The turn of the year is a time to remember those sportsmen who we held so high in our affections and who passed away.
The world of ice hockey was left stunned after 27 players of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl team, two coaches and seven club officials perished when a private jet crashed during take off in western Russia.
Severiano Ballesteros, Seve to his fans, one of the world’s most gifted and charismatic golfers, who made so many seemingly impossible shot look easy, died at 54 after a protracted battle with cancer.
His engaging personality ignited golf courses around the world. The five times major winner was a champion on the course and of the people.
Joe Frazier will forever be remembered for his epic trilogy of fights with Muhammad Ali in the 1970s.
By the time he died aged 67, the third of those contests the – the ‘Thrilla in Manilla’ – had come to be regarded as the best fight of all time.
He lost it to Ali who recalled later, “If God ever calls me to a holy war, I want Joe Frazier fighting beside me.”
Marco Simoncelli was on the verge of dominating the sport of Moto GP when he crashed during the Malaysian Grand Prix.
The Italian who had won the 250cc World Championship in 2008 only stepped up to compete in Moto GP in 2010. He was just 24-years-of-age.
One week earlier motor sports fans had been stunned when British driver Dan Wheldon died in an horrific 15 car pile up in the Las Vegas Indy 300.
The British driver who as a young hopeful had raced against former Formula One champion Jenson Button in go-karts.
The 33-year-old won the Indy Car championship for the first time in 2005.
The world of football was lost for words on news of the apparent suicide of Gary Speed at 42. He had graced some of the top English clubs, only two other players had made more appearances in the Premier League than the Welsh midfielder. He had recently taken up the post of manager of his country.
Socrates was a legend in Brazil and beyond. He was the idol of the 1982 World Cup, easily recognisable as the bearded 6ft 4in midfielder who was often described as a genius. He died aged 57.
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