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Notable sports deaths in 2019

A look at those athletes, coaches and sports personalities we lost in 2019.

Kansas City Chiefs defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham yells

Kansas City Chiefs defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham yells out orders during training camp facility on July 29, 2006. Photo Credit: AP/DAVID EULITT

A look at those athletes, coaches and sports personalities we lost in 2019.

Tyler Trent

Tyler Trent, a former Purdue University student and college football super fan who inspired many with his battle against cancer, died on Jan. 1. He was 20.

'Mean' Gene Okerlund

'Mean' Gene Okerlund, a WWE Hall of Famer who rose to fame as an announcer and interviewer, died at age 76, WWE announced on Jan. 2.

Mel Stottlemyre

Mel Stottlemyre, the Yankees ace turned pitching coach for both New York teams, died at the age of 77 on Jan. 13. The Yankees said Stottlemyre died of complications from multiple myeloma, an incurable bone marrow cancer.

Frank Robinson

Hall of Famer Frank Robinson, the first black manager in Major League Baseball and the only player to win the MVP award in both leagues, has died. He was 83. Robinson had been in hospice care at his home in Bel Air. MLB confirmed his death Thursday, Feb. 7.

Don Newcombe

Don Newcombe, the hard-throwing Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher who was one of the first black players in the major leagues and who went on to win the rookie of the year, Most Valuable Player and Cy Young awards, died Tuesday, Feb. 19. He was 92.

Nick Cafardo

Nick Cafardo, the longtime Boston Globe baseball writer, died after collapsing at the Red Sox's spring training ballpark. He was 62. The newspaper said Cafardo had an embolism Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019, and Red Sox medical staff was unable to revive him.

Ted Lindsay

Ted Lindsay, an NHL Hall of Famer and Detroit Red Wings great, died on March 4. He was 93. Lindsay was a nine-time All-Star and provided muscle and meanness for Detroit's "Production Line" of the 1950s. He also helped organize the original Players' Association.

King Kong Bundy

King Kong Bundy, a professional wrestler for the WWF (now WWE) whose real name was Christopher Pallies, died on March 4. The 6-foot-4, 458-pound wrestler from Atlantic City debuted in 1981, and his career was highlighted by his "five count" demand when pinning an opponent and his WrestleMania 2 steel cage match with Hulk Hogan in 1986.

Dan Jenkins

Dan Jenkins, a legendary sports writer and author, died on March 7, TCU athletic director Jeremiah Donati confirmed. He was 89. Jenkins attended the first of his 232 major championships, the 1941 U.S. Open at Colonial, at 12 years old in his hometown of Fort Worth, Texas.

Harry Howell

NHL Hall of Fame defenseman Harry Howell, who played the most games in Rangers’ history died on March 9. He was 86. He had been living at an assisted care facility near his hometown of Hamilton, Ontario. A seven-time All-Star, Howell played 1,160 games for the Rangers from 1952-69 and had his No. 3 retired by the team.

Johnny "Lam" Jones

Johnny “Lam” Jones, a former Olympic gold medal sprinter whose electrifying speed and receiving ability prompted the Jets to make a blockbuster move to take him second overall in the 1980 draft, died on March 15 after a long battle with myeloma cancer. He was 60.

Forrest Gregg

Forrest Gregg, who starred at tackle and guard for the 1960s Packers, died at 85, the Pro Football Hall of Fame said in a statement on April 12. Legendary Packers coach Vince Lombardi referred to Gregg as the "best player I ever coached."

John Havlicek

John Havlicek, the Boston Celtics great whose steal of Hal Greer’s inbounds pass in the final seconds of the 1965 Eastern Conference final against the Philadelphia 76ers remains one of the most famous plays in NBA history, has died. He was 79. The Celtics said the Hall of Famer died Thursday in Jupiter, Florida. The cause of death wasn’t immediately available. The Boston Globe said he had Parkinson’s disease.

David Montgomery

David Montgomery, the Phillies chairman who was Philadelphia's president during the team's 2008 World Series championship season, died at 72 after a five-year battle with cancer, the team announced Wednesday.

Mickey Crowley

Mickey Crowley, a Long Island resdent who officiated the 1989 and 1991 NCAA Tournament finals, died on April 12 at his home in Calabash, North Carolina, his family said. He was 85.

Harold Lederman

Harold Lederman, the International Boxing Hall of Famer who judged matches both in an official capacity and as a ringside analyst on HBO's broadcasts, died on May 11 after a long battle with cancer. He was 79.

Gunther Cunningham

Gunther Cunningham, who spent more than five decades in football, including college and the CFL before making a name for himself in the NFL, died on May 11 at age 72. He worked for six different franchises over 34 years in the league, including a two-year stint as head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs.

Ashley Massaro

Ashley Massaro, a former WWE star, was found dead on May 16 in her Smithtown home, the WWE announced. She was 39. Her death was "determined to be noncriminal," Suffolk County police said.


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