When professional athletes die, there are countless fans that express sadness about the incident. Younger generations often create tribute videos for YouTube, Twitter, and other platforms. Several fans also remember their favorite athletes with intricate tattoos. Although murder cases involving these athletes often lead to questions about what caused the incident and how it could have been avoided.
There have been several professional athletes that have tragically died during their careers. Some incidents occurred after only a few years in their respective sports while others took place following their retirements. Some of these deaths were never solved by the investigators.
Sports fans know the big names, such as Sean Taylor and Steve McNair, but there are other athletes that have been murdered that are unknown to younger generations. This includes professional wrestlers that became prominent following World War II or those that were allegedly involved in the Canadian organized crime.
Sean Taylor would've turned 37 today.April 1, 2020
A first-round pick of the Washington Redskins in the 2004 NFL Draft, Sean Taylor was viewed as one of the best free safeties in the league during the first four seasons of his career. He was named to the Pro Bowl in 2006-07 and was named First-Team All-Pro in 2007. Unfortunately, he was killed on Nov. 27, 2007.
Taylor was at home alone on Nov. 26 when he heard intruders. He was shot in the upper leg and suffered severe blood loss due to a severed femoral artery. He was rushed to the hospital and died the following day.
It's been 10 years since the late Steve McNair's passing 🙏
🔹 2003 MVPJuly 5, 2019
🔹 3x Pro Bowler
🔹 NFL passer rating leader
🔹 Walter Payton Award
🔹 Titans legend
A three-time Pro Bowl quarterback, Steve McNair shined for the Houston Oilers, Tennessee Titans and Baltimore Ravens during his 13-year career. He led the Titans to an appearance in Super Bowl XXXIV and nearly secured the historic victory for the franchise. He also became the first African American quarterback to be named the NFL MVP.
McNair was found dead in his Nashville condo on July 4, 2009, along with his mistress, Sahel Kazemi. Investigators determined that the couple had a fight and that Kazemi shot McNair in his sleep. She died by suicide.
Will Smith's family watching a video of his accomplishments then hitting his sack celebration when his name is revealed on the Saints Ring of Honor, favorite memory of the day. Nothing will beat it. pic.twitter.com/7eiITT86Db— Adam Ney (@sayneykid) October 7, 2019
Defender Will Smith spent all nine years of his NFL career with the New Orleans Saints. He was named to the Pro Bowl in 2006 and was part of the team that defeated the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV. Smith was named to the Saints Hall of Fame following his retirement and was formally inducted into the Ring of Honor following his death in 2016.
On April 9, 2016, Smith and his wife, Racquel, were traveling on Camp St. when their vehicle was struck from behind by a Hummer H2. This collision propelled their car into a Chevrolet Impala, causing a three-car accident. An argument reportedly took place, at which point the driver of the Hummer produced a handgun and shot both Smith and Racquel. The retired defender died from his gunshot wounds while his wife was treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
7 Years Gone Today— Boxing Life (@BOXlNGLlFE) July 26, 2016
The Great Vernon Forrest
Never Forgotten pic.twitter.com/5EXooKrALn
Vernon Forrest was a very popular figure in the boxing world, both for his fights and charity work. He secured four welterweight world titles in two different weight classes during his career. However, his life was cut short on July 25, 2009.
Forrest stopped at a gas station in Atlanta with his 11-year-old godson to put air in the tires of his Jaguar. He was robbed at gunpoint but fought back. According to ESPN, Forrest was shot at least seven times, including once in the head. He ultimately died from his gunshot wounds.
30 years after Dino Bravo’s brutal murder, family and friends relive his descent from Montreal’s favorite wrestling son to mob enforcer, and the deadly consequences that followed. @darksideofring, Tuesday 10p. pic.twitter.com/GjkQZ5X7Z3— VICE TV (@VICETV) April 17, 2020
Dino Bravo was an Italian-Canadian professional wrestler that enjoyed considerable success in Montreal. He later joined the World Wrestling Federation, where he remained from 1985-1992. Bravo retired in April 1992 and headed back to Montreal to train fellow wrestlers.
On March 10, 1993, Bravo was found dead at his home in Quebec. He had been shot seven times in the head and another 10 in the torso. The murder remains unsolved, but Bravo's alleged role in illegal cigarette smuggling is believed to be a major factor in his death.
#TodayInMystery 1976— Today In Mystery (@maxfield_munson) March 21, 2020
Pro skiier Spider Sabich is fatally shot in the #Aspen home he shares with his girlfriend, actor Claudine Longet. Though she was convicted of negligence rather than murder, the circumstances of the Olympian's death remain a #mystery.#truecrime #OnThisDay pic.twitter.com/rq5ICiWTs9
Vladimir Sabich was a professional skier that earned the nickname of "Spider" for his style on the ski slopes. He participated in the World Cup four times, securing a first-place finish in the slalom at Heavenly Valley. Sabich was also part of the 1968 Olympic team.
On March 21, 1976, Sabich was shot and killed in the bathroom of his home in the Starwood area of Aspen, Colorado. His live-in girlfriend, actress-singer Claudine Longet was arrested, but she claimed that the gun discharged accidentally when Sabich was showing her how to use it. Longet was later convicted of misdemeanor criminal negligence.
Today, and always, we remember Darrent Williams (1982-2007). pic.twitter.com/YTTxSiWD1b— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) January 1, 2020
Darrent Williams spent two seasons with the Denver Broncos after being drafted in 2005. He played cornerback and served as a kick returner, tallying six interceptions during his brief career. His final game took place on New Year's Day 2007, hours prior to his death.
The incident occurred when Williams was riding in a limo with some fellow teammates and their girlfriends. Willie D. Clark, a member of the Crips gang, pulled up alongside the limo and opened fire. Williams was hit in the neck and died almost instantly.
The Korean-born Mitsuhiro Momota, better known as Rikidozan, is viewed as one of the most influential figures in professional wrestling history. He moved to Japan and was credited with bringing the sport to the island nation. He achieved a record of 135–82–15 and became an extremely popular figure in Japan before being murdered in 1963.
On Dec. 8, 1963, Rikidozan was stabbed by Katsushi Murata, a member of the Yakuza, during an altercation at a nightclub. He was taken to a hospital and underwent successful surgery. However, he later died on Dec. 15 due to complications from peritonitis, a bacterial infection either of the blood or after a ruptured abdomen.