15 Athletes Who Were Murdered

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The general public only see professional athletes in a limited capacity. We seen them on the field and court and no further than that. There can be a lot going on their personal lives that we may not know about. Some of these things can lead to their deaths. Sometimes athletes get involved with the wrong people, do something to offend someone or fall victim to crimes of passion. To hear that a known athlete has been murdered is shocking, to find out how and why they were murdered can be mind blowing. Here are some athletes whose lives were taken from them.



Rikidozan Wrestling is often seen as fake. Muscle head guys pretending to beat each other up is considered entertaining in most countries. Rikidozan was a legendary professional wrestler who hailed from Korea, but made a name for himself in Japan. He had won the heavyweight crown in three different wrestling organizations and also added a pair of tag-team belts. In 1957 he created the Japan Pro Wrestling Alliance and was one of the nation’s most-recognizable figures. Thought a prominent figure, he was still vulnerable to attack outside of the ring. A member of the Yakuza organized crime gang stabbed him in a Tokyo nightclub with a blade that was soaked in urine. Rikidozan managed to fight off his attacker, but died a week later when his abdominal lining became inflamed. His attacker was caught and charged with manslaughter.

Ivan Calderon  Ivan Calderon was a baseball player who was a 10-year Major League veteran. He appeared in the All-Star game in 1991, while playing with the Montreal Expos. He retired in 1993, but ten years after he was murdered. Calderon was visiting El Trompo a bar in his native Puerto Rico where he was shot in the back. Calderon’s murder was one of seven in that bar, but El Trompo is still open for business.

Darrent Williams  Darrent Williams was a NFL player corner back for the Denver Broncos. He seemed to be having a prominent career after two seasons with the team. Tragically his career and life was cut short. He was killed while attending a birthday party for Denver Nuggets’ player Kenyon Martin at the Safari nightclub. An altercation began with some gang members and Williams decided to leave with a couple of his teammates including Brandon Marshall and a female companion. Member of the Crips gang shot at the limo and a bullet hit Williams neck. He died almost immediately.

Lorenzen Wright  Lorenzen Wright was a power forward in the NBA. He was drafted in 1996 by the Los Angeles Clippers. He played for the Atlanta Hawks, Sacramento King, Cleveland Cavaliers and his hometown team the Memphis Grizzlies through out his career. Wright was only 34 years old when he was killed in July of 2010. Wright went missing for several days after leaving his ex-wife’s home in Collierville, Tennessee and was never seen again. His family filed a missing-persons report four days later and his body was eventually found in a wooded area almost a week later. Police reported that they had received a 911 call from the basketball player’s cell phone early the morning of his death and gunshots could be heard during the call. The case was ruled a homicide, but no arrests have been made.

Fred Lane  Fred Lane broke into the NFL as an undrafted free agent and eventually became a starter with the Carolina Panthers in 1997. Lane set a franchise record at the time by rushing for 147 yards during a game and had 2,001 yards during three seasons with the team along with 13 touchdowns. Though he was loved on the field, he was killed at home by his wife Deidra Lane. She shot him with a 12-gauge shotgun from point-blank range, once in the chest and once in the head. She wanted to cash in on Fred’s life insurance policy which was worth $5 million. She plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter after her defense attorneys said she was a battered wife who killed her husband in self defense.

Vladimir “Spider” Sabich  Vladimir “Spider” Sabich was a well-known alpine skier. Sabich was known as pro-skiing’s richest racer and competed in the 1968 Winter Olympics for America. Sabich died at the hands of his famous girlfriend, actress Claudine Longet. Longet told a judge that Sabich died when he was showing her how to use a gun. The prosecution made a botch of the trial and several items of key evidence weren’t allowed to be introduced. The gun was known to be defective and the trigger needed to be pulled several times before it fired, which led most people to believe Sabich was not shot by accident. Longet was only convicted of a misdemeanor.

Oscar Bonavena  Oscar Bonavena was a top-10 heavyweight boxing contender from Argentina. He took on big name opponents such as Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, George Chuvalo, Ron Lyle, and Zora. That’s how he made a name for himself. Bonavena had a pro record of 58-9-1 with 44 KOs and was stopped just once in his nine losses. He was just 33 years old when he was shot to death in Virginia City, Nevada on May 22, 1976. Bonavena was shot through the heart by an ex-convict bodyguard at the Mustang Ranch brothel after he began an affair with the wife of the ranch’s owner.

Dino Bravo  Dino Bravo was a popular Italian-born Canadian wrestler who competed in the WWE. Born Aldofo Bresciano, he was a Canadian champion and also won a tag-team title. Bravo was in Laval, Quebec when he was gunned down at the age of 44 on March 10, 1993. His murder came only a year after he retired from wrestling. Bravo was shot 17 times while watching a hockey game on TV at home. It was reported that his murder was due to his involvement in a cigarette-smuggling ring. Bravo was the nephew of an organized crime figure and told friends before he died that he knew his life was about to end. Nobody was ever charged with this unsolved crime.

Ben Wilson  Ben Wilson is a tragic story of a promising young man who lost his life way too soon. Ben Wilson also known as Benji was a prospect basketball player at Simeon High School in Chicago. He was the top basketball player in the country. Wilson was out with some classmates going to get something to eat when he stayed behind to talk to his girlfriend who recently gave birth to his child. The two engaged in an argument. Benji came into contact with a student from another school still frustrated from the argument from his girlfriend. An altercation ensued and Benji was shot twice.

Lyman Bostock  Lyman Bostock was a Major League Baseball player. Bostock played for the California Angels and the Minnesota Twins. After playing a game in Chicago, Bostock visited his uncle and met up with a girl he used to know as a teenager. Leonard Smith, the estranged husband of the woman saw his wife get into a car with Bostock. He believed she was having an affair with the outfielder. Smith caught up to the vehicle at an intersection and fired a shotgun at the car. He allegedly was aiming at his wife. However, Bostock was hit in the head and passed away shortly after.

Trevor Berbick  Trevor Berbick was a former heavy weight boxing champion. He will forever be known as the last man to face Muhammad Ali and the man Mike Tyson beat to become the youngest ever heavyweight champion. He retired with a record of 49-11-1 with 33 KOs. Berbick was no angel and had been in trouble with the police on several occasions. The former Olympian received a five-year sentence for sexually assaulting his family’s babysitter and was deported from the U.S. twice. During a separate incident, Berbick was killed in Norwich, Jamaica at the age of 52 in 2006. He was beaten to death with a steel pipe. One of the two men who were arrested was his nephew. The nephew was found guilty of murder and received a life sentence while his 18-year-old accomplice was guilty of manslaughter and got 14 years.

Sean Taylor 2007 was a dark year for the NFL. Sean Taylor was another player who was killed. Taylor had played four years with the Washington Redskins and appeared in a Pro Bowl game. In November of 2007 Taylor’s home was broken into while he was away, but the crooks returned a week later on November when the football player was home. Taylor was shot in the leg during the home invasion while he tried to protect his 18-month-old child and girlfriend. The bullet struck a major artery and Taylor was rushed to hospital for emergency surgery. He was comatose and died three days later.

Andres Escobar  Andres Escobar was a soccer player from Colombia. He represented his homeland at the 1994 FIFA World Cup in America. The defender scored an own goal in the 35th minute and the U.S. went on to with the game 2-1. Columbia was eliminated from the tournament. The 27-year-old Escobar was then gunned down on July 2nd after he returned home to Colombia. He was at a bar named El Indio with friends when he was shot around 3 a.m. when he walked back to his car. Three men approached him and shouted “Goal” as they pulled the trigger six times.

Vernon Forrest Another former world champion boxer, Vernon Forrest met a violent death at 38 years old. Forrest had a career record of 41-3 with 29 KOs and held titles in the welterweight and junior middleweight divisions. Some of his most notable fights were against Shane Mosley, Ike Quartey, Carlos Baldomir, Sergio Mora, and Ricardo Mayorga. Forrest was murder in 2009 as a gas station in Atlanta. Forrest was robbed at gun point. Armed himself he chased the robber and shots were fired. He stopped chasing then a second man shot him in the back several times.

Steve McNair  Steve McNair was one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL. Steve McNair played for only two teams in his career, the Tennessee Oilers (now the Titans) and the Baltimore Ravens. He retired from the game in 2008. A year later he was killed on the 4th of July at the age of 36. Although he was married, McNair was riding with his 20-year-old girlfriend Sahel Kazemi in a Cadillac when the car was stopped by police. Kazemi was charged with a DUI while McNair left the scene. He bailed her out of jail later on. Kazemi allegedly purchased a gun from a convicted murderer who was interested in buying her vehicle. She used it on McNair when she shot him twice in the body and twice in the head while he was napping on a couch at home in Nashville. Kazemi then fatally shot herself.