Athletes Who’ve Died In 2024 So Far

Athletes Who've Died In 2024 So Far

O.J. Simpson

Every year sees the sporting world lose at least a few legends—but if the last few months are anything to go by, it seems 2024 is going to be a more painful year than most.

On April 10th, former NFL star O.J. Simpson died at the age of 76.

In a statement, his family wrote: “Our father, Orenthal James Simpson, succumbed to his battle with cancer. He was surrounded by his children and grandchildren. During this time of transition, his family asks that you please respect their wishes for privacy and grace.”

The athlete’s death came nearly a year after revealing a prostate cancer diagnosis. Despite having enjoyed a successful football career, Simpson’s athletic achievements were greatly overshadowed by his legal troubles.

In 1994, OJ Simpson was arrested and charged with the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown and her friend, Ron Goldman.

The infamous murder trial, spanning eleven months, saw Simpson acquitted on both counts of murder.

Eventually, though, a 1997 lawsuit found Simpson liable for the murders of Brown and Goldman, and he was subsequently ordered to pay $33.5 million in compensatory and punitive damages to the victims’ families.

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Carl Weathers

Former Oakland Raiders linebacker and Rocky star Carl Weathers died at age 76 on February 1st.

In a statement, his family said: “Carl was an exceptional human being who lived an extraordinary life. Through his contributions to film, television, the arts and sports, he has left an indelible mark and is recognized worldwide and across generations. He was a beloved brother, father, grandfather, partner and friend.”

An investigation revealed that Weathers had died of cardiovascular disease at his home in Venice, California.

Weathers took to the gridiron with the Oakland Raiders and the CFL’s BC Lions before hanging up his cleats in the 1970s to chase his passion for acting.

In a 2023 interview with Sports Illustrated, he recalled: “I knew that it’s time for me to walk away from this. It’s not what I really want to do. I’m going to go to Los Angeles and give myself a shot. I was blessed enough to have made it.”

Earl Cureton

Earl Cureton NBA star Earl Cureton died on February 4th at the age of 66.

Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores said in a statement: “Earl was one of the most generous, positive, and caring people I know.

He was a loving father, and I was honored to be his friend.” “A great player and even greater person, my man Earl Cureton!” Though a cause of death was not immediately released, Cureton was confirmed to have collapsed at his Farmington Hills home.

Originally picked by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1979 draft, Cureton played with the team for three seasons before moving on to sign with the Detroit Pistons, where he played for another three seasons.

Throughout his career, Cureton also played for other teams including the Chicago Bulls, the Charlotte Hornets, and the Houston Rockets.

Of his many achievements, Cureton was a two-time NBA champion, first with the 76ers in 1983 and then with the Rockets in 1994.

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Char-Ron Dorsey

Char-ron Dorsey On March 4th, the sports community suffered a huge loss after the death of Char-ron Dorsey.

The former NFL star died at the age of 46 after suffering complications from a stroke.

Michael Holloway, a former colleague of Dorsey’s, told the Florida Times-Union that Dorsey had a huge impact on the kids he coached after retirement.

Meanwhile, a childhood friend remembered: “He made sure a lot of kids who played for him understood that you have a father figure as a head coach.”

Dorsey attended the Florida State University and was part of the 1999 Seminoles national championship team. He eventually earned an All-ACC recognition the following year.

Prior to his college career, Dorsey had shone as a high school athlete, playing defensive tackle at the Bolles School, where he won the state championship.

In addition to his college career, Dorsey also played with the NFL, first with the Dallas Cowboys and then the Houston Texans.

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Don Gullet

Don Gullett On February 14th, the Cincinnati Reds confirmed the death of one of its former players, Don Gullett, at the age of 73.

Reds CEO Bob Castellini wrote in a statement shared on X: “Don dedicated 24 years to this franchise as a player, coach, and minor league instructor. An anchor on the pitching staff of one of the greatest baseball teams in history, his contributions to our rich tradition, our city, and his community will never be forgotten.”

Gullett was a rarity—making the major leagues as a 19-year-old only a year after he was picked in the first round of the 1969 draft. Gullet was part of 4 World Series championship teams, 2 with the Reds in 1975 and 1976 and then 2 with the Yankees in 1977 and 1978—although he did miss the Series in ‘78 due to injury.

Despite his short time in the league, however, Gullett left an indelible mark, one that will be remembered by all who encountered him.

Gullett’s former Reds teammate Johnny Bench told the Cincinnati Enquirer: “He could hit and run like the wind and [was] the nicest, nicest person. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a bad word ever said about Don.”

Konstantin Koltsov

Konstantin Koltsov On March 18th, Russian hockey team Salavat Yulaev announced that Konstantin Koltsov, its former player-turned-coach, had died at the age of 42.

The team’s statement read: “He was a strong and cheerful person, he was loved and respected by players, colleagues, and fans. Konstantin […] forever wrote himself into the history of our club […] May he rest in peace.” Before retiring in November 2016, Koltsov had played professional ice hockey for 18 years.

A Belarus native, Koltsov also represented his home country twice at the Winter Olympics, first in 2002 and then in 2010.

In addition to his international career, Koltsov had a short stint in the NHL, playing for the Pittsburgh Penguins for 3 seasons between 2002 and 2006.

Richard Caster

Richard Caster On February 2nd, former NFL player Richard Caster, who had been living with Parkinson’s disease, died at the age of 75. Stanley Blackmon, a former Jackson State Tigers player, described Caster as an “all-around good guy,” whose loss will be felt by all.

He added: “He was a great athlete, fast, and he ran on the relay team at Jackson State.” Caster’s football career started out at Williamson High School before moving on to Jackson State University. In 1970, Caster was picked by the Jets in the second round of the 1970 NFL Draft. Caster played eight seasons with the Jets.

Eventually, he moved to the Houston Oilers and the New Orleans Saints before joining the Washington Redskins. Caster ended his career with the Redskins, during which he earned a Super Bowl championship.

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