wingman cancer 1983
Ron James 19 Footscray rover waterskiing 1990
Doug Magor 21 Footscray car accident 1969
Darren Millane 26 Collingwood wingman car accident 1991
Richard Nixon 26–27 Richmond utility car accident 1992
Terry Ogden 23 Carlton wingman pleurisy 1935
Fred Phillips 27–28 Hawthorn captain-coach blood poisoning 1933
Bruce Reid 19–20 South Melbourne half-back car accident 1970
Maurie Sankey 25 Carlton ruckman car accident 1965
Phil Skehan 26 South Melbourne follower on-field collision 1921
Jim Stewart 24 North Melbourne appendicitis 1942
Doug Tassell 24 Essendon defender car accident 1970
Peter White 26 Carlton drowning 1996
Les Witto 23 Carlton defender tetanus 1926


Major League Baseball

Players/umpires with an asterisk (*) are members of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Minor-league players are listed with their major-league affiliations.

Player Age Position Team Cause of death Year
Nick Adenhart 22 P Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim car accident 2009
Harry Agganis 26 1B Boston Red Sox blood clot 1955
Steve Bechler 23 P Baltimore Orioles complications from misuse of Ephedra 2003
Marty Bergen 28 C Boston Beaneaters suicide after murdering his family 1900
Tony Boeckel 31 3B Boston Braves car crash 1924
Walt Bond 29 OF Minnesota Twins leukemia 1967
Tiny Bonham 36 P Pittsburgh Pirates appendicitis 1949
Lyman Bostock 27 OF California Angels homicide 1978
Hal Carlson 38 P Chicago Cubs stomach hemorrhage 1930
Ray Chapman 29 SS Cleveland Indians hit by pitch in game 1920
Néstor Chávez 21 P San Francisco Giants plane crash 1969
Roberto Clemente* 38 RF Pittsburgh Pirates plane crash 1972
Tim Crews 31 RP Cleveland Indians boat accident that killed teammate Steve Olin and injured teammate Bobby Ojeda 1993
Jay Dahl 19 P Houston Colt .45s car accident 1965
Mike Darr 25 OF San Diego Padres car accident 2002
Jake Daubert 40 1B Cincinnati Reds appendicitis 1924
Ed Delahanty* 35 OF Washington Senators swept over Niagara Falls 1903
Joe DeSa 27 1B Chicago White Sox car accident 1986
Lou DiMuro 51 Umpire American League car accident 1982
Alfredo Edmead 18 RF Pittsburgh Pirates on-field collision with teammate 1974[20][21]
Cozy Dolan 34 OF Boston Braves typhoid fever 1907
Paul Edmondson 27 P Chicago White Sox car accident 1970
Charlie Ferguson 25 P Philadelphia Phillies typhoid fever 1888
Jim Fogarty 27 OF Philadelphia Phillies tuberculosis 1891
Danny Frisella 30 P Milwaukee Brewers dune buggy accident 1977
Miguel Fuentes 23 P Seattle Pilots murdered in a bar in Loíza Aldea, Puerto Rico 1970
Tom Gastall 24 C Baltimore Orioles plane crash 1956
Elmer Gedeon 27 OF Washington Senators died in World War II 1944
Geremi Gonzalez 33 P Milwaukee Brewers lightning strike 2008
Eddie Grant 35 2B New York Giants died in World War I 1918
Josh Hancock 29 P St. Louis Cardinals car accident 2007
Willard Hershberger 30 C Cincinnati Reds suicide 1940
Gil Hodges 47 Manager New York Mets heart attack 1972
Dick Howser 51 Manager Kansas City Royals brain cancer 1987
Miller Huggins* 50 Manager New York Yankees sepsis 1929
Ken Hubbs 22 2B Chicago Cubs plane crash 1964
Fred Hutchinson 45 Manager Cincinnati Reds lung cancer 1964
Addie Joss* 31 P Cleveland Indians meningitis 1911
Joe Kennedy 28 P Toronto Blue Jays hypertensive heart disease 2007
Darryl Kile 33 P St. Louis Cardinals heart defect 2002
Len Koenecke 31 OF Brooklyn Dodgers killed in fight 1935
Walter Lerian 26 C Philadelphia Phillies car accident 1929
Cory Lidle 34 P New York Yankees plane crash 2006
Steve Macko 27 IF Chicago Cubs cancer 1981
Dan McGann 39 1B New York Giants suicide 1910
Austin McHenry 27 OF St. Louis Cardinals brain tumor 1922
John McSherry 51 Umpire National League heart attack during Cincinnati Reds Opening Day game vs. Montreal Expos 1996
Mike Miley 23 SS California Angels car accident 1977
Doug Million 21 P Colorado Rockies asthma attack 1997
Bob Moose 29 P Pittsburgh Pirates car accident 1976
Donnie Moore 35 P California Angels suicide 1989
Thurman Munson 32 C New York Yankees plane crash 1979
Tom O'Brien 27 OF Pittsburgh Pirates pneumonia 1901
Steve Olin 27 P Cleveland Indians boat accident that killed teammate Tim Crews and injured teammate Bobby Ojeda 1993
Harry O'Neill 27 C Philadelphia Athletics died in World War II 1945
Charlie Peete 27 OF St. Louis Cardinals plane crash 1956
Gus Polidor 33 Infielder Montreal Expos murdered during robbery 1995
Doc Powers 38 C Philadelphia Athletics gangrene 1909
Jimmy Sebring 27 RF Washington Senators Bright's disease 1909
Mike Sharperson 34 IF San Diego Padres car accident 1996
Urban Shocker 38 P New York Yankees pneumonia 1928
Chick Stahl 34 OF Boston Red Sox suicide 1907
Dernell Stenson 25 OF Cincinnati Reds murdered during robbery 2003
Alan Storke 25 infielder Cincinnati Reds general streptococcus due to empyema 1910[22]
Bob Swift 51 acting Manager Detroit Tigers lung cancer 1966
Danny Thompson 29 IF Texas Rangers leukemia 1976
Jim Umbricht 33 P Houston Colt .45's malignant melanoma 1964
Dick Wantz 25 P California Angels inoperable brain tumor 1965
Lee Weyer 51 Umpire National League heart attack 1988
Don Wilson 29 P Houston Astros carbon monoxide poisoning 1975[23]
Cliff Young 29 P Cleveland Indians car accident 1993

Negro League Baseball

Player Age Position Team Cause of death Year
Josh Gibson* 35 C Homestead Grays brain tumor and stroke 1947
Pythias Russ 26 C Chicago American Giants tuberculosis 1930
Chino Smith 28 OF Lincoln Giants yellow fever 1932


International (men)

International (women)



NCAA (men)

NAIA (men)


NCAA (women)




Deaths in the ring

Name Nationality Death Year Championship Class Opponent Source
Pedro Alcázar Panamanian 2002 WBO super flyweight Fernando Montiel
Simon Byrne Ireland 1833 heavyweight James Burke
Frankie Campbell American 1930 Heavyweight Max Baer
Yo-Sam Choi Korean 2008 Light-flyweight Heri Amol
Leavander Johnson American 2005 IBF lightweight Jesús Chávez
Duk Koo Kim Korean 1982 lightweight Ray Mancini
Alexander McKay Scottish 1830 heavyweight Simon Byrne
Davey Moore American 1963 featherweight Sugar Ramos
James Murray British 1995 bantamweight Drew Docherty
Johnny Owen British 1980 bantamweight Lupe Pintor
Kevin Payne American 2006 welterweight Ryan Maraldo
Benny Paret Cuban 1962 welterweight Emile Griffith
Tosh Powell British 1928 bantamweight Billy Housego
Martín Sánchez Mexican 2005 super featherweight Rustam Nugaev
Ed Sanders American 1954 heavyweight Willie James
Angelito Sisnorio Filipino 2007 lightweight Chatchai Sasakul
Robert Wangila Kenyan 1994 welterweight David Gonzales

Deaths outside the ring

  • Oscar "Ringo" Bonavena, 33, Argentine heavyweight, homicide (1976)
  • Roberto Balado, 25, Cuban world super heavyweight champion in amateur boxing, died in a crash at a train crossing (1994)
  • Marcel Cerdan, 33, French middleweight champion, killed in plane crash (1949)
  • Billy Collins, 22, car accident (1984)
  • Diego Corrales, 29, American super featherweight and lightweight champion, motorcycle accident (2007)
  • Carlos Cruz, 32, Dominican lightweight champion, killed in plane crash (1970)
  • Tiger Flowers, 32, American world middleweight champion, complications from surgery (1927)
  • Vernon Forrest, 38, welterweight and light welterweight, homicide (2009)
  • Arturo Gatti, 37, Canadian world super featherweight champion, cause of death disputed (2009)
  • Harry Greb, 32, American world middleweight champion, complications from surgery (1926)
  • Stanley Ketchel, 24, American world middleweight champion, homicide (1910)
  • Julian Letterlough, 35, American light heavyweight, homicide (2005)
  • Sonny Liston, 38, American world heavyweight champion, cause of death disputed (1970)
  • Michael Murach, 30, German welterweight Olympic champion, military actions during World War II (1941)[49]
  • Giselle Salandy, 21, Trinidadian boxer, car accident (2009)
  • Agapito Sánchez, 35, Dominican World super bantamweight champion, homicide (2005)
  • Salvador Sánchez, 23, Mexican world featherweight champion, car accident (1982)
  • Mzukisi Sikali, 34, South African flyweight, homicide (2005)
  • Edwin Valero, 28, Venezuelan lightweight champion, suicide by hanging (2010)
  • Pancho Villa, 23, Filipino world flyweight champion, Ludwig's angina (1925)

Canadian Football League

† These five players were lost in the same plane crash.




  • Solène Coulot, 20, French curler, suicide (2010)
  • Marj Mitchell, 35, Canadian curler, cancer (1983)
  • Scott Patterson, 34, Canadian curler, car crash (2004)
  • Sandra Schmirler, 36, Canadian curler, oesophageal cancer (2000)


Does not include those who died in wheeled sports such as cycling accident, as there is a separate list for such, please refer to List of professional cyclists who died during a race. All are road cyclists unless stated.



  • Jure Robic, 45, Slovenian MTB and road cyclist, car crash (2010)

Road Cycling

  • Franco Ballerini, 46, Italian, car accident (2010)
  • Beryl Burton, 58, British, heart failure (1996)
  • Fausto Coppi, 40, Italian, malaria (1960)
  • François Faber, 28, French, KIA during World War I (1915)
  • Joachim Halupczok, 26, Polish world champion in amateur cycling, heart failure (1994)
  • Carly Hibberd, 26, Australian , hit by a car while training (2011)[51]
  • Jose-Maria Jimenez, 32, Spanish, suicide (2003)
  • Octave Lapize, 29, French, KIA during World War I (1917)
  • Andreas Matzbacher, 25, Austrian, car crash (2008)
  • Bert Oosterbosch, 32, Dutch, heart failure (1989)
  • Carlo Oriani, 29, Italian, pneumonia (1917)
  • Marco Pantani, 34, Italian, drugs overdose (2004)
  • René Pottier, 27, French, suicide (1907)
  • Dave Rayner, 27, British, a fund is his name has been set up to support British road racing cyclists. (1994)
  • Lucien Storme, 28, Belgian, accidentally shot by American servicemen during World War II (1945)
  • Carla Swart, 23, South African, hit by a truck while training (2011)[52]
  • Xavier Tondó, 32, Spanish, accident with a garage door while preparing for training (2011)[53]

Track Cycling

  • Yulia Arustamova, 24, Russian, suicide (2007)
  • Amy Gillett, 29, Australian, hit by a car while training (2005)[54]
  • Albert Richter, 27, German track cyclist, execution by the Gestapo (1940)
  • Lucien Mazan, 35, French-Argentine track and road cyclist, road accident whilst in military action during World War I (1917)


  • Gavin Brown, 22, British diver, hit-and-run (2007)
  • Sergei Chalibashvili, 21, professional diver, accident during the World University Games (1983)
  • Loïc Leferme, 36, French free-diver, drowned (2007)
  • Audrey Mestre, 28, French free-diver, drowned (2002)


Figure skating




Horse racing

Does not include those who died in riding accident such as equestrian or horse racing, as there is a separate list for such, please refer to List of horse accidents.

  • Chris Antley, 34, American jockey, drug overdose (2000)
  • Fred Archer, 29, English jockey, suicide (1886)
  • Silvio Coucci, 27, American jockey, suicide (1942)
  • Ron Hansen, 33, American jockey, car accident (1994)
  • Frank Hayes, 34–35, American jockey, died from a heart attack while riding his horse Sweet Kiss to victory at Belmont Park (1923)
  • Don MacBeth, 37, Canadian jockey, cancer (1987)
  • Jamie Kyne, 18, Irish jockey, arson (2009)
  • Jan Wilson, 19, Scottish jockey, arson (2009)
  • Kim Hyung-chil, 47, Korean jockey, died in Dec 2006 while attending the equestrian race in 2006 Asian Games (2006)
  • Stathi Katsidis, 31, Australian jockey, cause of death unknown (2010)
  • Arron Kennedy, 34, Australian jockey, cause of death, suicide (St Patrick's Day 2007)

Ice hockey

†These 26 players were lost in the same plane crash


Martial arts

  • Gilbert Aldana, 29, USA, MMA fighter, drowning (2007)
  • André Brilleman, 25, Netherlands, kickboxer, gang related murder (2010)
  • Ross Clifton, 32, USA, MMA fighter, heart attack (2009)
  • Douglas Dedge, 31, USA, MMA fighter, brain injury (in-fight) (1998)
  • Justin Eilers, 30, USA, MMA fighter, homicide (2008)
  • Ryan Gracie, 33, Brazil, MMA fighter, drug overdose (2007)
  • Andy Hug, 35, Switzerland, karateka and kickboxer, myeloid leukemia (2000)
  • Justin Levens, 28, USA, MMA fighter, suicide (2008)
  • Evan Tanner, 37, USA, MMA fighter, hyperthermia (2008)
  • Sam Vasquez, 34–35, USA, MMA fighter, brain injury (in-fight) (2007)
  • Shelby Walker, 31, USA, MMA fighter, prescription pill overdose (2006)
  • Jeremy Williams, 27, USA, MMA fighter, suicide (2007)
  • Sergio Salcido, 25, USA, MMA fighter, homicide (2011)
  • Michael Kirkham, 30, USA, MMA fighter, brain injury (in-fight) 2010


Auto racing

Does not include race car drivers who died in race or practice crashes. Those names go in a separate article. Please refer to List of racing drivers who died in racing crashes.

Motorboat racing

  • Donald Aronow, 59, boat builder, murdered (1987)
  • Mike Thomas, hydroplane driver, construction accident (1967)[68]
  • Dwight Bale, drag boat driver, drowned whilst riding in a rubber raft through a rapid (1973)[69]
  • Bernard Marszałek, 31, Polish driver powerboat, asthma attack (2007)

Motorcycle sport

Does not include motorcycle riders who died in race or practice crashes. Those names go in a separate article. Please refer to List of deaths by motorcycle accidents.


Rugby Union

  • Nicky Allen, 26, New Zealand rugby union player, head injuries sustained during a match (1984)
  • Sam Doble, 33, English rugby union player, cancer (1977)
  • Yves du Manoir, 23, French rugby union player, plane crash (1928)
  • Nick Duncombe, 21, English rugby union player, meningitis (2003)
  • Ivan Francescato, 31, Italian rugby union player, heart attack (1999)
  • Barry Holmes, 21, English/Argentinian rugby union player, typhoid (1949)[79]
  • Aaron Hopa, 27, New Zealand rugby union player, death as a result of a heart defect, while diving (1998)
  • Roy Muir Kinnear, 38, Scottish rugby union/league player, heart attack (1942)
  • Shawn Mackay, 26, Australian rugby union player, spinal cord and other injuries suffered when struck by a motor vehicle (2009)
  • Alexander Obolensky, 24, Russia-born English rugby union player, plane crash during military training (1940)
  • Dick Stafford, 19, English rugby union player, spinal cancer (1912)[79]

Rugby League

  • Sonny Fai, 20, New Zealand National Rugby League (NRL) player, disappeared off Te Henga (Bethells Beach) in Auckland while attempting to save a family member. His body has never been found. (2009)
  • Sam Faust, 25, Australian National Rugby League (NRL) player, acute myeloid leukemia (2011)
  • Hudson Irving, English rugby league player, heart attack (1947)
  • Frederick Kelsall, 24–25, English rugby league player, motorcycle accident (1931)
  • Roy Muir Kinnear, 38, Scottish rugby union/league player, heart attack (1942)
  • Harry Myers, 31, English rugby league player, injuries sustained in a collision while playing for Keighley (1906)
  • Terry Newton, 31, English rugby league player, suicide (2010)
  • Leon Walker, 20, English rugby league player, death was the result of a rare undiagnosed heart defect, and the coroner ruled that he died of natural causes. (2009)
  • Adam Watene, 31, Cook Islands rugby league player, heart attack (2008)



  • Tim Brauch, 25, American professional skateboarder, cardiac arrest (1999)
  • Shane Cross, 20, Australian skateboarder, motorcycle accident (2007)
  • Harold Hunter, 31, American professional skateboarder and actor, accidental cocaine overdose (2006)
  • Keenan Milton, 26, American professional skateboarder, drowned (2001)
  • Jeff Phillips, 33, American professional skateboarder, suicide (1993)
  • Dave Vanderspek, 24, American skateboarder, suicide (disputed as some believed it to be autoerotic asphyxiation) (1988)[80]
  • Van Wastell, 24, American professional skateboarder, fell from a hotel balcony (2008)[81]


Does not include skiers and snowboarders who died in competition or practice crashes. Please refer to List of skiing deaths.

Cross-country skiing

Ski jumping

  • Paul Ausserleitner, 26–27, Austrian ski jumper who crashed in Bischofshofen (1952)
  • Pavel Karelin, 21, Russian ski jumper, car accident in 2011

Nordic combined

Alpine skiing

  • Richard Kröll, Austrian alpine skier, car accident
  • Rudolf Nierlich, 25, Austrian alpine skier, car accident (1991)
  • Spider Sabich, 30, American alpine skier, homicide (1976)

Freestyle skiing


Craig Kelly, 37, American snowboarder, trapped in avalanche near Revelstoke, British Columbia, Canada (2003)

Speed skiing

Speed Skating




Freestyle wrestling

Professional wrestling

The list includes wrestlers who were still active, or at least were of an age when they could reasonably be assumed to still be active if they had been fully healthy. Wrestlers who were semi-retired at the time of their deaths, or who had fully retired while healthy, are not included.[Note 1]

The best-known ring name of each wrestler, which may be his or her birth name, is indicated in bold type.

Ring name(s)
Abrams, LouLou Abrams Ace Gordon 1959 [90]
Adkisson, ChrisChris Adkisson Chris Von Erich 1969 1991 Suicide (gunshot)
Adkisson, DavidDavid Adkisson David Von Erich 1958 1984 Heart attack triggered by acute enteritis Rumors persist that his death was drug-related, despite considerable evidence supporting the official cause.
Adkisson, KerryKerry Adkisson Kerry Von Erich 1960 1993 Suicide (gunshot)
Adkisson, MichaelMichael Adkisson Mike Von Erich 1964 1987 Suicide (drug overdose plus alcohol)
Albright, GaryGary Albright 1963 2000 Heart attack Died during World Xtreme Wrestling show
Alfonso, MikeMike Alfonso Mike Awesome 1965 2007 Suicide (hanging)
Anoai, RodneyRodney Anoa'i Yokozuna 1966 2000 Pulmonary edema Died during independent wrestling tour in Liverpool, England
Bailey Jr., Joseph CarlJoseph Carl Bailey Jr. J.C. Bailey 1983 2010 Brain aneurysm from multiple concussions
Baker, EddieEddie Baker 1901 1937 Heart attack Died following a wrestling match against Roy Welch. [90][91][92][93]
Baldwin, William J.William J. Baldwin Farmer Baldwin 1887 1911 Broken neck Popularly billed as "Iowa’s wrestling champion". Fatal injury was suffered during a match with "Dad" House. [90][91][93][94]
Barr, ArtArt Barr Beetlejuice,
"The Love Machine"
1966 1994 Unknown The circumstances of Barr's death are contested to this day. Initial reports stated that Barr died of an aneurysm, but later reports stated that he died under unknown circumstances. A mixture of drugs and alcohol were found in his bloodstream at the time of his death, although whether or not they contributed to his death remains uncertain.
Bauman, ChristopherChristopher Bauman Chri$ Ca$h 1982 2005 Motorcycle accident
Benoit, ChrisChris Benoit Pegasus Kid, Wild Pegasus (both during 1989–94 NJPW run) 1967 2007 Suicide (hanging) See Chris Benoit double murder and suicide for further details on his death.
Bigelow, ScottScott Bigelow Bam Bam Bigelow 1961 2007 Drug overdose Wrestled for the World Wrestling Federation in 1987–1988 and in the 1990s.
Bresciano, AdolfoAdolfo Bresciano Dino Bravo 1948 1993 Homicide (shot) Billed as "The World's Strongest Man" during late-1980s WWF run.
Cameron, LarryLarry Cameron "Lethal" Larry Cameron 1952 1993 Heart attack Died during a match with Tony St. Clair [90][92]
Candito, ChristopherChristopher Candito Chris Candido, Bodydonna Skip (late 1990s WWF run) 1972 2005 Blood clot The blood clot that caused his death was a complication of a major leg fracture suffered during the TNA Lockdown pay-per-view.
Cawley, KevinKevin Cawley Black Baron, Pit Bull 1946 1992 [90]
Coggeshall, John L.John L. Coggeshall Dr. Destruction 1970 2004 Unknown Collapsed during a match with Matthew Gilbert [90][95]
Curcuru, CharlesCharles Curcuru Chick Garibaldi 1915 1961 Heart attack Died following a match with Bruno Sammartino [90][92][93]
Davros, ChrisChris Davros Babe Zaharias 1915 1957 Heart attack Died following a match with Bob "Bibber" McCoy [90][92]
Demchuk, JohnnyJohnny Demchuk 1913 1962 Heart failure [90][92]
Dibiase, MichaelMichael DiBiase "Iron" Mike DiBiase 1923 1969 Heart attack Became ill during wrestling match
Duncum, Bobby Jr.Bobby Duncum, Jr. 1965 2000 Accidental prescription drug overdose Member of the West Texas Rednecks stable during WCW run.
Durham, MikeMike Durham Johnny Grunge 1966 2006 Complications of sleep apnea
Eakins, James D.James D. Eakins "Big" Ike Eakins 1916 1968 Heart attack [90][92]
Estrada, José Vincent RamosJosé Vincent Ramos Estrada Sangre India 1956 1979 Head and neck injury Fatal injury was suffered during a tag team match with Leo Lopez against César Curiel and El Vengador [90][91][96]
Everhart, JackJack Everhart Gordon McKinley 1922 1958 Unknown Collapsed during a match with Len Montana [90][93][97][98]
Fatu, EdwardEdward Fatu Jamal (2002–03 WWE run), Jamaal (AJPW), Ekmo, Umaga (2006–09 WWE run) 1973 2009 Heart attack triggered by drug overdose
Franke, KeithKeith Franke "Adorable" Adrian Adonis 1954 1988 Car accident Two other professional wrestlers who were traveling with Franke – Victor "Pat Kelly" Arko, and Dave "Wildman" McKigney – died in the accident. The driver of the vehicle they were traveling in was injured but survived.
Fukuda, MasakazuMasakazu Fukuda 1973 2000 Internal bleeding Fatal injury was suffered during a match with Katsuyori Shibata [90][99]
Garcia, LeeLee Garcia The Medic, Medic #2, Luis Hernandez 1972 Heart attack Died during a wrestling tour in Japan [90][92]
Gracia, Victor Manuel RodriguezVictor Manuel Rodriguez Gracia Victor the Bodyguard 1966 2004 Heart attack Died during an IWA Puerto Rico show [90][100]
Goodall, Luther J.Luther J. Goodall Luther Lindsay 1924 1972 Heart attack Died during a match with Bobby Paul [90][92]
González, AndrésAndrés González Abismo Negro 1971 2009 Drowning
González, JorgeJorge González Giant González 1966 2010 Diabetes
Goodish, FrankFrank Goodish Bruiser Brody 1946 1988 Stabbing Details of his death are contested.
Guerrero, EduardoEduardo Guerrero Eddie Guerrero, Black Tiger II (1990s NJPW run) 1967 2005 Acute heart failure
Grobes, RussellRussell Grobes Ron Dupree 1936 1975 Heart failure Died while announcing a wrestling match in Tacoma, Washington [90][92][101][102]
Grondin, MurrayMurray Grondin Bull Martin 1945 1979 Heart attack [90][91][92]
Gunkel, RayRay Gunkel 1924 1972 Blood clot due to heart trauma Fatal injury was suffered during a match with Ox Baker.
Hady, JimJim Hady "Gentleman" Jim Hady 1931 1969 Heart attack [90][92][93][103]
Hansen, Ib SolvangIb Solvang Hansen Eric the Red, Eric the Animal 1934 1978 Head injury Struck by a car while stranded on a Miami highway, Hanson died of his injuries a week later. [90][91][92][104]
Hart, OwenOwen Hart The Blue Blazer 1965 1999 Internal bleeding from severed aorta Fatal injury resulted from a stunt accident during a live pay-per-view event at Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Missouri.
Hashimoto, ShinyaShinya Hashimoto 1965 2005 Brain aneurysm
Hegstrand, MichaelMichael Hegstrand Hawk 1957 2003 Heart attack One-half of the Road Warriors (WCW) or Legion of Doom (WWF), along with Animal.
Hennig, CurtCurt Hennig Mr. Perfect (1988–1996 and 2002 WWF runs) 1958 2003 Acute cocaine intoxication (allergic reaction)
Howser, BrianBrian Howser Shane Shamrock 1975 1998 Shot in an altercation with police
Hulette, Elizabeth AnnElizabeth Ann Hulette Miss Elizabeth 1960 2003 Accidental overdose of alcohol and tranquilizers
Jimenez, IgnacioIgnacio Jiménez Ibarra El Hijo de Cien Caras 1978 2010 Homicide (shot)
Kado, EmikoEmiko Kado 1976 1999 Internal bleeding Fatal injury was suffered during a tag team match with Michiko Omukai against Mariko Yoshida and Mikiko Futugami. It is the second in-ring death involving a female wrestler in Japan. [90][91]
Kim Sin-rak, Kim Sin-rak Rikidōzan 1924 1963 Homicide (stabbed, resulting in peritonitis) Adopted the Japanese name Mitsuhiro Momota before beginning his wrestling career.
Kirk, MalcolmMalcolm Kirk King Kong Kirk 1936 1987 Heart failure Died during a match with Big Daddy
Klucsaritis, ChristopherChristopher Klucsaritis Chris Kanyon, Kanyon, Mortis 1970 2010 Suicide (apparent overdose)
Lewis, JackJack Lewis "California Red Devil" Jack Lewis 1934 Heart attack Died after match with Harry Kent [90][92][105]
Lizdennis, VincentVincent Lizdennis Dennis Clary 1925 1955 Brain tumor Died during a match with Ali Bey [90][91][92][93][106]
Lockwood, MikeMike Lockwood Crash Holly (WWE), Johnny Pearson, Erin O'Grady, The Green Ghost, Mad Mikey (TNA) 1971 2003 Suicide by apparent drug overdose
Martinshult, MaxMax Martinshult Terry McGinnis 1911 1952 [90][92][107]
Macnaught, LanceLance McNaught Lance Cade, Garrison Cade (2003–04 WWE run), Cowboy Cade (2008–10, indies and Japan) 1981 2010 Heart failure
Leon, Jr., Medardo Jim "Jimmy"Medardo Jim "Jimmy" Leon, Jr. "Bad Boy" Ricky Lawless, Jim Leon, Jim Nunna 1959 1988 Homicide (gunshot) Murdered over an alleged extramarital affair
Miller, Arland C.Arland C. Miller Buddy O'Brien 1909 1941 Multiple injuries Died of injuries sustained during a confrontation with a police officer. [90][108]
Misawa, MitsuharuMitsuharu Misawa Tiger Mask II (1984–90 AJPW run) 1962 2009 Cervical spine injury Died after taking a back body drop from Akitoshi Saito during a match. The cause of death is surmised; Misawa's family invoked a Japanese law allowing the next of kin of a deceased person to prevent disclosure of the official cause of death.
Naniwa, GranGran Naniwa 1977 2010 Heart attack
Olson, OleOle Olson 1923 Unknown Collapsed during a match with L. D. King [90][109]
Ong, BrianBrian Ong 1977 2001 Concussion Fatal injury was suffered during an APW Boot Camp training session with Dalip Singh [90]
Papineau, LouisLouis Papineau 1928 1964 Heart attack Died after a match with Gino Brito [90][91][92][93][110]
Pasha, AliAli Pasha 1961 Heart attack Died following a match against Billy Darnell. [90][111]
Petty, TedTed Petty Rocco Rock, The Cheetah Kid, Colonel DeKlerk 1953 2002 Heart attack
Pillman, BrianBrian Pillman Flyin' Brian (1989–92 in NWA/WCW), Yellow Dog (briefly in WCW) 1962 1997 Atherosclerotic heart disease
Quirk, Daniel M.Daniel M. Quirk Spider, Stuart 1982 2005 Head injury Fatal injury was suffered during a match with Hi-Lite Kid. One of the first major in-ring deaths to occur on the United States independent circuit. [90]
Ray, JackJack Ray Cowboy Russell 1896 1936 Spinal injury Fatal injury was suffered during a match with Dick Powell. [90][112]
Ritter, SylvesterSylvester Ritter Junkyard Dog 1952 1998 Auto accident
Rood, RichardRichard Rood "Ravishing" Rick Rude 1958 1999 Accidental drug overdose
Riley, TexTex Riley 1916 1964 Heart attack Died following a tag team match with Joe Scarpa against Kurt and Karl Von Brauner. [90][92][113]
Romano, MikeMike Romano 1896 1936 Broken neck Fatal injury was suffered during a match with Jack Donovan [90][91][92][114]
Roussimoff, AndreAndré Roussimoff André the Giant 1946 1993 Congestive heart failure He suffered from acromegaly, a pituitary condition that led to his enormous size but ultimately incapacitated him and almost certainly contributed to his premature death.
Rush, WilliamWilliam Rush Jack Rush, Canadian Angel 1912 1955 Heart attack Died during a tag team match with Pedro Godoy against Milo and Dick Steinborn; his partner Godoy continued the match after Rush collapsed during the second fall. [90][115]
Scarpa, FrankFrank Scarpa 1916 1969 Heart attack [90][92][116]
Shaw, MikeMike Shaw Bastion Booger, Norman The Lunatic 1957 2010 Heart attack
Shimkus, JoeJoe Shimkus 1896 1934 Brain concussion Fatal injury was suffered during a match with Babe Caddock. [90][92][117]
Smith, DavidDavid Smith Davey Boy Smith, The British Bulldog 1962 2002 Heart attack Was training for a return to wrestling at the time of his death.
Solis, JesusJesús Solís Oro 1971 1993 Brain aneurysm Died as a result of an in-ring injury. Cause of death surmised from circumstances because no autopsy was performed at his family's request.
Stasiak, Ignacy J.Ignacy J. Stasiak Stanley Stasiak 1895 1931 Blood poisoning The blood poisoning that caused his death was a complication of a broken arm suffered during his match against former world champion Ed Don George at the Arena Gardens. [90][92][118]
Taylor, GuyGuy Taylor Dr. X, Guy Taylor 1968 Died following a match with Doctor X [90]
Tenta, JohnJohn Tenta Earthquake, Avalanche, The Shark, Golga 1963 2006 Bladder cancer Was forced to retire because of his ultimately fatal illness.
Torres, AlbertoAlberto Torres 1934 1971 Ruptured pancreas Fatal injury was suffered during a match with Ox Baker. [90][91][92]
Traylor, RaymondRaymond Traylor Big Boss Man, Big Bubba Rogers, Guardian Angel 1963 2004 Heart attack
Tuite, JerryJerry Tuite The Wall (WCW), Malice (TNA) 1967 2003 Heart attack
Umeda, MarikoMariko Umeda Plum Mariko 1967 1997 Brain hemorrhage Died as a result of head injury received during a match. The cause of death is surmised from the circumstances of her injury and events leading to it; her father requested that no autopsy be performed.
Verdi, MichaelMichael Verdi Trent Acid 1980 2010 Accidental drug overdose
Vigneault, MichelMichel Vigneault Michel "Mad Dog" Martel 1944 1978 Unknown Fatal injury was suffered during a 6-man tag match with Pierre Martin and Jack Lafarb against Carlos Colon and "The Invaders" (Invader I and Invader II) [90][92]
Weaver, RalphRalph Weaver Buck Weaver 1906 1956 [90]
Whybrow, AlexanderAlexander Whybrow Larry Sweeney 1981 2011 Suicide by hanging
Williams, StevenSteven Williams "Dr. Death" Steve Williams 1960 2009 Complications from throat cancer Williams had battled cancer for the last years of his life, wrestling while his disease was in remission. He retired at almost the same time as his cancer returned for the last time.
Wright, JimJim Wright "Big" Jim Wright 1963 Died during a tag team match [90][119][120]
Wright, TexTex Wright 1907 1935 Heart failure Died following a match with Ali Yumed [90][91][92][121]
Wolfe, CharlesCharles Wolfe Gino Hernandez 1957 1986 Apparent cocaine overdose
Wolfe, JeanetteJeanette Wolfe 1933 1951 Cerebral hemorrhage Adopted daughter of world champion Mildred Burke and Billy Wolfe. Fatal injury was suffered during a tag team match with Eva Lee against Mae Young and Ella Waldek. Reportedly the first in-ring death involving a female wrestler in the United States. [90][122][123]

Sumo wrestling

Table Tennis



Water polo

  • Iss Lajos, Romanian water polo player, massive stroke


Other sports


  1. ^ Examples of such individuals include the following:
    • Lillian Ellison, better known as The Fabulous Moolah, was sporadically active at the time of her death in 2007, but was age 84, and had largely retired from active wrestling for over 20 years.
    • Andrew Martin, best known as Test, died at age 33 in 2009, but had announced his retirement from professional wrestling the previous year while healthy, and had not performed since. Similarly, Luna Vachon died at age 48 in 2010, but had retired in 2007 while in reasonable health.
    • John Minton, better known as Big John Studd, died at age 47 of liver cancer in 1995, but had retired in 1990, long before his illness had been diagnosed. (Contrast with John Tenta, who is included because he was forced to retire from wrestling due to the bladder cancer that ultimately caused his death, and "Dr. Death" Steve Williams, who retired at almost the same time that the throat cancer he had been battling during his last years returned for the final time.)


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