Notable sports death of 2015

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

Notable sports deaths of 2015
See Gallery
Notable sports death of 2015

January 4 -- Stuart Scott, a longtime ESPN anchor and reporter, joined the network for the launch of ESPN2. He quickly worked his way up to hosting SportsCenter, making a name for himself with his unique catchphrases. Scott died at the age of 49 after a long battle with cancer.

(Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP, File)

Nicknamed "Mr Cub", Ernie Banks played his entire career with the Chicago Cubs. A 14-time All Star and two-time MVP, Banks was inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame in 1977 and named to the All-Century Team. Banks died after suffering a heart attack at the age of 83. 

(AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)

Charlie Sifford was the first African American golfer to play on the PGA Tour. He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2004 and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2014. Sifford was hospitalized for a stroke and died a month later. He was 92.

(AP Photo)

Legendary North Carolina head coach Dean Smith coach the Tar Heels for 36 years, reaching 11 Final Fours and winning two NCAA Tournaments. He retired in 1997 with 879, which was a Division 1 record at the time. Smith was also known for his player's high graduation rate, with 96.6% of his athletes receiving their degrees. He died in Chapel Hill at the age of 83. In his will, he left each former letterman a $200 check with the note "enjoy a dinner out compliments of Coach Dean Smith."

(AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

Longtime UNLV head coach Jerry Tarkanian led the Runnin' Rebels to four Final Fours and one NCAA Tournament victory. Nicknamed 'Tark the Shark', he coached an innovative style of basketball, playing a pressing defense and run-and-gun offense. He died at the age of 84.

(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Earl Lloyd became the first African American person to ever play in the NBA when he suited up for the Washington Capitols in 1950. He would later become the first African American assistant coach and second head coach with the Detroit Pistons. He died at the age of 86.

(AP Photo/Jeff Zelevansky)

February 28 -- Anthony Mason played for six NBA teams, but was best remembered for his five-year stint with the New York Knicks. His bruising play epitomized the team's physical style. Mason suffered a heart attack in early February and died several weeks later. He was 48.

(Photo by NBA Photos/NBAE via Getty Images)

March 9 -- French swimmer Camille Muffat, a three-time Olympic medalist, was killed along with nine other people in a helicopter accident. Two helicopters collided in mid-air while filming a reality show in Argentina. She was 25 years old.

(Photo credit should read RAYMOND ROIG/AFP/Getty Images)

March 21 -- Chuck Bednarik, the last full-time two-way player in the NFL, is regarded as one of the most devastating tacklers in the history of football. The award for best defensive player in college football is named in his honor. His family said he died after battling Alzheimer's and dementia. He was 89.

(Photo by Sporting News/Sporting News via Getty Images)

April 10 -- Lauren Hill's desire to play for Mount St. Joseph's basketball team while battling an inoperable brain tumor touch the nation's hearts. Hill's college moved its first game of the season up two weeks so she could play -- she responded by scoring the game's first and last baskets. She died five months later. She was 19.

(AP Photo/Tom Uhlman, File)

April 20 -- San Francisco 49ers Hall of Famer Bob St. Clair has the distinction of playing in the same stadium for his entire career football playing career. His high school, college (University of San Francisco) and pro team all played their games at Kezar Stadium. The city would later name the field after St. Clair as a tribute. He died at 84 from complications from a broken hip.

(AP Photo, File)

April 26 -- Hall of Fame Canadian defenceman Marcel Pronovost was named to the All Star team 11 times during his 21-year career with the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs. He won five Stanley Cups as a player and another three as a scout for the New Jersey Devils. He died at the age of 84 after a brief illness.

(AP Photo)

May 16 -- Extreme sports great Dean Potter was a fixture in the Yosemite National Park climbing and BASE-jumping scene since the late 1990s. Potter died -- along with frequent flying partner Graham Hunt -- while attempting an illegal flying wingsuit jump. He was 43.

(Photo by ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images)

May 29 -- Doris Hart was one of the top women's tennis players of the 1940s and '50s. Hart gained the world No. 1 ranking in 1951 and is one of just three players to win the 'boxed set' of Grand Slam titles -- a singles, doubles and mixed doubles title from all four Grand Slams. She was 89.

(AP Photo/Leslie Priest)

July 2 -- Tight end Charlie Sanders was named to the Pro Bowl seven times during his NFL Hall of Fame career, the entirety of which was spent with the Detroit Lions. After his retirement, Sanders held multiple positions within the organization, from the broadcasting booth to the sidelines and the front office, where he stayed until his death. He died at the age of cancer at the age of 68.

(AP Photo/Richard Sheinwald)

July 8 -- Quarterback Ken Stabler won the NFL MVP award in 1974 and was named to the Pro Bowl four times during his 15-year career in the NFL. He also led the Oakland Raiders to a win in Super Bowl XI. Stabler died at the age of 69 after battling colon cancer.

(AP Photo/File)

July 17 -- Formula One driver Jules Bianchi crashed his car during the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix. He was subsequently and placed into an induced coma. After nine months, he died from injuries sustained at the time of his accident. Bianchi became the first Formula One driver to be killed as a result of an accident during a race event since 1994. He was 25 years old.

(AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

August 7 -- A pioneer in women's golf, Louise Suggs won 58 professional tournaments during her career, including 11 majors. She helped co-found the LPGA in 1950, as well as serving as its president. She was 91 years old.

(AP Photo/Horace Cort)

August 10 -- A NASCAR legend, Buddy Baker won 19 races over his 34-year career, including the 1980 Daytona 500. He died from lung cancer at the age of 74.

(AP Photo)

August 16 -- Frank Gifford was an 8-time Pro Bowler and MVP award winner during his Hall of Fame NFL career. After retiring, he was an Emmy Award-winning sportscaster best known for his work on ABC's 'Monday Night Football.' Gifford died died from natural causes at the age of 84. After his death his family revealed he had suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.

(AP Photo)

24 August -- British racing driver Justin Wilson suffered a traumatic brain injury while driving at the Pocono Raceway. He died the following day at the age of 37.

(AP Photo/Derik Hamilton)

August 27 -- Darryl Dawkins was known for his powerful dunks during his 15-year NBA career. But will might best remembered for his excellent nicknames such as 'Chocolate Thunder' and 'Dr. Dunkenstein.' Dawkins played briefly with Harlem Globetrotters and coached basketball at several different levels following his retirement. He died at the age of 58.

(AP Photo)

August 28 -- After a 14-year NHL career during which he won four Stanley Cups, Al Arbour spent 19 years behind the bench for the New York Islanders. During that time he won another four Stanley Cups and currently sits second all-time in wins and games coached. After battling Parkinson's disease and dementia, Arbour died at the age of 82.

(AP Photo/Pool)

September 13 -- Hall of Fame center Moses Malone was the first basketball player to skip college to go pro. One of the game's greatest scorers and rebounders, Malone was a 12-time All Star and three-time NBA MVP. He died in his sleep at the age of 60 the day before he was scheduled to play in a celebrity golf tournament.

(Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer/MCT via Getty Images)

September 22 -- Hall of Famer Yogi Berra, an 18-time All Star and 10-time World Series champion with the New York Yankees, is widely considered one of the greatest catchers in baseball history. Berra died of natural causes during his sleep at the age of 90.

(Photo by Nancy Ostertag/Getty Images)

October 25 -- Minnesota Timberwolves head coach and general manager Flip Saunders took a leave of absence from the team after being diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma. His health unfortunately took a downturn soon after. He died at the at the age of 60.

(Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)

October 30 -- Indiana Pacers star Mel Daniels was an ABA legend, winning MVP honors in the upstart league twice. He died from complications after heart surgery. He was 71 years old.

(Photo by NBA Photos/NBAE via Getty Images)

November 9 -- Former Atlanta Braves pitcher Tommy Hanson had been out of the league since 2013. He died after falling into a coma with catastrophic organ failure, which police suspect was caused by an overdose. He was 29.

(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

November 18 -- Jonah Lomu, considered one of the greatest rugby union players to ever grace the field, died suddenly at his home at the age of 40.

(AP Photo/Claude Paris)

November 21 -- Known as 'The Deputy Sheriff', Bob Foster is considered one of the greatest light heavyweight champions in boxing history. He stepped up a class in attempts to win the heavyweight belt, but was knocked out by both Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali. He passed away in his home at the age of 76.

(AP Photo/Pat Vasquez-Cunningham)

November 26 -- Guy Lewis spent 30 years coaching the University of Houston Cougars basketball team, reaching two National Title games with the 'Phi Slama Jama' teams of the 1980s. Three players he coached -- Elvin Hayes, Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler -- were named on the NBA's Top 50 greatest players list in 1996. He died at a retirement facility at the age of 93.

(AP Photo/Ed Kolenovsky, File)

December 10 -- NBA Hall of Famer Dolph Schayes played his entire career with the Syracuse Nationals and their successor, the Philadelphia 76ers. Schayes was named to the All Star team 12 times in his 16-year career. He died of cancer at 87.

(AP Photo/Matty Zimmerman, File)


Yankees legend Yogi Berra, NBA Hall of Famer Moses Malone, Timberwolves GM and coach Flip Saunders, NFL Hall of Famer Frank Gifford and longtime ESPN broadcaster Stuart Scott are just a few of the people the sports world lost in 2015.

See more of's 2015 Year in Review:
Top sports moments and storylines of 2015
Looking back at the best and worst of the NBA in 2015
Serena Williams among top female athletes in 2015

Read Full Story

From Our Partners