Edmonton Oilers centre Colby Cave has died aged just 25 after suffering bleeding in his brain, his family and the NHL team said on Saturday.
Cave had been placed into a medically-induced coma at a Toronto hospital on Thursday after doctors removed a colloid cyst which was causing the bleed.
"It is with great sadness to share the news that our Colby Cave passed away early this morning," his family said in a statement on the Oilers' website.
"We thank everyone for their prayers during this difficult time."
His wife Emily had said on Thursday that because of coronavirus restrictions, the family had not been able to visit Cave in hospital.
"Colby was a terrific team-mate with great character, admired and liked everywhere he played," said Oilers chairperson Bob Nicholson.
NHL legend and fellow Canadian Wayne Gretzky wrote on Twitter: "He was a wonderful hockey player with a bright future, but an even better person. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Emily and his entire family."
Boston Bruins forward Jake DeBrusk was a team-mate of Cave's in junior hockey.
"It is hard to put into words," DeBrusk said.
"I was lucky to play junior hockey with Colby. He was our captain and leader. He was an amazing person, player and friend."
Six months ago Cave got into a on-ice fight with Martin Popisil, knocking the Slovakian forward out cold with a right hand.
Instead of celebrating his victory he immediately showed concern for Pospisil by frantically waving to the players' bench to alert one of the team doctors.
The next day Cave sent a text message to Pospisil wishing him a "speedy recovery".
In four NHL seasons with the Oilers and Bruins, Cave scored four goals and made five assists in 67 games.