DEAD: ON THIS DATE
Rocky Marciano (aged 45)
Rocco Francis Marchegiano (September 1, 1923 – August 31, 1969), best known as Rocky Marciano, was an American professional boxerwho competed from 1947 to 1955. He held the world heavyweight title from 1952 to 1956, and retired undefeated as champion. His six title defenses were against Jersey Joe Walcott, Roland La Starza, Ezzard Charles (twice), Don Cockell and Archie Moore.
Known for his relentless fighting style, formidable punching power, stamina and exceptionally durable chin, Marciano has been included by boxing historians in lists of the greatest boxers of all time,and is currently ranked by BoxRec as the 29th greatest heavyweight boxer in history. His knockout-to-win percentage of 87.76% remains one of the highest in heavyweight boxing history.
DEATH: On August 31, 1969 (the day before his 46th birthday), Marciano was a passenger in a small private plane, a Cessna 172 heading to Des Moines, Iowa. It was night time and bad weather had set in. The pilot, Glenn Belz, had 231 total hours of flying time, 35 of them at night, and had no instrument rating. Belz tried to land the plane at a small airfield outside Newton, Iowa but the aircraft hit a tree two miles short of the runway. Flying with Marciano in the back seat was Frankie Farrell, 28, the oldest son of Lew Farrell, a former boxer who had known Marciano since his childhood. Marciano, Belz and Farrell were killed on impact.