Ice hockey-Former NHL player Koltsov dies in ‘apparent suicide’, Miami-Dade police say

By Thomson Reuters Mar 19, 2024 | 11:28 AM

By Steve Keating

MIAMI (Reuters) – Konstantin Koltsov, the Belarusian former pro ice hockey player and boyfriend of tennis player Aryna Sabalenka, died in an “apparent suicide” the Miami-Dade police department said on Tuesday.

Police said in a statement sent to Reuters that they had responded to a call on Monday at a Miami resort about reports of a man jumping off a balcony.

“At approximately 12:39 a.m., Bal Harbour Police and Fire Rescue were dispatched to the St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort, 9703 Collins Avenue, in reference to a male that jumped from a balcony,” said the Miami Dade police department.

“The Miami-Dade Police Department, Homicide Bureau, responded and has taken over the investigation of the apparent suicide of Mr. Konstantin Koltsov.

“No foul play is suspected.”

The former forward, who was 42, played for the Belarus national team in the 2002 and 2010 Olympics and spent parts of three seasons with the National Hockey League’s Pittsburgh Penguins from 2002 and 2006.

His death was confirmed by Russian club Salavat Yulaev, where he was an assistant coach.

“It is with deep sorrow that we inform you that the coach of Salavat Yulaev, Konstantin Koltsov, has passed away,” Salavat Yulaev, which is based in the Russian city of Ufa, said in a statement.

“He was a strong and cheerful person, he was loved and respected by players, colleagues, and fans. Konstantin Evgenievich forever wrote himself into the history of our club.

“May he rest in peace.”

Sabalenka, the world’s number two-ranked women’s tennis player and Australian Open champion, is in Miami for a women’s WTA event.

According to media reports Sabalenka is not withdrawing from the Miami Open, which gets underway on Tuesday, but will not do press conferences following her matches.

Sabalenka has a first round bye and is scheduled to play either Romanian wildcard Simona Halep, who is returning from a doping ban, or Spain’s Paula Badosa on Friday.

Sabalenka and Koltsov were first linked in June 2021, according to People magazine, and the world number two has frequently posted photos of them together on her Instagram account.

“I love you @koltsov2021,” she wrote in one post that included heart and other emojis. “Happy birthday my love. 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,” she wrote.

Koltsov also applauded Sabalenka after the Belarusian won her second consecutive Australian Open title in January.

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Miami; Editing by Hugh Lawson)