Whether you are talking the Olympics, hockey, basketball, or even the world of pro wrestling, athletes hold a special place in the hearts of the public. Their wins are inspiring, they act as heroes to many, and sometimes hold the pride of a city, region, or even country within their athletic abilities and accomplishments.
Which is why fans mourn tremendously when a beloved athlete passes on. Sadly, when a person of this stature dies suddenly or heartbreakingly, the grieving can be that much harder to deal with.
Below are 12 of the most tragic athlete deaths that have occurred over the years.
12. Payne Stewart
Golfer Payne Steward had quite the career. He won eleven major golfing tournaments — two of those being the U.S. Open. In addition, he was adored by fans who looked forward to seeing his unique dressing style out on the course, with outfits that paid homage to the “golden age” of golf; donning patterned pants, ivy caps, knickerbockers, and more.
Sadly, Stewart passed away in a tragic plane accident on October 25, 1999. After winning his second U.S. Open, he hopped on a private Learjet to fly to Houston. While the reasons are unknown, the cabin within the plane lost pressure and everyone aboard was knocked out. The aircraft continued to fly on autopilot and as the public watched in horror on TV, it crashed in a South Dakota field when fuel ran out.