Athletes Who Took Their Own Lives

It's always heartbreaking to find out that there are many athletes who have ended their own lives. When your favorite players are gone too soon by their own hands, it can be difficult to cope with. Athletes who have ended their own lives are often depressed, or involved with substance abuse. Several famous boxers, NBA players, and football stars have ended their own lives. 

Who are some of the most famous athletes to commit suicide?  NFL linebacker Junior Seau currently tops our list. He passed on May 2, 2012, at age 43, by shooting himself in the chest. NHL player Rick Rypien struggled with clinical depression for most of his life, and passed on August 15, 2011 at age 27. On December 1, 2012, 25-year old Jovan Belcher shot and slayed his girlfriend, the mother of his child, and then drove to the Kansas City Chiefs' practice facility and shot himself. At age 67, boxer Kid McCoy ended his life on April 18, 1940, by taking sleeping pills. His note read, "Everything in my possession, I want to go to my dear wife, Sue E. Selby ... To all my dear friends ... best of luck ... sorry I could not endure this world's madness."

Why do you think so many professional athletes commit suicide? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

  • Phillip Adams

    Former NFL player Phillip Adams killed himself on April 8, 2021, after killing five people on a shooting rampage in South Carolina

    Phillip M. Adams (July 20, 1988 – April 8, 2021) was an American professional football player who was a cornerback in the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for the South Carolina State Bulldogs and was drafted in the seventh round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. He also played for the New England Patriots, Oakland Raiders, Seattle Seahawks, New York Jets, and Atlanta Falcons. On April 8, 2021, Adams shot and killed himself following a standoff with police.
    • Age: 35
    • Birthplace: Rock Hill, South Carolina
    • Teams: Seattle Seahawks, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders
  • Aaron Hernandez was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Just days after being acquitted in a different double-murder trial, Hernandez hanged himself by his bedsheets in his prison cell.

    • Age: Dec. 27 (April 19, 2017)
    • Birthplace: Bristol, Connecticut
    • Teams: New England Patriots
  • Junior Seau
    Photo: Dave Sizer / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

    At age 43, Junior Seau took his life on May 2, 2012, by shooting himself in the chest.

    Tiaina Baul "Junior" Seau Jr. (; SAY-ow; January 19, 1969 – May 2, 2012) was an American football player who was a linebacker in the National Football League (NFL). Known for his passionate play, he was a 10-time All-Pro, 12-time Pro Bowl selection, and named to the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team. He was elected posthumously to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2015. Originally from Oceanside, California, Seau played college football at the University of Southern California (USC). He was chosen by the San Diego Chargers as the fifth overall pick of the 1990 NFL Draft. Seau started for 13 seasons for the Chargers and led them to Super Bowl XXIX before being traded to the Miami Dolphins where he spent three years, and spent his last four seasons with the New England Patriots. Following his retirement, he was inducted into the Chargers Hall of Fame and the team retired his number 55. Seau committed suicide by shooting himself in the chest in 2012 at the age of 43. Later studies by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) concluded that Seau suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a disease that has also been found in other deceased former NFL players. The disease is believed to derive from repetitive head trauma, and can lead to conditions like dementia, rage and depression.
    • Age: Dec. at 43 (1969-2012)
    • Birthplace: San Diego, California, USA
    • Teams: New England Patriots, San Diego Chargers, Miami Dolphins, USC Trojans
  • Rick Rypien
    Photo: Resolute / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0

    Rick Rypien struggled with clinical depression for much of his life. He passed on August 15, 2011, by his own hand.

    Richard Joseph Rypien (May 16, 1984 – August 15, 2011) was a Canadian professional ice hockey forward who spent parts of six seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL) with the Vancouver Canucks. After a major junior career of four years with the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League (WHL), he was signed to a professional contract by the minor league Manitoba Moose of the American Hockey League (AHL) in 2005. The following season, he signed with the Canucks. He spent six years with the organization, splitting time between the Canucks and Moose, their AHL affiliate. A fourth-line player in the NHL, he was known for his hitting and fighting abilities, though was not regarded as an enforcer due to his size. Following the 2010–11 NHL season, Rypien signed with the Winnipeg Jets, but died before joining his new team. His death was preceded by a history of clinical depression, which included two personal leaves of absence from the Canucks during his career. In the wake of Rypien's death the Canucks and the Jets started an initiative to help others with mental illness.
    • Age: Dec. at 27 (1984-2011)
    • Birthplace: Blairmore, Canada
    • Teams: Vancouver Canucks
  • Wade Belak
    Photo: Resolute / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

    Wade Belak passed on August 31, 2011, when he was 35 years old. His passing was treated as an offense on his own life, but many family members believe it may have been accidental.

    Wade William Belak (born Wade William Aadland; July 3, 1976 – August 31, 2011) was a Canadian professional ice hockey forward and defenceman. He was drafted 12th overall by the Quebec Nordiques in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft. He played for the Colorado Avalanche, Calgary Flames, Toronto Maple Leafs, Florida Panthers, and the Nashville Predators in the National Hockey League (NHL).
    • Age: Dec. at 35 (1976-2011)
    • Birthplace: Saskatoon, Canada
    • Teams: Florida Panthers
  • Kenny McKinley
    Photo: Jeffrey Beall / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

    Kenny McKinley ended his life on September 20, 2010, at age 23, from a gunshot wound.

    Kendrick "Kenny" L. McKinley (January 31, 1987 – September 20, 2010) was an American football wide receiver for the Denver Broncos of the National Football League. He was drafted by the Broncos in the fifth round of the 2009 NFL Draft. He played college football at South Carolina.
    • Age: Dec. at 23 (1987-2010)
    • Birthplace: Mableton, Georgia
    • Teams: Denver Broncos