2016 was an awful year with so many famous, influential and prominent people dying. The sports world lost a lot of its legends this year but there were also some that were just plain shocking. Here is SportsRageous’ list of the ten notable sports deaths this year.
Dave Mirra (February 4)
“The Miracle Boy” is one of the greatest BMX riders in the history of the sport. He died at the age of 41 years old due to self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was posthumously diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
Will Smith (April 9)
Smith played nine seasons in the NFL for the New Orleans Saints from 2004 to 2013. He was one-time Pro Bowl selection and won the Super Bowl 2010. He was shot and killed, at the age of 34, in a road rage incident in New Orleans.
Chyna (April 20)
“The 9th Wonder of the World” was one of the most influential female superstars in WWE history. Chyna was one of the most popular stars during the company’s Attitude Era. She died at the age of 46 years old due to an overdose of alcohol, anxiety drugs, painkillers, and sleeping pills.
Muhammad Ali (June 3)
Ali proclaimed himself as “The Greatest” and he was not wrong. The three-time boxing champion is one of the greatest of all-time, as well as the one of the most significant sports figure in history. He died at the age of 74 due to septic shock but he was suffering from Parkinson’s syndrome since 1984.
Gordie Howe (June 10)
“Mr. Hockey” is considered as one of the greatest players in the history of the sport. He played 26 seasons in the NFL and won four Stanly Cup titles with the Detroit Red Wings. Howe died at the age of 88 years old but he was suffering from dementia and had a stroke in 2014.
Pat Summitt (June 28)
Summitt has a total of 1,098 wins (most in NCAA history) and eight Division I titles as a head coach for the Tennessee Lady Vols for 38 seasons. She was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000. She died at the age of 64 years old, five years after being diagnosed with early onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
Jose Fernandez (September 25)
Fernandez was on his way to becoming one of the greatest baseball players of his generation. He was the 2013 NL Rookie of the Year and a two-time All-Star. He was only 24 years old when he died in a boating accident.
Arnold Palmer (September 25)
“The King” is considered as one of the greatest golfers of all-time. He has won seven major championships and 62 PGA Tours. He died at the age of 87 years old, days before he was scheduled to have heart surgery.
19 Chapecoense Players (November 28)
Brazilian club Chapecoense was heading to Colombia to play the first leg of the 2016 Sudamericana Finals. A total of 19 players died in the crash with only three surviving players. The tragedy has brought the sport of football around the world closer.
Craig Sager (December 15)
Sager was known for being a sports reporter for 44 years, mostly for the NBA on the TNT Network. He was also famous for his colorful suits. He died at the age of 65 years old after a two-year battle with a rare form of leukemia.
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