Sports stars who died in 2010

A list of top sports stars and personalities who died during this year


Don Meredith

Dallas Cowboys icon died after suffering a brain hemorrhage at the age of 72 on December 5. Known as the 'Dandy' he was a three-time Pro Bowler and the NFL Player of the Year in 1966. He led the Cowboys to their first winning season and their first NFL Championship Game in 1966. The Cowboys lost that game to eventual Super Bowl I winners Green Bay.


Harold Connolly

American hammer throwing Olympic champion died aged 79 on August 18. Probably the only person to win the hammer Olympic title wearing ballet shoes, to improve his footing, in the 1956 edition in Melbourne. Competed in three other Olympics and set 12 world records.

James Fuchs

American shot put legend known as the 'Magnificent Wreck' died aged 82 on October 8. Won two Olympic bronze medalists, despite having a 104 degree fever in the London Games and a badly injured hand in Helsinki four years later, and was unbeaten in 88 events an astonishing achievement as he had pioneered his own technique because of a leg injury.

Antonio Pettigrew

Disgraced former 400 metres world champion was found dead in his car having taken an overdose of pills on August 10 aged 42. Was top of the world in 1991 in Tokyo and won several relay gold medals climaxing with the 2000 Olympic title. However, after he admitted to taking performance-enhancing drugs from 1997 onwards he along with his team-mates were stripped of the Olympic title and he also lost his 1997 and 1999 World Championships relay gold medals.


Sparky Anderson

Hall of Fame manager who guided three World Series champions died from complications relating to dementia on November 4 aged 76. Anderson - who gained his name from his style of play - was the first man to manage teams from both the American and national leagues to World Series crowns.

George Steinbrenner

Legendary owner of the New York Yankees died on July 13 aged 80. Nicknamed 'The Boss' his immense drive and deep pockets revived baseball's most storied team and built a sports empire. He had owned the team since 1973, enjoying seven World Series championships, including last year. While a tough no-nonsense character he also contributed enormous amounts of money to charity, usually anonymously.

Bobby Thomson

Scottish-born player, whose playoff home run to win the 1951 National League title for the New York Giants was dubbed "The Shot Heard 'Round The World", died aged 86 on August 16. Born in Glasgow but came with his family aged two to the United States, he garnered three runs for the Giants with his hit off Brooklyn Dodgers' ace pitcher Ralph Branca in the bottom of the ninth inning and it brought the Giants a crown, though, they were to lose to city rivals the Yankees in the World Series.


Sir Alec Bedser

Legendary fast bowler, regarded as one of the greatest English cricketers of the 20th century, died at the age of 91 after a brief illness on April 4. Born just 10 minutes after his twin Eric (died 2006), they were inseparable serving together with distinction in the RAF during World War II after being evacuated from Dunkirk and went onto play together at Surrey. Unlike his twin, Alec, who turned down a promotion in the war so he could remain with his brother, enjoyed a splendid international career taking 236 wickets in 51 test matches for England in a career which lasted from 1949 to 1960


Laurent Fignon

French two-time Tour de France winner died of cancer aged 50 on August 31 which he denied in his autobiography, 'We Were Young and Carefree', was linked to when he took doping products. Stood out with his long blond hair and spectacles as he won the Tour in both 1983 and 1984 but is perhaps best remembered for his agonising eight second defeat in the 1989 edition to Greg Lemond, the smallest losing margin in the history of the great race.


Keith Alexander

First black manager in English football when appointed boss of Lincoln City in 1993 died suddenly on March 3 aged 53 when he was managing Macclesfield Town. A St Lucian international striker in his playing days he guided Lincoln in a second spell (2002-2006) to the League Two play-offs on four successive occasions.

Malcolm Allison

Flamboyant and larger than life English football manager died aged 83 on October 14. However underneath the fedora hats, sheepskin coats and large cigars was a highly-talented and astute football coach who is deservedly a Manchester City legend as assistant manager to Joe Mercer the team won the league title in 1968 followed by the FA Cup in 1969, plus the League Cup and European Cup Winners' Cup in 1970.

Sammy Baird

Former Rangers and Scotland midfielder died on April 21 aged 79. Baird played in the Glasgow giants' first match in European football, against Nice in the 1956/57 European Cup and was a member of the team that reached the semi-final of the competition in 1960 before losing to Eintracht Frankfurt. He also won seven Scotland caps and scored against France in the 1958 World Cup finals in Sweden.

Enzo Bearzot

Charismatic, chain-smoking manager who delivered Italy their first World Cup since 1938 in 1982 died on December 21 aged 83. He built up the team himself after taking over in 1977 and against a lot of opposition gambled on recalling striker Paolo Rossi after a two year ban for his part in a betting scandal. It paid off as Rossi scored six times in the latter stages of the tournament including the 3-1 victory over West Germany in the final.

Ralph Coates

Former England and Tottenham midfielder died aged 64 following a stroke on December 17. Coates was capped four times and also netted the winner for Spurs in their 1973 League Cup final win against Norwich. Enjoyed a successful 10 year stay at Burnley and was in the provisional squad for the 1970 World Cup.

Jim Cruickshank

Outstanding goalkeeper who all told made 610 appearances for Scottish outfit Hearts died aged 69 on November 18. Famous for wearing an all black garb which drew comparisons with Soviet Union legend Lev Yashin was to many people's minds woefully underused by the national side, making just six appearances in 11 years at the top.

Gil Merrick

Only manager ever to bring some silverware to Birmingham City, the 1963 League Cup, died on February 3 aged 88. Was an outstanding goalkeeper for the club, making a record 551 appearances for them after joining in 1939 and was also capped 23 times by England playing in all three matches at the 1954 World Cup finals.

Orlando Pecanha

Regarded as one of Brazil's greatest ever defenders died aged 74 on February 11 of a heart attack. Capped 34 times and a member of the side that won Brazil's first World Cup in 1958 and also appeared at the 1966 finals. Won two league titles with Vasco da Gama and hung up his boots in 1970.

Bobby Smith

A member of Spurs's revered 1961 double-winning side died after a short illness aged 77 on September 18. Smith, who also played 15 times for England, scored 208 goals in 317 appearances for Spurs and also had spells at Chelsea - who sold him to Spurs for the then princely sum of 16,000 pounds in 1955 - and Brighton after starting his working life as a coalminer.


Tom Walkinshaw

Man credited with bringing the young Michael Schumacher to the Benetton Formula One team died aged 64 of cancer on December 12. He also ran the Ligier and Arrows Formula One teams and his TWR Jaguar cars triumphed at Le Mans in 1988 and 1990. Turned his hand to rugby union as well and became Gloucester owner in 1997 and was chairman of Premier Rugby, the top-flight clubs' umbrella body, between 1998 and 2002.


Dick Francis

Former jockey turned journalist and best selling author, died aged 89 in his Grand Cayman home on February 14. A very fine national hunt jockey but he will be remembered more for the Grand National that got away on Devon Loch, a horse owned by the Queen Mother which suddenly slipped when he appeared certain to win the 1956 Grand National.

Stathi Katsidis

Champion Australian jockey and brother of world lightweight boxing champion Michael Katsidis was found dead in his home on October 19 aged 31. Had fought a long-running battle with drugs and alcohol but was immensely talented and had ridden filly Military Rose to victory in the Gold Coast's Magic Millions in January.

Greville Starkey

Derby winning jockey died on April 15 of cancer aged 70. However, despite winning the blue riband of the turf in 1978 on Shirley Heights will be remembered more for the one he didn't win when a complacent ride on Dancing Brave saw him lose to the less talented Shahrastani.


Anton Geesink

Olympic and three-time world champion the genial Dutchman died aged 76 on August 27 after several weeks in intensive care. Dominated his European rivals winning 21 continental titles. After retirement he tried his hand on the professional wrestling circuit. He then became an International Olympic Committee (IOC) member.


Nodar Kumaritashvili

Georgian died aged 21 in a horror crash at the Vancouver Winter Olympics on February 13. An undignified blame game developed after the young athlete flew off his sled and hit a metal stadium support above the exit wall.


Jean-Michel Baron

Defied the odds to live for 24 years in a vegetative state before succumbing finally aged 56 on September 2 leaving a widow Jocelyne. Baron was 31 when he fell heavily during his second Paris-Dakar, after which he spent several months in hospital before being taken home, where he lived for the rest of his life.

Shoya Tomizawa

Exciting young Japanese motorcyclist died from injuries sustained in a crash in the San Marino Moto2 Grand Prix on September 5 aged 19. Had started the season in sparkling form with a victory and a runners-up spot on his maiden season in the category.


Juan Antonio Samaranch

One of the longest-serving presidents of the International Olympic Committee who was credited with turning the Games into a hugely successful commercial operation died on April 21 aged 89 of cardiorespiratory arrest. Samaranch headed the Olympic movement from 1980-2001 which was also marked by a major ethics scandal over Salt Lake City's successful bid to host the 2002 Winter Games which led to a tightening of the rules.


Andy Holmes

Two-time British Olympic champion died aged 51 of Weil's disease on October 25 leaving a wife and a one month old baby, and four children from his first marriage. Partnered legend Steve Redgrave in his first two Olympic winning performances, the coxed four in 1984 and the coxless pairs in 1988.


Terry Newton

Former Great Britain rugby league player, who was handed a two-year doping ban earlier this year, was found hanged in his home on September 26 aged 31. A larger than life character he took over running a pub after receiving the ban. Newton, who also played for Leeds, Wigan and Bradford, was sacked by Wakefield after his positive drugs test. He was capped 15 times by Great Britain and scored 74 tries in 185 appearances for Wigan from 2000 to 2005.


Bill McLaren

Legendary BBC rugby union television commentator died on January 19 aged 86. His love of the game permeated through in his BBC broadcasts winning him the justified title of 'the voice of rugby' over a 50 year period. In 2001 he became the first man who hadn't played a Test to be inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame.

Andy Ripley

Charismatic and barnstorming former England international No8 died aged 62 of prostate cancer on June 17. Known as rugby's 'first hippie' for his flowing brown locks he won 24 caps but admitted to being devastated when he failed to get the nod for the three tests on the legendary unbeaten Lions tour of South Africa in 1974 - losing out to Welsh star Mervyn Davies for the tests.


Alex 'Hurricane' Higgins

Former double world snooker champion, died on July 24 aged 61 after a long battle with throat cancer. The flamboyant Belfast-born snooker legend, who won the world title in 1972 and 1982, had been warned many times to cut his drinking and smoking to save his health. Like fellow Ulsterman George Best fought a constant battle with the bottle and lost.


  • Twitter
  • submit to reddit
comments powered by Disqus

Editor's Choice




How do you plan to contribute towards the ‘Year of Giving’?

Most Popular

In Case You Missed It ...

eSuggestion eComplain eComplain eSuggestion

Emirates 24|7

Your Feedback

Are you satisfied with your browsing experience?

Happiness Meter Icon