'Our hearts are broken': NHL star Gino Odjick dies of a heart attack at 52 leaving family, fans shattered

'Our hearts are broken': NHL star Gino Odjick dies of a heart attack at 52 leaving family, fans shattered
Vancouver Canucks' Gino Odjick died at 52 and through his 12-year-long career he has played for the New York Islanders, Philadelphia Flyers and Montreal Canadiens (Ken Levine/Getty Images)

MANIWAKI, CANADA: NHL player Gino Odjick reportedly died at the age of 52 due to a heart attack on Sunday, January 15. Announcing the sad news, Odjick's sister, Dina, wrote on Facebook, "Our hearts are broken. My brother Gino Odjick has left us for the spirit world."  

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The beloved Vancouver Canucks player died after he was taken to a hospital to have bandages on his legs replaced, but suddenly collapsed after arriving and was immediately attended to by the medical staffers. It was later revealed he had a heart attack and was shortly pronounced dead, according to Montreal Gazette. Odjick, whose career spanned for over a remarkable 12 years in NHL, was diagnosed with amyloidosis in 2014, which "attacked his organs and his heart.”

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March 1997:  Gino Odjick #29 of the Vancouver Canucks in action during a game against the Calgary Flames at the Canadien Airlines Saddledome in Calgary, Canada. Mandatory Credit: Ian Tomlinson  /Allsport
Gino Odjick #29 of the Vancouver Canucks in action during a game against the Calgary Flames at the Canadien Airlines Saddledome in Calgary, Canada (Ian Tomlinson /Allsport)

“Gino was a fan favourite from the moment he joined the organization, putting his heart and soul into every shift on and off the ice,” said chairman and governor Francesco Aquilini, adding, “He inspired many and embodied what it means to be a Canuck. Personally, he was a close friend and confidant, someone I could lean on for advice and support. He will be deeply missed,” per the New York Post

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Who is Gino Odjick?

Gino Odjick of the Montreal Canadiens poses for a portrait on September 1, 2002 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada.
Gino Odjick of the Montreal Canadiens poses for a portrait on September 1, 2002 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada. (Photo by Getty Images/NHLI)

The Professional NHL star played for the Canucks before they traded him in exchange for Jason Strudwick, followed by New York Islanders, Philadelphia Flyers and Montreal Canadiens throughout his career. He was known as an enforcer during his playing career, earning him the nickname "Algonquin Assassin". The 6.3ft star player enjoyed his best season in 1993-94 posting career highs in goals (16) and points (29) en route to Vancouver’s second of three Stanley Cup Final berths.

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According to Sportsnet, Odjick holds the Canucks’ record for most penalty minutes in franchise history with 2,127. He led the NHL with 371 penalty minutes in 1996-97, a season during which he played 70 of his 605 NHL games.

23 Jan 2002:  Left Wing Gino Odjick #29 of the Montreal Canadiens skates on the ice against the Washington Capitals during the NHL game at the MCI Center in Washington D.C.  The Canadiens defeated the Capitals 5-3.   Mandatory copyright notice: Copyright 2002 NHLI   Mandatory Credit:  Doug Pensinger/Getty Images/NHLI
Left Wing Gino Odjick #29 of the Montreal Canadiens skates on the ice against the Washington Capitals during the NHL game at the MCI Center in Washington D.C. The Canadiens defeated the Capitals 5-3. Mandatory copyright notice: Copyright 2002 NHLI (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images/NHLI)

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Heartbroken nettzens took to Twitter to express their sadness over Odjick's death. One user penned a tribute on Twitter saying, "RIP Gino. You will always live in our hearts." The New York Islanders paid tribute to their former player and wrote, "The New York Islanders are deeply saddened to learn the passing of former family member, Gino Odjick. The team extends our condolences to the Odjick family and friends."

Another user said, "My thoughts go out to Gino and his family. A true fan favorite." The NHL tweeted, "The NHL mourns the passing of Gino Odjick, a beloved @Canucks fan favorite and a great teammate who spent eight of his 12 seasons in Vancouver where he played 476 of his 649 NHL games. Our sympathies are with his family and many friends."

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Another user shared, "If you wanted to see how loved Gino Odjick was by the city of Vancouver. These were well wishers cheering him on outside his hospital room after his AL amyloidosis diagnosis in 2014. Prognosis is between 13-40 months. This was nearly nine years ago. A warrior until the end."

"It would be an honour to have Gino in the Ring of Honour. Most beloved Canuck of all-time," another user tweeted, while another fan chimed in, "I remember his 1st game as a canuck! He was an animal, and a genuinely sweet guy all wrapped in one. RIP Gino." 

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