Maple Leafs Fan Favourite Peter Zezel To Be Taken Off Life Support

Derek HarmsworthSenior Writer IMay 26, 2009

Edit 6:57: TSN SportsCentre has reported that Peter Zezel has passed away.

Absolutely tragic and shocking news for those who have been following this story. As abruptly as we learned of this story, it has now seemingly taken a shocking turn.

Peter Zezel, a former NHL player and Toronto Maple Leafs fan favorite, was revealed this morning to be "fighting for his life." Zezel was dealing complications of a rare blood disorder.

While many were hopeful "Zez" would battle through and persevere as he always had, a report from CTV news this afternoon has revealed a shocking turn of events.

According to a CTV report published around 12:30 eastern time, Zezel, 44, will, at some point today, be taken off of life support.

The report also offered more details into what had once been a very private situation for the former NHL player.  

Zezel apparently fell into a coma last week, after suffering brain hemorrhaging, a complication that occurred during surgery to have his spleen removed.  It was also revealed that he recently underwent chemotherapy. 

A 15-year veteran of the NHL, Zezel retired in 1999 while with the Vancouver Canucks.

He suffers from hemolytic anemia, a rare blood disease that had already once threatened his life in 2001. 

A man who played for seven teams in his NHL career, and was loved at every stop, Zezel suited up for Philadelphia, Washington, St. Louis, Toronto, Dallas, New Jersey, and Vancouver.

Aside from his hockey career, which suffered a controversial ending at the 1999 NHL trade deadline, Zezel has been known throughout the hockey world for his contributions off the ice.

Zezel has stayed prominent in the hockey community near his hometown. Aside from regular appearances on Canadian sports television shows, Zezel also runs a hockey and soccer camp near his home in Etobicoke.

He also coaches minor hockey in the area as the head coach of a team that features the son of former teammate and fellow Leaf fan favorite Doug Gilmour.

Gilmour, when asked, declined to comment on the status of Zezel.