The world of Italian soccer came to a screeching halt over the weekend when Livorno’s Piermario Morosini, 25, collapsed and died on the pitch during a Seria B match in Pescara, Italy. Although nothing will be official until after an autopsy has been performed, it’s pretty clear that the poor guy’s heart just gave out. Out of respect for the late Morosini and his teammates, fans, friends, and family, all remaining matches in Italy were postponed.
Sadly, and also rather strangely, this is the second high-profile instance of a soccer player experiencing cardiac arrest on the field in as many months. Last month in England, Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba collapsed on the pitch during a game against Tottenham—though Muamba managed to survive, and has made an almost miraculous recovery over the past four weeks.
But heart failure is hardly a problem limited to soccer players. There are numerous examples of elite athletes dying suddenly as the result of heart problems. So today, as the sports world mourns Piermario Morosini, let’s take the time to remember some of these other athletes whose hearts gave out too soon.