Year-End Special: From Davide Astori to Luis Valbuena, Here’s the List of Sports Stars Who Died in 2018
The sporting fraternity as a whole is at a huge loss with the passing away of these gems. (Photo: Getty Images & @Gooliee94/Twitter)

2018 witnessed the passing away of several athletes from around the world leaving a big void in the lives of the fans and the game itself. The connect which people tend to have with them perhaps make them immortal but sports stars too are human just like us. Here's a look back at some the great names we lost forever this year. Cricket Controversies in 2018: From Virat Kohli's 'Leave India' Comment to Steve Smith's Ball-Tampering Scandal, Here Are All Incidents That Rocked Gentleman's Game This Year!

Davide Astori: On the eve of his club Fiorentina’s game against Udinese on 4th March 2018, skipper David Astori died of a sudden illness to leave the world of football in shock. The Italian international who spent 8 years of his life at Fiorentina came out of the famous AC Milan youth set-up. As a mark of respect to the departed player, all the Italian Serie A games for the weekend were called off as they mourned the passing away of such a gifted player. Fiorentina Captain Davide Astori Dies Aged 31 Leaving Italy Football in Bitter Shock.

Big Van Vader: One of the greatest super-heavyweight wrestlers in the WWE, Leon White known worldwide as Big Van Vader died on 18th June 2018 of Pneumonia. The superstar wrestler had been struggling for years with several ailment and years of stunts in the ring also meant he had to undergo knee replacement for both his knees. In the ring through his moves would get fans glued to the entertainment. His Vadersault was voted as the Best Wrestling Manoeuvre for 1993 and won several accolades in the heavyweight category.

Chris Edwards: Former Commonwealth champions British boxer Chris Edwards died of heart attack on 31st March 2018. The English professional boxer won many key bouts in the flyweight and super-flyweight category and is considered one of the modern greats. His overall record stood at 17 wins, 15 defeats and 4 draws.

Ray Emery: Former NHL goalie Ray Emery died of drowning on 15th July 2018 in Hamilton Canada after a misadventure at the Royal Hamilton Yacht Club. Ray played eleven seasons in the National Hockey League in which he was known for his super aggressive style of play. He won the William M Jennings Trophy for conceding the fewest goals in a season back in 2013. He had several run in with the law for harassing his ex-fiancée and was also involved in rash driving cases.

Michael Goolaerts: One of the upcoming talents in cycling, Michael Goolaerts left the sport in deep shock when he died at a young age of 23 on 8th April 2018. Starting his first Paris-Roubaix race, the Belgian cyclist suffered a heart attack and was subsequently airlifted to CHRU Hospital in Lille where he passed away. Having won several titles in the newcomer category like the Antwerp championship, his death meant he could never fulfill his true potential. The section where he crashed was renamed the Secteur Pave Michael Goolaerts in his honour by the Paris-Roubaix authorities. Belgian Cyclist Michael Goolaerts Dies After Suffering Heart Attack in Paris-Roubaix Race

Jarrod Lyle: Australian golfer Jarrod Lyle passed away on 8th August 2018, a week after stopping treatment for the third occurrence of leukemia. The PGA tour golfer had earlier made a comeback after defeating cancer in 2012. He had won the Mexican Open and Knoxville Open back in 2008 and his best finish was a 4th place in the 2012 Northern Trust Open. His wife Briony Lyle continues to raise funds for people dealing with cancer in memory of his late husband, an activity they started together back in early 2017. Australian Golfer Jarrod Lyle Dies After Long Cancer Battle

Liam Miller: Former Manchester United and Republic of Ireland midfielder Liam Miller died on 9th February 2018 just four days shy of his 37th birthday due to pancreatic cancer. Miller who started his career with Celtic moved to Manchester United under the management of Sir Alex Ferguson playing alongside the likes of Roy Keane, Paul Scholes, and Rio Ferdinand. He made 9 appearances for United between 2004 and 2006. A charity match was played to raise fund for his family which saw several of his former teammates at Celtic and Manchester United turn up.

Jlloyd Samuel: Former Aston Villa defender Jlloyd Samuel died after a car crash on 15th May 2018 at the age of 37. The Trinidad and Tobago footballer made 169 appearances for Aston Villa and occupied both the central defence and fullback positions. He was known for his versatile style of play and could also work as a midfielder. Towards the end of his playing career, he signed for Bolton Wanderers where he played in 71 games. Having represented England at the youth level, he went on to get two senior caps for Trinidad and Tobago.

Vibeke Skofterud: On 29 July 2018, Norwegian cross-country skier Vibeke Skofterud died after a jet-ski incident near Arendal, Norway. The 38-year-old former athlete was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident with her blood alcohol level above the legal limit of 0.8 %. At the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, she had won gold in the 4 x 5 relay. Her best individual performance was at Salt Lake in 2002 where she finished 8th in the 30km event.

Ray Wilkin: English legend Ray Wilkins died on 4th April 2018 at the St George hospital in London after suffering from a cardiac arrest. He played for some of the biggest teams in Europe like Manchester United, Chelsea, AC Milan and Rangers while he also had 84 England caps to his credit. After his playing career ended his management stints in various roles particularly with Chelsea were hugely successful. He also was a football pundit and appeared as a commentator for Sky Sports for a brief period of time. Both Chelsea and AC Milan paid tributes to their departed player during the course of their league games following his death. Chelsea's Legendary Footballer Ray Wilkins Passes Away due to Cardiac Arrest

Luis Valbuena: Former Major League Baseball player Luis Valbuena died in a car crash along with another former player Jose Castillo on 6th December 2018. Valbuena represented the Seattle Mariners, Cleveland Indians, Chicago Cubs, Houston Astros, and Los Angeles Angels throughout his eleven-year career in MSB. He had been playing professional baseball in Japan most recently. His car crash was a result of an ambush by a band of dacoits who were later apprehended. Venezuela Baseball Players Luis Valbuena and Jose Castillo Die in Car Crash, Carlos Rivero Survives

These were some of the sports stars who died in 2018 and their passing away has not only impacted their immediate family members, the sporting fraternity as a whole is at a huge loss with the passing away of these gems.