Shawn Burr was born in Sarnia, Ontario Canada on July 1st 1966. He starred for the Kitchener Rangers in the OHL and was selected by the Detroit Red Wings in the 1st round, 7th overall, in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft.
In 1987 he joined the Red Wings, where he played for 10 years. He was a solid depth forward, playing a defensive role either as a diligent checker. Occasionally he would play on a top line with offensive players, but he was more of a safety valve in such situations as he lacked the speed to be a significant offensive contributor in the NHL. He was a very well liked teammate, forming a special relationship with young Russian forwards new to America, most notably Sergei Fedorov.
"He was a funny guy, a nonstop talker, always had a trick to play," remembered Chris Osgood. "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."
Shawn played in 878 NHL games scoring 181 goals and 259 assists. He finished his career with stints in Tampa Bay and San Jose. He retired back in Michigan and became a financial planner.
In February 2011 former Detroit Red Wings player Shawn Burr was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. It is a form of cancer that starts in the bone marrow. The veteran NHLer had been in the fight of his life ever since. He fought valiantly through chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant, keeping his trademark wit and sense of humour with him the whole way.
Shawn Burr passed away August 5th, 2013, though it was not the leukemia that got him in the end. He apparently suffered some sort of fall resulting in major head trauma.
Shawn Burr was just 47 years old.
Upon his diagnosis with AML, the Burr family created the Shawn Burr Foundation, raising over $1 million in the fight to find a cure of this lesser-known cancer. He was also active in trying to increase enrolment in bone marrow registries.