20 Athletes Who Died Tragically Young

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It’s absolutely devastating when someone dies at a young age. It can feel disorienting, like it might not be true.

And when a celebrity dies? It can really feel strange because even though you may not know them personally, you can still be incredibly affected by their death.

All of these athletes had their lives cut tragically short.

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Payne Stewart

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A famous pro golfer, Payne Stewart was known for his eccentric and colorful outfits. In 1999, Stewart got on a plane that failed to pressurize. Everyone on board was killed by hypoxia. Stewart was 42.

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Sarah Burke

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A Canadian freestyle skier, Burke died at 29 because of injuries she sustained during training practice. She fell on her head, and though she seemed fine, went into cardiac arrest moments later. Burke died on January 19, 2012.

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Ken Caminiti

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On October 10, 2004, professional baseball player Ken Caminiti did a speedball of cocaine and heroin in his friend’s apartment bathroom. He collapsed and went into cardiac arrest. He died later at Lincoln Hospital in The Bronx. He was 41.

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Andre the Giant

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The famous French wrestler and actor was 46 when he died in his sleep in the winter of 1993. He passed in his Paris hotel room and was found by his chauffeur.

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Davey Allison

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The NASCAR driver died tragically at 32 in 1993 when he attempted to land his own helicopter in a small, fenced-in area. The helicopter crashed and killed Allison. The friend in the helicopter with him survived. Keep reading for more tragic deaths of athletes.

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Nick Adenhart

A right-handed starting baseball pitcher for the Los Angeles Angels, Adenhart died in a car crash on April 9, 2009. The crash took place mere hours after Adenhart had pitched in a game. He was only 22.

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Andres Escobar

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During the 1994 World Cup, Colombian football player Andres Escobar accidentally scored a goal against his own team. Because of this, the United States won the match. Escobar was ridiculed and hated because of this mistake, and a few days after the incident, Escobar went out with some friends in Colombia. He was then shot and murdered, and the act of violence was believed to be because of the World Cup incident. Escobar was 27.

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Ray Chapman

The Cleveland Indians shortstop was only 29-years-old when he died in 1920 after getting hit with a baseball during a game. He died 12 hours after getting hit.

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Erica Blasberg

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The pro golfer who played on the LPGA tour was 25 at the time of her death. Blasberg was found dead with a plastic bag over her head in her home on May 9, 2010. Her death was ruled a suicide.

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Joe Delaney

The Kansas City Chiefs running back died in 1983 while trying to save three children from drowning. One of the children was saved, another rushed to the hospital and later died, and the bodies of Delaney and third child were found. Despite the fact that he couldn’t swim himself, Delaney still tried to save the children. He was only 24-years-old. The next athlete died way too young.

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Pelle Lindbergh

The goaltender for the Philadelphia Flyers, Lindbergh was only 26 when he died in a fatal car crash. He passed just months after the Flyers went to the Stanley Cup.

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Camille Muffat

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Muffat was a French swimmer and three-time Olympic medalist who was 25 when she died in March 2015. Muffat was participating in a reality television show called Dropped, when the helicopter she was riding in collided with another helicopter mid-air. The crash killed Muffat along with nine other people, some of whom included fellow contestants on the show.

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Len Bias

Two days after being selected by the Boston Celtics in the 1986 NBA draft pick, Bias died from a cocaine overdose. He was only 22.

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Lou Gehrig

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The iconic New York Yankee nicknamed the “Iron Horse” died at the age of 37 from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The disease is commonly referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s disease.”

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Reggie Lewis

The Boston Celtics basketball player was 27 when he died after suffering from sudden cardiac death on the basketball court in July 1993. Lewis had previously exhibited heart problems. Who else died too young?

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Thurman Munson

The New York Yankees catcher was 32 when he died while flying his own jet. On August 2, 1979, Munson was practicing take-offs and landings, and on one of his landing attempts, he crashed.

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Roberto Clemente

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The Pittsburgh Pirates right fielder was 38 when he died in a plane crash on New Year’s Eve, 1972. Clemente had chartered a plane for relief work to Nicaragua, which had suffered a devastating earthquake. Clemente’s plane crashed into the Atlantic ocean.

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Bill Barilko

The Toronto Maple Leafs hockey player disappeared while on a fishing trip with his dentist in August 1951. On the return trip from the lake, the plane carrying Barilko and his dentist went missing. The wreckage wasn’t found until 11 years later. Barilko was 24 at the time of his death.

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Darryl Kile

The MLB starting pitcher was missing from pre-game warmups on June 22, 2002. The hotel staff found him under his covers in bed, dead from a heart attack. He was 33 when he passed.

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Jerome Brown

The defensive tackle for the Philadelphia Eagles was 27 when he died in on June 25, 1992, in a car accident. Both Brown and his 12-year-old nephew were killed. Share this with your friend who is a fellow sports fanatic.

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