Sports world rocked by deaths in 2010

BENOIT RIOUX, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:52 PM ET

MONTREAL -- The final bell tolled for many beloved sports personalities in 2010.

But one that may have most touched Canadians was the death of former NHL coach Pat Burns.

Burns, who coached the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs during a stories career, finally lost his long battle with cancer on Nov. 19. He was 58.

He was actually declared dead twice -- once in September when he was mistakenly killed off in the media and online.

"Pat, you're the only man I know who is tenacious enough to die twice in the same year," a family friend remarked during the funeral service in Montreal.

The death of legendary wrestler Edouard Carpentier, 84, was also a loss to the sports world. Originally from France, Carpentier was as famous for his moves in the ring as his celebratory somersaults after a match.

The highly publicized death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili was a tragedy that marked the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. The young 21-year-old died Feb. 12 on Whistler, when his luge flew off the track during a training session.

The Olympic Games also lost an effective organizer when former IOC president, Spain's Juan Antonio Samaranch, died in April at 89.

Baseball lost some greats: New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, former Cincinnati Reds and Detroit Tigers manager Sparky Anderson, and ex-Chicago Cubs player Ron Santo all passed away in 2010. Jose Lima, a former pitcher with the Dodgers, died in May at 37.

The cycling world said goodbye to a champion when two-time Tour de France winner Laurent Fignon passed away this summer at 50.

And basketball lost a gentle giant when activist and former NBA player Manute Bol died in his Charlottesville, Va. home in June. He was 47.


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