Remembering sportspersons who passed away in 2020

Year in Review: Sportstar remembers sporting icons who passed away in 2020.

Published : Jan 01, 2021 14:50 IST , Kolkata

Fans pay tribute to Diego Maradona in an altar outside Estadio Marcelo Bielsa in Rosario.
Fans pay tribute to Diego Maradona in an altar outside Estadio Marcelo Bielsa in Rosario.

Fans pay tribute to Diego Maradona in an altar outside Estadio Marcelo Bielsa in Rosario.

From the tragic death of Kobe Bryant to the loss of football legends Diego Maradona, Paolo Rossi and Indian heroes Chuni Goswami and P.K. Banerjee, Sportstar remembers sporting icons who passed away in 2020.


Paulo Goncalves (February 5, 1979 – January 12, 2020)

Portuguese motorcyclist who won the 2013 FIM Cross-Country World Championship and became runner-up the following year. Goncalves died in a crash during the 2020 Dakar Rally.

Bapu Nadkarni (April 4, 1933 - Jan uary 17, 2020)

A former India all-rounder, who is considered one of the most economical bowlers ever in the game, as he conceded at the rate of just 1.67 runs per over in his Test career. He is remembered for bowling 21 successive maidens in the fourth Test against England in Madras (now Chennai) in 1964. His figures of 32-27-5-0 is still considered one of the finest displays of bowling in Test cricket.

Edwin Straver (April 12, 1971 – Jan uary 24, 2020)

Straver, known for his involvement in the Dakar Rally from 2018-20, died from fatalities in a crash during the 2020 edition in Saudi Arabia.

Kobe Bryant (August 23, 1978 - Jan uary 26, 2020)

Five-time NBA champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist Bryant was killed alongside his 13-year-old daughter in a helicopter crash outside Los Angeles.

A boy plays with a ball near the mural of former NBA star Kobe Bryant on the wall of a subway in Naples.


Waqar Hasan (September 12, 1932 – February 10, 2020)

Pakistan cricketer, who was part of his country’s first 18 Test matches and five wins, Hasan scored over 1,000 international runs and played 99 first-class matches.


Tony Lewis (February 25, 1942 – March 15, 2020)

The co-founder of the famous Duckworth-Lewis-Stern (DLS) method which was adopted by the International Cricket Council (ICC) since 1999 to revise and calculate targets in weather-affected matches.

Pradip Kumar Banerjee (June 23, 1936 - March 20, 2020)

Named the Indian Footballer of the 20th century by The International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS), PK, as he was lovingly called, had been both a captain and later coach of the national team. He represented India in 45 official matches and scored 15 goals.

Legendary footballer Pradip Kumar Banerjee passed away at a private hospital in Kolkata after a prolonged illness.

Abdul Latif (June 20, 1947 – March 25, 2020)

Indian midfielder who was part of the medal winning football team of Bangkok Asian Games in 1970. Latif also represented Mohun Bagan and Mohammedan Sporting at the club level.

Michel Hidalgo (March 22, 1933 – March 26, 2020)

Former French footballer and manager Hidalgo managed the French national team to Euro Cup glory in 1984.

Azam Khan (April 20, 1926 - March 28, 2020)

Khan won the British Open title successively between 1959 and 1961. He is widely regarded as one the best squash players in the world.



Radomir Antic (November 22, 1948 – April 6, 2020)

Serbian footballer and manager Antic is one of the two people to have ever managed both Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Stirling Moss (Sept ember 17, 1929 – April 12, 2020)

Moss won 212 races in a 10-year long career but failed to win the World Championship, having finished runner-up on four occasions.

Peter Bonetti (Sept ember 27, 1941 – April 12, 2020)

Former England and Chelsea goalkeeper, who was part of the 1966 World Cup winning team. Bonetti represented Chelsea in 495 matches over 15 years.

Trevor Cherry (February 23, 1948 – April 29, 2020)

Former captain of both England and Leeds United. Cherry made 486 appearances and won the Championship title in 1973/74.

Chuni Goswami (Jan uary 15, 1938 - April 30, 2020)

Goswami, a man of many talents, had not only played international football but also led Bengal to the 1971-72 Ranji Trophy final on the cricket pitch. He, besides captaining the national football team at the 1960 Olympics, 1962 Asian Games and 1964 AFC Asian Cup, also led Kolkata giant Mohun Bagan.

Chuni Goswami at South Club on January 7, 2015 in Kolkata.


Andrea Rinaldi (June 23, 2000 – May 11, 2020)

19-year-old Atalanta midfielder, who died while on loan at Serie D club Legnano after a sudden brain aneurysm.

Ashley Cooper (Sept ember 15, 1936 – May 22, 2020)

Australian tennis star Ashley Cooper is one of the 14 players to win three men’s Grand Slams in a single year (1958). He won four Grand Slam singles and doubles apiece.

Gigi Simoni (Jan uary 22, 1939 – May 22, 2020)

Italian footballer and prolific manager Simoni led five clubs from Serie B to Serie A in his career.

Jerry Sloan (March 28, 1942 – May 22, 2020)

Former hoopster and successful coach in NBA, Sloan was a two-time NBA All Star and coached the Chicago Bulls and Utah Jazz in different spans over 30 years.

Balbir Singh Sr (December 31, 1923 – May 25, 2020)

One of hockey’s greatest centre forwards ever, Balbir Sr. was a three-time Olympic Gold winner. His record of most goals in an Olympics men’s final (five) remains unbeaten. He also managed the victorious 1975 Men’s Hockey World Cup team. Balbir Sr. was India’s first Padma Shri recipient in the sports category.

India's Balbir Singh Sr scores past Dutch goalkeeper Lau Mulder (1927-2006) in the field hockey final against the Netherlands at the Velodrome Stadium during the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki.


Tony Dunne (July 24, 1941 – June 8, 2020)

Irish left-back Dunne made 535 appearances for Manchester United in 13 years and won the European and FA Cups.

Vasant Raiji (Jan uary 26, 1920 - June 13, 2020)

Raiji was India’s oldest first-class cricketer at 100. He was a right-handed batsman, who played nine first-class matches in the 1940s, scoring 277 runs.


Everton Weekes (February 26, 1925 – July 1, 2020)

Regarded as one the greatest West Indies batsmen of all time, Weekes’ record of the joint-fastest to 1,000 runs in Test cricket remains unbeaten for 72 years. With 4,455 runs from 48 Tests, Weekes also holds the record for the most consecutive hundreds (five) in Tests.

Jack Charlton (May 8, 1935 – July 10, 2020)

1966 World Cup-winning defender and elder brother of England legend Bobby Charlton, Jack was best remembered for his stellar performances in the semifinal and final of England’s World Cup triumph. He also managed Ireland’s national team in two World Cups and one European Cup qualification.



Angela Buxton (Aug ust 16, 1934 – Aug ust 14, 2020)

Buxton was a two-time Grand Slam women’s doubles champion in 1956, who was forced to retire the following year at the age of 22 due to injury.

Nina Bocharova (Sept ember 24, 1924 - Aug ust 31, 2020)

Bocharova was the Soviet all-around national champion in 1949 and 1951, then part of a dominant gymnastics team at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics.



David Capel (Feb ruary 6, 1963 - Sept ember 2, 2020)

Capel was a former cricket all-rounder, who played 15 Tests and 23 One-Day Internationals for England from 1987-1990. Capel made 270 first-class appearances for Northamptonshire from 1981-1998 and became the first cricketer born in the county to play a Test for England in 77 years when he made his debut in 1987.

Alan Minter (Aug ust 17, 1951 - Sept ember 9, 2020)

Minter was a British boxing great who followed up a bronze medal at the Olympics by becoming a world champion in the middleweight division in 1980.

Agne Simonsson (October 19, 1935 - Sept ember 22, 2020)

A Sweden striker who scored a goal in the 1958 World Cup final and later briefly played for Real Madrid.

Dean Jones (March 24, 1961 – Sept ember 24, 2020)

Australia's Jones was hailed as the hero of the second Tied Test in Chennai in 1986 when he scored a gritty 210, battling fatigue and illness, in what was only his third appearance in the longest format of the game. The Victorian in ODIs, made 6068 runs at 44.61, with seven hundreds and 46 fifties.

Augusta Jones kisses her late father Dean's cap during a ceremony with her sister Phoebe and mother Jane during the tea break on day one of the Boxing Day Test match between Australia and India at Melbourne Cricket Ground.


John Reid (June 3, 1928 - Oct ober 14, 2020)

Reid was regarded as one of the world’s best cricket all-rounders during his heyday in the 1950s and early 1960s. He captained New Zealand in 34 Tests, including the country’s first three victories.

Nobby Stiles (May 18, 1942 – Oct ober 30, 2020)

Former England and Manchester United midfielder Stiles is one of the only three players from England to have won the World Cup (1966) and European Cup (1967).



Don Talbot (Aug ust 23, 1933 - Nov ember 3, 2020)

Talbot was not only the foundation director of the Australian Institute of Sport but also one of the country’s greatest coaches.

Tommy Heinsohn (Aug ust 26, 1934 - Nov ember 9, 2020)

Heinsohn was with the Boston Celtics for all 17 of its NBA championships as player, coach and broadcaster.

Ray Clemence (Aug ust 5, 1948 – Nov ember 15, 2020)

Seventh on the all-time list of most appearances (1178) made in recognised football, the former England goalkeeper won three European Cups, one FA and League Cups each in his time at Liverpool.

Anele Ngcongca (Oct ober 21, 1987 - Nov ember 23, 2020)

Ngcongca was a former South Africa defender who played for the host team at the 2010 World Cup. He died in a car crash.

Diego Maradona (Oct ober 30, 1960 - Nov ember 25, 2020)

The Argentina superstar led his nation to glory at the 1986 World Cup where he scored the 'Goal of the Century' as well as the infamous 'Hand of God' goal against England. He also went on to help Napoli clinch two Serie A titles and the 1989 UEFA Cup. Three days of national mourning was declared in his home country following his demise.

Dave Prowse (July 1, 1935 - Nov ember 28, 2020)

British weightlifter-turned-actor Prowse was the body, though not the voice, of arch-villain Darth Vader in the original "Star Wars" trilogy. Born in Bristol, he was a three-time British weightlifting champion and represented England in weightlifting at the 1962 Commonwealth Games before breaking into movies.

British actor David Prowse and American actress Carrie Fisher on the set of Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope written, directed and produced by Georges Lucas.

Papa Bouba Diop (Jan uary 28, 1978 - Nov ember 29, 2020)

Senegalese Diop scored the first goal of the 2002 World Cup against reigning champion France.


Peter Alliss (Feb ruary 28, 1931 - Dec ember 5, 2020)

Alliss won 31 tournaments in his career before a successful stint as a commentator in which he was referred to as the "voice of golf". The Englishman was also inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame for his services to the sport in 2012.

Dennis Ralston (July 27, 1942 - Dec ember 6, 2020)

A five-time Grand Slam doubles champion, Ralston was one of the initial players signed to the professional World Championship Tennis tour in the 1960s. He was also a member of the sport’s Hall of Fame.

Alejandro Sabella (Nov ember 5, 1954 - Dec ember 8, 2020)

Sabella, the coach who took Argentina to the World Cup final in 2014, died aged 66 after years of battling with cancer and heart problems.

Paolo Rossi (Sept ember 23, 1956 - Dec ember 9, 2020)

Rossi fired Italy to World Cup triumph in 1982. He became the first player to bag both the Golden Ball and Golden Boot in a single edition of the World Cup, having finished the tournament as top scorer with six goals, that included a hat-trick in a 3-2 win over Brazil.

Italy's Paolo Rossi celebrates after scoring the first goal against West Germany during the 1982 World Cup final.

D. Ethiraj (July 1, 1934 - Dec ember 11, 2020)

A centre-forward, Ethiraj was part of the Chuni-led Indian side that beat Korea Republic 2-1 in the 1962 Asian Games final in Jakarta.

Gerard Houllier (Sept ember 3, 1947 - Dec ember 14, 2020)

Houllier was a former France football manager, who also managed Olympique Lyonnais, Paris St. Germain and Liverpool.

John Edrich (June 21, 1937 – Dec ember 23, 2020)

One of the best English batsmen of his generation, Edrich made 5,138 runs from 77 Tests and top-scored in the first-ever ODI match.

KC Jones (May 25, 1932 - December 25, 2020)

Jones was an American professional basketball player and coach, who is best known for his association with the Boston Celtics, where he won 11 of his 12 NBA championships.

Robin Jackman (Aug ust 13, 1945 – Dec ember 25, 2020)

India-born England seam bowler, Jackman’s remarkable first-class career saw him pick 1,402 wickets. He was also a renowned commentator.

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