There is nothing more tragic than someone dying young, while still in their prime. Sadly, there are some sports stars who left us too soon, whether from illness or murder. Let’s table a look at some of the most notable sports stars who died young.
Pat Tillman was an American football star who played for the Arizona Cardinals in the 1998 NFL Draft. He stayed with the Cardinals until 2002 before enlisting with the army due to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He participated in the invasion of Iraq before being moved to Afghanistan. He was tragically killed near the Pakistan border in 2004 at the age of 27.
The 1994 World Cup was a historic event, but also one of the saddest with the murder of player Andres Escobar. The Colombian player scored an own goal against USA, causing the team to be eliminated in the group stages. Upon returning home, Escobar, then aged 27, was shot and killed in Medellin, presumably by a drug lord for accidentally putting the ball into his own net.
Ayrton Senna was a Brazilian F1 World Champion and an idol to many in his home country. Sadly, Senna died in 1994 on live TV in an accident at the San Marino Grand Prix, aged 34. Even more tragically, fellow driver Roland Ratzenberger died that same weekend.
Reggie Lewis was a big NBA star in the late 1980s before being selected as an All-Star in 1991-92. In 1993, however, he suffered a heart attack while playing. Although he survived, he was put off for the rest of the season and advised against returning to the game by doctors. He ignored the advice and died on 27 July while practicing at the age of 27.
Phillip Hughes was a highly-rated Australian cricketer who regularly represented his national team. He was most famous for being an excellent batsman before becoming the first Australian to score a century in their first match. Sadly, Hughes was struck by a bouncer on 25 November 2014 and slipped into a coma. He died just two days later, aged 25.
There have been many cases of professional wrestlers and boxers dying before their time, but one of the most shocking was Owen Hart. Owen was a big name in professional wrestling. Not only was he the brother of the legendary Brett Hart, but he held multiple titles of his own. On 23 May 1999, during a wrestling stunt, Hart fell nearly 80ft into the ring. He later died of his injuries in hospital, aged just 34.