Devellano on Shawn Burr: “He was a good human being. He was too young.”

DETROIT – Former Detroit Red Wing Shawn Burr died Monday evening from head trauma.

According to a source, Burr fell down a flight of stairs at his home and suffered massive trauma to his brain and was placed on life support.

He was taken off life support early Monday evening.

“On behalf of the Detroit Red Wings we’re very saddened by the news,” Red Wings senior vice president Jimmy Devellano said in a phone interview. “He was a good human being. He was too young.”

Burr was 47.

“It’s very, very sad,” said Devellano, who was the Wings’ general manager when they drafted Burr. “Shawn was a friend of mine. I liked him very much, drafted him in the first round in ‘84. He played a long time for us. I remember the overtime goal he scored for us against Chicago in the playoffs (that clinched the four-game sweep in the first round in 1987).

“He was our first pick in my second draft, when we were trying to get to the Detroit Red Wings from the Dead Wings,” Devellano continued. “He was a good guy, a pretty good player for us. He was always an upbeat kid with a good sense of humor.”

In 2011, Burr was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia, which required a bone marrow transplant.

He had successfully completed chemo therapy and was declared cancer free.

“When he was fighting cancer I would call once in a while to encourage him and chat,” Devellano recalled. “He had a very good attitude.”

Burr, a resident of St. Clair County, founded the Shawn Burr Foundation which served charities in St. Clair County. It most recently was supporting blood cancer research.

The Wings drafted Burr in the first round, seventh overall, in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft.

He played 16 seasons in the NHL, 11 of which were with Detroit. He also played with Tampa Bay and San Jose.

Burr, who scored an astonishing 60 goals in his final season with Kitchener before joining the Wings, had his best season with the Wings in 1989-90, scoring 24 goals and assisting on 32 in 76 games.

“He was a big scorer with Kitchener,” Devellano said. “I was hoping that might translate to the NHL.”

However, Burr, who totaled 181 goals and 259 assists in 878 games, was more of a grinder during his time in the league.

“He had the ability to score and was a pain to play against,” Devellano said. “He played hard. He was a good, motivated and fun-loving kid. He turned out to be a pretty good NHL player.

“He had a long career and was a bona fide NHL player,” Devellano continued. “He was a good, solid player who was a good Red Wing, a good guy, brought a little life to the team. I’m very, very saddened by this news.”


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