Sports

18 Athletes Who Died of Cancer  

People in Sports
19.8k views 15 items

Sadly, many athletes have died of cancer. Several famous MLB players, football coaches and Olympians died from various forms of cancer. This horrible disease has claimed the lives of many of the world's most prolific professional athletes. 

Who is the most famous athlete who died of cancer? Babe Ruth tops our list. In 1946, an inoperable tumor was found at the base of Babe Ruth's skull and in his neck. He died on August 16, 1948 at the age of 53. In 2011, It was announced that Joe Paterno was diagnosed with lung cancer. He died due to complications with his cancer on Jan. 22, 2012.

Ernie Davis was diagnosed with acute monocytic leukemia in 1962. He was treated and went into a brief remission before he ultimately passed away due to complications with the disease on May 18, 1963. Sonja Henie was diagnosed with leukemia in the mid-1960s. She died on Oct. 12, 1969 at the age of 57. Gary Carter was diagnosed with four malignant tumors in his brain in 2011. At the age of 57, he died of brain cancer on February 16, 2012.

Are you surprised that so many professional athletes died of cancer? Share your thoughts in the comments section.
Babe Ruth is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 18 Athletes Who Died of Cancer
Photo: Unknown/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain
In 1946, an inoperable tumor was found at the base of Babe Ruth's skull and in his neck. He died on August 16, 1948 at the age of 53.

Age: Dec. at 53 (1895-1948)

Nationality: United States of America

Birthplace: Pigtown, Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America

Teams: New York Yankees, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Boston Red Sox, Atlanta Braves, + more

More Babe Ruth

#1 of 157 on The Greatest New York Yankees of All Time #4 of 360 on The Best Boston Red Sox of All Time #1 of 304 on The Best Players in the Baseball Hall of Fame #11 of 2214 on The Best Athletes of All Time

see more on Babe Ruth
Joe Paterno is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 18 Athletes Who Died of Cancer
Photo:  Frances Sonne/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.0
In 2011, It was announced that Joe Paterno was diagnosed with lung cancer. He died due to complications with his cancer on Jan. 22, 2012.

Age: Dec. at 86 (1926-2012)

Nationality: United States of America

Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States of America

Teams: Brown Bears football

More Joe Paterno

#12 of 94 on The Best College Football Coaches of All Time #73 of 431 on Here's a List of Every Known Republican Celebrity #5 of 12 on 12 Monuments That Were Removed in Disgrace featuring How Joe Paterno's Silence In The Face Of Abuse Led To His Stunning Fall From Grace

see more on Joe Paterno
Red Holzman is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 18 Athletes Who Died of Cancer
Photo: Unknown/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain
Red Holzman died as the result of leukemia in 1998. He was 78 years old.

Age: Dec. at 78 (1920-1998)

Nationality: United States of America

Birthplace: New York City, New York

Teams: Rochester Royals, Milwaukee Hawks

More Red Holzman

#26 of 73 on The All-Time Greatest NBA Coaches #11 of 26 on The Greatest Jewish NBA Players Of All Time #1 of 28 on The Best Knicks Coaches of All Time, Ranked #79 of 89 on The Best Sacramento Kings of All Time

see more on Red Holzman
Ernie Davis is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 18 Athletes Who Died of Cancer
Photo: Paulovflopes/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0
Ernie Davis was diagnosed with acute monocytic leukemia in 1962. He was treated and went into a brief remission before dying due to complications with the disease on May 18, 1963.

Age: Dec. at 24 (1939-1963)

Nationality: United States of America

Birthplace: New Salem-Buffington, Pennsylvania

Teams: Cleveland Browns, Syracuse Orange football

More Ernie Davis

#30 of 79 on The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time #33 of 175 on Athletes Whose Careers Ended Too Soon #1 of 30 on The Best Syracuse Orange Running Backs of All Time #6 of 22 on 22 Professional Athletes Who Died Young

see more on Ernie Davis