How did Rene Robert die? Sabres legend and 'French Connection' member, 72, was on life support

The Buffalo Sabres announced Rene Robert, a legendary member of the 'French Connection' has passed away

                            How did Rene Robert die? Sabres legend and 'French Connection' member, 72, was on life support
Rene Robert during his playing days for the Colorado Rockies in 1980. (NHL/Wikimedia Commons)

Buffalo Sabres ice hockey player Rene Robert has passed away, the team confirmed. The Canadian legend, who is best known for being a member of the 'French Connection' line was 72. During his career between 1968-82, Robert also represented Toronto, Pittsburgh, and Colorado but it was his time at Buffalo that made him a household name. 

Robert's passing comes months after New York Rangers' Mark Pavelich was found dead at a Minnesota treatment facility. The NHL star, dubbed 'Miracle on Ice', was receiving mental health treatment at the time. On June 21, Minnesota Wild's Assistant General Manager Tom Kurvers died after losing his battle with cancer. Kurvers was also a former Sabres player, playing for the side in one season. Back in January, five-time Stanley Cup winning coach John Muckler also passed away.


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The death of Robert has shocked the ice hockey community and certainly left a huge void in the National Hockey League. Here's all the latest information we know about Robert and his passing. 

New Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula meets with former Sabres players Gilbert Perreault #11, Rick Martin #7 and Rene Robert #14, during pre game ceremonies prior to play against the Atlanta Thrashers at HSBC Arena on February 23, 2011 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

How did Rene Robert die?

Robert was in Florida when he suffered a heart attack on June 15. He was instantly hospitalized in Port Charlotte and reportedly underwent several procedures. According to reports, his condition was so bad he was put on life support. It is unclear as of now if he was taken off life support by his family or passed away due to some other cause. Details were not immediately available.

The Sabres were the first to announce the death, with a tweet saying, "It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of adored Sabres alumnus Rene Robert. The entire Sabres organization and Western New York community are praying for the Robert family and cherishing the memories he created in Buffalo."



Sabres owner Terry Pegula also released a brief statement on Robert's passing. "When we first took over as owners, the members of The French Connection were three of the first people to welcome us to the organization. During our time with the team, Rene has been one of the most active alumni and we’ve grown to know him well over the past 10 years. He was a friend to us and to the entire organization and will be missed dearly," Pegula said. 



The French Connection refers to a line of three Sabres players - Gilbert Perreault, Robert, and Rick Martin  - that helped the Sabres dominate the '70s. Perreault is now the only surviving member after Martin passed away in 2011 due to a cardiac arrest. Thanks to them, the Sabres made the playoffs six times during the decade. Robert played eight of his 12 seasons with the Sabres and was so popular that in 1995, the Sabres decided to retire his jersey number 14. 

New Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula stands with former Sabres players Rene Robert #14, Rick Martin #7 and Gilbert Perreault #11 during pre-game ceremonies at HSBC Arena on February 23, 2011 in Buffalo, New York. (Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

'RIP Rene' 

Fans took to social media to mourn and remember Robert. "The French Connection was one of the best lines in the history of hockey … RIP Rene Robert … sad day for @BuffaloSabres fans," one person tweeted. Another said, "Rip Rene Robert brought us fans in buffalo the best years we’ve ever had. Prayers go out to all his family and friends The French Connection will live on forever."

 "RIP Rene Robert. To this day The French Connection was one of the most electrifying lines I’ve ever seen," a fan said.





Others shared heartwarming personal stories. One person tweeted, "I meet Rene the night they were raising Dominick Hasek’s banner at Niagara Center. He personally tracked down Dominick during the game and had him sign the mini banner they handed out to fans for my 8-year old son at the time. That meant to world to me. RIP Rene." Another said, "I enjoyed watching Rene Robert play on the famed French Connection Line with Gil Perreault and Rick Martin. I enjoyed getting to know him after his career was over. He had a great way about himself and a wicked self-deprecating sense of humour. Rest in peace, Rene."




Robert's most famous moment with the Sabres was perhaps his goal in the 'Fog Game' against the Philadelphia Flyers. During game 3 of the 1975 Stanley Cup Final, his OT goal allowed the Sabres to win 5-4 and cut their series deficit to 2-1. In 1989, he was elected to the Sabres Hall of Fame and the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame in 1994.