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Brendan Burke, Son Of Brian Burke, Gone At 21

Sad, sad story tonight as we have learned that Brendan Burke passes away today due to injuries sustained in a car accident. He apparently lost control of his car on a snowy highway and collided head on with another vehicle. What makes this story tragic is how just a few months ago, Brendan made news when it was learned that he was openly gay. Not big news in itself, but it was a courageous story about someone so involved in ice hockey and sports was not only open, but was fully supported by his father.

Travis Hughes has a tremendous story on Brendan on SB

Brendan's bravery was not encapsulated just by the fact that he came out to his rugged father Brian, but also in the political and social ramifications his coming out caused in his own life and the world of sport. Brendan wasn't just the son of a hockey icon; he also worked on the staff of the University of Miami Ohio's men's hockey team, so he encountered these issues every single day of his professional life.

It's no secret that homosexuality in sports is a topic that simply isn't discussed comfortably. It's an issue that we haven't yet figured out how to tackle in our society, and because of that, those like Brendan who are victims of abuse either directly or indirectly on a daily basis, are often times not brave enough to be open with their lifestyle.

Pension Plan Puppets, SB Nation's Leafs blog, has a touching story up as well on Brendan's passing.

I know this is a touchy subject, but I wanted to take the time to give my thoughts and prayers to the Burke family. I am truly saddened by this news, and words effectively escape me at the moment. That someone this brave and this supported by a great family to be gone so young, is incredible tragic. RIP, Brendan.