Former NHL Forward Dies at Age 42

Konstantin Koltsov, a former forward for the Penguins and partner of professional tennis player Aryna Sabalenka, has tragically passed away at the age of 42. His death was confirmed by his previous Russian hockey club, Salavat Yulaev. Although an official cause of death has not been released, a report from the Belarusian news outlet Telegraf suggests that Koltsov died in Miami due to a detached blood clot.

The hockey club expressed their grief in a statement, describing Koltsov as a strong, cheerful individual who was loved and respected by his peers, colleagues, and fans. They also acknowledged his significant contributions to the club’s history.

Koltsov had an impressive career with the Penguins from 2002 to 2006, during which he played in 144 games over three seasons. His most successful season was in 2003-04 when he played in 82 games at the age of 22. During this season, he achieved career-highs in goals (11), assists (23), and points (34). Throughout his career, Koltsov scored 14 goals, made 29 assists, and earned 43 points after being chosen 18th overall by the Penguins in the 1999 NHL Draft.

In addition to his NHL career, Koltsov also had a successful international career. He represented the Belarus national team in the 2002 and 2010 Olympics. He also won the Russian Super League championship with Salavat Yulaev in 2008. Following his playing career, Koltsov served as an assistant coach for the team.

Koltsov and Sabalenka, currently ranked No. 2 in the world, had been in a relationship since June 2021, as reported by People Magazine. Sabalenka had previously shared a heartfelt birthday message for Koltsov on social media, expressing her love and support for him. Koltsov was present at Sabalenka’s Australian Open victory earlier this year. At the time of his death, Sabalenka was in Miami preparing for the Miami Open, where she is the second seed.