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Mar 19, 2024 10:40 am

Konstantin Koltsov, former NHL player and boyfriend of Aryna Sabalenka, dies at 42

aryna sabalenka

Konstantin Koltsov, a former member of the Pittsburgh Penguins and the boyfriend of tennis star Aryna Sabalenka, has died at age 42.

A native of Belarus, Koltsov went on to play and serve as an assistant coach for Salavat Yulaev of Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League. The team confirmed his death in a statement Tuesday.

“He was a strong and cheerful person, he was loved and respected by players, colleagues, and fans,” read the team statement, translated from Russian. “Konstantin Evgenievich forever wrote himself into the history of our club. Koltsov won the Russian Championship and the Gagarin Cup as part of Salavat Yulaev, and did a great job on the team’s coaching staff.

“The hockey club ‘Salavat Yulaev’ expresses its condolences to the family and friends of Konstantin Evgenievich Koltsov. Bright memory…”

No cause of death was released. The Daily Express of Great Britain reported Koltsov died in Miami, where Sabalenka was scheduled to open play in the Miami Open this week as the No. 2 seed. The report said her name has been taken off all practice schedules, but tournament officials had not commented on her participation as of Tuesday morning.

Media reports said Koltsov and Sabalenka, also from Belarus, had been together since 2021. Last April, she posted a touching birthday message to Koltsov on Instagram that included a series of photos of them together.

“Happy birthday my love,” she wrote in a note translated from Russian and sprinkled with heart emojis. “You are my dearest person, my best friend and my strongest support. Peace be with you, strength, patience and health. I hope we will have everything we planned. I love you.”

Koltsov, a forward, played 144 games with the Penguins over three seasons from 2002-06. He had 38 points (12 goals, 26 assists) in his NHL career. The Penguins selected him with the 18th overall pick in the 1999 NHL Draft.

He played with both Mario Lemieux and Sidney Crosby in his final season in Pittsburgh. He alsorepresented Belarus in the 2002 and 2010 Winter Olympics and in nine world championships.

–Field Level Media

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