Deaths | Hockey | News

Brendan Burke, Son of Maple Leafs Coach, Dies in Car Crash

Brendan Burke, the youngest son of Toronto Maple Leafs manager Brian Burke, who recently made international news with his coming out story, died yesterday in an apparently weather-related car accident in Indiana, the Pal-Item reports:

Brendanbrian "Heavy accumulations of snowfall on Friday rendered area roads treacherous and claimed the lives of two people, injuring others and sparking a string of slideoffs and fender benders. Brendan Burke, 21, Canton, Mass., and Mark A. Reedy, 18, Bloomfield Hills, Mich., died at the scene of a two-vehicle accident at U.S. 35 north of Economy. The accident was reported at 2:50 p.m.Investigators said Burke was driving eastbound on U.S. 35 in a 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee when, according to witnesses, the vehicle slid sideways into an oncoming 1997 Ford Truck driven by 24-year-old Michael Moreland of Lynn. Moreland was not hurt."

The Toronto Maple Leafs released a statement last night:

Statement From The Toronto Maple Leafs:

The Toronto Maple Leafs are saddened to report that Brendan Burke, the youngest son of Leafs President and General Manager Brian Burke, succumbed to injuries he suffered in an auto accident earlier today in Indiana.

Statement From Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment:

Richard Peddie, president and chief executive officer of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, issued the following statement regarding the passing of Brendan Burke, son of Maple Leafs’ General Manager Brian Burke:

“On behalf of the entire Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment family, we extend our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Brian Burke. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Burke family during this extremely difficult time.”

The Burke family asks for privacy at this difficult time.

Thank you.

Statement From Commissioner Gary Bettman:

National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman tonight released this statement following the announcement that Brendan Burke, son of Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager Brian Burke, had passed away:

“The National Hockey League grieves tonight for the family and friends of Brendan Burke, a young man of courage and character. Words simply cannot express our sorrow over his loss. We send our deepest, most heartfelt condolences to Brendan's father, Brian; his mother, Kerry; everyone in Brendan's family and all who were inspired by his love for hockey.” 

What a terrible tragedy. Our thoughts go out to the Burke family.

Their story...
Brian and Brendan Burke Busting Homophobia in Pro Hockey [tr]
Watch: Brian and Brendan Burke on Gays in Hockey, Coming Out [tr]

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  1. I fell badly for anyone who loses a child, but this is particularly heart breaking.

    Posted by: David T | Feb 6, 2010 11:20:12 AM

  2. I remember reading the story of his coming out and his relationship with his father on here not so long ago. What a sad, shocking loss of an inspiring young man.

    Posted by: E. | Feb 6, 2010 11:23:57 AM

  3. My Dad use to carry a clipping in his wallet, it said that anyone who left this earth better than he found it has done God's work. Who knows how many lives this brave young man touched in his 21 years, I know he touched mine.

    My prayers to his friends and family.

    Posted by: patrick nyc | Feb 6, 2010 11:27:52 AM

  4. I read this about an hour ago on The Globe and Mail site and I am still in shock. Such a sad, sad end to such a promising life. The Burke family and the Reedy family are both in my thoughts and prayers. May Brendan's memory and wish for a less-homophobic world be an inspiration to people.

    Posted by: B | Feb 6, 2010 11:28:30 AM

  5. It seems there has been a spate of senseless deaths of young people lately. It's just a terrible thing - please take care, life is precious, and we need the new generation.

    Posted by: niles | Feb 6, 2010 11:30:46 AM

  6. I just got very, very sad reading this. Cannot imagine what this family is going through right now.

    Posted by: michael | Feb 6, 2010 11:35:45 AM

  7. This is both terribly sad and a wonderful trestament to the affirmative love between a father and a son.

    Posted by: chris | Feb 6, 2010 11:40:51 AM

  8. Boy, this just but a real cloud over my day. What a tragic loss. We so need kids like Brandon right now. Sad, sad, sad.

    Posted by: Michael J. Harrity | Feb 6, 2010 12:49:16 PM

  9. Such a loss. No words are sufficient.

    Posted by: Ron | Feb 6, 2010 12:53:40 PM

  10. This just made me cry. He seemed like a really nice kid. Shitty news.

    Posted by: Jon B | Feb 6, 2010 1:03:21 PM

  11. Fuck!

    Posted by: Glenn I | Feb 6, 2010 1:08:08 PM

  12. I am so terribly saddened by this, and can't really imagine the pain of those affected. May his courage and dignity continue to inspire, and may his family somehow find comfort in the tremendous impact he had in his too brief life.

    Posted by: Douglas | Feb 6, 2010 1:11:06 PM

  13. What a great life story and inspiration he left at his young age...You'll be remembered Brendan!

    Posted by: Felix | Feb 6, 2010 1:31:21 PM

  14. Thank goodness his father accepted him as he was, and loved him. Because who knew the boy would be gone so';s a good reminder that we only have one life and those whom we should love, we should love fully. Sad, sad news.

    Posted by: Pinky | Feb 6, 2010 2:00:14 PM

  15. This is heart rending, isn't it. Only 21, and not fully realized. Unfortunate.

    Posted by: TANK | Feb 6, 2010 2:20:38 PM

  16. Winter needs to go away already. I drive on roads like this all the time and they get really treacherous. I hate having to drive in the winter. This just sucks.

    Posted by: Alex | Feb 6, 2010 2:43:03 PM

  17. I'm deeply sadden by this tragic loss. Brendan was ahead of his time. His bravery will live on. R.I.P.

    Posted by: Rafael | Feb 6, 2010 2:47:55 PM

  18. God, I remember reading his story and thinking how great it was. And now this? Jesus.

    Posted by: Robert | Feb 6, 2010 3:12:29 PM

  19. I've removed the disrespectful comment that was left here earlier and references to it, for obvious reasons. If you have to ask why, you probably should think about leaving your comments elsewhere and not on this site.

    Posted by: Andy Towle | Feb 6, 2010 4:48:01 PM

  20. Too young to die, but not too young to have lived honestly. What an awful loss for his family.

    Posted by: tim b | Feb 6, 2010 5:04:29 PM

  21. What a tragic story. I remember reading the original post about this kid and thinking how cool it was that he was so comfortable being out and that his family accepted him. His example will help other gay youth by inspiring them to come out to their parents and live their lives openly and with dignity. Rest In Peace, Brendan.

    Posted by: peterparker | Feb 6, 2010 5:09:24 PM

  22. This hit me like a ton of bricks and I wish I knew why. I've been crying for 10 minutes.

    Posted by: freddie | Feb 6, 2010 5:10:31 PM

  23. Once again ANDY, great blog, class act.

    Posted by: patrick nyc | Feb 6, 2010 6:06:59 PM

  24. I can echo the sentiments above. It truly hit me hard when I read that headline. I've never been shaken so hard by the death of someone I've never met. I hope his story and message lives on in all of us.

    Posted by: FrancoisTrueFaux | Feb 6, 2010 6:07:17 PM

  25. Not sure outside of here but the NY Times blog has it here.

    I have a very strong feeling that this will come up tomorrow some time during the Super Bowl. That one of the announcers will give props to the family. Either way, we here should be grateful that ANDY brought it to our attention.

    Posted by: patrick nyc | Feb 6, 2010 6:18:35 PM

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