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Former Wings center Burr passes away

by Staff Writer / Detroit Red Wings
Shawn Burr (Photo courtesy of Detroit Red Wings archives)

Shawn Burr, who spent most of his 16 NHL seasons with the Detroit Red Wings and spent the past three years batting leukemia, has died at the age of 47.

Burr died about 7 p.m. ET Monday after a fall earlier in the day at his home in St. Clair, Mich., that caused massive brain trauma, according to Dave Goetze, who runs the Shawn Burr Foundation, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Burr was selected by the Red Wings in the first round (No. 7) of the 1984 NHL Draft and played with Detroit through the 1994-95 season. He also played with the San Jose Sharks and Tampa Bay Lightning before retiring in 2000. Burr finished his career with 181 goals and 440 points in 878 regular-season games.

Burr Photos

Burr's upbeat personality made him a fan favorite throughout his career. His relationship with Detroit extended into retirement -- he served as president of the Red Wings Alumni Association.

"He was a funny guy, a non-stop talker, always had a trick to play," longtime teammate Chris Osgood told the Free Press. "My first game as a rookie, he put my name upside down on my jersey. He was the guy in the '90s who kept everybody else relaxed. He did the dirty work for the team on the ice, and then kept the guys relaxed in the dressing room."

Burr was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia in 2010. He was in remission for several months after undergoing chemotherapy -- but the disease returned, and in 2012 he teamed with the Michigan Dental Society and Leukemia and the Lymphoma Society to try and help build up the state's bone marrow registry with the "Take a Bite out of Cancer" program.

Dallas Stars general manager Jim Nill played with Burr on the Red Wings and remembered him being a fun-loving guy.

“Just full of life,” Nill told the Free Press. “He was always talking in the dressing room. Character guy. Always had a smile on his face. Just a good man.”

"We drafted Shawn as our 1st round pick (7th overall) in 1984 as we were building our team," Jimmy Devellano told the Detroit Red Wings. "Shawn was a good 2 way player, an enthusiastic kid who lightned the dressing room and a real good person. We have fond memories of him and we will all miss his good natured presence. He was an active alumni member until he got ill a few years ago, our hearts go out to his family."

Funeral arrangements will be private. In lieu of flowers a donation may be made through the Shawn Burr Foundation at or checks may be mailed to:

Shawn Burr Foundation
P.O. Box 610812
Port Huron, MI 48061

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