When we think of murder, we immediately think of TV dramas and movies that depict murder mysteries and massacres. So naturally, millions of individuals throughout the world are attracted to this genre of media. But, if those murders were to happen in real life, would they still be fascinated? What about if the person being killed was a family member, a close friend, or one of their favorite celebrities?
People will always have trouble dealing with death, but it is much more surprising and terrible when someone's life is tragically cut short by murder. Unfortunately, some of these situations might linger in our minds for a long time, and real-life can be a lot more dismal than fiction at times.
Unfortunately, we live in a time when murder, kidnapping, robbery, and other despicable crimes are prevalent in our daily lives. While the majority of these crimes go unnoticed or unsolved, a few famous celebrity deaths do hit the headlines.
That being said, here are seven sports personalities that were murdered in such a horrific manner that it's hard to believe humans are capable of such wickedness.
7) Dino Bravo
Adolfo Bresciano, popularly known as Dino Bravo, was an Italian-Canadian professional wrestler and promoter. Dino is regarded as one of Canada's most successful professional wrestlers, having won six Canadian International Heavyweight Championships, the NWA Canadian Heavyweight Championship, and the NWA Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Championship.
We can all agree that the wrester was a notable sports personality who had made a significant mark in the world of professional wrestling. Unfortunately, Dino Bravo was tragically murdered on March 10, 1993. According to sources, his wife, Diane Rivest, and daughter discovered him dead in his Vimont, Laval, Quebec home with 17 bullet wounds in the head and torso.
So, how could someone so well-known and accomplished die so tragically?
Dino Bravo, 44, was shot to death in his Vimont, Laval, Quebec home on March 10, 1993. Image Source: Social Media.
Well, it is no secret that Dino was Vic Cotroni's nephew by marriage, the legendary Montreal crime lord. Following his retirement from wrestling, Bravo allegedly became involved in criminal smuggling activities. Because the professional wrestler was well-known, his illegal company took off, and he profited handsomely from it, thanks to his celebrity status in the world of sports.
Soon after his success in smuggling cigarettes, he was contacted by Montreal's top cocaine dealers, and they formed an alliance. However, the arrangement went bad, straining their relationship, and is believed to have ultimately led him to his death. And according to former opponent Bret Hart, the athlete confided to friends shortly before his death that he knew his days were numbered.
However, because the shooter was never captured, there are no explanations for who killed Dino Bravo. While the wrestler's death remains a mystery, it is widely assumed that his involvement in the illegal smuggling industry was the cause of his death.
6) Vernon Forrest
Boxing is widely regarded as one of the most dangerous sports, having a high risk of serious injury resulting in death. And most people assumed that if Vernon Forrest had lived, he would have suffered a serious injury. However, for someone who made a living performing such dangerous jobs, his life was cruelly cut short in a way no one could have predicted.
Popularly known as the Viper, Vernon Forrest was a professional boxer who competed in and won multiple world championships. On July 25, 2009, the fighter stopped at a gas station to pump air to a low tire. He was robbed at gunpoint and fled at the same time. Forrest, who was armed, pursued the person and began arguing with one of them shortly after.
Following an armed robbery, Vernon Forrest was shot seven to eight times in the back which caused his immediate death. Image Source: Lavert Forrest Instagram.
At this point, the athlete was shot seven to eight times in the back by this individual. Forrest died at the scene, and his death was ruled a homicide. The police later arrested Jquante Crews, Demario Ware, and Charman Sinkfield and charged them with the murder.
While Crews and Ware are serving life sentences, Charman Sinkfield was sentenced to life without parole even though the prosecutors requested the death penalty. However, Forrest's family did not order their death.
Do you believe Vernon Forrest would have lived if he had reported the robbers to the police instead of following them?
5) Spider Sabich
Olympic athlete Vladimir Peter Sabich Jr., aka Spider Sabich, was an American alpine ski racer and the U.S. Ski Team's member. However, Sabich is known for reasons that involve his relationship with singer, actress, dancer, and recording artist Claudine Longet, former wife of six-time Grammy nominee Andy Williams.
Soon after Longet's divorce with Andy, Vladimir invited his then-girlfriend and her three children, Christian Williams, Noelle Williams, and Bobby Williams, to live with him in his luxury chalet pad. Little did the athlete know that the woman he was so smitten with would be the reason he would have to leave this world.
Sabich was shot by Longet on March 21, 1976, as he was getting ready to shower before dinner with his buddy Bob Beattie. Sabich was shot in the abdomen by a single gunshot, and he died on the way to Aspen Valley Hospital after losing substantial blood, with Longet by his side.
The same day, Claudine was arrested for viciously shooting Sabich. Longet was acquitted of felony manslaughter and found guilty of criminally negligent murder, despite her repeated statements that the gun was fired while her companion taught how to use it. Consequently, Longet was sentenced to 30 days in jail.
Following his death, Sabich was buried next to his older sister, Mary Frances Sabich, at Westwood Hills Memorial Park in Placerville, in northern California, because his birthplace of Kyburz did not have a cemetery in 1976. Billy Kidd delivered the eulogy at the funeral, with former coach Beattie and players serving as pallbearers.
Many people still believe Vladamir Sabich's death was not an accident and that justice was not served. What do you think, was it an accident or a planned murder?
4) Henri Pélissier
The 1923 Tour de France champion, Henri Pélissier, was a French racing cyclist. His life was rarely cheerful, despite his brilliant career. He was considered arrogant and unpleasant to work with, and he was often in conflict with his fellow workers.
Like his work, his personal life was also troubled; the rider was known to be abusive, and he and his first wife, Léonie Pélissier, frequently argued. Sadly, she died by suicide in 1933, and while the reason for her death is unknown, we can infer that it was due to marital issues and Henri's problematic behavior.
Following his wife's death, he took a lover Camille Tharault. But, unfortunately, his abusive and aggressive behavior remained the same, and he frequently fought with Camille. On one such occasion, Henri threatened and lunged at her with a knife, cutting her face.
Helpless, Tharault dashed to his bedroom, took a gun, and pressed the trigger five times. When one of the bullets struck Pélissier's carotid artery, he collapsed and died. Ironically, it was the same gun that his first wife used to kill herself. He was then buried in the Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery.
Following Henri Pélissier's Death, he was buried in the Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery, Marquette. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons.
After a year had passed since Henri Pélissier's death, Camille pled self-defense and was sentenced to a year of probation on May 26, 1936. However, after serving her time in prison, she changed her identity and vanished from the public eye.
3) Steve McNair
We often hear stories about how jealous partners kill their other half, but no one could have anticipated losing one of the sports' most accomplished athletes in this manner. Nicknamed Air McNair, Stephen LaTreal McNair was an American football quarterback who used to play in the National Football League (NFL) before being murdered by a jealous partner.
Steve McNair's death is an incident that still lingers in the minds of many. Steve, unlike other athletes, had a simple existence free of conflicts and quarrels. So naturally, fans were stunned when McNair was found dead from multiple gunshot wounds in a condominium on July 4, 2009, along with the body of a young woman called Sahel Kazemi.
McNair, who was believed to be sleeping on the couch at the time of the incident, was shot twice in the body and the head. After that, Kazemi sat next to him and shot herself in the temple. McNair's friends Robert Gaddy and Wayne Neely discovered the bodies and phoned 911, leading Nashville police to declare his death a murder-suicide.
Steve McNair's death was ruled murder-suicide. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons.
The player was having an affair with his murderer in the months leading up to their deaths. So, what led to the murder of Steve McNair? Apparently, McNair's then-girlfriend was suspicious that the athlete was romantically linked with someone else, which fueled her jealousy and led her to act recklessly.
Steve was the father of four during the time of his death. Following his death, his wife, Mechelle McNair, took the responsibility of single-handedly parenting their children and are now living a comfortable life.
We hope that Steve McNair's children will continue his legacy, and at least one of them will follow in their father's footsteps.
2) Sean Taylor
Sean Michael Maurice Taylor was an American football free safety with the Washington Redskins of the National Football League (NFL). Sean was also chosen to the Pro Bowl in 2006-07 and was named First-Team All-Pro in 2007.
We can all agree that Sean Taylor was at the peak of his career and carving out a name for himself. Unfortunately, he was brutally killed on November 27, 2007, in an armed robbery.
This was not, however, the first time his home had been broken into. On November 18, 2007, a few days before his murder, robbers broke out a window to Taylor's vacant home and rifled through a desk and safe.
So, when Sean heard intruders break into his house again on November 26, he was shot while investigating the cause. The athlete was shot in the upper leg, and a severed femoral artery caused him to lose a great deal of blood. Taylor was brought to the hospital, where he died the following morning.
Former NFL player Sean Taylor died from extensive blood loss while undergoing surgery. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Soon after, Venjah K. Hunte, Eric Rivera, Jason Scott Mitchell, and Charles Kendrick Lee Wardlow were arrested and charged with felony second-degree murder, burglary, and robbery. In May 2008, Timothy Brown, the fifth suspect, was charged with first-degree murder and burglary. Following that, all of the murder accusations were upgraded to first-degree murder. Consequently, they were all sentenced to imprisonment.
Sean Taylor's death caused righteous anger among his fans, and several players have paid tribute to him by wearing the jersey numbers he wore in college and professionally. Similarly, on November 30, 2008, Taylor was recognized posthumously as the 43rd member of the Washington Redskins Ring of Fame.
1) Andrés Escobar
When we hear the word Escobar, we immediately think of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, and many people believe Andres is related to him somehow. However, the fact that both of these famous people have the same surname is purely coincidental.
Nicknamed "The Gentleman" for his clean play and calmness, Andrés Escobar Saldarriaga was a Colombian soccer player for Atlético Nacional, BSC Young Boys, and the Colombian national team.
In the 1994 FIFA World Cup, Escobar scored an own goal in a match against the United States, eventually leading the States to its victory. Following the loss, the soccer player decided to return to Colombia, and on July 1, 1994, he decided to go to a bar in El Poblado with his friends.
Pablo's friends split up soon after they arrived in the club, and while Escobar was alone in the parking lot, three men approached him and began arguing. Eventually, two of the men pulled out guns and shot the player six times.
Later, it was reported that the shooter shouted Gol! (Goal) after every shot, once for each time, the South American commentator said it during the broadcast during the match against the United States. Escobar was rushed to the hospital, where he died 45 minutes later.
Andres Escobar was killed for scoring an own goal he scored in a match against the United States in the 1994 FIFA World Cup. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Humberto Castro Muñoz was arrested on the night of July 2, 1994, confessing the next day to killing Escobar. Castro was found guilty of Escobar's murder in June 1995 and was sentenced to 43 years in prison. However, he was rumored to be released on good behavior.
There are also allegations that Vincente Castano and Fidel Castano, popularly known as the Gallón brothers, had bribed the Prosecutor's Office to focus the inquiry on Castro as the alleged shooter. However, the prosecutors lacked credible evidence to convict them.
Over 12,000 people attended Andrés Escobar's burial, and many others continue to memorialize him by bringing images of him to soccer games. In addition, the city of Medellin unveiled a statue in his honor in July 2002.
We hope that his legacy will go on and that he will be remembered, even if he is no longer with us.