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21 Professional Athletes Who Died Young  

Ranker Sports
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Several famous baseball players, NFL athletes, and basketball stars have died much too young. Some of these sports stars that died young suffered from undiagnosed medical conditions, while others were killed in car accidents.

Who are some of the most famous professional athletes who died young? Malik Sealy tops our list. His NBA career was cut tragically short when he was killed in a wrong-way car accident at the age of 30. The driver responsible for the 2000 crash was sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty to criminal vehicular homicide.

On February 18, 2001, Dale Earnhardt died in the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500. He is widely considered one of the best racers of all time having won seven Winston Cup Championships and several other honors. Other pro athletes that died young who appear on this list include Reggie Lewis, Steve Prefontaine, and Roberto Clemente.

How do you think these tragic deaths could have been prevented? Check out this list of professional athletes who died young below, and be sure to let us know what you think in the comment section. 
Tyler Skaggs is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 21 Professional Athletes Who Died Young
Photo: via Wikimedia

At the age of 27, Tyler Skaggs passed away in Southlake, Texas. Cause of death for the Los Angeles Angels pitcher was not revealed.

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Aaron Hernandez is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 21 Professional Athletes Who Died Young
Photo:  Jason Meyers / Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Former football star Aaron Hernandez died on April 19, 2017 after committing suicide. He was 27.

Hernandez was a football standout while attending the University of Florida, where he and his teammates won the BCS National Championship. He was drafted into the NFL by the New England Patriots in 2010 playing at tight end, and had an impressive - albeit short - NFL career. Despite a promising start, Hernandez's personal life and legal troubles overshadowed him. 

In 2007, he was arrested for fighting at an off-campus bar in Gainesville, FL. He was also accused of participating in a double shooting, but was never charged with the crime. In 2012, he was accused of killing two men in Boston, but was never formally charged. In 2013, he was accused of two separate shootings - one in Miami, and another in Boston. He was never charged in the Miami shooting, but was put on trial for the death of his friend Odin Lloyd in Boston. Two years later, Hernandez was found guilty of the 2013 killing of Lloyd. He was sentenced to life in prison.

In 2017, the trial for his 2012 shootings began. A jury found him not guilty and he was acquitted on all charges. But because of the first homicide charge, he was put back in prison. Less than a week later, he hung himself in his prison cell.

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Malik Sealy is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 21 Professional Athletes Who Died Young
Photo:  Mitchell Layton / Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

Malik Sealy's NBA career was cut tragically short when he was killed in a wrong-way car accident at the age of 30. The driver responsible for the 2000 crash was sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty to criminal vehicular homicide.

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Lou Gehrig is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 21 Professional Athletes Who Died Young
Photo: University Archives/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Lou Gehrig died on June 2, 1941 at the age of 37 after suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The fatal disorder has become known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

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